Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Yesterday, I felt something that I don't feel very often....rage. All over a little note sent home from Emma's teacher explaining that other kids told her that Emma was swearing at them. And we're not talking little swears. We're talking wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap swears. So, you think my rage was towards Emma? No, it was toward the teacher.

Let's just pretense this by saying that even though Emma's english is coming along well enough, it is still very difficult for her to learn words unless she's heard them over and over again. And even after learning them, learning HOW to use them is a whole new ball game. We attribute this to her delays and her memory issues. Now, I can guarantee you she's never heard those words in our house except maybe the odd occasional slip. We don't even watch movies with an "R" rating around here.

We calmly sat down with Emma after school and had a discussion around this note, and assured her there would be no consequences for her telling us the truth. (Can't get anything out of her when she's scared) She openly admitted to saying "bad words." what bad words did you say?......To this question we got a resounding "ummmmmmm." Emma is very truthful when it comes to admitting things she's done wrong, so we kept on it for a little while. After about twenty minutes or so, she was still not able to tell us the words she had said. Why not? Because she doesn't KNOW or remember them. How can a kid that doesn't know any swear words possibly be swearing at the other kids. The ONLY possible way is by them saying it to her, and her repeating it back.

How her teacher can not realize this is beyond me. She included in her note that she had a serious talk with Emma (ok, that's fine) and that there would be serious consequences if this happens again. Consequences? Consequences? Where are the consequences for the kids who are swearing at her? What are the consequences for the kids who taught Emma the phrase "I'm going to kill you"?, because I KNOW she didn't learn that one at home!

We firmly believe the "fights" that Emma is getting into are instigated by other kids as well. It is just not in her nature to be fighting or swearing. I truly believe she is doing the best to defend herself the only way she knows how. She's lived the first six years of her life having little to no guidance in behavioural or social skills, and unfortunately we aren't there with her at school to give her that guidance. What's even more unfortunate is that we've brought this up with teacher and she told us it's just too difficult to keep an eye on one kid out of two hundred and fifty others.

I was so irate yesterday I was jumping at the chance to set up a meeting with teacher to discuss these issues. Lucky for them, I couldn't get out of work on time. There might have been a few more "bad words.".............LOL! OK, those of you who really know me know that wouldn't actually happen! Although we couldn't make it in, Terry was able to phone and speak with Emma's resource teacher. She was completely blown away by what's going on and completely agrees with our assumptions. What happens next, we're not sure, but she told us she would be looking into this matter further.

This is making our decision to switch schools next year a lot easier. However, which school to put her in still remains a tough choice.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


We're back after a super long hiatus. I'm finding it more and more difficult to find the time to sit and spend time blogging. Or maybe it's not quite as easy as we have been home from Ukraine for almost two years now (scary) and I don't have as many cutesy first words, phrases or experiences to share like I used to.

Not that there isn't a lot going on in our lives. We seem to always be busy, and relish the days where we get to sit at home and do nothing (total opposite of when we were not parents!) We've kept Emma busy with gymnastics which she totally loves, and swimming lessons which she also loves but has a bit of a hard time learning.

Over the past few months, the reality of Emma's delays have been hitting us hard. Now that she's been here for awhile, we can clearly see that her difficulties are a result of more than just a language barrier. We feel we were a little bit "duped" by our Ukrainian facilitator who kept insisting that there was nothing wrong with Emma, despite the warnings the orphanage gave us. She assured us that even though Emma did not recognize numbers, letters, colors, etc., that she spoke very clear and concise and a little time spent on these things would surely catch her up. I find that a little hard to believe.

Don't get me wrong, there are no regrets. Terry and I have disscussed it in depth how we both knew in our hearts that Emma was for us and there is no way we could have left her there even if we knew the extent of her delays at that time. The fact remains that she will have a far better life and a far better chance here than there.

Now it's a matter of trying to find out what's causing Emma's delays, which may remain a mystery. Since being assessed by a psychologist late fall, the ball has started rolling. Genetic testing, upcoming MRI, meeting with therapist, developmental and mental specialists, psychologists,'s all a little overwhelming. Whomever Emma meets, she completely baffles. On the surface, the first impression Emma gives is an adorable, charming, engaging little girl...totally normal. However, when assessed in functionality, she just can't seem to do what's asked of her.

The hardest part for me has been seeing the struggles Emma is running into socially. She used to be the cool kid from Ukraine who didn't speak english. All the kids were intrigued by her and wanting to hang out with and help her all the time. Now that the grace period is over, I see many old friends avoiding her and she's been in some fights on the playground. Other kids mom's who used to love having Emma over on playdates have suddenly started coming up with excuses why Emma can't come over. You know, kids acting like idiots is one thing, but when you see the same stupidity in adults, it's very frustrating. Emma's teacher has taken away her recesses because of "fights." When we question Emma about these "fights" she tells us how the other kids were also kicking and hitting her. Now, who's starting these spats, we won't know for sure because we're not there to watch her, but we were irate when we found out the other kids involved in these fights have not lost their recesses. Teacher "didn't know" that other kids were involved. She was just listening to the tattle tales and not even asking Emma about it. And Emma just doesn't have the ability to jump up and defend herself.

So, the last few months have been a struggle, especially when it comes to blogging. I've debated time and again as to whether or not our personal lives should be shared with the world, but ever since starting this whole adoption process, I've found message boards and blogging buddies to be some of the best supports and advice givers out there. Perhaps someone out there is going through the same type of struggles we are and will feel better that they're not the only ones. Or perhaps they will send me a word of encouragement. Whatever the case may be, many of you have been on board since the very beginning, and I definitely don't want to paint a false picture of our lives. Everyone deals with struggles, and this is one of ours. But we deal with it day by day as best we can.

During spring break, Emma stayed at Terry's sister's place in Devon. He would wake Emma up early in the morning while I was still sleeping and drive her in on his way to work. It was really strange to me to wake up in the morning to a quiet empty house all by myself. Terry told me his last day driving out, Emma was in the back seat sniffing quite a bit. This is not all that uncommon, as Emma frequently picks up coughs and sniffles. But he told me that when they got out of the car, she had her glasses in her hand and he saw that she had been crying. When he asked her what was wrong, she told him, "I miss my mommy." That story just brings tears to my eyes. It makes me want to scoop Emma up in my arms and hug her to bits. For so long I fretted over attachment issues. Now, me and Emma, we're like two peas in a pod. I love her to pieces and am so glad she's a part of our family. What the future holds, we don't know for sure. But again, we take one day at a time, trusting in God to give us wisdom and strength to raise this beautiful little girl!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

Hello family and friends. It's been awhile! And unfortunately just a quick post today, but hopefully soon I'll be posting a better family update.
Just wanted to upload a couple pictures from Emma's Easter egg hunt. We got her the bunny ears because she has a perfect set of bunny teeth. Last week she lost both teeth on each side of her two front teeth....just in time for Easter!