One reason I share our challenges, see last post, is because few adoptive parents want to talk about the difficulties of adopting a toddler from an orphanage. It’s important because when I first came home with Karen and was at my wits end as to how to deal with her, I was almost embarrassed to discuss it with other parents. Most are quick to brag about their children’s accomplishments, but not so ready to discuss the downsides of their adoption experience. I felt very alone with our difficulties, and I want to be a resource to other adoptive parents who are wondering if they are the only ones with behavioral or other issues.

After the last post, I wanted something upbeat, like how great things are going so far in kindergarten and pre-school.

Both kids started school on Sept. 1. For Karen it meant staying with the same teacher and at least 15 children she’s been with for the last 2 years. But now it is formally kindergarten and she will learn the alphabet and simple math, most of which she already knows pretty well.

So far, her behavior has been decent – at least no violence. But teachers report that she still has time-outs for being disrespectful and using bad language. She’s been difficult at home too, and I caught her giving Matan a “love bite” this afternoon.

Tomorrow we have a meeting with our new psychologist. She will finally meet Karen after hearing so much about her during our initial parents’ meetings.

Against all odds, Matan was accepted to the WIZO pre-school a few blocks from where we live. It is very hard to get in unless you are a government employee or have some sort of ‘protektzia’. There are 35 children in his class with only 4 caretakers. Two primary teachers, and two assistants who deal with diaper changes and keeping an eye on the group when a teacher is working individually with children.

While I’m not thrilled with the child/teacher ratio, I really like the two primary teachers. They are both Russian and understand what Matan may have experienced. They have been affectionate with him, and tell me that he’s acclimated really well.

WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organization), has a very slow process for acclimating new children. On the first day, I accompanied Matan and we spend about 1.5 hours together there. On the second day, he spent the same amount of time, but for part of it, I was out of the room. Yesterday they actually let me leave him there for 3 hours, and asked me to pick him up after lunch, but before nap time. They wanted to see if he would eat without me. The two teachers agreed that he is acclimating so well that they let him sleep there today. He fell asleep without a problem, but woke up after only an hour. I think he’s ready to stay the full day, even though he’s never happy to see me leave in the morning.

Even with the problems, we are so lucky to have both our children. They are both charming and social and are a lot of fun to hang out with. Whenever I start to get over frustrated, I just remind myself how much we have to give thanks for.

Shana Tova UMetuka to all all of you. Knowing you are reading is what helps me keep writing!

And now for the requisite photos: