Friday, October 14, 2011

Another Dose of Adoption Reality

Conferences.

I used to love conferences. I would hear wonderful things about my children, "They are doing so well." "They are so smart." "They are natural leaders."

Now, I experience the "other side" of conferences.

"He is failing most of his classes." "She has a hard time listening." "She is way behind." "We are going to have to think about holding him back."

So many words coming at me as I meet with teacher after teacher. I go from one extreme to the other as I bounce around between the different grades. The reality goes like this...my two hand-picked kiddos suffer from developmental delays, educational delays, emotional delays...basically, they are delayed in every possible way except maybe physically.

They were not rocked and sung to as babies. They did not have nurseries and play rooms filled with stimulating colors and shapes. They were not read to as toddlers. They never sang the ABC song. The did not practice counting to 5. They did not watch Sesame Street and hear the monsters rhyme words. They don't know the letters in their name.

And then, they go to school, where they are surrounded by children who HAVE done all those things.

But wait, they are still learning a language. They still have a long way to go to feel safe and secure. They are trying to catch up from years of malnourishment. So, on top of trying to focus on vocabulary words or the seasons or the days of the week, their little brains are trying to take in a clean classroom filled with colorful posters and bins filled with math manipulatives and mobiles hanging from the ceiling and a tee-pee reading tent in the corner and book shelves filled with books!

Then, you throw in the cultural differences. Here, we look adults in the eye. In ET, if a child looks an adult in the eye, they risk a smack on the head. Here, we value education In ET, there is perceived very little need for education. The list goes on and on.

So, I sat in the conferences with teachers who LOVE my children - thank you Lord! They are talking with me weekly, if not daily some times, to do what is best for my kiddos. They are amazed how far they have come...but overwhelmed with how far they have to go.

This is just another dose of adoption reality.

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