It was a tough project for Zoe, for both academic and emotional reasons. As an academic topic, international adoption is pretty challenging for 6th grade, especially since it's hard to find just a few sources that cover the breadth of the topic and are comprehensible to a 12-year-old (even a smart 12-year-old like mine!). Synthesis of multiple sources was the hardest academic challenge for Zoe with this project. If I knew at the beginning of the project what I know now, I probably would have tried to direct her to something more limited, like maybe focusing on the Vietnam Babylift or just on China adoption. Oh well, in 8th grade, she has to do History Fair again -- so remind me in two years -- SMALLER, EASIER topic!
In terms of emotional content, there was a lot of hard stuff -- war, poverty, social upheaval -- in both the history and present time of international adoption. Yes, many history topics are grounded in tragedy, and some 6th graders did handle these topics, but I think for Zoe it really hit closer to home because of her personal connection to international adoption. Even more difficult, this is the first time that Zoe has really confronted problems of trafficking and corruption in adoption.
Still, I think it was overall a positive experience for her. She was certainly pleased with herself, as you can tell in the photo below (Maya had to be included in the picture because she also starred in the display board as we used some of our own pictures to illustrate topics on the board, and the red binder in front of the board included pages from each of their adoption-trip albums).