Friday, March 19, 2010

My Annabel

For those of you just tuning in, I adopted Annabel from China in July 2008. She has now been in the US for 18 months. She knew no English and her life before adoption is pretty sketchy. I was contacted by a woman just prior to traveling to China, who says that she was involved in saving Annabel's life when she was two years old. The woman told me she was part of a mission group visiting the orphanages and found Annabel tied to a chair and in a room by herself. She was rushed to a hospital and treated for dehydration and afterward moved to foster care. She remained with that foster family until she was identified as "adoptable" and then moved into the group home at the orphanage. She loved her foster family very much and still misses them. At the group home, she was responsible for the care, feeding, and cleaning of very young children.

I don't tell you all of this for sympathy, but to show you how resilient, strong, and resourceful Annabel is. She has a kind heart, a strong spirit, and can make me laugh harder than anyone else. She LOVES her grandparents and is growing that affection for me. She and Grace are working towards being sisters and when they fight, I know they are close to that goal!

Annabel has embraced learning about God. She joins in our family prayers, reminds me when I don't pray before eating EVERY meal, prays by herself, and says things that touch your heart so you just want to cry.

This week we were taking care of my niece's cats while she and her husband were on spring break.

On Wednesday night, Annabel prayed thanks for bringing Marcie home safe.

At Rosemont, we had serious problems in the way they handled her education. They sat her in a chair in front of a computer and let her play games. They also allowed bullying.

I stayed in constant communication with them and documented every thing that happened.

None of this improved the situation and I eventually filed a complaint with the Department of Education for these two offenses, as well as taking Grace from her regular class to the ESL class to serve as Annabel's translator.

After a VERY LONG process, the DOE determined that the school had done ESL correctly, or enough to get by, that Grace was moved into a regular classroom that just happened to be ESL, but that they had indeed failed Annabel as far as the bullying.

Rosemont got a slap on the wrist and a requirement to be educated in bullying issues.

None of this helps Annabel.

I feel a great deal of guilt that I did not do more, but felt powerless fighting against DISD.

None of that helps Annabel either.

No one had taken the time to teach her to read.

We tried at home, but by the end of the day Annabel had reached her limit on learning.

She is learning 6th grade curriculum through verbal learning only.

I love their current school because at the first hint of anything like bullying, it is nipped in the bud.

BUT Annabel still needs to learn to read.

I have found a fantastic resource through SMU and one of the directors is working with her one on one. She normally turns the students over to one of her doctoral students, but recognizes the needs that Annabel is facing and works with her privately.

Annabel came out yesterday spelling Cambodia!

Then we went to Barnes and Noble and for the VERY first time, wanted to buy a book in English!

Yes, I am a bit emotional about it all, as I feel so many people have failed Annabel along the way that I feel it is imperative that I don't. I know I will at times, as I haven't found the "how to" book that gives definite parameters on what to do, but this seems to be such a good thing for her that I must give it a try.

We got report cards yesterday. She passed everything but Science, which irritates me after her hard work on the science fair project, but it shows how hard she is willing to work without even being able to read!

The problem? Because you know there is one, is the cost. The classes are $50 per 45 minute session. The instructor would like to work with her twice a week, through the summer, to help catch her up.

That's about $400 more than we have in our budget right now. Does anyone know any good fund raisers? I am willing to do whatever is necessary to provide her with this in hopes that it will improve her life all around.

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