7 Tips for Adopted Parents at the Beginning of School

Every year right about this time, children everywhere are going back to school. The lines at Walmart are long and shopping carts are full of brand new box of crayons and brightly colored spiral bound notebooks. As thoughts turn to school, parents of adopted kids often wonder if they need to do anything extra to make sure their child has a smooth school year.

In most respects the beginning of the school year is no different for adopted kids than for kids born into their families. We buy the school supplies and new clothes, fill out reams of paperwork, and sent them off with a kiss and a prayer. But adoption can add complications at school.

Maybe your family is transracial, and you worry that your child will have to field questions.

Maybe your child’s family is filled with birth parents, birth siblings, etc., and you wonder if you need to give the teacher a score card to know who is who.

Maybe your child came to you with the emotional scars and behavior of a hard life, and you are debating how much information to share with her teacher.

Maybe your child has learning differences/disabilities caused by prenatal alcohol or drug exposure, and you question if the teacher needs to know the cause in order to help.

Maybe we worry that our child is a little fuzzy on the difference between privacy and secrecy, and perhaps has a tendency to overshare information that he may later regret telling.

And then there are the dreaded school assignments that may just draw unwanted attention to the way our child joined our family.

There are negative stereotypes about adoption, and we don’t want to needlessly burden our child or his teacher. On the other hand, we do want to be proactive to avoid any potential problems.

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