Last school year I arranged conferences with the teachers my newly adopted children were going to have. I met with the assistant superintendent of schools and the principal. We talked, emailed and prepped for the start of school.
This year the girls have a successful year under their belts. They have friends, read well and are just normal kiddos. I still felt like I needed to do something extra though. I already knew one of the teachers and trusted the reputation of the other one, but there was still so much to tell them about.
I decided to write each teacher a letter. A short, concise letter introducing my daughters and also letting them know of my major concerns. I learned last year not to scare the teachers to much, but it is good to share a bit. I also wrote a letter to my eldest daughter’s teacher, something I had never done before. At the meet the teacher night I met the teachers, introduced them to the girls and gave them the letter to read at their leisure. All three teachers appeared surprised and pleased to have the letter and even if they learn nothing from the letters they know that I am an attentive mom who wants to be active in my girls’ school lives.
A few things in the letters for my Ethiopian girls:
* Thanked them for teaching
* Introduced them to our family and let them know how long the girls had been home.
* Touched on their strengths (reads well, friendly, tries hard)
* Touched on their weaknesses (talks out of turn, day dreams, etc.)
* Let them know how I would like to be involved in the class.
* Gave them a few example questions about adoption and transracial adoption and answers that I thought were appropriate.
* I made sure my contact numbers and addresses were on the letter.
A sample letter can be found at AdoptiveFamilies.com as well.
Some Things I put in my oldest daughter’s (bio) letter:
* Thanked her for being a teacher.
* Introduced her to our family’s situation.
* Touched on strengths and weaknesses.
* Gave her examples of situations that Meg may have and how I would handle them
* Again, made sure my contact information was in the letter.
I feel good about the letters I wrote and about the girls starting school tomorrow. I, of course, am nervous about certain things. Mita is in a larger building this year and her two closest friends are not in her class this time. Enu will be all alone (no other sissies) in her school, but does have the same class as her cousin. Lots of changes. Changes are hard for my girls. I cannot really blame them for that, but it does make every new thing a little frightening for all of us.
If your child is starting school with you as his/her parent for the first time, it is important to be active in your child’s education. Listen to the school’s advice, but trust your feelings.
When it comes time to leave them at school, take a few breathes and don’t let them see you cry! Leaving the school building was very difficult that first day, but I stayed excited for the girls. Deep breathes, prayer and a lot of preparation helped us a lot!