Thursday, February 28, 2013

And Even MORE Responses!

Tracy asked-
I hope this question has not already been asked, but what I wanted to know is: I know that you homeschool all of your children and was wondering how do you even begin to start that process with your older children who come home and speak little to know english? Do you start with a KG curriculum and work your way up through each grade until they grasp it? Or do you teach them basic english first before you start teaching them?

First I evaluate where they are at academically. Then I work with them from where they are at or below so they are successful. No matter what, I think you always need to begin at a pre k level just to learn the basics. If it is super simple to them we move ahead quickly. 
Math is pretty universal so I have Mia and Melissa doing flashcards and worksheets for review until they learn enough English to really get going. I also have them sit in on our first graders math so they can see what they are doing and maybe start to get familiar with some of the "lingo" such as plus, minus, equals, half, etc
IMO they need a predictable schedule pretty early on- we started it after one week home. 
 I want them to get used to doing school and to learn some self discipline instead of constant play and running around- they already play enough!
Every morning is school until lunch and then sometimes for another hour or so.

I am having them write their new names(first and last) and the names of everyone in the family. They can already read the names! They are working on numbers 1-20 and counting to 30. We are focusing on the ABC's and especially the vowels. We are reading simple repetitive books and doing simple songs and finger plays. 
We are practicing greetings!
Hello, My name is _____!

Madeline seems to have a hard time with forming the sounds of English words. Some of the children home have said they cannot understand her. She has a speech eval coming up in a couple weeks. Mia and Melissa know most of their colors. Madeline feels like a preschooler to me but when Luke and Madeline played they started to "get into" a few things so now I am bringing them to the school room too. Now they can prepare for when they start school and use their morning time learning.

I can see Mia and Melissa being in combo grades- math- 1st or 2nd (they know a lot but there are so many holes and they need the language)
Reading will begin at K (because we are already doing pre K).

I do a pre K circle time with all the new kids, Emma, Luke and Abby.

I guess I am constantly evaluating and figuring what should be next and when they will start formally in a grade maybe after 6 months?
Language will take longer this time with 3 Chinese speaking children and all the others chiming in...

Which is another post... ugh!

Mandy asked-
When do you blog (like what time of day?/how do you make time? I really struggle with consistency with my blog even though I'd really like to be a more frequent poster!)?

What time do you usually wake up & go to bed?

This question may not apply yet, since you just returned from China and may still be trying to carve this out, but what is a typical day's schedule like for you?

Everyday I have a list of things to do- I put blogging on my list! When I get a moment to myself I try to read a few blogs and then post.  I don't always get to do it but I try. It is a hobby and relaxing to me!
As I am posting now I have Emma and Melissa doing my hair! It's 5:00 and some of the children just came in from playing outside. Others are playing card games next to me!

When I think of something I want to blog about I put the title in and come back to it later. Often times I think of many posts and other days I can't think of a thing!
Okay now Madeline is on my lap- it's very hard to type!

I wake up around 6:45 and to bed around 11:00.

School 8:45- 12:00 lunch 12-1
finish school 1-2 depending on the day
activity in the afternoon
ymca homeschool gym and swim
and soon PT, OT and Speech

We also have pretty many DR appts- so we often just do 4 days of school per week.

We save field trips for the weekend with Dad.

Alexa asked-
 I was wondering how you work on getting the children to bond to their new siblings? 

Most of our bonding happens naturally by just being together. We are together almost all the time. It has helped that our children at home can understand Chinese and some of them can speak it. 
That helps both the new children and the ones already home!
I do some things to facilitate bonding- like placing them next to a certain sibling in the car and at the dinner table. Taking a few on errands when possible.
We don't allow the children to mistreat a sibling.
We tell them we are a family and we work together.
We insist on respect for everyone.
We have not had any problem with our children bonding to each other.
I think it does help that our bio kids are older. There is no conflict of interest.

Lilijane asked-
How did you get a Dx on Emma. My daughter adopted from China is also dev. delayed. I'm currently fighting with the Children's Hospital for months just to get into the Dev Clinic for a formal Dx. She's also 12, like Emma, but after 10 years here she's obviously not going to catch up. I'm really getting frustrated because I need to start planning for her future.

Our Adoption clinic sent us to a neuro psychologist after the girls had been home 6 months.
He tested and gave her an approximate  IQ, not to label her but to help us understand where she was at.
1.5 years later we had a follow up appt with the same neuro psychologist and they retested. The results were the same. After 1.5 years Emma still had to do the non verbal test.
Maybe she is higher than they say but it really doesn't matter if they are off by 10-20 standard deviations . 
We love her and continue to work with her where she is at... 

I longed for an answer to why she struggled so much.
I wanted a diagnosis- so I could better understand her situation or try to fix it.

This last time he explained to me Emma's situation. He was blatantly honest and it was hard to hear- (another post). She only needs to see him one more time. There is no reason for her to keep coming back.

Cara asked-
I would sure love to hear more about raising a childwith anal atresia?

When we saw Sam we new he was our son. We did not know how involved his situation was, in fact we only knew he had a colostomy.
Once he got home we took him to Cincy- they are the best! 
Dr Pena and Dr Levitt.

They did all the tests there and the surgery to hook him up (bring the end of the bowel down and connect it to the anus they constructed). The colostomy stayed for 2-3 more months.
We had the take down here in MN. 

He is doing very well right now, wearing underwear and going just like the rest of us!
He has a few mistakes each week but we deal with it.

Since Sam's case was pretty easy I am not as knowledgeable about all that can be involved. If you have more questions you should join the IA adoption yahoo group. They are a great resource!

OpenID  Familjenlindgren asked-
I have a question for you. When you started your adoption journey you were already an experienced mum, maby wiser ;-) and older. Is your way of parenting different now than when you started with your five children by birth? In what way and why? 

We do parent differently than we did when we were younger.  
We are more relaxed and we do not worry about what others are doing with their children.
I think we appreciate them as they are and celebrate them without worrying if they are behind or different than other children their age.

We actually feel free to parent them the way we feel is best...
instead of they way the neighbors do or did.
There is no peer pressure on us and since we homeschool they do not have peer pressure either.

We make a point of including our faith and love for the Lord in our everyday.
We rely more on the Lord each day, instead of feeling like "hey, I can do this by myself ".

We enjoy every little thing!

I think we did a good job with parenting our older children. They are doing well and we have very strong relationship with each one! We loved our schools, our friends and the things we were involved in.
BUT we too often took control and didn't allow God to guide us.

We just weren't up for doing it that way this time.
We felt it was necessary to make a change in our parenting style this time around.
And we are thrilled with the changes!

I think this concludes the Q and A session!

I have one more post on how a large family differs from an orphanage setting.


Jen said...

Jean, I am really enjoying this Q and A series. I'm wondering if you will entertain another question. Has Jim always been on board initially with all the adoptions? We hear a lot about "reluctant husbands" in the adoption community. It would be interesting to hear how Jim and you have dealt with approaching each adoption. Thank you!

Sarah said...

Jean, I just love hearing more about your family! Thank you for sharing.

kimjax said...

I've enjoyed reading these, Jean. Thanks for sharing what you've already thought and worked through. I still struggle with "not rushing" our older daughter to catch up. I'm more laid back now, but still worry about the catch up a bit. We also have some speech and learning issues and I have learned to focus on her gifts (which are many) and not stress about the challenges - MOST of the time. Thanks for the good reminders. :) Your posts are a blessing to me. :)

The McIntires said...

Thank you for the reminder to us "young" parents on what is important when it comes to raising our children. Things get busy, the pressure is on when it comes to raising kids... such good reminders about slowing down, relaxing, and parenting where they are. Thank you!

Kath said...

You are amazing and so is Jim! I have been moved with all the Q & A you covered this week and esp the serious nature of the challenges your family has accepted graciously and shared lovingly with others to educate and quell the fears of potential adoptive families. You have amazing instincts, faith and strength. Hope you take a few hours each week and rest, relax and regenerate your energy as you meet the needs of your multi-dimensional family. Glad you have a sitter and extra machinery to get some of the chores and time off EVERY MOTHER needs to model self care to her children. I also have older kids that were parenting quite differently and with much more anxiety than we are parenting our younger two. So much less self turmoil. Lastly, the example of loving parents and family connection your children are experiencing will bond them together forever and beyond! Well done!

Vicky said...

I too have enjoyed your Q and A post! What a blessing to all that follow!

Jennifer P said...

Thanks for answering a few questions I had. I love your heart and I hope and pray that others are inspired as we were. :) I didn't get around to asking my question. What do you do about outside friendships for the kids? I am in a quandary because there is always someone to play with here but there are a few that would benefit from an outside friendship. However, the logistics of that are tough with a large crew. What do you think?

angela ford said...

Appreciate you sharing. I just had one suggestion for LilliJane about developmental disabilities. I really would suggestion getting opening a file with the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) as soon as possible. They will help get you get the resources needed, which may be more necessary later than sooner, but after a certain age cut off you can't get in, once you are in, their resources are there for the delayed individual for life. So, if later our children are in need of resources because we are old decrepit and not as spry as we once were, this will be a real protection for them. However, don't overlook what they might offer now. I am getting some cognitive behavioral therapy for my children from them now. HOPE that helps. I have run into a few families who didn't know and it was too late and they could have used some help.


Heather H. said...

I have a question. We are in process to bring home a 9 1/2 year old girl who has been given the label of mild mental retardation. A major concern we have is teaching her English so that she will be able to communicate with us. I do intend to teach sign language, as it worked so well with our first daughter, and has been shown to facilitate the learning of spoken language. I would like to know what Emma's rate of learning was with English, and how did you help her communicate with you. I would like to have realistic expectations for our girl.

Thank you.
Heather H.

thesleepyknitter said...

enjoying this Q&A so much! Thank you for being so willing to share.

Holly said...

I just caught up with your blog and wow! Thankful for your willingness to be so open and share with others. I am sure that God is using your testimony to encourage others!! Love that you shared about HIV!!! I thought for a long time that we would adopt a child with hiv but God has us in a different path and I have been blessed to help educate other and help waiting treasures with HIV find families. I have been pretty swamped and just reading about your life encourages me to keep going :) blessings as you journey with God and your treasures!

Tina Michelle said...

These Q&A posts have been so fun to read. You are so kind to share so much with us. I am enjoying learning about you and your precious children. I do wonder what does your husband do for a living and can we see your bedroom? You showed all the kids rooms! I loved their rooms!