So, over the past 8 months I have spent a lot of time blogging about how Chris and I have been doing with this whole foster care thing. But I haven't really written at all about how the boys are doing. Maybe this is because I have to be careful of what I write and, of course, confidentiality is important but everyday I am encouraged by something new they are learning. Just being in a school environment and having interactions with both other children and caring adults has made a world of difference. About 6 months ago, Chris and I had to write a list of things that concerned us about the boys' development. It is saved on my desktop at work and a few weeks I opened it and honestly had to laugh at out. They have come SO far. Here are a few examples.
6 months ago here is what we wrote...
They do not seem to know/recognize the following:
-numbers (no ability to count or comprehension of numbers)
-what age they are (cannot answer when you ask them)
-animals (we took them to the zoo and everything was a “horse”)
-animal sounds (no response when you ask, “what does a dog/pig/cat say?”)
-shapes (they were not able to do the eye exam at the doctor’s office because all the shapes were a “star”)
-opposites (frequently ask to put the window “up” in the car when they actually want it down, also they don’t seem to always understand the difference between “yes” and “no”)
-letters/alphabet (no letter recognition or letter sound recognition)
-book recognition (if they hand them a book they don’t always hold it right side up)
I am so pleased to say that they have made tremendous progress on EVERY SINGLE ONE of these. Colors, shapes, animals/sounds, their age, answering questions, opposites, holding books the right way...none of these are a problem anymore. They still have a little bit of trouble with numbers (they can count to 20 but sometimes miss a few numbers here and there). They are recognizing a lot of letters and know the letters in their own names. For example, if they see a "C" they will say, "that letter is for Chris". So, they are picking up on things and that's encouraging. They are still not exactly where they should be in order to go to kindergarten in the fall but they are so much closer.
Their speech has improved enormously and you can actually hold a "conversation" with them. They are so funny and try to mimic what we say. For example, I say the phrase "I have no idea" a lot. Well, the other day, Chris had one of the boys in his truck and I had the other in my car on the way home. Chris beat us home and I turned to the backseat and said "how did Chris beat us home?" He looked at me as serious as can be and said "Abbie, I never had an idea!" So, I guess we need to be careful what we say around them! Their vocabulary seems to grow by the day.
Also, much to my excitement, they are showing a little bit more interest in books. For those of you who don't know, I am a huge bookworm. In fact, my first word that I ever spoke was "book". So, when the boys didn't want to sit and read books with me, it would drive me crazy. Now, I wouldn't say they are crazy about books, but they will sit and listen (at least for a book or two). I cherish the moments that they will actually snuggle up to a good book with me. Their favorite (mine too!) is "Goodnight Moon" because they like to find the mouse on every page.
Like I said, Chris and I are very encouraged by the progress they are making. We pray that whenever the next months and years takes them, they will be in a place where their education and development will be nurtured and made a priority. Because, all kids deserve at least that.