Should a Teacher know your child is Adopted??

Ok…school is starting again. Should you tell your childs teachers that he/she is adopted? According to Lois Ruskai Melina in Raising Adopted Children, a child’s adoption status is part of his social history and should be shared with professionals working with an adoptee, including teachers.

Most parents do not want to give the impression that their child is different or fragile because of his adoption. So, should you tell the teachers or not?

There are some reasons why you might want to talk about Adoption. Here are a few:
* Your child may be developmentally or educationally delayed due to life before adoption.
* Subjects like Family, Genetics, or creating a Family Tree can upset your child and should be discussed before and not after the assignment comes home.
* Your child may be receiving therapeutic support outside of the school for other conditions due to his life before adoption.
* Baby photos may be asked to be brought to school. This will make your child feel different if he doesn’t have one. Teachers can avoid this project or change it so hurt feelings don’t occur.

It’s also safe to assume that some adults do not understand Adoption or orphanages…and this could include your child’s teacher. I’ve had people ask me why my kids didn’t know how to swim or ride a bike when we adopted them. They were shocked to hear that orphanages didn’t have bikes or didn’t take kids out to learn to swim at pools. So you may need to educate teachers as to where your children came from.

By talking to a teacher about adoption you are educating them about unique adoption perspectives, while emphasizing that adopted kids are still normal kids. The key is to have a meeting that helps the teacher understand the student and addresses issues related to adoption before they arise.

Will you tell your child’s Teacher that he/she is adopted?

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption

Alex and little friend, Nyka

Alex and little friend, Nyka


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Robin Thompson on Tuesday, April13, 2010 at 3:35 p04

    I agree that you should discuss adoption info with educational professionals. Sometimes teachers are more understanding when they have more info.


    • Teachers have been a big help over the years and 99% of the time they are happy to have the information I give them. Only one teacher did not care about my child’s past and treated all children the same.


  2. I agree, I told Peter’s teacher and the principal. We adopted him at 3 years old from Bulgaria and he started kindergarten in September. His english wasn’t very strong and his social skills needed some work. Most schools need and official diagnosis to assign a special Eduducation teacher to students but because of his unique situation they agreed to have the Special Education teacher spend some time with him each day, it is making a huge difference. If I hadn’t spoken up he would be further behind.

    I wish I had spoken up earlier though, they did have a “baby picture day” and we didn’t have one. I sent one along and told him this is when he became part of our family but he noticed and was hurt. I rocommend speaking up early.


    • Thanks, Denise.
      Yes. I learned to speak up early on the baby picture thing…and also about grade 4 they tend to work on Family Trees. I spoke to the teacher and asked if she was open to a different type of Family tree…and she was. We created roots on the bottom of the tree for the biological family in Russia. I have been bold enough to ask friends who have children with similar facial characteristics for a baby picture that we could use in an emergency. That way my child had a baby photo and we just said ‘he has changed a lot since then!” Seemed to work.


  3. Posted by Hannah on Tuesday, May1, 2012 at 3:35 p05

    I don’t think it really matters that much. I am adopted myself and when asked to create a family tree I did my adoptive family tree. My teachers don’t have a clue that I am adopted and I wouldn’t want to be treated differently as result of it.


    • Thanks for the reply, Hannah. I agree, in most cases, there may not be a need to tell teachers and let the kids be like everyone else. There are exceptions to everything though. I know with my two kids…adopted at 5 and almost 11…they have no baby pictures, and most of their friends know they were adopted from an orphanage. My son, now 13, gets bullied because certain kids call him a loser because he came from an orphanage. I want teachers to be aware of this so they can step in when necessary and have the information correct so they can help him. Good insight for your issues, though!


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