Parent-to-Parent: "Do You Talk with the Teacher About Adoption?"

Real parents share how they handle adoption awareness at school.

An adoptive mother talks with her child's teacher at school about adoption

On our Facebook page (, we asked readers, Do you talk with your child’s teacher about adoption at school? If so, what do you say? Here’s what you said:


We always do. We live in a small town, so most teachers already know us, but in the ‘special things to know’ section of all the beginning-of-the-year forms, I note that our son was adopted, that it is an open adoption (so they know that he knows), and that he’s biracial.” —AMY

Yes. My son has special needs and lived in an orphanage, so he has health and behavioral issues that a teacher would understand better if she knew his background.” —SONIA

In our family, it’s obvious something is different, and some of my child’s behaviors are best explained by just being upfront about adoption. If I’m trusting this person with my child for six hours a day for the entire school year, I feel I should be able to trust her enough to share some of our story so she can help my child. That doesn’t mean I share every nitty-gritty detail—nobody needs to know all of that until the child is old enough to understand and to choose with whom to share. But basic info is useful for the teacher to know, especially when dealing with my child’s IEP. I see the school as partners with us parents, not something to be afraid of. Teachers want what’s best for my child too.” —GERI

“We tell, but I feel that it’s backfired on a couple of occasions. In third grade, the counselor was giving a lesson on how everyone has something ‘different’ about them. She used our son’s adoption as an example of how he was different. I thought (and told her) that this was inappropriate.” —ELLEN

My son gets bullied at school for being adopted. We asked the school to have an assembly to teach all the students about adoption. Even though he is not the only child at school who was adopted, or gets bullied for being adopted, the school sadly declined.” —STACY

As an adult adoptee, I believe that, unless there is a behavioral or medical reason, there is no reason to share. It’s the child’s story. It’s our job as parents to make them comfortable with their story. I was never ashamed about being adopted, but I just don’t think it’s everyone’s business. A school-aged child sometimes wants to be just like everyone else, not have her differences pointed out.” —LISA

My son has an IEP for social-emotional issues related to pre-adoption trauma, so that cat is out of the bag. I don’t share specifics of his story unless it is immediately relevant to something going on at school.” —JENNIFER

I let my six-year-old decide. When she wanted to include her mom and sister on an ‘About Me’ poster, we talked about the fact that some people might have questions and how she could answer them. I emailed the teacher at that point to give her a heads up (because six-year-olds sometimes don’t explain things the best way, ha) and it was no big deal.” —KAREN

We shared with the teacher that we are an adoptive family, that we are advocates for positive adoption language, and that we are open about it and our son knows he was adopted. I told her I would be happy to help educate her and the other children, provide books about adoption for the classroom, and so on. I decided I wanted to trust her with this knowledge because I need her to be my child’s advocate when I am not there. I shared no details of his background or story. He is in preschool, so this was our first year addressing this. I wrestled with it for sure! But the teacher was receptive without asking any invasive questions, and seemed appreciative of my offer to help with positive adoption language, so I’m glad I did and I felt good as I left.” —STEPHANIE



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