I need you to know a few things about my child. She came to our family though adoption and I know this may sound oddly confessional to you, even perhaps a little bit overly friendly. But I need you to know this because I am nothing if not by now an expert on my child. She will need more in your class than many of the other students. Oh she is bright alright and she loves school, but you see September for her is hard. So hard that she will come home and explode several nights before she eventually loses it and threatens to kill herself. This is at 7. You may rationalize this when I tell you and say oh she’s a dramatic girl. Seems happy enough at school. But if you look closer you will see that she doesn’t have that many friends. That she is working too hard to make you happy or not working at all. That she experiences the world as a series of rejections. That September is the hardest month because it is a separation, a change or transition that brings about all those sad feelings of grief and loss that adoptees carry just beneath their skin. So easily activated at times by any slight rejection, even a reminder of difference. I hope you will think about this and remember that for some children the routine discussion of differences and the getting to know you assignments at the start of school are painstakingly hard. I want you to know that she is grieving every Fall, missing things she cannot articulate. You can make it better by changing the assignments slightly to include all types of families, to help all children feel safe. You can help by communicating effectively with me, her parent. You can help her feel safe by being there and being sensitive. You make a difference.
Adoptive parents (the ones who will pick up the pieces if you fail.)