Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes

After school on Monday, a woman and her daughter stopped by my classroom. I had heard of them both before, and had tried to get in touch with them as I had been told by the school secretary that the mother had two daughters from China. I was so happy that Eileen and her daughter Kimi stopped by to see me, and we had a really nice little visit. Kimi is in kindergarten this year at my school, and she is just a delight. Meeting them was the highlight of my day. Eileen gets together with several other adoptive moms in the area and said she would include me in the future.

So, what does this have to do with the title of my post?

I decide to share this happy encounter with my students the next morning. They know I'm adopting from China and we've got a little system for counting the months since LID going. So, I thought I'd tell them how great it was for me to meet Kimi and her mom.

The responses that followed were interesting.

One little girl asked if Kimi and her sister were real sisters.

Another little girl said that she knew a girl at her old school who was adopted. She went on to say that her real parents didn't want her and that this little girl was very angry about everything.

So, this led to a discussion about adoption. It was a "teachable moment".

I explained that while Kimi and her sister did not have the same birth parents, they were most certainly sisters. They have the same forever mom and they love each other (and probably squabble with each other) just like biological sisters do.

I also told my class that adoption is something that happened to you. It isn't something that you are.

As for the little girl who was angry, I said that sometimes things happen in our lives that are confusing to us. When we have a hard time understanding them we might feel angry.

I realized that the comments the kids made are ones that some adults make to those of us who have adopted or who are waiting to adopt. We oftentimes get angry with them for their ignorance or insensitivity. I'm sure many adults who say things like this are ignorant or insensitive, but my students weren't either of those things. They were just kids with a limited understanding of a sensitive issue. They are innocent and naive. Their comments showed me that they were seeking to understand something that hadn't touched their lives yet.

I followed up this morning by reading them "Families Are Forever". My secret pal had sent that to me last week. (Yes, I said thank you to her - we have a blog for that.) And I think I'll share more books along those lines with them throughout the year to help them better understand adoption. Last year's class hadn't raised these issues. They asked questions, of course, but they seemed to have a different level of understanding. Just goes to show you that everybody is different.

22 Comments:

  • At 3:52 PM, Blogger Kathy and Joel said…

    What a great teachable moment!! And how wonderful that you have such a supportive community at your school. I am still debating whether or not I should tell my students that we are adopting. On the one hand, it would be nice to share it with them, but I also don't know if I could handle all the questions from parents. How are you finding it now that it is out there?

     
  • At 3:59 PM, Blogger Sandy said…

    What a great opportunity to use as a teachable moment. Sounds like you handled it good too!

    And don't you just love meeting fellow adoptive moms!

     
  • At 4:08 PM, Blogger Amy said…

    Delurking to affirm the teachable moment that you captured. You will never know the impact of these moments and how they will affect the lives of not only these kids but also any kid in who is waiting to be adopted. As you probably know(you are with AWAA, right?), Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter is the one who planted the adoption seed in their family and now they have adopted three times. Way to go!

     
  • At 4:29 PM, Blogger Joannah said…

    Kathy,

    I told the people I work with and my students and their families that I was adopting even before I'd turned in my application! Everyone has been so supportive and excited for me. It's been a real boost to have everyone thinking and praying for Jillian and me. You should let your school kids in on it (when you're ready!).

    Amy,

    I did know that about the Chapmans. I also know that one of my students last year responded to my decision to adopt by saying that she was going to adopt from China one day, too. So, yes, we are having an impact on those around us. So glad you delurked! :-)

     
  • At 5:05 PM, Blogger eggrolls and chopsticks said…

    I wish more teachers took the time to teach about families the way you do. Your teachings come from your heart and that makes them extra special. Where do you live and which grade do you teach because we are moving there.
    Dawn for the Family

     
  • At 5:49 PM, Blogger Julie said…

    That's why you're a teacher! Great job!

     
  • At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree, it was a great opportunity for you to talk about adoption to your students. Good for you.

     
  • At 6:53 PM, Blogger Elise said…

    I think that it is great discussion for your students. Many just don't understand and your experience will help them realize that their all different kinds of families and that is a great thing! Thank goodness for teachers like you!!!

     
  • At 7:58 PM, Blogger Connie said…

    Awesome way to enlighten some young minds, great job!

     
  • At 10:19 PM, Blogger Janet said…

    Great post, Joannah! I think it is so great that you took the time to really teach them about adoption! The more kids that learn and know about it, the more adults will later. What an inspiration teachers are! Thanks!

    Janet T.

     
  • At 6:15 AM, Blogger Doris & Dan Clark said…

    What great opportunities! Connecting with other adoptive families is a great experience.

    And having open discussions with your students is great. Allows to discuss their questions and issues in an open and honest environment.

    Keep smilin!

     
  • At 11:05 AM, Blogger Kristin said…

    Good job... now, those kids can go home and teach their parents!

     
  • At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Jenny said…

    What a sweet moment. I love that you took the time to talk about it.

     
  • At 2:26 PM, Blogger Donna said…

    Educating all kids at a young age about adoption will hopefully mean those who adopt in the future will get fewer of those insensitive remarks from adults. Nice job!

     
  • At 3:55 PM, Blogger tracy said…

    What a wonderful teachable moment. So glad you saw the opportunity.

    My eye immediately goes to those that have adopted from China and striking up a conversation comes so easily.

    I started with AWAA and switched after the exceptance....that's another whole story though.

     
  • At 5:14 PM, Blogger Shannon S said…

    Too funny how we all jump on "teachable moments"!!! And thanks to you and your SP for the book rec!

     
  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger M3 (Mary-Mia) said…

    Standing O Joannah, standing O!

     
  • At 5:47 AM, Anonymous terri said…

    I love it! I'm going to have to get that book for Jackson's class.

     
  • At 9:46 AM, Blogger Shelley said…

    Those kids will be better and more compassionate humans because you are an amazing teacher.

    Maybe they will consider adoption when their time comes, because you took the time to enlighten them.

    Well done.

     
  • At 12:33 PM, Blogger Jodie said…

    Good job! You taught your students something that they might not have ever had the opportunity to learn. Some of them will go on to teach others too. That's wonderful!

     
  • At 5:14 PM, Blogger Tamara said…

    What a fun meeting. I really liked the answers you gave your students to some very difficult questions. You think fast on your feet- I'd be hemming and hawing around-- ummmmmm.

     
  • At 3:03 AM, Anonymous Jane said…

    what a wonderful teachable moment, it is so great that you are able to share this all with your class!

     

Post a Comment

<< Home