Adoptive parent and therapist, Brenda McCreight, wrote this letter for parents to give to teachers. Download a longer version, which includes website recommendations for teachers, at www.adoptioncounselor.com.
Dear teacher and school counsellor,
As you know, we are an adoptive family. Our child joined us after going through many negative life experiences. As a result, she has some different challenges than other children you have taught, and we have to use some parenting techniques that you may not be used to. For example, you may find that we are less flexible than you think is reasonable about boundaries when we do not let our child share food or toys or clothes at school the way the other kids do. This is because our child has never really owned anything of her own and so doesn't yet understand that we will provide everything that is needed (and more) and so is still giving things away and taking things that she shouldn't.
On the other hand, you may find that we are more lenient than you think we should be. For example, we don't get upset when our child steals. That is because we know that it will take time for her to learn some of the basic rules of society that other children take for granted.
You may also find that our child turns to you for comfort and tells you about the problems she is experiencing at home. I am glad you feel that you can offer emotional support, but please remember she had not yet learned that parents can provide care and nurturing and it is important that you do not try to take our place. As well, our child may tell you things that are not true, or exaggerate situations and events. This is because she is used to saying things to get attention and has not yet learned that what she says will have an impact on our family.
We are working on these, and many other issues with the help of competent professionals. If you feel our child's health of safety is in danger from us, or that we are too strict, or that we do not understand our child, please call us directly and we will help you to understand our reasons for parenting the way we do.
Thank you for caring.