In Italy, as in Europe, intercountry adoption has undergone a strong growth in the last few years. According to statistical data by the Commission for Intercountry Adoption (CIA, 2014), only in 2013 about 2,825 children arrived in Italy to be adopted, 43.8% of them are between 5 and 9 years old. The school is, therefore, the first place where they can meet their new context enabling the good achievement of the whole integration and adoption processes. The research uses a qualitative method to explore the social representations that guide the educational work of 268 teachers of eight primary schools in relation to internationally adopted children and their adoptive family. The results show an ambivalent and simplistic representation of the adoptive family. A co-responsibility among family, school and educational services is necessary to spread a culture of adoption, careful to the inclusion and wellbeing of adopted students.
Keywords: International adoption, adoptive culture, representations of the adoptive family, challenges in teachers’ preparation, net-working between educational and social services.