Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Honesty and Emma...

We have been so blessed by adoption and we are so thankful to God.

But adoption does not always turn out as we have planned, it is an uncertain journey and one that requires faith.

We knew this, going into this journey and we TRUSTED HIM!

He has a plan for us, a plan we do not know or understand.

BUT because it is HIS plan,

we know it is a good one!

We had hoped that after a year and 8 months that we would have a direction. 
That we would see things improving over time but, 
that really hasn't happened.

Emma is basically a good natured girl. She desires to please and she wants to be happy.

Happiness is relative and when she is no longer a fit for the karate program... she is not happy.

When she can no longer keep up with the kindergarten class(at our homeschool), she is not happy.

When her little brother is no longer confident in her helping him, she is not happy.

When we ask her to stop licking her top lip and she is unable to stop, she is not happy.

That has been her mood lately...

And it is beginning to get to me...

Emma has an IQ of 41.
They said that it... may improve. They used the word trajectory...

We had hoped that the trajectory would be greater than it is.

We love and value all children. God makes every child, every human in his own likeness.
Every child should be celebrated and loved for who they are- I know this and firmly believe this to be true.

WE ARE BLESSED to have Emma in our family. She is very grounding for us.

For a couple months this is the face I have looked at...
every day in home school.
Every day in the afternoon...
every evening...

Emma is mad.
She is mad because her Momma has to leave and go to the hospital with the other children,
She is mad because she cannot do karate and she wants to...
She is mad because she cannot keep up with the kindergarten curriculum...
She is mad because she is not like the other children...

I wanted to mainstream Emma as much as possible,
in hopes that her trajectory would be greater.
Since she learns from watching, looking... blankly staring. I thought that it would be best to put her with the other children. Maybe she would learn from them? Maybe she would pick up their characteristics?

It's not happening and my thought process is changing.

Even though I love homeschooling, we are starting to think she may be happier in school with other children like her. As time goes on we are beginning to question our previous decisions.
Maybe she should be in special olympics with other children like her.
Maybe she would be less frustrated and less angry at me?
Maybe if she experienced school for awhile and we were able to gain direction for her at home, it would be good for everyone?

Maybe she would learn to not be mad at her mother... 
it's not my fault...

Maybe we could celebrate her accomplishments in these new surroundings?
Maybe we would all understand Emma better?

So today we picked up the packet for school... not sure we will fill it out and send it in but we are praying about it.
Emma needs more services than I can provide...

We got her hair cut so that it would be easier to bathe her and wash her hair.
She is maturing and needs to be bathed every other day.

It is not as much fun bathing an 11 yr old verses a 5 yr old...

I love her haircut!

It's perfect for her face!

She has lovely thick thick hair and this will be much easier to maintain!

If you happen to think of Emma and us while you are praying- we would so appreciate it!


Debbie said...


I wrote a comment the last time you wrote about Emma and gymnastics. It was about Special Olympics. It would be perfect for Emma and I'm sure with her IQ she would qualify. She would have so much fun! Please look into it.

Jen said...

Prayers for God's guidance for you and Jim and peace for sweet Emma.

Sarah said...

Oh, sweet Emma. It could be in her best interest to enroll her in school. I homeschooled all of our children and am so glad that I homeschooled Yana during her first year home. But, I think after that, she really would have done better in a typical school environment. She is in our church school now (I'm her teacher!) and it's really so much better for her. Yana hasn't had to deal with the learning issues (except in math), but it is just better for her to be busy all the time. Maybe you'd have the same experience with Emma...?

Susie said...

I think Spec Olympics is a GREAT idea! Emma perhaps needs something special that is HERS. And, school could be great for her as well. The goal over all is to help her be successful. It must be very hard to homeschool varied ages and ability levels. Perhaps by sending her to school she will make important academic connections as well as appreciate and love what her mama does for her because she won't feel that you are asking her to do hard things. Lastly, do you have an Arc Organization? My friend is director of ours. It is an agency that serves those with developmental disabilities- her motto is "Helping people with developmental and intellectual disabilities have a life like yours." that's what we want for all our kiddoes!

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

Our Little Miss has been home 4 years.

NOTHING makes her happy. She can go weeks without cracking a smile.

I have been a homeschool mama for 21 years. But, last month we put Little Miss into school full-time. It was a very hard decision to make, but we are so glad that we did.

It is best for her.
It is best for everyone else at home.

Praying that the Lord shows you what is His very BEST for Emma.


Melanie said...

I will be praying for your Emma and praying for your decision. I believe that sometimes public school or private school may be what is best for some families and some children. I wish that I could be a homeschooling Momma to my kiddos, but working fulltime is what I have to do for now. They are all doing well in school and we will be sending our newest member to school in the fall. I do think that homeschool is great and wish I could be that kinda mom and I think the world of the mom's that can do that for thier children. I also understand that sometimes that is not always the best choice for some children. Maybe Emma will thrive in the school environment or maybe not.I will pray for God to give you wisdom for that decision. I love your blog and admire all you do for your treasures. I will keep your family in my prayers.

Vicky said...

Praying that God will give you the wisdom and direction you need regarding Emma!

Difference2This1 said...


Sometimes it's the mental related struggles that are harder then the physical ones. This is the world we live in with 50% of our children now. We absolutely, positively NEED our "village" of people who "get" it how challenging it is. We truly believe God keeps putting this "village" of people in front of us- and it involves people who serve with Special Olympics and it involves therapists/reading specialists/administrators/teachers who care. I heard a tidbit yesterday relative to older struggling kids. The gist of what this professional said was: Sometimes a child like this can excel BETTER in an environment when you temporarily remove the additional expectations of being a daughter/son. It stunned me- because Tessa CAN actually function close to normally (not age appropriate, but closer to it) when she doesn't have the burdens of work to form close relationshops/being nice to siblings/being nice to parents/etc. It was reassuring to hear a perspective that "ok'ed" that until she is at at a place where she can work on family relationships more productively, at least she is learning the life skills/social skills/academic skills she can't/won't learn at home. To set aside her anger at me and her siblings for a few hours a day...I think it very healthy for her and she is calmer at us when she gets home. In the end, if you feel God leading you to help Emma in different ways then the other children, He might just have a totally amazing plan that includes a "village" outside the home to help you help her.

Blessings, Jennifer

Sammy said...

I've never home schooled, but I have adopted 10 kids. : - ) I also have a lot of friends that home school so I know how great it can be. I think you might be right about the public school having more programs for Emma. You and the other kids might enjoy the break and public school can't hurt her. Plus, you have all the medical issues with the kids right now. I do too so I know that takes times. You're doing an amazing job!

Shonni said...

Sweet Friend,
I will be praying that the LORD shows you what His will is for your little girl!

Liz Tolsma said...

I'll be praying for you and the decisions you need to make regarding Emma. That is such a difficult place to be. When we first brought home our daughter from the Philippines, we intended to homeschool her like our other children. We didn't know the extent of her disabilities at that time. It soon became clear that I couldn't do it - and I have a background in special ed. Jonalyn tests in the moderate to severe cognitively delayed range. We prayed about it and decided to put her in public school. It took a while, but she has started to blossom. Last fall they started an awesome multi-sensory approach with her and she now knows her ABC's and recognizes her name in print. We celebrate each small victory with her. We have also enrolled her in hippotherapy (horseback riding). Like someone else said, it's something that is hers, that she gets to do and no one else. We truly believe it has helped her so much both physically and cognitively. Wish all of you could have heard her peals of laughter yesterday as she trotted astride her horse. And she was so stinking proud of the red ribbon she brought home because of all her hard work :)

thesleepyknitter said...

Sympathizing with you! We have one who is always unhappy, too.

We send our oldest three to public school. I would rather homeschool them, but I have to work full time right now while my husband is in school. But we live in an outstanding school district, and I think that as wonderful as homeschooling "can" be, in our case our children are probably receiving a better education through the public school. We likely need to move this summer, and our next school district may not be as good, but for now, I think our public school can do a far better job of meeting our children's unique "special needs" than I can. As another poster suggested, my kids can just be daughters at home, and don't have to worry about school performance on top of that. In view of their difficult backgrounds, just learning how to be a family member is plenty of work for home! Another thing I like about public school is that our teachers and special workers are willing to share their insights with us about our daughters' many needs, often insights about issues that we had not noticed before.

Anyway, in the end, do what your gut instinct tells you, regardless of what any of us has experienced! You know your daughter better than anyone else.

Praying for you!

Chad and Kristy said...

I am confident that the Lord will guide you in the right direction. I will continue to pray for you and Emma. I know how difficult it is. It breaks my heart to see our Anna Li to want so desperately to be like the other kids...to just be normal... to be like the other kids her age. I have always encouraged her to be who she is and that God made no mistake in creating her- she is perfect in His image. She may not be the smartest in the class or the best athlete but God has given her a heart of gold! She is so loving, kind, and compassionate and that is worth more than any gold medal or diploma! 4 years in America and she still doesn't fit in with most kids her age but she doesn't let it get her down any more. She uses the gifts God gave her and she is making a difference in the world. I do know how hard this! You are doing a wonderful job! Trusting the Lord will give you guidance and direction in this.

Colleen said...


Thank you for being so open! I will pray you have peace with whatever decision you make for Emma. You are a wonderful mother!

Colleen in PA

kimjax said...

We put our newest girls into school to provide respite for the already home kiddos. They're also able to individually learn English this way and this gives us the energy to work one on one when they come home. I LOVE homeschooling - but this has worked well with this transition in our family. PRAY hard - and do what God leads you to do! Nothing is permanent - you can always change your mind if it doesn't work out. The schools have been super kind - and have helped us so much. We even got a very strong believer as one of our teachers! Praying for you, Jean!

Pam said...

Jean, I am praying that the Lord will make very clear to you and Jim as to how you will best be able to meet Emma's needs. You are a wonderful mother, and I know you are the PERFECT one to meet Emma's needs, large as they seem to be. God trusted YOU with this precious child.

And I think she's just beautiful with her new haircut!

Wendy said...

Oh Jean,
I often think about Emma and how she is doing. You know, my daughter was adopted at age of 5 and it was 4 years ago. This is really the first year she is not angry and thinking she is getting the short end of the stick. We, too, cut her hair because she just could not take care of it. For the past few years, she has been getting in trouble at school. This year, something happened and she is much more settled. I cannot explain it but there is a noticable difference. Maybe special olympics or some groups for children with her IQ would help her. My prayers are with you as you struggle with these decisions as I am sure they are difficult for you. Just remember, it is not your fault!!! Do not let her put that thought in your head. You are doing such an amazing job.

Holly said...

This is a topic that has become near and dear to my heart. I never anticipated that this would be a topic of great concern to me but...well, but God. I would love to talk with you more about this in private. I will email you.

Gina said...

hugs. I know you will make the right decision. I LOVE the haircut, it looks great!

Debbie Sauer said...

I have worked in Special Education for many years. It's good to separate the school part from the mommy part. Even though you are a wonderful mother and teacher, there comes a time when it's just better for the child to go to school. I know it may be hard for you to let go, but just give it a try, see how things go- at lest until the end of the school year. It's worth a try. She won't be competing with her siblings. It makes for a whole different relationship. Blessings

Holly said...

Aw...sweet, precious girl. So cherished and adored by our Savior. So blessed to be in your family. I will be praying for her and you as you explore what God might have you do next to help your sweet girl. Love and hugs from all of us... <3

David and Janet Hurley said...

Have you checked with local HS groups, to see if any one hosts a "playgroup" for kis like Emma?
Ihave thought of looking for one, or starting one in our area, when we've been home a little longer.

Janet and Kevin said...

Jean - will be praying for you and your family as you seek God's direction. I know you will arrive at just the right path for your Emma.

I love her new haircut. She is really beautiful.

janet and gang

Mom Of Many said...

I read this post when you first posted it but didn't have time to comment, so I'm back. I am praying that God gives you and Jim supernatural wisdom and complete peace....He already has the plan! You are the best mommy, truly! I love you and I am so glad you are my friend whose neck I have hugged!! Can't wait till you come to Phoenix!! Xo

Mom Of Many said...

PS Emma s haircut is darling!!

Annie said...

God bless your big, beautiful heart dear Jean!!!! I am in awe of you and all that the Lord is doing through you and your precious family!!!!

Susie said...

Thinking more about Emma and school......maybe now is a really good time to get her in school because there is long enough for her to get adjusted, but she still will be home for summer and additional homeschooling, etc. Also, she could be special like Johnny who still goes to public school. That way, she may not feel so much that she is being separated. Also, horse therapy might be wonderful for her! Really helps with balance and coordination as well as speech, which I recall have been things you wanted her to improve upon.
Praying for you!

The Byrd's Nest said...

My heart breaks for everyone when I read this post. My Emma is mad at me all the time...in my mind it is for no reason but who knows what she has going on in her mind. She was adopted at the age of two but in many ways she blames me for her not staying in Korea with her mom. I get that...sometimes they cannot rationalize what they are thinking or are able to put their sadness into words. Because that's what it truly boils down to....sadness in the heart. Maybe this break will be good for both of you and she will make some friends and be more willing to learn from a different teacher. I know if we lived in the states my Emma would learn much better from someone else:) Praying for you my friend and praying for Emma's heart....I really can't imagine what our children go through emotionally.

Acceptance with Joy said...

I know I am a little late to the conversation, but I just had to share our experience with our adopted daughter who also has a low IQ.

She was mad all the time.
Screaming and fighting mad.

Everything I tried to teach her was met with total resistance.

Missy had her good moments and could be cuddly. We were definitely making strides with the attachment, but I was wearing out.

I believe in homeschooling. I was homeschooled until I was 16. I homeschooled our first girls until college. I'm homeschooling a high schooler. You could say the idea of sending my child to public school was an absolutely foreign one, but I was struggling to help this child.

Before Christmas we had her tested at the school, and right after the holidays she started. The effect was immediate.

Happy kid.
This is worth more to me than the academic attainments, but lo and behold,

- she's already learning to read.

We still have our moments, of course. We have a tantrum about 3 times a week, but hey, it's better than 25 times a week.

We have the best school. They have been so very kind and understanding and they just love her to death. They have accommodated our wishes. She goes half a day and is taught mostly one-on-one. She has several teachers, but she also has some time in her home room so that she doesn't feel different from the other kids.

The twins were already receiving services at the school; speech, PT, OT, so she knew the school already and she was familiar with some of the teachers. The reading specialist is a family friend.

Missy also started violin lessons at Christmas. I wrote about it on my blog. THere are three parts called For a Christmas Miracle.

The affect to her intelligence has been dramatic. She had her first recital last week. We use music therapy also - I can tell you about the CD's if you like.

And yes, I just cut off Missy's long beautiful wavy locks, too. It was too much to care for.

You could always take Emma out of school if it didn't work out. She will be extra tired at first. It's working out so well for Missy that I'm honestly looking to enroll her twin. He's not as delayed, though has his struggles. He is apathetic towards life... it's hard to motivate him. I'm on a last ditch effort to do it at home but if there are no significant changes before next fall, he's enrolled. :-)

Blessings, and courage to you!!