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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Adoption Links for School

When the Tongginator headed to kindergarten two years ago, I completely obsessed about the start of school.  But of course it was not because I was nervous.  I was simply preparing.  I shared a ton of links and wrote a few posts about things our family did to ready the Tongginator for questions from classmates, and to introduce the teachers to our family, built through international adoption.  Sweet Maryellen must have remembered that obsession, y'all, because she asked me to repost a links list if I could find the time.  Of course I can find them time, hon!

And I totally forgive you for reminding me that summer is almost over.  Because with all that's been going on around here, I'd completely forgotten that the Tongginator will return to school in less than three weeks.  (Ack!)  Which means the Tongginator - yet again - successfully dodged the whole "you will learn to swim this summer" mantra I've been spouting since she turned four.  And that I'll have to get my sorry self more organized if we're going to make it to the bus stop on time - all THREE of us.


(THREE of us!)

(Because we are finally a family of FOUR!)

Anyways, here are a few of my favorite school-related adoption links, as all y'all also head back to to the halls of your child's hallowed learning institution...

Adoptive Families magazine "Adoption and the Schools"

This page is chock-full of great links, from a Dear Teacher sample letter (which I looked at before writing my own) to Amy Klatzkin's article "How I Explained Adoption to the First Grade" to helping kids tackle tricky assignments like "Star of the Week" (oh, those requested baby pictures!) and family tree assignments (how do adoptees include their biological families, if at all - and yes, this begins as young as first grade).  Scroll down and click around - it will not disappoint.

North American Council on Adoptable Children Frequently Asked Questions

I liked this brief, basic description of the IEP and Section 504 process on the North American Council on Adoptable Children website.  An IEP stands for an individualized education plan, and is designed for children who require special assistance in the classroom.  Since many of our children have developmental delays and/or special needs, I think it's important for us to know more about the IEP and 504 process because, even if our own children do not require such plans, other adoptive mommas in our social circle will benefit from our knowledge.  (And if you need IEP ideas for children with attachment disorders, check out this site as well as this one.)

Adoption Books for the School at Our Little Tongginator

As a former teacher, I believe its important for adoptive families to accept some of the responsibility for helping the school become more adoption-friendly.  Parents should not simply complain and demand action, but also actively contribute to solving the problem.  Provide the school with resources - many schools have limited budgets, so donate resource and library books as well as other materials to individual classrooms as well as the school as a while.  This post lists a few of our family's personal recommendations.  If your child is Asian-American, you may also wish to check out this list of early readers and short chapters books depicting Asian and Asian-American characters.

Adoption in the Schools: A Lot to Learn by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

This 2006 study focuses solely on the way adoption is portrayed within a school setting.  I found it helpful to to read this study to familiarize myself with the vocabulary and reasoning used to show educators how important it is to address adoption within the schools.  If a teacher shows little to no sensitivity towards adoptees, I can now provide sound arguments in favor of curriculum diversity and protection of adoptee privacy.

Stranger Danger at Our Little Tongginator

Okay, so this isn't adoption-related, but I still think it's important to review with our children, especially just before school starts, when our children will spend more time away from us.  Make time for this talk.  Every year.  It's good to review.

Adoption Competent School Assignments at MN Adopt

I love this quick fact sheet listing school assignments that often create turmoil for adoptees.  Glance over the biases and quick fixes suggested, so that you can make suggestions to teachers as assignments arise.  You may even wish to discuss some of the more common assignments (star of the week in the early elementary years; genetics assignments around third through fifth grade, etc) with the teacher during an early-in-the-school-year parent/ teacher conference.

Adoption and School at Tapestry Books

These books are a great resource for parents who find themselves in the position of having to educate the educator.  Tapestry Books sells them, of course, but you can find many of these titles anywhere, including your local library.

Talking to Teachers About Adoption by Kathryn Kaatz at Adoption Today

I love this article written by educator and adoptive parent Kathryn Kaatz.  She ponders the question "how much information about individual families does a teacher need to know?"

Any other favorites?


A Beautiful Mess said...

*smooches* Thanks! you are the best! xo

Briana's Mom said...

Thanks for posting this. Bri started kindergarten yesterday. Let the fun begin!

Johnny said...

For each of our kids, during our first one-on-one of the year, with each teacher, we say, "And you know [he/she] is adopted right?"

Most feign surprise, since it's the PC thing to do.

But the reason we do this is in case they overhear one child taunting our child with the phrase, "You know that he's not your real Daddy right?"

In 2nd grade, our daughter heard a lighter equivalent of that.

Adoption is no dark secret in our house, but taunting over parentage is not allowed and we want the teachers to be aware of it.

Christi and Abbey said...

I plan on getting W.I.S.E. Up!
I've heard it's great.


Aus said...

You're back!!

I've been laid up with a bum ankle - no surgery but the last 10 days mostly on the couch...and didn't even feel like reading!

Great stuff - love the new church - awh heck - just love you guys!!

hugs - aus and co.

LBC said...

Yay! I'm bookmarking some of these. Our daughter starts kindergarten next year.

Tari said...

Last year our 2nd grade teacher asked what the children were ethnically in her "getting to know you" take home sheet. Which isn't that strange, since our school's kids represent more than 40 birth countries. It's a good conversation starter and way to learn about new cultures, pretty much. But as the mom-who-was-adopted, what do I say? I finally just explained it: his grandparents on my side of the family have French Canadian and British ancestry, but he (biologically) is all German, Dutch and Irish. In case anyone was wondering about the light blond hair and piercing blue eyes, you know. It wasn't much of a problem since everyone involved is really just Random Anglo-American Mutt, but it was a really, really strange question, and I stared at it a looong time before answering. I would have hated to answer it for him if he had been the one adopted instead of me.

Busy Mama said...

I serve on a blog team for an organization that helps adoptive families and I would LOVE it if you'd be a guest blogger for us and use this post - would you be interested?? You can check it out at Katelynsfund.org/blog. I love your resources!!! :)

Mahmee said...

Our sparkly girl starts kindergarten in about 5 weeks. So, I too really appreciate you posting this information. Thank you for all of the great resources!

Anonymous said...

You said there are only 3 weeks left of summer vacation.

o.o Do the kids start school in AUGUST? Holy crap!

LucisMomma said...

Mei-Ling, our local schools start Aug 8 and some Aug 15. At my house, we homeschool and we started in mid-July (gasp, huh?). We are taking off this week for a family obligation, and a week in Sept, so that's why we started so early.

Thanks for the ideas, Tonggu Mama. I do hope that you'll be able to have some Sunday Linkage posts in the future. I know you are so much busier (yay for that! a GOOD busy). Maybe once a month or so?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the resources - our daughter will be a first grader in just a few weeks!

Stephanie said...

Hi there! I just wanted to drop you a quick note to first say how much I love your blog! Reading your words, seeing your pictures, listening to your spirit on your journey has changed my life for the better. I have been in the process of adoption from Russia for over three years now. Reading about journeys such as your have given me hope, encouragement, and energy to keep going. You have brought me to laughter and tears as I have followed your miracle. I thank you for taking the time to share.
I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I have a blog that I have been writing marking my journey towards my daughters. Do you have any advise on how to bring my journey to more people? My only goal is to pass on some of the blessings I have been given by families like yours. To encourage, inspire, and educate others about the miracle and challenges of adoption. I have submitted my blog to the various search engines and Facebook etc. Do you have any other ideas? I so appreciate you time and thoughts. my blog is www.adoption-thecrookedroad.blogspot.com.

thanks so much for your time and your willingness to share,

anymommy said...

So helpful! Thank you.

Jonni said...

Thank you for the wonderful recommendations and I am such a blogging loser lately. Somehow I completely missed you bringing home Mei-Mei. Hope you all are doing great! Take care and thanks again.


Jenna said...

I'm a blog stalker! :) I read, but don't comment- not enough hours in the day! :) However, like you am a teacher, and bibliophile, and this year am navigating sending our son to PreK for the first time (third child, first adoption) and wondering what info to give the teachers. THANK YOU for all the suggestions! SO helpful to me!

I'm assuming you have Todd Parr's book "We Belong Together". It was also wholeheartedly recommended by Adoptive Families magazine, and I think it would make a great addition to a schol collection (especially PReK or K) to help explain adoption in very simple language!

kitchu said...

wish i had found this a week ago, but better late than never. thanks for the links TM. these are fantastic.

Dawn said...

You've been so quiet for most of August... and now here it is September 1st. Hope it's a good silent. Praying for you all and that peace and harmony abounds in your family!

Hope to see a post from you soon!!!