By Robin Hilborn, Family Helper editor


A suggested classroom presentation

Many adoption organizations and parents, and some teachers, are preparing classroom presentations on adoption. Some are aimed at elementary school, to present adoption in a positive light, as another way to build a family. Some focus on high school to present adoption as an option for pregnant teenagers.

A curriculum including sex education and pregnancy options (abortion, parenting, adoption) offers an opportunity to explain the adoption option. Here is a suggested outline for a presentation to high school students.

“The adoption option for the pregnant student”

1. Making a choice. Every child needs to be cared for, to have a family. Deciding to parent or to adopt. Is adoption right for your baby? Only you can decide. Good reasons for considering adoption. Where to go for support in making your decision. Resources.

2. The words we use. Adoption is another way to build a family; it has its own language. You become a “birthmother”. Appropriate language to use for non-traditional families.

3. How adoption works. Adoptions are regulated by the provinces. The process: a legal procedure under provincial law. Public adoption agencies. Private adoption agencies. Which is right for you: public or private adoption?

4. The people who adopt. Why people adopt; infertility. Why they can’t find infants. Will they be good parents? How adoptive families are approved; homestudy.

5. Your first step. Getting advice. Contacting an agency. Counselling you should expect.

7. Legal things. What are your rights? Birthfather’s rights? What if you are under 16?

7. Choosing the family to adopt your baby. You have at least three families to choose from. How to choose.

8. Do you want confidentiality, or do you want to keep in touch with your baby after adoption (closed or open adoption)? What kind of ongoing contact is right for you?

9. Living with your decision. What do you tell friends and family? Where can you go for support? Long-term consequences of placing for adoption. How will your child deal with questions about origins?


Michigan: sex-ed classes must teach abstinence, adoption

It’s the law in Michigan, as of June 2004, that schools offering sex education classes, in addition to teaching abstinence from sex, must also teach adoption as an option for unintended pregnancies. Sex-ed classes must discuss the benefit of abstaining from sex until marriage as an effective way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Courses must advise students of the laws regarding their responsibility as parents to children born in and out of wedlock, and tell them about adoption services.

Sex education is optional in Michigan, but school districts choosing to teach it must:
• Notify parents of the course content and of their right to excuse their child from the class without penalty.
• Have a sex education advisory board, composed of parents, students, teachers and community members, to review the sex education curriculum.
• Get approval in advance of curriculum, materials and methods, from two public hearings and the school board.

For more, see Michigan Dept. of Education, “HIV/STD and Sexuality Education”.

The Hillsdale [MI] Daily News reported Aug. 28, 2006 that Camden-Frontier Schools will teach sex ed to middle school and high school students. The school district used student and parent focus groups and surveys to determine what policies to teach. “Our parents thought it was important that we teach the students here that they should abstain from sex,” said principal Reed Kimball. The class will also teach students that adoption is a viable alternative to abortion in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, and the way to get involved in the adoption process in Michigan. Students who opt out of the class will have an alternative health program during the sex ed portion of the class.
You may reproduce this item with the credit:
"From Family Helper,


ONE—Many ways to make a family
TWO—Many ways to create a child
THREE—Biased class assignments ... and how to fix them
FOUR—Teaching the language of adoption
FIVE—How to introduce adoption in elementary school
SIX—Answers for the pregnant student
SEVEN—A suggested classroom presentation
EIGHT—Research points the way
NINE—Adoption resources for teachers and students
TEN—Glossary: the ABCs of adoption
"Teacher's Guide to Adoption" by Robin Hilborn was published in print in Family Helper 45, "Adoption Goes to School", 2004, and online since Jan. 5, 2005.