Thursday, November 13, 2008

A First For Her, A First for Me

Yesterday we had another family first that will result in more change in our home. I picked up the paper work to register Stephanie for public middle school. It was amazing to me how little I know about the details when it comes to public school.. What time does it start and end? How do I purchase her lunches? Which immunizations does she need? What is the dress code? What does she need for PE? What school supplies does she need? What is the bus schedule and how much does it cost? It costs to take a bus to school now?!! I always thought it was free, is this a new thing? Where do I take her for her English level testing? Do I do that before or after she starts? The list of questions go on and on!

I was often asked before bringing the kids home if I would continue to home school all our kids and the only answer I could give is "I'm going to try!". I still believe that if I was focused solely on what is in their best interest educationally that I would keep them home, but I've also always said that if home schooling became toxic in my relationship to any of the kids I would not hesitate to look for an alternative.

There are some positive reasons for this decision; Stephanie is very social and is used to being around many girls her age. So we think she will enjoy being gone during the day and making new friends. Also, she is hesitant to learn and speak English and I think we make it convenient to be comfortable with that since we communicate a lot with her in Creole. We think being thrown into an environment that she MUST learn and speak English will help her in the long run.

The not so positives; I would be very surprised if the remainder of this school year will actually be very educationally successful for her since she will still be learning English and she will be started in 7th or 8th grade because of her age. She has only completed through 2nd grade in Haiti and when I do 2nd-3rd grade work with her at home she really struggles to understand concepts that Johnny, Jude, and Luke (yes, Luke is doing 2nd-3rd grade math and reading and he rocks at it at only 5 years old!) catch onto quickly. So it's really going to be a challenge for her. The big pressing decision for sending her to public school though has honestly been our relationship. Adoption is difficult enough but when you throw in a teen girl in the mix, a different culture, and totally different personalities and whew! To say we have not "clicked" would be quite the understatement. I love her. I am glad that she is here. I totally believe she will be a beautiful blessing in this family. However, for now, we clash daily. This causes frustration and tension that is felt by all members of the family. I'm worn out by it and the other kids lose out when I am having to struggle with her all day and they get only a cranky and distracted Mom. So for the health of our family, and the hopes that being with other kids will bring her joy... I believe this must be done. We do pray that Stephanie will love her new school! We certainly want her to be happy. We are going on a 10 day family vacation starting next week so she will begin after we get back on Dec. 1st. She is nervous about it so please pray for her if you think of it. I gave them the option of going to public schools or staying home and they all wanted to do school at home. So she has not been exactly excited about our decision to send her. I'll keep y'all posted on how it goes!


Anonymous said...

Just so you know. the public school cannot deny her entrance becuase she doesn't have certain vaccines.

Ericka said...

Yikes. I'm SURE this was a very very difficult decision, but you know what, if it doesn't work out, then it doesn't work out - move on to the next option.
I guess my biggest worry is her only completing 2nd grade. Will they have an IEP for her???
Hugs sweetie :)

Anonymous said...

What a tough decision!! I can certainly understand, tho. Any chance there is a private Christian or church school nearby? When our kids were young they went to a private church school that let them work at whatever grade level they were at. If they were ahead for their age, they got to do higher levels of work. If they were behind, they got to do lower levels of work. No one really knew who was ahead or behind either. The only downside of a private school is that you have to find your own transportation and it cost $$. Otherwise, they got to make friends, get away from home, and (if it's a Christian school) take Bible classes.


Amanda said...

Wow! Big hugs, most definitely. A day at a time...a day at a time. I do hope that it is an encouragement to her and helps you, too!

Mandy said...

Let her know that we will certainly be praying for her and her adjustment. I hope you have a blessed family vacation & this is just the beginning of endless happy family memories!

Amy B. said...

Angela, as a fellow mom of a recently adopted teenage girl, I hear ya! School is good for Kerline too! And for me. And for US. Just see how it goes. Praying for the both of you!

Love and hugs,

SeanSheep said...

I stumbled onto your blog today looking up international adoptions and I was very encouraged by it! Lord bless your family as you grow closer together! I myself come from a family with two children adopted from Haiti at the ages of 7 and 4 and I know that it isn't easy to adopt older kids but if God calls you to do something He will be with you and help you. We love our boys and couldn't imagine life without them. I pray your family will adjust well to the changes. God bless!