Ask AF: Talking About Adoption in School

How can I educate the school about adoption, when my daughter doesn't want to be seen as different? The AF expert responds.

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Q:My oldest daughter (born in Asia) is going into second grade in a new town, much smaller and less diverse than the one we moved from. I would like to offer information on adoption to her school and give adoption talks in the classroom. However, my daughter seems embarrassed by the idea and by talking about adoption. How can I approach giving an adoption talk in the classroom—both with the school and with my daughter?

A:You may have the opportunity to visit the school on or before the first day to donate a good adoption book or two to the library. That visit could also serve as an opportunity to volunteer. When you are seen as a helper, teachers are more open to suggestions. As you get to know them, you might share articles about adoption language or ideas about alternative assignments. Take along printed materials to leave with teachers as samples. If your approach to adoption education is broadened to include other non-traditional families, your daughter’s “difference” can be minimized. Respect for your daughter’s wishes is very important; if she does not want you to do an adoption presentation in her classroom, don’t go ahead with one. Instead, you can volunteer in her class and educate her teacher and others as described above.

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