Since the beginning of December we’ve been taking steps toward putting Vladik in school for the rest of this school year, while we’re in the US. It’s been a decision I didn’t expect us to make, but for many reasons it just seems right. We aren’t set on him being in a special Ed classroom all day every day, we just feel that it makes sense to take advantage of the opportunities he has here in the US to be taught by professionals- before we head back to Ukraine and it’s all up to me. [GULP] On Monday we spent about 2 hours with a school psychologist and a speech pathologist and they evaluated Vladik. They had never seen a situation like ours before: 15 years old, no educational history AT ALL, smart, but behind in everything because he’d simply never had a chance. ZERO life experiences until 5 months ago. Born at age 15. 🙂
Vladik blew them away. His zest for life, his joy, his eagerness to learn- he is truly a miracle.
There may have been some tears in the room as we talked about how far Vladik has come- from the cowering boy in the Isolation Hall to the brave boy shooting matchbox cars across the meeting room table.
Those two ladies got it. They really and truly “got” it. They saw the treasure in Vladik. They saw the untapped potential that has waited years and years and years to be discovered. They looked past his outward appearance and his awkward speech and institutional behaviors and truly saw the person. Those two women saw the value in my son and I will be forever grateful to them for that. At the end of the meeting they declared “We need to get this boy in a classroom! He’s waited long enough.”
It will take a while to figure out which school and which classroom is the best fit for our boy, but they didn’t want him to have to wait, so they arranged for Vladik to start with tutoring in the meantime. I think that was a fantastic idea. Tutoring is the perfect transition for Vladik.
We started today and are just doing 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. Vladik’s attention span is like minuscule, so 30 minutes is about his max. Plus, this is his first activity away from Mama and Papa, so it’s a great way for him to learn that we will always come back for him and it’s a really safe place for him to learn some independence. The teacher speaks no Ukrainian 🙂 so, Vladik will be learning some English along the way!
Oh my, I made the rookie mistake of telling Vladik last night that he would start school today. Silly me. I should have known that in order to avoid approximately 372 questions about when we will go to school, I should have just waited and told him in the car on the way there. [live and learn] But I just couldn’t wait to tell him! He was jumping and laughing and clapping with glee. He said “Addy has a school, Ezra has a school, Hava and Seth have a school, and Vladik has a school!!” When I came to pick him up today at the end of his lesson he said “Mama! This is my school!” He was so proud.
I love that boy. I picture him wandering the halls of Romaniv and my heart breaks in two. He had so much more in him than we ever realized. He had an imagination and a smart brain and a sense of humor and a great capacity to love, all just sitting and waiting for a chance. Born at age 15, now my sweet baby can fly. The sky is the limit for our boy.
I dream of that same future for the rest of our friends who sit and wait at Romaniv. I wonder what they will be on that day when their chance at freedom finally comes. I wonder who will be funny and who will be super smart and who will have a knack for growing flowers and who will be great with the animals. I do know that they will all exceed our expectations because the sky will be their limit. And I pray that day comes soon.
Jed is working hard in Ukraine, deciding on the best property to purchase and meeting with government officials. This God dream of ours is going to happen. It’s really going to happen. Doors are flying open in front of us. People are going to see the beauty of our boys and they’re going to see their value, just like the school psychologist and speech pathologist recognized the beauty of our Vladik. The joy of Vladik experiencing his first day of school is just a glimpse of the freedom that is to come. We.Can’t.Wait. When God puts a dream in motion the sky’s the limit!