Educating Children About Adoption
While many children are adopted into families when they are infants, some are received into their new home when they are older. Regardless, adopted children who are informed of their adoption may be quite open about sharing it, while others may not want to discuss it at all.
When these children are old enough to go to school, their life experience may create some interesting and perhaps painful realities for both their classmates and themselves. Most children in a classroom have no idea what adoption is, nor could they conceive the idea of having parents other than the ones who gave birth to them. In families where the children are biologically those of the parents, the subject of adoption may never come up in conversation. If they are familiar with the word, it may be only in the context of adopting a puppy or kitty which is different from child adoption. When these children meet a child who has been adopted, confusion and tension may rise in the situation, particularly if the adopted child remembers being adopted.
Children who learn about adoption from a classmate may find the entire idea very disconcerting and stressful. Not only that, but the adopted child may find the experience difficult and uncomfortable as well. If a young child knows the history of their life includes a birth mother, a foster family and an adopted family, sharing this information may upend other children their own age who have no such experience.
Parents and teachers may consider sharing some important information about adoption with their children at home and in the classroom. Armed with some simple facts, children will be better able to cope with a situation which could potentially be very foreign to them.
It helps to know that adoption helps children to be in families and helps families to have children in their home and that a family who adopts a child is their family forever. Adoption can happen because a person who has a child is unable to be a parent to that child, it is never because a child is bad or at fault. Especially in the case of international adoptions, many parents release their children to other families with the hope that they will have a better life than they would have otherwise.
Children need to know that being adopted does not make a child strange or weird. They grow up to be adults just like everyone else and there are many millions of people who are adopted and live in the US. Even though an adopted child came into the family in a different way, they are still part of a family and that's the same for all children. Adopted children are loved by their parents, as all children are, and even though adoption is a different way of having a family, it isn't an issue when it comes to being friends.
Adoption is a big part of the lives of many children. Parents and teachers can help children understand and adjust when they encounter those who are adopted or in foster care by taking the time to explain a few things to them.