Friday, June 10, 2011

Adjusted age

So should I write about how our home study is still being held hostage by the state of Illinois, and without that approval we can't apply for immigration permission which is currently running 60 days, and it looks more and more as though we will miss the deadline for logging in our dossier and thus have to redo our home study because there will be new requirements?  And all of this because ONE woman in Illinois thinks large families are not good places for children to grow up.  I'm sure many of your think I'm making this up or am looking suspiciously like a conspiracy theorist, looking for sinister motive where there isn't any, but let me assure you I'm not.  If you live in Illinois, find an appropriately-sized family (in Illinois, that would be five children or less, it seems) who has adopted and ask them how long the state held their home study, or how many times it was sent back with extra questions, or how many safety forms about a lake that is a half mile away they had to include.  We're on nearly a month now, just for comparison.

But I won't, I'll instead write on my planned topic because I feel my blood pressure rising and I will start to cry.  Again.

I want to write about K.  I guess I've been a bit preoccupied lately (see above) because I completely missed K.'s 3rd adoption anniversary.  It was May 5.  He feels such a part of our family and his transition has been so easy that I just don't think in those terms.  I don't feel the need to mark our forward progress in terms of survival by weeks, then months, and then years, as I did with our first adoption.

This is not to say that K. is without his quirks.  Living in an orphanage (and being malnourished to boot) is not a healthy environment for any child and each child reacts differently and endures different consequences.  With K., it seems, he, on some level, decided to remain an infant for his time in the orphanage and that's where he stayed.  While he did walk, that was about the only age-appropriate thing he was able to do when we met him.  Dear little K. was very much a baby.  (This is highlighted for me very much these days as I watch G. and L. and see what they are capable of... and they are still younger than when we adopted K.)  It's as if K. lost two years of his life and only started to develop when he joined a family.

When I mention my theory, which would be that K. is developing normally if we adjust his age to account for the orphanage, the professionals (therapists, doctors, etc.) examine him and tend to agree with me.  If he were three instead of five, he would be perfectly normal.  I sort of fell into this theory.  Earlier in the school year, I was working with him as if he were four going on five instead of two going on three.  This produced nothing but frustration for the both of us... his little brain just couldn't do the things that I was asking it to do.  He wanted to play.  Play with cars and listen to stories and snuggle and be held and explore in a very tactile way.  All very appropriate things for a two and half year old.  So, I let him, feeling only vaguely guilty that I wasn't expecting more of him.  When that feeling hit, I would do more formal work with him and while I would see a little more progress, it was still an exercise in patience.

Though he is five, I have decided that he won't be in kindergarten (whatever that means when you don't go to a school building) because really, he is an early pre-schooler.  He now knows his colors and can do some counting and has become aware of words on a page.  I watch him every day becoming more and more aware of the world around him.  He can even tell G. and L. apart now, and has stopped calling each of them, "that baby" and asking us, "Who's that baby?"  We've decided that we're going to give him back the years he lost and let him be the little boy he needs to be so that he can become a well-adjusted older boy.

I mourned greatly over having been referred a baby and having to wait so long to bring him home that he was over two.  But it turns out I got the baby anyway... he decided to wait for us to get him to start growing up. 

4 comments:

Amy said...

It probably won't make you feel better, but it took the "state of IL" more than a month to approve our HS. We submitted 6/14 and got it back 7/26, and we had to resubmit once. I have no doubt that the state is harder on large families...but it is harder than it should be for anyone. Praying. USCIS could be faster.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about the hold up. What I don't get is, personally, it seems that children who are adopted into families with children seem to adjust better than those adopted with no children in the family. Our friends adopted an only child. They commented that he has struggled because he has no siblings to relate with and no role models in his home. The reality, as you and I know, is that ALL children will thrive in a family much better than in an orphanage. As evidenced by your testimony about K. It will be my prayer that the paperwork would soon be released so the process can move ahead. Sending hugs and prayers your way,
Kim Crawford

Joanna B said...

I just stopped over from Kelly's corner. What a great post on orphanage delays. We have noticed quite a bit of that with our daughter, as well. She is three, but talks like an 18 month old partly because of the orphanage, and partly because of hearing loss due to fluid. I have enjoyed reading your story!

Kim O'Brien said...

I think your interpretation of his development delay is precious. And just as homeschooled kids who are born into a family can leap ahead of their peers in subjects and maturity, I'm sure K. will have no trouble catching up when the time is right for him.

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