It is Back-to-School-Time yet again! Although school schedules vary among regions and school systems, retail and discount stores are now abundantly stocked with necessary notebooks, pencils, erasers, book bags, crayons, and ruled paper, to name a few, knowing you will be preparing for the new school year. MLJ Adoptions International wants to help you make this school year a positive one for your adopted child!

Families play a CRITICAL role in supporting their children’s health and learning while in school. Your children, and teachers, need your guidance, advocacy, and direction in helping YOUR CHILD have a successful school year in a healthy nurturing school environment.

Many teachers and school administrators are unfamiliar with the effects of adoption and often do not consider how some assignments affect the adopted child. They do not understand the trauma a child may have previously faced or the difficulties they may be having in adjusting to their new family and country. They may not be prepared to teach a child “from hard places” and will need your guidance and monitoring to help them do this productively. Your child will depend upon you to help them navigate their new school and routines and may need assistance in learning the English language and USA educational concepts. You may need to advocate for Special Education services, English as a Second Language, additional tutoring, or therapeutic assistance for your child. It will be up to YOU to take the lead on this and be fully present for your vulnerable adopted child.

When families fully engage with their child’s school, research shows that it leads to better student behavior, higher academic achievement and enhanced social skills.

Parents who discuss the importance of education with their children and encourage the child’s academic and occupational goals have a very strong impact on their children’s futures.

Parents who pay close attention to their children’s emotional behaviors and quickly notice their child may be struggling or becoming withdrawn or anxious can help to avert a major psychological crisis that could destroy the child’s ability to have a successful school year.

Research shows us that:

  • Attending regularly scheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences is necessary for assisting with your child’s academic development and school behavior. Nationally, 78% of parents report regularly attending these meetings, which represents 92% attending in the elementary years and 58% attending during high school. Regardless of your child’s age, consider that all children new to the educational system will need your support, interaction and guidance as they navigate this new experience. If they are new to the country or even the school, it will be new to them.
  • Knowing where your child is and who they are with helps to assure their safety and good behavior. 92% of high school students report that their parents know where they are and who they are with. Peers are so important to children and it is up to parents to assure that their friends and associates are of good character.
  • School attendance is critical to performance. 89% of high school students said their parents would catch them if they skipped school. If your child starts to do this, consider that there may be something else going on and address it immediately.
  • 78% of high school students say their parents ask about their homework. This is important to help assure your child understands his expectations and assignments and allows you to seek help for him if needed.
  • 87% of high school students say their parents know if they come home late. Do you know where your children are? In a world where so many temptations and dangers exist for our children, it is crucial to be aware of their whereabouts and to be concerned if curfews are not followed.

Family engagement with the school system is not just necessary, but crucial. Your involvement with your child’s teachers and school can make or break his future academic success. Please consider being fully engaged!

Karlene Edgemon works as MLJ Adoptions’ Director of Social Services. Throughout her 25 year social services career, Karlene has been able to watch adoption transform the lives of children and she is always brainstorming new ways to support adoptive families before, during and after their adoption.