Saturday, September 6, 2008

UAB international adoption clinic

So today Keith and I went to the adopting the older child seminar at the UAB international adoption clinic. It was pretty interesting. My biggest worry is about school. That has been my biggest worry since decided to adopt an older child. I love school and I think it is really important to learn how to do well in school and I think it is really important to a child's sense of self worth to feel like they are successfull in school. So one of the things I obsess about in the whole slow motion process we are going through in Alabama is the effect it will have on A's education process.
So it was nice to hear these issues addressed. Obviously, we don't know for sure where his language skills are right now in Russian or where he is developmentally. The general rule, according to the seminar today, is that academically kids are about 2 years behind. So, we will really just have to wait and see. I was very encouraged by the traveling PAP's description of A and his ability to hold a conversation about his favorite toy and color and to point to something yellow.
The most entertaining part of the day, however, was when Keith shared with me that one of the pediatricians giving the seminar had been sent to him as a match on Eharmony before he met me! They had emailed a couple of times, but never met face to face. He was getting matched with doctors, lawyers, etc. I was getting matched with losers who live their lives for their corvette club. Well, Keith wasn't a loser - I suppose! So the entire day I wondered if she recognized him.


Allison Leet said...

Hi Michelle,

A great place to get educated about the educational needs of Easter European adopted children is at our website: I am the Outreach Chair for FRUA (Families of Russian and Ukrainian Adoptions) and mom to twins from Western Siberia. I have attended four of the annual educational conferences that FRUA organizes and it has made a world of difference for our family. Please check us out and if you like, link our site to your blog. Hope you'll become a FRUA member as our newsletter is packed with information! Best Wishes, Allison

Michelle said...

Allison - I actually am a member of FRUA - however, our local chapter doesn't seem to be very active. I will go through the website again - with my eyes peeled for education resources! Thanks

Dee said...

Hi Allison - I found your blog thru Cindy LaJoy's blog. I adopted a 13 year old girl from Russia in 2004 and a 10 year old boy from Kazakhstan last year.

My son was behind in school in Kaz because his birthmom didn't send him. So he was 10 and in 2nd grade. I had to put him in 3rd grade last year. He was so tiny he looked right at home with the younger kids. Then this summer he started puberty. He has grown 7 inches in 15 months and gotten a few pimples and some leg hair. So I asked the principal if she would skip him from 4th to 5th grade this year. She was reluctant.

They tested my son and he passed with flying colors. He has gone from speaking maybe 15 words of English in May 2007 to reading on 5th grade level now. He is very bright. He also had his sister and Granny tutoring him all summer.

Spelling is a challenge but he reads well and speaks well.

My daughter had a harder time, but it was because she had a learning disability and I didn't realize it until she had been home a couple of years.

I urge you to get your older child tested, in their native language, asap after coming home, so you will have a true picture of where they are academically.

I also urge you to hire a tutor to help get him or her up to speed quickly. I was lucky, as my mother a retired teacher, lives with us. The kids really benefit from tutoring.

My kids are 2 years behind their peers, but they look right at home. They are smaller than American kids, and emotionally delayed a bit due to the orphanage.

They are wonderful children and I am very blessed to be their mom.

I'm happy to share ideas or resources if you'd like to email me.

Good luck!

janiece said...

Alihan was 4, almost 5 when we brought him home. I have to tell you I am so impressed by how quickly he is picking up everything. The English is coming quickly--despite the clefting issue. I have always heard the rule of thumb is for every 3 month is the orphanage take away one month in age. So, he was approximately a year behind developmentally--and I found it to be true. The first couple of month were hard--but now--easy (comparably speaking). We put in him 4 year old preschool and we'll see if he is ready for kindergarten next year. His birthday is in July--so not too bad. One step at a time. I admire you for not only trackling your career but also an adoption of an older children.

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power