the year has been full of them.
but this one is a big first for our entire family.
S started school today. this marks her first day in an american school system and my first day having any of my children in a traditional school system ever. we have homeschooled since the beginning. i have never wanted school for my girls, but things change. life changes course and so must we.
not sure that she knew what was happening as her English is still quite limited. i am sure E has explained to her in Chinese what school means, but i really don't know. S seemed unfazed by all the preparations. even picking out her outfit for her first day, she was devoid of any different demeanor than her usual. we walked into school, hand in hand, and she didn't seem nervous at all.
at least this is not real school, i told myself. the program she is entering is special education geared towards disabled students. there is a successful work program in which the students are taught skills that will help them have a job in their adult years. many local businesses work with the school to provide an intern-like position in their company and the student may stay on in that position after "graduation." for example, there are a few grocery baggers and stock employees at our local supermarket.
it gives me peace to know that S might grow up to be semi independent.
right after we entered the classroom, a boy named david (adorable and lovable), invited her to join speech therapy in which they use iPads. i sat at a table on the other side of the room for moral support. the teacher came over a few minutes later and said, "well, she is comfortable. she just kicked off her shoes."
after speech, a girl named rae, took S by the hand and brought her to a large table. the three started working on a word puzzle. S seems to be higher functioning than the other two, but later some more kids came in and they seemed about her speed.
i had been there about thirty minutes, when the teacher invited me to hang out in the cafe the special ed students run for the staff and seniors with privileges. it is a cool program. the kids work with money, hone social skills, and learn basic cooking and baking. i think S will love it.
we headed back to see if she was ready to go home. nope. she wanted to stay. i told her i was leaving and she barely looked up from her puzzle and said, "bye bye." well then, this little birdie is ready for flying lessons i guess.
when i picked her up two hours later, she was playing on an iPad and had done some reading worksheets and worked in the cafe making egg and tuna salad for Friday teacher/staff lunch. her favorite part was drying dishes. we asked if she wanted to go back tomorrow and she said, "yes! i like-a schooolll." ok, we'll try again tomorrow. no fuss. no trauma. just peace. who knew?
while adopting back in 2011, shortly after we'd received her referral file, i spoke to the waiting child coordinator. she suggested i speak to the doctor, who had traveled to China to interview and write an adoption file on S, to inquire if she would ever be independent. i told him that i didn't care if she'd be a doctor or lawyer, but wanted to know if she would be independent. he replied, "oh, that one will surprise you. she will be a doctor or lawyer. i don't know why i thought she was more delayed when i wrote her file."
we didn't put much stock in his opinion. only God knows what our true potential is. although, shortly after we got home from China, i knew we were dealing with severe delays and i suspected a genetic issue.
we searched high and low for a doctor who could do a psych exam in Mandarin. after eight months, we found one. nearby too. well, after a comprehensive neuro-psych evaluation, we have some answers.
we also searched for a genetic issue and lo and behold, we found a micro deletion on chromosome 6. it explains a lot. her depressed nasal bridge, the wide set eyes, her low muscle tone, tailbone shape, postnatal growth retardation, and most importantly-her intellect disorder.
yes, the neuropsychologist said her formal diagnosis is moderate mental retardation. we knew it, but it was harder to hear that we were right, than its all in your head.
the search is over. being right sucks, but it reminds me that what a friend once said was true. i am the premiere authority on my children. i know them better than anyone. why don't doctors take mothers' opinions and concerns seriously??
so that is what led us to school enrollment. we found that the same school that denied us special ed. last year, because we couldn't prove any real disability, has a wonderful program. we are starting slow, half days at first maybe working up to full days soon. hopefully S will thrive in that sort of environment. i know it will free us up to bond more. all i will have to do is love her. trying unsuccessfully to teach her was an issue for both of us.
now it looks like we won't have to worry. she will gain some sort of skill set and her potential is still yet to be reached. i Praise Him all day for allowing her a new life where she can be more than her circumstance.
LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, OH LORD! YOU RESCUED THIS CHILD FROM A TERRIBLE FUTURE AND PLACED HER IN YOUR FAMILY. YOU HAVE SEEN TO HER EVERY NEED. WHAT IS THERE TO FEAR? ALL HOPE IS IN YOU. I WAIT TO SEE THE WONDERFUL BLESSING YOU INTEND FOR HER. TOUCH THE PROFESSIONALS WHO WILL TEACH HER WITH KINDNESS AND WISDOM, SO THAT SHE MAY BE BROUGHT TO HER FULLEST POTENTIAL AND LIVE AS YOUR SERVANT FOR ALL HER DAYS. BLESSED BE YOUR MIGHTY NAME. AMEN.