Adoption, Genetics and Schools

Teaching Genetics in an Adoptive World was the topic of Lisa Belkin’s recent New York Times Motherlode blog.  “A staple of elementary-school science classes across the country,” it is an assignment dreaded by adoptive parents who do not want their child to feel left out or different.  Many of the comments from readers expressed the feeling that parents should step in and provide education to the schools both about the problem and possible solutions.  A New York City reader posted that Spence-Chapin had been invited to her child’s school and given all the teachers training.

For over fifteen years, Spence-Chapin’s Adoption Resource Center has sought to inform and support educators by offering workshops specifically for schools.  Spring is the time schools schedule staff training for the next academic year, so you might want to contact your child’s school and let them know about the training Spence-Chapin offers.

Adoption Awareness for Educators
Teachers are often faced with students’ curiosity about adoption, dealing with a child’s negative comments about adoption and classroom assignments that involve genealogy.  Sometimes these situations can confuse, alienate or even hurt an adopted child.  This training provides teachers with the language of adoption and the tools to intervene in classroom, lunch room and recess situations.

Clinical Issues in Adoption
Here, the focus is on how grief, loss, identity, control and attachment issues may surface in the lives of adoptees.  The workshop explains the adverse effects on test taking and learning situations these issues may have for adopted students if they become overwhelming.  It also presents the learning issues and delays common to children adopted from Institutions and deprived early environments.  It is designed for guidance counselors, school psychologists and school-based support teams.

Adoption and Schools
This seminar is for adoptive parents, and focuses on how and when to approach schools regarding their adopted child.  It offers guidance on how to work with teachers as part of a team, and how to advocate for their child.

Spence-Chapin social workers are available to present during the day and in the evenings.  For further information about our complete range of workshops, visit To schedule a training for educators, please contact Rebecca Braun-Slife at 212-360-0213 or

To find out more contact us at

212-400-8150 or email us at