Over the past ten years, my parents have adopted six children. Every week, I'm going to try and introduce you to one of my siblings. So far I've introduced my parents, Thor and Malibu Barbie.
Every parent knows that each child holds his or her own challenges and rewards. My mom has said before that when she rasied Punk, Birdie and me, she could recognize our challenges fairly easily because she saw the same things in herself. Now that she's raising adopted children, she finds that their challenges are harder to diagnose. She said it's been a humbling experience. I think she feels inadequate a lot. The progress that each of my siblings have made since they arrived on her doorstep would prove otherwise.
Hello Kitty and Malibu Barbie are full-blooded biological sisters, and there is only an eleven month age gap so their lives have essentially been the same. I'm not going to retell how the girls came to live with us this week because truthfully, it would be boring for you to reread it and if you haven't read it yet you could always click on Malibu Barbie's name in the first paragraph. Instead I'm going to talk a little bit about the challenges that have faced Hello Kitty and my parents since she's come to live with us.
Fun Fact: Hello Kitty was adopted on her 3rd birthday
When Hello Kitty came to live with us, she had just turned one, so the main challenge for my mother at that time was having 3 kids ages two and younger. While it was challenging, she had survived this experience before with Punk, Birdie and me, so she knew it wouldn't last forever and it didn't.
Then came Kindergarten.
Obviously, I've talked about homeschooling on this blog before, but I can't for the life of me remember if I mentioned that I was homeschooled. I was. It was a wonderful and positive experience. So when Kindergarten came around for Thor, Malibu Barbie and Hello Kitty, my mother didn't think twice. She bought the books and made the lesson plans, and they were off running, or learning, as it were.
All the elements of the schooling were the same, but it was not the same. It became obvious to my mother that these three did not learn as quickly as her older three did, particularly Hello Kitty. They would work on learning their letters over and over again until Hello Kitty understood the concepts and recognized each letter, and then they would call it a day, only to wake up the following day to find that Hello Kitty couldn't recall any of the information that they had learned the day before. So everyday they started from scratch.
My mother tried to get the school to test Hello Kitty for a learning disability, but they refused to do any testing until she was older, stating that some kids simply started off slower than others. So things stayed the way they were for several years.
I don't know if you've ever had an experience like this. Can you imagine what it must be like to live like that? The frustration. Watching your siblings excel and move forward while you stand still. The worry for my mother that the state would say it was her fault that Hello Kitty wasn't learning. While not everyday was pretty, the two of them continued to work together until finally Hello Kitty learned to read.
After several years of badgering the local school system, they finally sent someone out to evaluate Hello Kitty. Turns out she does have learning disabilities. Did you catch that? She has more than one. Most notably her IQ, which is in the 70's. The evaluator was so encouraging to my mother. She went on about how a child with all these learning disabilities more often than not never learns to read. Hello Kitty's biological father never learned to read.
Mom, no matter how many fits these kids give you or how inadequate you might feel on any given day, you have impacted these lives in a remarkable way. By providing Hello Kitty with a secure home, she no longer feels the need to hoard food like she did when she first came. By not giving up on her and teaching her to read, you have not only improved her quality of life but also taught her that just because she shouldn't be able to accomplish something doesn't mean she can't if she works hard.
She is a beatiful child and the hard work and prayers that my parents are putting in on her behalf will show its rewards in time. Maybe one day she'll write a book. I'd totally read it.
Internet Buddies, Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty, Internet Buddies.