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On the Eve of School

September 5, 2011

Faith starts school Tuesday. Joy starts a week from Tuesday. Mercy, Hope and I are jumping in tomorrow. Not because it is an opportune time. In the next two weeks we will be getting Joy’s wheel chair and starting the process to obtain a bath chair and an adaptive car seat and making a follow-up visit to Hope’s psychiatrist. My remarks for a panel presentation at the Western History Association Conference and a journal article are due.

But reality is if we waited for a nice light week on the calendar, we’d never start school. So we are.

I’m looking forward to it, in fact. I love the lesson planning and home schooling is the easiest form of teaching I’ve ever done because the job comes with pre-established relationships with my students. But I’m especially looking forward to spending more one-on-one time with Mercy and Hope.

Mercy is fun because she’s a born learner; it if fun to share books together and see where her curiosity takes us.

Hope is… I don’t know for sure. But I know it is going to be an interesting year learning together.

The longer we live with her ADHD medication in the family –if you live with ADHD you know it affects the entire family, not just the person with the neurochemical imbalance –the better I’m understanding the relationship between the ways FASD and ADHD affect her. With the med, we’ve seen a decrease in her impulsivity and provocativeness, and an increase in her attention span–and interestingly, in her creativity. I think perhaps the creativity has been there all along; it has simply languished under her inability to sustain her attention long enough to complete an idea.

This is “Daisy’s Cousin.”

These are the Crashing Rocks of Odysseus’s adventure. They actually move and  together to crush unsuspecting ships:

Hope thought up the idea on her own, executed it, then came to us with a pad and paper to ask us to write out the words she needed to tell her story. Then she copied the words onto her work. It’s so –normal, isn’t it? God made her in his creative image. So ordinary. No extraordinary. Except for the Hope we’ve known.

But we’ve also learned some hard lessons about the underlying realities of FASD. The ADHD medication hasn’t touched her emotional immaturity and woe to the mommy who forgets that, most of the time, she is only two or three years old emotionally and just as liable to melt down if disappointed. Even trickier, she’s beginning to explore the boundaries of her own better-balanced brain chemistry and has been stunned (to the point of melting down) twice the week to encounter invisible walls –limitations that inhibit her ability to accomplish what she sets out to do, limitations I don’t think she was previously aware she had.

I can only imagine. If God suddenly gave Joy the ability to walk out onto the gymnastics floor and tumble like other kids her age, she might be so enamoured with her new-found legs that she’d not guess they won’t co-operate to turn a somersault or a cartwheel. Hope is also learning the parameters of what her brain can and cannot do.

But at just that point in composing this post, Mercy called me outside to see this:

It is a double rainbow. In Dakota, they double a word to indicate is is “very”much itself. Rainbow-rainbow. God is faithful-faithful. He always –ALWAYS –keeps his promises. A wonderful note on which to start our home school year.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 10, 2011 7:55 pm

    Hello! I found your blog from searching for adoptive families raising children with FASD. I am so encouraged to have found yours. We have a son with FASD, a daughter with cerebral palsy, and another daughter with developmental delays. I would love to ask more about the medication your daughter is on for her hyperactivity/ impulsivity. Would you mind e-mailing me so we could chat further? Thank you!

    Blessings,
    Rebekah

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