The Adoption Option

My spot for thoughts, feelings, rambles, and updates as we journey through the adoption process. Highlights: Dossier arrived in Thailand ~ Sept 26, 2005; Approved ~ October, 2005; Matched ~ August, 2006; Referral received ~ January 2007; Traveled & Home ~ June, 2007; Finalized!! ~ December, 2007

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Teachers and adoption

Jesse and I attended his Kindergarten round-up tonight. A night for the parents to meet the teacher and the kids to see the class room. It was nice for Jesse to see a new group of kids, but he was still comfortable since there are a lot of siblings coming in this year. So he already knows a lot of them. This I think will really help his transition and comfort level.

Jesse has been home since before Ian started Kindergarten - many of the teachers know about his adoption status and I figured since we were around so much, most everyone did. However, when I approached the kinder teacher and mentioned it she seems surprised and confused. A reaction I'm used to by now. I just explained that I wanted her to know in case he should mention anything (which is often does) in conversation. He knows things most kids his age might now - like he can't be President. I didn't want him to say something in class that would shock or surprise her. I think I've mentioned before about this seminar I went to about adoption in education. It was amazing and so many valid points were made and absorbed. One being that if a teacher is not made aware of the history, a mention of adoption might noticeable surprise them. Makes perfect sense. The idea is that if a child sees that reaction they will think "oh wait...maybe adoption is weird, or strange, or bad...maybe I shouldn't talk about it". Again makes perfect sense. So why is it that none of the teachers I talk to seem to understand that?

I made a point of saying "adoption does not make him special, it's just his story like everyone has a story. I don't want him to think adoption makes him special." Her response..."Well, doesn't adoption make him special?" My opinion - no. Adoption is something that happened to him, a part of who he is and how we became a family. A lot of people have stories of how they arrived at where they are today. Some kids in his class are from another country - does that make them special? I don't think so. Does it make us all unique - yes. Do we celebrate adoption in our family - yes! Do I think he needs to be praised for being adopted - no.

Am I alone in this? I mean, I know I'm not really because this is exactly what some PhD studied and speaks on...but come one people! Every single teacher!!!!!

And to think if I didn't mention it - if Jesse saw those initial looks on their faces what would he think? Anyway just another baffling night with the educators at our school. Feed back appreciated.

Oh - and another thing - don't get me wrong, I don't feel the need to tell everyone I meet about Jesse's adoption. However, I think it's important to mention a few things here or there. Tuesday night I dropped Jesse off at tumbling class...Sam was picking him up. The teacher had never met Sam or Ian. So I just said "His dad is picking him up - big guy, long blonde hair." Is that wrong or weird? I'm just trying to make situations less weird.


Anonymous Donna said...

I think you are doing everything you can. You are educating yourself and others. Letting the teacher know what Sam looked like probably saved alot of your his father comments, and let them know n advance what to expect so they cold release Jesse.

I love you and you are doing a wonderful job.

5/05/2011 9:13 PM  
Blogger Jay and Chandra and Penny Regan said...

Yes, you are doing a great job! I don't usually have to mention that Penny's adopted, since it's quite obvious that she looks different from us. But, I told her ESL teacher ahead of time and explained that her behavior is sometimes like a much younger child, because she's starting at square one in learning to bond. Later, the teacher really thanked me for letting her know about this ahead of time. She said that way she could know that it was perfectly normal when my daughter would regress to acting like a toddler. The teacher said, "That's fine. I'm a mom to toddlers so I know exactly how to handle it when she acts like one." This teacher has been GREAT for Penny. So, it's great that you're helping to educate Jesse's teacher.

5/07/2011 8:33 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

Thanks Chandra and Donna.

Chandra - I would assume that it's also very obvious that Jesse came to our family through adoption....but nearly everyone I have to tell is surprised! it's weird! :) That's why talking to the teachers always starts off so strange - they really have no idea!

5/07/2011 10:07 AM  
Blogger Robin and Kyle said...

Great, thought-provoking post. T is starting 4k this fall and we haven't met the teachers yet. How to approach adoption with them has been on my mind.

I would agree with you that it's good to make teachers aware, especially for things like "family tree" assignments, or for when T inevitably tells people that I am "one of (his) favorite mamas!", as is frequent.

Adoption is how my kids joined our family, but I don't think it makes them more special than any other kid. (Well, let's be real - my kids ARE more special than other kids - because they're MINE, not because they're adopted. Hee hee. =P )

It's surprising that teachers don't have more experience with adoption - unless they're pretty green, you'd think that Jesse couldn't possibly be their first adopted kid...

5/07/2011 10:34 PM  
Blogger Glen and Andrea said...

I'd love to hear more on the talk you went to. I find myself telling most people pretty early on before the questions enevitably come. We have been questioned at places I never expected (like the Supermarket checkout) and it is always in front of H so I want to influence it as much as I can for his sake.

5/14/2011 4:23 PM  

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