A teacher’s Guide to Introducing Adoption in to the Classroom in 4 Easy Steps!

2 different kinds of strengthThe start of a new school year means many different things for families, like new classmates, new teachers, lunches, hectic schedules, homework assignments and school projects. With all of these changes, some adoptive parents can also experience a little concern when sending their child off to school. Sometimes children are given assignments that require personal information, such as family tree projects, tracing your family heritage, bringing in baby pictures, or timeline projects. For an adopted child, many of these common school assignments may cause them to feel left out and uncomfortable. Many adoptive parents have given their children the tools at home to answer difficult questions about adoption, but as teachers it is equally as important to educate the entire class on adoption.

Before you start: 

Before you start introducing adoption into the classroom, it is important that you, as a teacher, understand positive adoption language. As many of us know, while words not only convey facts, they can transmit negative feelings as well.

Here are 3 positive adoption language terms:

  • Birthparent, Birthmother or Birthfather – rather than “real mom or dad”
  • Adoption plan- instead of “give up” or “put up for adoption”
  • Was adopted – rather than “is adopted”

For more information on Positive Adoption Language visit the AFTH Blog !

Now that you understand adoption language, here are some easy steps to incorporating adoption into your classroom! November is National Adoption Month, making this a great way to incorporate adoption discussions into the beginning of your school-year!


 1). Give a presentation:

One of the easiest ways to educate your students on the topic of adoption is to give a presentation. There are many different avenues that you can explore when creating an adoption presentation. You can bring in a guest speaker such as a birthmother or father that you may know, adoptive parents, someone that was adopted, or even a social worker that specializes in adoption. For younger children, use props, such as puppets, to create a story relating to adoption.

2). Read Adoption Books to the Class:

A book is always a great way to engage children of all ages. You can even use a book to kick off an adoption presentation! Make sure that you choose books that incorporate adoption. For middle school to high school aged students, you can assign journal entries, or  essays relating to the theme of adoption, in correlation with the book that the class just read.  Read about recommended publications relating to adoption!

3). Educate the Parents:

Not only is it important to educated the classroom on the topic of adoption, but it is equally as important that the parents understand as well. When you teach a lesson on adoption in the classroom, or show a video, send home a flyer with the students to give to their parents that have a simple Q & A on them. It’s a great way to show the parents what topics you covered, and what the students learned about in class. Parent involvement is really important at any age in the school system. To educate the parents you could also invite them to sit in on presentations, or hold and after school presentations with the same speaker you used for your classroom.

4). Start a Community Service Project

A really great way to educate not only students, but the community on the topic of adoption is by involving people with a community service project related to adoption. This can be something as simple as finding your local adoption agency to see what fundraisers they have going on, and how you can set up volunteers for their events. Another great way to involve students in the community is through National Adoption Month, which happens every November. To read more about what AFTH did for National Adoption Month visit our blog!

When teaching adoption in the classroom, be sure to make lesson plans that are grade level appropriate. The way in which you present the topic of adoption to a preschooler it will be very different than teaching it to a high school student. You can also read about how to teach adoption at different educational levels.

Teaching adoption in the classroom can provide students with useful information that they may not have had access to before. By educating our children on adoption they can open their eyes to the many different and beautiful ways to build a family.

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