Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Adoption, Emotions & School

first day of school, March 01 '11

It is with a great mixture of emotions that I have approached this new school year (which started today for our three oldest children.) On the one hand I am excited about this opportunity for Eva, Isabel and Owen to attend school together for the first time. I have been looking forward to first grade for Owen, especially for the excitement of his learning to read. I continue to be at peace with our choice of schools and feel confident in the genuine concern the teachers and administration have for each student. I am grateful as well that God has allowed our daughter Eva to continue with the same teacher for the third year, as she is the "perfect fit" for our daughter's needs.

On the other hand, though, my protective mama's heart has ached over letting my little son go. Mostly, I have been concerned about releasing my son from the shelter of his small preschool into the bigger environment of the 1st through 8th grade school. I am thankful that through attending his sisters' events and participating on a soccer team coached by the school's PE teacher, Owen will already have some friends and acquaintances there. But I know from experience that he will face questions and comments from curious children, and that is what worries me most.

Owen listening closely at assembly

In fact, I anticipate his sisters facing more questions this year as well. Already in the past they have answered some questions about adoption, but now the physical differences between the three siblings will be even more distinct. We've done our best to prepare the kids and we have given them ideas about how to answer questions and/or how to walk away from them. It is a challenge to prepare and educate them without creating unnecessary nervousness - because maybe, I am totally wrong and the other children will be wonderfully accepting and tactful. :)

In an attempt to be proactive, this year I sent each of the kids to school with a letter for his or her teacher. Along with the letter I enclosed a handout for educators on the topic of adoption. After introducing our child and thanking the teacher in advance for her role in our child's life this year, I politely asked her to read the handout in preparation for any questions that could arise. I also provided the handout to the director of the school, who thanked me sincerely.

Isabel smiles for the camera

So with some fear and trepidation, I approached the big day. Yesterday was rough for Owen. He had multiple meltdowns, several as he, Eva, Ian and I were attempting to shop for a couple of items at a large home-improvement store. At one point I crawled onto a solid bottom shelf right beside my huddled boy, despite his tears and slapping my hands away and cries of, "Don't touch me!"

His sister sat on one side and I sat on the other as I told him, "Owen, I think the real reason you are so upset today is because you are afraid about school tomorrow. Is that right?" Amid sniffles he nodded his head in agreement. Right there in the middle of the the store we stopped and prayed, asking God for His peace and comfort and provision for this next step in Owen's life. And because God is faithful, He answered! Later that same morning we headed to the grocery store for school snacks, and who did we run into but my son's soccer coach, who reassured Owen by telling him they would see each other every day at school and that he would see him tomorrow.

Eva ready for school to start

That exchange was such an encouragement, but unfortunately the day ended with a distraught boy and an early bedtime for misbehavior. Pedro and I were not sure what to expect when today dawned, but what we encountered exceeded our hopes. Owen was like a different child, enthusiastic about getting up and dressed and skipping into his new classroom at school and standing at the head of the line at assembly as if he'd been doing this all along. No tears, no frowns, just genuine enjoyment of a new adventure!

What an answer to prayer! Once again we are reminded that God is watching over the lives of our children. And knowing that sets this mama's heart to rest.

Eva with her friend Lucas and his mom

1 comment:

Life with Kaishon said...

School is very stressful. Sometimes I think we forget that. And that is a shame. School is a HUGE thing in our kids lives. Every day I pray that God will give Kaishon strength to get through the day. I will pray for Evan right now.