Challenges faced when adopted kids start school

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Challenges faced when adopted kids start school

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So one of the things that changes when kids go to school is they want to be part of their peer group. It matters to them that they be like everyone else. And very often for kids that are adopted this is the first moment when they realize, oh not everyone's adopted. Not everyone has a birth parent. Not everyone looks different thantheir parents. And that's kind of an ah-hah moment. And the danger is that that can start to seem like it is something that might be bad because they are no longer understanding the universe to revolve around them. And they are not the same as all of their peers. So it becomes very important, and the great thing about kids this age - they are just little social justice machines. They love to talk about fairness. They love to talk about 'that's not right' and 'I don't think that's ok', which means you can talk to them about what's not ok, what's not right, and what needs to be changed about race, about adoption, because (oh, by the way, there's some about called adoptism too). Not just racism, but adoptism. We need to talk about all of that with kids. Not be afraid. It's not going to make them feel less than. It's going to allow them to feel seen by you, to know that you are on their side, that you get them that something is going on with them, and that they can always talk to you about it. And remember connection, connection, connection. You want to make sure you are on your kids' side, you are their fan, and they can talk to you about it. That's what you want to do with school-aged kids.

Watch Beth Hall's video on Challenges faced when adopted kids start school...

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Beth Hall

Director, Pact - An Adoption Alliance

Beth Hall is an adoption educator who co-founded Pact, An Adoption Alliance, which is a multicultural adoption organization dedicated to addressing essential issues affecting adopted children of color. Pact offers lifelong support and placement services for birth and adoptive families with adopted kids of color. A national speaker, she is also the author of numerous articles and a book, Inside Transracial Adoption, which is filled with personal stories, practical suggestions, and theory, and delivers the message that race matters; racism is alive; and families built transracially can develop strong and binding ties. In 2010 she received the Outstanding Practitioner in Adoption Award, from the Adoption Initiative at St. John's University. She currently serves as a contributing author and advisory board member for “Adoption Clubhouse,” a project promoting positive identity in transracially adopted children for the Evan B. Donaldson Institute for Adoption and as an Advisory Board Member for the On Your Feet Foundation, dedicated to supporting birth mothers of adopted children.Commitment to family is a way of life for Beth. She is the white adoptive mom of two young adults: Sofia, a Latina, and James, an African American. Beth grew up a member of an adoptive family—her sister, Barbara, was adopted. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and sometimes her adult children, when they are home.

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