Approaching Adoption at School

April 16, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

Approaching Adoption at School

This week my Kindergartner was asked to bring in pictures from throughout his life. The instructions were:

“Bring two pictures from each of the following ages:







Guess what? We have no pictures of our son at birth. {S} was adopted and our first meeting was three days before his first birthday. We have pictures from about 6 months on but despite being in an orphanage with access to cameras, we have none from before that time.

{S}’s teachers know he’s adopted, I have gone into his class and talked about adoption with them so it’s no secret (the fact that he’s a different race would be a good clue too ;) ).  I sent in the pictures of {S} from as early as we have them, but it’s not the same. Even though he’s only five years old he’ll see the other kids have teeny tiny infant baby pictures from the hospital and he has a picture of a much bigger baby. But is it fair? Do I call the school? Do I speak to the teacher?

A lot of people would say yes, especially my adoptive mama friends. I say no. {S} is growing up in a world where the norm is not adopted. That doesn’t mean he has to conform but it does mean a different normal for him. That means explaining to his classmates that his mommy wasn’t there when he was born (that’s a confusing one….) or that she didn’t meet him until he was one year old (also very confusing for five year olds). What it does not mean is that he’s ashamed or embarrassed about any of that. He’s proud. He thinks it’s awesome that he used to live in Korea and I didn’t even know him. He thinks it’s awesome that he’s different from the other kids in the class.

So with that, we send the 6 month picture from the orphanage and dream about everything that must have happened before we were together.

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