• September/October 2001
  • Vol. 2, No. 5

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National Child Care Initiative Advises Educators about Adoption Issues

Early childhood educators get advice on addressing adoption issues in the Winter 2001 issues of the Healthy Child Care America (HCCA) quarterly newsletter. HCCA is a joint campaign by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Federal Child Care Bureau, and the Federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

Citing statistics that show an increasing number of children joining families through adoption, Deborah A. Borchers, MD, writes that child care providers and educators are more likely to encounter adopted children these days. She explains how adopted children view themselves and how they are viewed by their peers, especially if the adoption is transracial. The article mentions behavior problems to be aware of that might be triggered by events such as Mother's Day or birthdays, such as:

  • Acting out
  • Withdrawal
  • Unusual sensitivity to criticism
  • Difficulty fitting in with peers.

Borchers cautions educators to be sensitive when assigning family-related school projects. For example, adopted children may not have baby pictures to share with the class. Tracing genetic traits and drawing a family tree may also be difficult assignments for adopted children.

Additionally, Borchers advocates the modeling of "positive adoption language" to reflect respect and permanency about children and their families. Suggestions include:

  • Adoptive families are "real" families.
  • Siblings who joined a family through adoption "are real siblings."
  • Birth parents do not "give up a child for adoption," rather they "make an adoption plan for a child."
  • A birth mother is not a "natural parent."

Not only can educators play a vital role in building the self-esteem of adopted children, but they also can raise awareness to all their students about the different ways in which families are made, the article concludes.

Access "Adoption: Positive Strategies for Early Childhood Educators" online at: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/hcca/winter2001hcca.pdf

Related Items

See the following related article in the September 2000 issue of the Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Adoption Guide Aimed at Educators"

Visit the website of the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse for the following related items (http://naic.acf.hhs.gov):

  • Adoption and School Issues
  • Answers to Children's Questions About Adoption (Note: this link is no longer active. Please see Explaining Adoption to Your Children, Family, and Friends)
  • Adoption-Related Books for Children from Preschool to Age 8 (this link is no longer available; similar reading lists can be found at Adoptive Families Magazine at www.adoptivefamilies.com/books.php?cat=2)
  • Adoption-Related Books for Children Ages 9-12 (this link is no longer available; similar reading lists can be found at Adoptive Families Magazine at www.adoptivefamilies.com/books.php?cat=2)
  • Adoption-Related Books for Teenagers (this link is no longer available; similar reading lists can be found at Adoptive Families Magazine at www.adoptivefamilies.com/books.php?cat=2)

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