Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back Up Time

I wish I could back up time for Aaron.  I wish I could.

He has lost so much and in so many areas is just plain way behind.  I wish I could back him up two years.  Grant him a few backward birthdays so that instead of turning 7 next month we could wind his clock back and let him turn 5 instead. 

I wish I could do this for him. 

He is not ready to be 7 or even 6 next month. 

He is only now learning to count to 10.  He is only now learning color words.  He only knows a few letters.  And some days he doesn't even remember that he has learned any of the above.

He has so far to go. 

Sometimes I get caught up in the comparison game.

You know the one. 

How does your kid match up against all the other kids.

I'm not stupid enough to try to pit our little guy against kids who spent their lives having the luxury of families and homes.

But I sometimes, wrongfully, compare him to other adoptive kids.

When it comes to the dimples, attitude, obedience and willingness to please - Aaron shines.

He will win any contest in those categories.

When it involves directions and mechanics - again - he excels.

When it involves his ability to understand us - he is doing fine.

When it comes to his language skills, well, let's just say that some days I despair.  He is having a beast of a time remembering the words that make up our language.  This is having a profound affect on his ability to progress past point A in basic kindergarten skills.  Counting, colors, shapes, numbers, letters. 

How far he needs to go seems beyond reach some days.
And when I read about other kids who come sailing across the ocean, already mastering the English language before they hit the shores, I fall into the comparison trap.

I want Aaron to match up.  I want him to be on par with those kids. 

I want.  I want.

It isn't pretty and it is wrong.

Comparing is wrong.

Aaron is Aaron.
In the same way that I have had to learn not to compare my other sons to their peers (and yes I sin in this area too), I need to accept, love and cherish Aaron for who he is.  He is unique, special, fearfully and wonderfully made.  He came out of a world that would cause many other children to bend and break.  That alone should give me pause to rejoice.  If he never learns his colors - okay.  I will definitely be a bit sad but our son lived in hell and he was not broken. 

He was not broken.

I still want to back up time for my little guy.  I freely admit it.  For his sake.  I would love for him to be only turning five next month.

But I also want/need to stop playing the comparison game. 
I need to stop trying to figure out where he lands on the 'smartness' scale.

I need to rejoice in what he has accomplished and encourage him in his areas of weakness.

I need to just let Aaron be Aaron.


  1. Thanks for the reminder. I think we all get caught up in this game from time to time. Remembering that our children are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by a Father who loves them more than we can imagine is so important to understanding the uniqueness of each one.

  2. We all do this. I despair at times over what my boys may never be able to learn and do. But, at least they now have a chance to be all they can be. Aaron is bright and happy and I'm sure that these things will come in time.

  3. Oh how I long to celebrate early birthdays with Alina. She missed out on 3.5yrs of everything, and its not fair. Mostly not fair for her, but I can't help but feel a little sorry for myself that I didn't get to cuddle her newborn self to sleep, that Id idnt' get to celebrate her first birthday with her, or anything those first three years. Its hard to not be a little pouty about it.

    But I do have to remember all the first we DID get with her. All the new sights, sounds, smells, foods, experiences, and her first steps, everything is new for her. We DID start from scratch with her. Not as a newborn, but as a new little soul.

    ANYWAY, I understand exactly what you are saying. :)

  4. How I deeply understand. But my greediness for skills is not for our adopted daughter, but instead for our bio son with Autism. I want so much for him. He is so ill. And not making improvements. I never would have understood the sadness of birthdays until our son started to regress.

    On a related note, make sure Aaron is getting his omega-3's which are good with language delays. The American diet is quite deficient in them. Local health food stores sell kid friendly versions- chewable strawberry scented gelcaps, and Coromega packets of delicious pudding-like treats.

  5. With you, Aaron has the time to be five, even one, two, three and four if he needs to be. He has the chance to catch up in all areas. He has already caught up on love. Many more people love him than he can ever know. How may nearly 7 year old have that?

  6. Not even home a month,,, and I see so much progress in some areas that I expect it in areas I should not sometimes. One day at a time,,, or one minute at a time.

  7. It's such an easy web to get caught up in. Just remember, there is only ONE Aaron - and God made him perfectly. He'll never compare to someone else, because he is unique.

    We all shine in some areas, and struggle in others. You can teach colors, it's much harder to have a kiddo with an amazing character...

    And Aaron CERTAINLY has that!

    Brooke Annessa

  8. I love Aaron's smiling face. Whenever I log onto your blog and see pictures of him, he is just beaming. What a precious boy with the greatest smile.

  9. We adopted our daughter from Guatemala when she was 10 years old. She did not grow up in an orphanage but on the streets with her family. At about the 6 month mark of coming home she seemed to lose any language at all. It was strange, she lost her Spanish and hadn't gained English. She did pick up English quickly after that point.

    It will come, all in his time.

  10. He will catch up in all areas but they say they work on one area at a time. Once he gets the language down I think you will be surprised how fast he catches up. Our son has been home 1 year and 4 months and still is not talking much. We are giving it a bit more time but may start speech therapy to help him understand our language. Receptive language is awesome though. They also say that for every 3 months in an institution subract 1 month off their age so Aaron although almost 7 is not developmentally. But again they catch up on all this but it takes time. He is just adorable and what a smile!!!

  11. I've had to give up in the area of comparing because I have five now that are behind or delayed on so many things, yet have had victories in other areas, that David and I see as having eternal value.Thank the Lord for our freedom to home school and meet those individual needs one at a time and no peer pressure.
    Aaron is #1 in my book :)

  12. You're right don't compare. But if you do, compare the smile, those dimples, and the bright eyes. Aaron wins.

    Our oldest adopted daughter feels like she lost part of being a child (because we discovered she was older than they said and so we skipped a couple birthdays). That makes Carolyn and I sad sometimes. But we rejoice in what God has already done in her life and the rest of them.

    Love looks very good on Aaron. EnJOY him.

  13. ~We were blessed with 2 little boys from Detroit just 2 yrs ago. They were ages 4 and 6 at the time with the older one being spot on developmentally and the younger being about 2 yrs behind. We just completed 2 yrs of kindergarten and he's going to be 7 in November. I truly did not think that at 6.5 my little man would learn to read. I honestly thought he'd be closer to 8 or 9. He surprised me a great deal! We would go through the alphabet A-Z and by the time we got back to A he'd forgotten all we'd just done....same with 1-20. Oh my goodness we would start right back at the beginning with no pressure. Eventually it all stuck and my little man SHOCKED me when he was ready to read. I'm still glad I held him off for so long. It was worth it to allow him to developmentally catch up and mentally grasp all the concepts.

    Just be consistent with the routine, no pressure (which your stellar at), and keep going through everything again and again and again. It *will* stick and his recall will be quicker. I know I mourned the missed years of opportunity to teach and train, however, in the end I realized that I still have many years left of teaching and training.~

  14. It is hard not to compare and I appreciate your honesty. Our daughter came home very delayed and it took her a long time (a couple years) to learn those colors and other basic things. She has been home almost four years now and with a whole lot of one on one help from Mom, fish oil supplements, an herb that has helped her a great deal, and lots of love she has caught up considerably. It hasn't been easy but learning and still learning to accept my daughter for who she is has helped me grow so much personally. I think it can be especially tough for homeschooling Moms of children with special needs because it is hard not to worry that our child's delays will appear to be a reflection of our teaching ability. It is not like one gets a lot of recognition for being a homeschooling Mom and when your child is not succeeding academically it can be very humbling. I have worked in the public school system with children who have special needs so I know I am providing my daughter with way more help than she would receive from a special education classroom. I am praying that God gives you great wisdom in finding the best resources to help Aaron or peace if you are already doing all that God wants you to do.

  15. There's a song that Rachel Coleman wrote called sign. It was inspired by a little boy with Spina Bifida, which Rachel's daughter also has. It's called Shine.

    Here's a link to the lyrics

    "Sometimes I see you stuck
    For such a long time
    A daily nothing new
    Pretend I don’t mind
    With lists of things you’ll never do
    Until somehow you do
    And you do — you do — you shine

    and Aaron will do what Aaron will do when Aaron is ready to do it...."

    It just seems fitting here.

  16. I think your momma heart wants the best for your son, for all your sons. It's hard to have Aaron invited to birthday parties for children his age and him be so far behind his peers that he wants to play with... I know, I have been there with my oldest son, Dylan, that has autism... I know it hurts your heart to see him struggle, after everything he has been this. There aren't words to say to give you comfort but I know God has promised to give us hope, and a future...and that is what He is going to do for steps, friend, baby steps.

  17. Appreciating your honesty...Aaron is one blessed little boy. Thankfully, he has a lifetime ahead of him to catch up...

  18. You perfectly described my experience with my middle adoptee. But backing up 2 years wouldn't be enough. The effects of malnourishment possibly in the womb and then for the first several years of life have a profound effect on brain development.
    Aaron is exactly who God created Him to be. Don't wish for more than that.
    4 years later, my son (middle adoptee) now 11 years old, still struggles to communicate what he wants to say. He has a decent vocabulary, but his language skills (grammar and such) are still slowly developing. He recently asked for a red and a green apple, when what he meant to say was: red or green apple. Those little nuances that are so important to communication are still difficult for him.
    BUT they won't always be. Although he is 11 yo, developmentally I have to think of him as 4 because that's how many years he's been in our home, receiving adequate nutrition and care.
    This is one reason I am so very grateful for the opportunity to homeschool. My adoptees have no one to compete with. They have the freedom to learn at their own pace, some areas slower, some areas way faster.

  19. First of all let me start by saying what a handsome little boy Aaron is. Definite prom date material in say 10 years. lol
    Our daughter came home at 3-1/2.. 3 years ago. I can relate to what you're all saying. She is delayed but she is also smart as a whip in many ways. Language delays yes.. some speech delays yes. I don't home school. We are very fortunate that we have an excellent public school in our town. This past year after 2 years in private preschool we enrolled her in kindergarten where she has made amazing strides. But make no mistake it hasn't been easy. I enrolled her in 2 kindergarten classes. One where she would be pulled for speech, OT and PT 4X a week and the other where she was to be treated just like the other children. I wanted her classmates to see her as their peer not some girl they struggle to understand. She is also about to start her 3rd year of ballet / tap which has helped tremendously with balance and self esteem. From day one I didn't ask for the prettiest girl nor the smartest. I kept saying if she has a good heart she'll be OK. Well God has granted my wish and then some. She is the prettiest little thing I've ever seen and I know she will someday run circles around her parents intellectually. But she has a wonderful personality very much like your son. That is worth so much you can't imagine. So please don't compare your children to their peers. Every child is uniquely gifted. It is our job as their parents to be aware but don't compare. Unconditional love. When you love a child unconditionally it will help them grow and do their own personal best. That is usually far more then you ever dared to dream for them.


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!