All Signs Point ?

Hindsight is 20/20 – right? Well, maybe but even more importantly it gives me perspective.

When we brought our son home from China in 2017, he was turning 4 yrs old and had a smile that lit up a room! When we first held him in our arms and carried him back to our hotel room, the gravity of his needs became more and more apparent. That first night, my husband and I wept feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of things we didn’t even yet understand. All we knew were the physical signs, he was not walking or talking, he was the size of an 18 month old and still needed a bottle of formula a few times a day. Fast forward a year through thirteen departments at Children’s Hospital, we knew that he had severe hearing loss, a successful heart surgery prior to our adoption and low muscle tone called Hypotonia. Equipped with hearing aides and leg braces, he started attending a voice-on school for the deaf and hard of hearing. After attending for two years, the school experienced a significant loss in leadership and at the final conference of the year, without any warning, they said he wasn’t deaf enough to keep attending. What?! He was thriving from all we could see through the photos they sent each day of him and the fact his language and confidence was growing exponentially.

We turned to the local school district hoping they would know what was best for him. Special needs was an entirely new field for me; terminology, processes, and more took time to learn. Most importantly, I learned how to ask questions advocating for my son. Six weeks into the school year, it was clear that he was not special-ed enough to fit into the program they had him attending. Of the eight children in the classroom, only two of them including my son were verbal – how on earth was he going to acquire language in a room where there was minimal language used. He wasn’t special-ed enough and I knew we could do better.

I brought him to the school I founded, knowing I would need to build a program for him as he progressed. After thirteen years pouring my all into forming this school, the board let me know they were going in a new direction and I would be finishing my career there in a few weeks. They directly told me, they would never let my son attend Kindergarten. This started a stint of homeschooling my two youngest kids (5th grade and PK), COVID quarantines caused my other two kids (11th and 9th grades) to follow shortly there after. I cherished this time, though we were all grieving the loss of normal.

Trying to enter back into our normal schooling routines, I begin as the Director of Teaching and Learning at a classical, Christian school 25 miles from our house and my youngest two kids started attending. 6th grade and Kindergarten here were a perfect fit for the kids and I loved my job. We spent a year thriving even though most public schools were still shut down. Entering our second year at this school, our commute began to get longer and we seriously prepared to move closer, planning to uproot our entire family from the only house, city, and church they had ever known, to transplant into this new community centered around school. Right before 1st quarter, out of the blue I received word that the board had decided that our son could not remain in 1st grade. There was no context, no formal communication, no due process and I was on the administration team!

Looking back over the four years of his education process, I saw how each dead end while painful, really has been pointing us to this place of knowing I will be the best educator for him. I am fully equipped to design lessons, choose curriculum and as I’ve matured I want to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom. I also found that materials, resources and encouragement was lacking online when I began my search for how to formulate our schooling at home plan specifically for a kiddo with learning challenges. I wanted to capture these beginnings and hopefully bring hope to other families who find themselves in a similar situation. If you have become the primary educator for your child, you have a beautiful gift waiting for you!

“Nothing worth having comes easy.”

Theodore Roosevelt

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