Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Are the words just meaningless?

Today, I'm sitting in a place of exhaustion.  To be honest, I can't even come up with the words and expressions to celebrate that Z has been home a full year.  I soon plan to write all about the marvel and wonders of that year .... but today, I'm too busy processing Z's first "report card" and "progress report" for his Pre-K class and the reality of the YEARS we have to go.  *sigh*

Each time we see someone and they hear Z talk, they remark on how well he is speaking and how much English he knows.  It's true - he knows a gazillion words and BOY does he like to use them!
On the RAD attachment list, I can officially check off two things for us that fall on our spectrum
 1.)  Talks incessantly and 2.) Asks questions that they even know the answer to.  Yep, these two things  describes Zebene in a nutshell!  No coincidence that nutshell would contain the word "Nut" ... because these things will make one a little NUTty!

I love how friends with other four or five year olds will remark "Oh, I know _______ asks a million questions a day too".  Or ... _______________ talks all the time too, it makes me crazy!  *smile*
You have no clue!  Did I mention I have had 3 other 4 year olds in my parenting years?  This kid talks iron-man marathons next to their piddly little 5k's.

No, people, we're not talking about your average 4 or 5 year olds 420 average questions per day craziness (yes, that is the serious estimate of questions an average 4 year old will ask per day).  No - we're on a MUCH larger scale here people!  We're talking the amount of words and questions that bring a loving PiPa back with your kid after 2 hours (when they were supposed to be gone 5) telling you he's returned because he's "Run out of answers".

We're talking abandonment here.  We're talking the by-product of what happens to a kid who isn't just curious but rather broken!  Adoption is a beautiful thing with some amazingly beautiful redemption moments - however - it's also FULL of such loss and trauma that the manifestations of abandonment are complex and to be honest - frustratingly exhausting at times.  Just ONE of those things is the need for a child to be *heard* and for them to know you KNOW they are *present* at ALLLLLL times.
This looks like a normal 4 year old on the biggest steroid shot you have ever seen.  50 cups of coffee worth of questions and words every moment of the day.  Noises, grunts, groans, and more that will make you begin to saving for those $350 sound buffering headphones that promise to drown out the world.   All of this - so they can assure you that they not only exist - but THEY are your only, central focus each and every day!

But here's the frustrating part about it ... after an entire year of all that, the progress report still shows what you have known in your heart all this time - most of those words are just meaningless to him.

I guess the good news of this report is that someone finally has proven what I have been saying for so long.  Z has words ... but he doesn't have language.  While the kids talks a lot - he really doesn't know often what he is saying or better yet, what we are saying to him.

To make the long story short, my sweet boy is really really behind (and of course he is, he came home at 4 years 2mo).  In every single area of his testing (listening, reading, phonics, phonics awareness, mathematics etc.) he shows "Far below Expectation".   For example, when the teacher read Z a story of 130 words long, he could not recall ONE detail of the story - nor could he correctly identify the main character or idea (what the story was about) - even with assistance.

Other notes made "Z did not correctly pick out his first name from a few answer choices" (strangely to me since he can actually WRITE his name).  He could not identify any parts of a book or distinguish a letter from a word, and a letter from a number (even with assistance).   Did I mention how long we've been working on our letters and numbers?  *sigh*  Did I also mention that the one thing about his language he can do is give "Concrete" items a name?  Now imagine him trying to figure out abstract concepts, and the meanings and usage of all those things plus the connecting words that give our sentences meaning.  Oh my!  I'm frustrated for him.

The "report card" continues with more and more info that basically says what we have been saying to everyone ... don't let his words fool you, we have a long way to go.

One year home, a bazillion words spoken and yet .... many more to go.

*sidenote*  Please refrain from telling me to have patience.  I realize these things.  I am simply sharing where we are now so that one day I can look back for myself and see how far we CAME!  It. Will. Happen.  *they say it takes 5-7 years for a child to develop "Educational Language"*
Who wants to donate to the anti-crazy fund .... AKA ... sound buffering headphones?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Officially Official!

This is long past due, but on January 25 - Zebene was officially re-adopted here in Texas.  This gives us a U.S. Birth Certificate (easier for school/his future etc.) and also gave us the ability to change his name from how it must be given during the time of adoption in Ethiopia (they must keep their ET name for first name, Dad's name as middle and then the new last name.).  Because we decided to keep Z's first name, it didn't seem like a lot changed - however - he did go from "Doug" to "Levi" for the middle.

In any rate, one more thing checked off the "list" in the post-adoption phase.  One more round of finances spent for the adoption ($600).   With our year anniversary quickly approaching, I am looking forward to getting the last social worker home study update completed and move on with life - if that is even possible once you've completed an adoption.  Until Z is 18 we will have to submit reports written by us and photos yearly.  Whew!

Here's proof of the day.

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