Monday, April 27, 2009


never attended school until child welfare workers took him and placed him in an orphanage -- he was eight years old when he first entered a classroom. When I met him a couple of months back, he was a near-13 year old who could not add numbers beyond three digits and never heard of multiplication. But he is extremely intelligent -- even as his intelligence meant that he was aware for too long that he was woefully behind in his education (among other things).

In Colombia, we hired a tutor and placed him in private school while we finalized the adoption process there (it wasn't until after we'd come back to the United States that I learned that other students at the private school had verbally abused him because he was a "mere orphan" -- ahhh: sense my rage... ).

Last week, he finished his first week at school where he is enrolled as a sixth grader. Except for the English language, he is performing as well as his peers. In fact, one day last week, he turned in the "best" math homework. With Michael, my husband and I found someone with a fabulous potential who only needed a chance to develop -- a chance that adoption gave him (even as I rush to say that my husband and I feel he is a gift to us and not the other way around).

Many of you are asking how life is going with Michael. I find I am not equal to the task of describing this parenting experience. Whatever I share now is a total understatement of what is happening.

To know where Michael came from, to see how he is progressing, and to feel nothing but extreme optimism for his future -- to look deeply into the eyes of a child and see a joy that was once so alien to him: The sight leaves me awestruck.