Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer School???

Growing up, summer school had such a negative connotation!

"EWWWWWW...YOU have to go to summer school?"

Or "If I don't pull this D up, I'm gonna have to go to summer school!"

or "Did you hear so and so has to go to SUMMER SCHOOL?"

Well, here I am, age 39 (and holding!) and just now realizing: Summer school is a GOOD thing!

Candie began summer school last week!

But wait, Laine. Yall are a homeschooling family, I thought?

Yep. We are. We pray about that year to year, and so far the Lord has not directed us otherwise. UNTIL. Miss Candie.

With her severe language delays, on top of her hearing loss, Candie is still significantly behind across the educational board. Despite going to speech four times a week for the past year, and her teacher (that's me) working very hard to help her, she just has not progressed very quickly.

One place Candie goes for therapy is the HEAR center in downtown Birmingham. They focus on language and speech for hearing impaired children. They are AMAZING.

They have a free summer "camp" they offer to some children who they feel will really benefit from a language-rich environment, led by trained teachers. Three days a week, five hours a day.

They invited Candie last year, but we had so many times that we were going to have to miss because of camps and vacations that I felt it would deprive another child who might could be there more consistently. I also just wanted Candie to spend more time with her siblings and us, since she had not been home even a year at that time.

This year, they invited her again. And after a VERY HARD struggle that I had with her in school this past year, and after praying with Rob about it, we knew it was right this time. Fifteen hours a week with trained, hearing-impaired teachers? YES! Momma's not trained! Momma needs the help, people!

Not only has it been a hard educational year, but really a hard attachment year too. It has been so hard for me to attach to Candie because she doesn't and CANT voice her emotions, feelings, etc. Language is HUGE in the attachment process. Yes, love doesn't need words. That's correct. BUT....for me, and I confess I have a long way to go in learning about unconditional love, words help a momma get to know her nine year old daughter. And I'm getting there. WE'RE getting there!

I have been so excited for Candie to go to school. We prepared her the best we could, telling her what would happen during the day, and when we would pick her up each afternoon. "Are you excited you start school in ___ days, Candie?" She would just smile that nervous smile and say "Maybe". How I wish she had the words to tell me "I'm scared I won't have friends, I'm scared you won't come back, I'm scared I won't like my teachers, I'm scared you'll forget to make my lunch, I'm scared!" For those words just to spill out, tumbling forward recklessly in emotion and not holding back. One day. One day that will happen!

Her first day was last Tuesday. The school is in a community about 40 minutes from us. We arrived and pulled up in the "car-line". A teacher came to our van (which wow, is our van ever so big in that car line! YIKES!) and opened the door, saying "You must be Candie!" Candie smiled, told us all good-bye, and away she walked down the sidewalk, holding the teacher's hand. Just like that.

And what did I do? Me? Who has had trouble attaching and getting to know this child?

I teared up! To see her walking down so independently, so bravely! There she goes, off to school!

And not only that, but the whole time we are away from Candie, her brothers and sisters kept saying "I miss Candie. When can we go get her?" (And we were at the zoo! You would think they would be having such fun....but not them. No sir. They love each other BIG!)

I cannot say enough how impressed I am at this school. Everyday she brings home a full page letter from her teacher explaining the concepts they are focusing on; Candie is getting her individual needs met beautifully. There are six children in her class. All of them wear hearing aids, of course. And she LOVES that! When I picked her up the first day, she said "Mama, EVERYBODY has hearing aid!"

They worked on farm vocabulary words this week, shucking corn, making a barn, playing games. Next week they will be focusing on restaurant vocabulary. I'm thinking we need to eat out a LOT to reinforce that, don't yall think? ;)

Summer school only lasts through August. They do not provide a school for Candie's age during the regular school year. Our plan (today) is to continue homeschooling her until God guides otherwise. summer school will always have a positive ring to it for us! Summer school?

YES!!!!!!!!!!!! Not only is it helping Candie learn more and more, but it is helping this mama get to a place she needs to be in the attachment process. I can be just MAMA this summer, and not TEACHER!

(P.S. I know the wide spectrum of attachment beliefs in the adoption community. I am just being honest and real about things with Candie. Please know that I love her DEARLY and would go through all of this AGAIN so I could have her as my daughter! Attachment has been different with each of our adopted children, and we are still just "growing love" around here, okay? ;)


Laura P said...

Yay for Summer School! So glad that Candie likes it, and so proud of you and Rob for letting her go! Hope to see you all soon, Laura

Stefanie said...

Great to hear that you have such a wonderful summer option for Candie! YAY!!
I am gonna give you a big AMEN! on the attachment process... we've had our share of tough days around here as well ;)

living4him5 said...

I love you Laine. I am so glad you were open about your attachment. I'm sure you remember the journey Linzhi Rose and I made together to get where we are today. Every relationship is different, I sometime feel guilty because Rachel and I have so much in common, she's like a mini me and sometimes Linzhi's not interested at all in what we're talking about and then all of a sudden something clicks with Linzhi and me and we laugh until our sides hurt. It's just different, not more or less, just different. I am so happy for Candie! I got teared up at the thought of her walking into school so brave!!

Much love,

PS...keep me updated on her progress.

Jennifer Taylor said...

What a great opportunity for Candie! I'm so happy that she is adjusting in her summer school!

Aimee said...

Laine. Thanks for being open and honest about attachment with Candie. Seriously, why don't more people talk about attachment issues? Sometimes, I really feel like I am all alone with my feelings. Come to find out...lots of moms struggle but just don't open up about it. Like you said, I wouldn't change a thing! I am so blessed and sometimes feel GUILTY for even having issues with attaching to Lily! Its a day by day process..and the Lord has shown me so much sin in my own life through the process. I like to think that Lily is my sanctification jewel. : )

Anyway....yipee for Candie going to school. Each child IS different and you have done what is best for her! Good for you!

Love you lots, miss you too.

The Byrd's Nest said...

Oh I think this will be so wonderful for her AND you!!!!!! I think words might be the most important factor with attachment and bonding or this is my experience with Emma Jane:)

I love you my friend!!!!
P.S. Thank you for the know God sends you exactly what I need to hear:)

Tina said...

I am so excited for you all and Candie. I have to admit when I saw the summer school title, I was thinking please tell me Laine is not homeschooling during the summer and making me look bad! lol. About to send you an email!!

The View From Here said...

The school sounds like a wonderful opportunity for Candie. So glad they are offering that ! Maybe Maggie could go when she is older.

Alycia said...


Good for you! Sounds like you are doing great by Candie! Helping her express herself and her emotions is a wonderful form of loving on her!
We will pray that she will learn TONS!
Thinking of you, and praying for you too!
Alycia etc.

Kristi said...

This post is part of why I love you ~ thank you for sharing your heart! I understand so well...
What a blessing you guys have this opportunity for Candie! I pray you see big, BIG improvements this summer!

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for an awesome opportunity in the area! I am so glad she is enjoying it!

CK said...

Just love how your kids miss Candie when she is at school. So glad she has some friends with hearing aids and teachers specialized in helping her. Of course, you love her dearly even if it sometimes feels different than you expected-we all work through the unexpected. Love you!

The Princess's Mommy said...

Way to go, Candie!!! Hooray for summer school!!

Pandamonium Mom said...

Yeah for Candie! What a great thing for her!! Hope y'all are enjoying your summer.

Our Journey to China said...

That is SO AWESOME!!! "GO,Candie!" She is such a sweetheart!:0) "Go, Mama!!" God knows your heart and He is meeting her needs. :0)