Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Choices, Consequences and Connections to a Ray of Hope

Come back with me to July 4, 1995. I sat lounging in a chair, book in hand, with one eye on my 8 year old who was frolicking with a friend in the community pool. I heard the familiar ring of my cell, picked it up and heard the voice of my husband, urging us to come home quick. The long awaited call from Latvia had come in, and if I came home now I could speak to the adoption coordinator who had identified our daughter. Even though it was midday, the fireworks had begun for me and our lives would never be the same.

On that wonderful afternoon, I learned of not only the blond, blue eyed 5-year old little girl who was chosen to make our family complete, but also of her 3-year old cherub looking brother who was also looking for a home. The choice we made that afternoon had consequences that continue to impact our lives. On that day, July 4, 1995, our family of three became a family of 5.

I flew to Latvia in early August, met both Sandra and Robert, delighted in their hugs, their affection and the joy they showed while blowing bubbles, using crayons and running along the beach. In the adoption court, I learned that Sandra had lived with her birthmother for the first four years of her life and that Robert had been placed in the orphanage at birth and had language delays, but these exuberant children were happy, healthy and would add joy to our lives and our connections were cemented. They would come home with me to United States, be met at the airport by their father, and older brother and we would learn to believe in a ray of hope together.

Fast forward 7 years, Greg, our oldest adopted at birth, is now 15, Sandra is 13, and Robert is 11. Both in their teens, Greg and Sandra keep busy with friends and sports. Robert at 11 has been regressing, his 4th grade teacher has told us his reading skills in 5th grade are not what they were in 4th grade. I'm speechless, my worst fears are being realized. I have been complaining for years that the school and Robert's teachers were not meeting his educational needs. My frustration and anger escalate and finally, feeling misunderstood, I turn to our family doctor, who in turn refers us to a neurologist who runs a wide variety of tests on Robert and in the process, we recieve the diagnosis of Klinefelter Syndrome (KS), 47 XXY.

In learning about KS, we learned that boys like our son, Robert, who have an extra X chromosome often experience language delays, learning disabilities, and are misdiagnosed with ADHD or ADD. Finally, Robert's reading challenges, communication difficulties, frustration and emotional outbursts have a name and begin to make sense to us all. Finally, with the diagnosis, we feel a sense of relief and begin to see a Ray of Hope. Finally, we are able to stop pointing fingers, blaming the teachers, and are able to begin taking actions to serve the needs of our son and the needs of our family.

When have you made choices, faced consequences, and connected to a Ray of Hope?

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