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School photo project

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Hi all,


It's been a while since I have posted in here. Life is pretty good. After a bumpy first 6 months we settled into our new family life and all has been brilliant.


My dino boy is now 5 and started school in September. On Thursday he came home from school with his half term homework - to find photos of him as a baby, discuss what he was like and if possible to take measurements in of him as a baby to compare.


This is the first time I've got upset about not being a birth mum. It's felt like he's always been here so when something like this arrives it really does shake me. However it is not only me. We obviously have photos of him as a baby and we are in contact still with his foster parents so can answer a lot of questions. The problem is that whenever he looks at a photo of himself as a baby he gets upset although is still unable to verbalise why it makes him feel like that. His life story book is always available to him and he has looked at it recently.


I'm worried that he is going to get upset at school and to add to that he is very blasé about the whole adoption thing so will quite often spout out 'when I was a baby and I lived with my other mummy' which I'm worried will open him up to others in the class.


I'm not really sure how to handle the whole situation. Help!


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Oh my goodness

That photo brings him slap bang face to face with his trauma!

I have to tell you that with my son we faked the whole thing. Measurements etc. Took a baby photo in of a child born at a similar time to him.’

Did a lot of ‘this is how things might have been for a child your age.

Lifestory work , with loving parents and therapists is the place to explore the where’s what’s and wherefores of his actual story.

I know he’s a little guy but I would seriously look into getting someone to get some therapy underway to help with that pre verbal trauma. He’s doing BRILLIANTLY as are you but maybe some INPP or music/ art therapy would be a big help? Theraplay and sensory things will help him process things too.

Catchpoint in Bristol, family futures or PAC in London or Sheffield’s chrysalis associates could be a huge boon.


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Sounds like your school isn’t attuned to your child’s needs. Time for a meeting with the Head Teacher I would think. This is an elective lesson, not on a five year old’s national curriculum. They have to talk about how we grow up but taking in baby photos is a local decision.

Get them thinking about your child’s needs now or the bigger curriculum hurdles throughout their education will be overlooked.


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Every year when the children start with a new teacher we write a letter with a little summary of their background. We don't put too much detail in, just things that we think it is helpful for the teacher to know. We always mention that we have no baby photos of either of them and ask that it be borne in mind when planning projects.


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Thanks for the reassurance. I was questioning whether I was just being over sensitive but I don't think I am. I will be asking to speak with the teacher when we go back after half term. If that doesn't go anywhere I will see the head teacher.


The art therapy sounds good. We've plodded along through baby and toddler years quite smoothly and now he's getting older I'm realising his trauma and his triggers. Venturing into new territory.


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It's a small but very sensitive thing. We encountered the same project, and in our case it was further complicated by the fact that we have no picture or measurements for the first 18 months except those at birth. The teacher seemed not to understand that for one child to have to bring something different (a picture not of itself, or as older than a baby) may be a big thing. It would just be so much easier if the same project were about bring pictures/measurement of "a" baby (yourself, a sibling, a cousin, the last royal baby...).


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We had 3 photographs of my son - all taken on the same day - but school sent a questionnaire to fill in - a lot was stuff we could find out from the red book - and it was quite good for my son to find out the info. One question was - did you cry much as a baby? - I had no idea and no way of finding out so I asked him what he thought - he quite confidently said yes he did - which I found very interesting! (He should know - he was there!)


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So I took alot of advice on board from both here and friends in education. I have written an email to the head teacher explaining his issues and my concerns with these projects. I'm yet to hear a reply but it has been half term. When I dropped him off today I tried to explain to the teacher that I had discussed with him through the week and he has chosen not to bring a photo in. She didn't seem supportive in the slightest saying could he bring in a photo of any baby or a photo of him as a toddler. I tried to explain it doesnt matter what photo it is the trauma is still the same but she seemed occupied elsewhere. Hoping to have a better reply from the head teacher. Came away feeling quite angry for him and the whole situation. She didn't appear to acknowledge that if he is the only one without a photo it singles him out!


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See how the Head replies to you and, if you’re not happy, write to the Chair of Governors and the LEA.


I hate this stuff. The unkindness, uncaring-ness, the unwillingness to listen and empathise.


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Also maybe arrange a time to talk to the teacher properly when she can concentrate on what you are saying - she might understand better then


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This publication has a section on school topics that may be difficult for adopted children:


https://www.adoptionuk.org/sites/default/files/LetsLearnTogetherNI%20loc...


May be useful to take that section to show it's a common issue for children who've experienced loss and not a parent being oversensitive.


Despite being proactive in reception and flagging this up in advance our school asked for photos in the first week of little one moving into year one. I'm going to assume from now on that no info will follow him as he transitions and will flag it up with each new teacher.


When raising it the teacher just asked 'well how old was he when he was adopted'?


For me teachers not 'getting it' is a bit ironic in the context of them teaching subjects around development, identity and belonging!


On a positive note, I sent them the Todd Parr book about families being different, which they read to class as part of talking about belonging.


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