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I have an old-school teacher who does not agree with my request for an alternate assignment for my 7 year old’s family tree project. I suggested an historical figure or some other writing assignment, but she does not agree.
My daughter (10) understands the family situation and never struggled with this project. 
My son is a different story.  He doesn’t understand how he couldn’t have a father.  He knows his sister’s birth father is in jail, but I have always been age-appropriate-honest with him about how his first mother did not know who his Dad was.  (Several DNA tests were performed but he was not identified.)
So when he is in a public setting, he is VERY uncomfortable and starts to cry.  I don’t think he should be forced to answer private questions like this from peers - and I do not understand the educational sacrifice of simply assigning different work.
Has anyone had any experience with this?  Do you have any advice?
I have tried emailing and talking to the teacher and it did not change anything.  The school counselor is now involved.
Thank you,


In 1st or 2nd grade, if the counselor or principal can’t help, simply don’t do it. Nothing is going to happen if he doesn’t. In the meantime, I would google family tree project and adoption and start sharing info with the administration and his teacher. Perhaps about adoption in general. Schools need to be more educated. Not sure if this helps but I support your efforts. Your doing great, mama!

Posted by RGAdopt on Aug 30, 2018 at 1:01pm

Yes, that is what I will bring the principal and counselor; there are some great pdfs on this site and others. 

I did tell my son he could stay home, but he said “then I can’t have perfect attendance.”

I told him he doesn’t have to do his homework but he said “then I’ll get a check.”

Along the same lines, the homework was that typical, old-school mentality: “Who gave you your name? Why did they give you your name?  What does it mean?”  None of which we could answer, although the third we could Google.

It’s just so silly.  It’s totally unnecessary stress. 

Thank you, RGAdopt!

Posted by Kennedy on Aug 30, 2018 at 1:35pm

you might go to on the left is a book about schools and adoption and, by the way some good videos where kids talk about adoption issues.

For years I have asked teachers what are the goals of the family tree so maybe we could come up with an alternative. No one has ever answered. This issue has been going on for years (like 40)

I remember an older nun I had in college said “never do a family tree you never know who has a horse thief hanging there”

Some kids do the adoptive family instead of birth family.

Some draw a tree with roots putting birth family as roots ( make up a birth dad’s name) and adoptive family as branches.

I would pursue school policies wait until you get to the genetics assignments!

Posted by Regina on Aug 30, 2018 at 2:01pm


Thank you so much for your thoughtful response.  I know how hard you’ve worked - particularly you, personally! - for this, and I guess I was naive to be shocked at the response I received. 

And yesterday the backlash landed on my son, who only partly realized I was having this dialog with the teacher because I asked his permission to share with the teacher that he was adopted. 

He came home from school yesterday and asked if I’d spoken to Ms. Simms. I said yes. He asked what I said. I told him I said that he was uncomfortable when other kids asked about his Dad.  He said “because she spoke to me mean.” Exact words.

Giving the benefit of the doubt, I asked him “what about?”, did he do anything?  He said Ms. Simms said that his mom and his sister are his family now (which of course he knows) and she said it “in a mean way.”

I asked if any kids asked about his dad today. He said yes, 2. I asked him what he said to them. He said “I told them I didn’t want to talk about it because it makes me cry.” True enough.

I will continue to pursue this.  Thank you.

Posted by Kennedy on Aug 30, 2018 at 2:16pm

Good grief many children live in a one parent household. Does she make a fuss over all the never married moms? the dads with custody?the divorces? God forbid someone is a widow/widower. I think it is about 30%

think some sensitivity training is due.

Maybe she has some unresolved adoption issues of her own in her family or something. This can not be the first time this issue has been raised in the school

Posted by Regina on Aug 30, 2018 at 3:17pm

Unfortunately it sounds like this teacher may have some fears or biases of her own.  There are people who will open their hearts and accept and there are others who respond based on their own internal insecurities and fears.  We have had to switch school for my two adopted children this year because of a teacher last year.  What if you were to build a family tree with two moms (birth mom and you)?  It may freak her out, but it is reality.  Or perhaps a Dad box with a Name AWESOME (gave me life)?  I too am a single mom and while we know who my children’s biological parents are, there is no contact. Best wishes.

Posted by Anne333 on Aug 30, 2018 at 3:57pm

I love these ideas!

Posted by Kennedy on Aug 30, 2018 at 4:17pm

baby boy and girl for adoption

for more informations email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by ravennnn on Sep 04, 2018 at 12:17am

ravennnn, just like buying wallpaper!!

But actually Kennedy you are doing excellently at standing by your child. Though sometimes schools rally around, and get defensive… you might try school psych, guidance counselors, principal, superintendent, etc.

i never had this kind of issue since my daughter was a teen when adopted. But finding out who my allies were, then setting up an appointment for 8 folks at her school including the allies and the troublesome teachers to speak with me, and key adoption therapists, adoption support staff…and have them take the lead in educating was a HUGE help. Things were so much better received when there was an “authority” there to stand behind what I said!

But truthfully I pulled her out and home schooled with other classs/ learning options after this year - even though there were huge changes for the better after our mtg.It was such a total relief for me, and she is thriving!!

Posted by Happy Camper on Oct 10, 2018 at 4:39am

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