Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Gifts

Today, we had our IEP meeting for Ethan. For those that are not in the know about that particular acronym, it stands for Individual Educational Plan. I have been attending IEP meetings for the past almost 20 years; first with my son Justin who was a gifted child and now with Ethan who has developmental delays due to his early health issues as well as his institutionalization in an orphanage with less than stellar living conditions. Both children's learning was (Justin's) and will be (Ethan's) guided under what is considered exceptional student education.

Even though my two boys have fallen under that "exceptional education umbrella" for two very different reasons, in my heart I know that both have amazing gifts that will bring them far in this life. Justin has just finished his second year of law school and will be entering his final year in the fall...he is finally in the home stretch and we are so excited for him. He is about to enter his clinic (internship) in an area of law that he feels drawn to and excites him. He is also seven months away from his marriage to Judy. This is a very exciting time of life for him.

Ethan is just beginning his educational journey and I must tell you, his first year could not have had a better outcome. He has not only met but he has exceeded the goals that the educators had for him. It would not be an understatement to say that he has blown them out of the water!! This has been awe inspiring as our little man came to us in pretty sad shape. He was emaciated, had severe oral defensiveness to the point that his primary nutrition at 2 years 4 months came from a bottle, had tremendous gross motor delays, no speech to speak of and sensory integration disorder. He is now a robust, strong, non stop talking "mischief man" who loves to eat and is a joy and a love beyond measure. He can drive us to distraction with all of his antics but as far as development goes, he is doing wonderfully. When we first arrived home and had him assessed in 11/07 he was about a nine month old in terms of development. When we entered him in the PLACE preschool program through early intervention, his teacher estimated him at less two years developmentally, even though he was over three and now the teacher estimates him as pretty much spot on for his almost 4 years of age. Her exact words were that she has some "fine tuning" to do next year but that she has no doubt that when he enters kindergarten he will be able to hold his own quite well there.

I am humbled by this child's courage and tenacity. Of all of life's gifts, I believe that these two are attributes that brought him to this point and will allow him a brighter future than even our imaginations could have ever dreamed of for him when we first adopted him. I am very thankful to his wonderful teacher and the entire exceptional student education department at his school.

Last but never least, is our Katie who is a very bright and sensitive child. She is such a love and charms everyone that she comes into contact with. Yesterday, we got her report from Preschool and she has mastered every skill level with no exception. The teachers described her year as "wonderful", her attitude as "participatory and very helpful" and very ready for 4 year old Pre-K. We are so proud of her!

I am one blessed mama. Justin, Katie Starr and Ethan; they each navigate the world in their own special ways and I know that all of them will reach their potential and find their life's mission.

11 comments:

Tammie said...

I'm thrilled to hear Ethan's wonderful news! He has come so far in such a short period of time. Ethan is a determined person who will succeed because his family is backing him in every way.

Congrats to Justin & Katie Starr!

Love Letters To China said...

What proud parents you must be! I'm so happy to hear how well Ethan is doing in school. He has two wonderful parents that are there by his side guiding him through this journey called life.

Hugs...

Carol and Taylor said...

Wow, Lori, I'm so happy for you all. The power of love is an amazing thing, huh?

Minouche said...

You write beautifully about your children!!!! We can feel the love and admiration you have for each one of them.

Delfim and I are so happy to hear the good news about Ethan. We never had any doubts that under your love and care he would thrive and reach his full potential! :o) Way to go, Ethan! :o))

Candy said...

Way to go Ethan! We all have seen how much you have grown since you came home. You are a sweet little guy, with a smile to melt anybody's heart. It doesn't surprise me that you are doing so well.

Katie, you awesome! Keep us the good work.

Justin, Congratulations on completing your second year of Law School. I know it's not easy.

Diana said...

I am so happy to hear how well Ethan is doing. You can tell in your pictures how much he has changed..he has that little "twinkle" in his eyes that shows his personality:)
You have 3 reasons to be so proud:)

Anonymous said...

WOW, what a wonderful report on Ethan. Lori, you gave great praise to the teachers, who I believe deserve every credit, but I truly believe that it also takes loving, devoted parents like you and Marc to bring children to their full potential.
Hooray for Katie too, I'm sure she helped the little man come along.
Justin, you're almost there, keep up the good work!
Love,
Mindy

Colleen said...

Lori this is awesome news about Ethan's IEP meeting. Just incredible news!! I look forward to the day that the teachers tell me that Livi is caught up. I think I may cry.

Vivian M said...

Great news all around! I think Mom and Dad have something to do with this too, you know.

captain corky said...

Love to hear great news about the kids!

Teresa said...

I didn't realize just how delayed poor little Ethan was when he came home. Thank the Lord that you listened to the tug on your heart and brought him home so he can thrive and reach the potential he may not have reached otherwise. Truly he is one of three miraculous blessings to your family and your family is a blessing to him.