Written by Jen Hatmaker
Find out more about Jen’s ministry at http://jenhatmaker.com/.
Hey parents of our adopted loveys…just a suggestion at the beginning of school. I always make sure our teachers not only know our kids’ basic history but also some potential blind spots on assignments and projects that have unintentionally caused our kids a lot of grief. No one is a better educator on handling adopted kids with care than we are. Teachers are fabulous and wonderful and they care about our kids too; they have been our best partners as we raise our children. Invaluable. This is an excerpt of an email I sent Ben and Remy’s teachers – maybe a good heads-up for your kids’ teachers as well:
“The one thing I’d like to put on your radar is this: Please be sensitive with any assignments that have to do with family tree or heritage or “life stories” or even worse, “birth stories.” Remy’s story looks nothing like her classmates, and her entire childhood was marked by trauma. When other kids get to happily recount their early years, it is so painful for her. If you could give me a heads-up on any projects that deal with her history or family history, I would so appreciate it. It’s hard to be black in a white family, it’s hard to be adopted when most kids are biological, it’s hard to be Ethiopian when most kids are American… We instill much pride in her for her country and heritage, but we try to not blindside her when she is not ready. We never want her to feel “other” or “lesser,” and sometimes school projects unintentionally alienate kids like Remy (Ben once had to interview a grandparent for “family heritage” including family traditions and personal history and funny memories…it was fairly devastating since he has no biological grandparent to tell him of Ethiopia, his true culture.)
Thank you for keeping her history in the back of your mind. Because she is so delightful and darling, it is easy to forget that she came to us just three years ago from immense loss. We just want to treat her history with such care. I appreciate you so much in advance! I have enormous love for teachers, especially the ones who love my kids.”