My husband and I always knew that if we had kids we would homeschool. Once we decided to adopt that plan didn’t change, but it certainly made it even more appealing. Our oldest was adopted at 9 months old and our youngest was adopted at 20 months old. So starting out we had missed a chunk of their life and for our little one it was a big chunk of time. When you have biological kids you can be with them from the first day of life forward, but with adopted kids you can never get that time you missed back. So the thought of sending our kids off for dozens of hours each week was impossible for me to imagine. Homeschooling and adoption seem to go hand in hand.
When we met our younger daughter at 20 months old she was very much like a 12 month old emotionally and developmentally. So the sorts of toys we thought she would be able to play with and things we thought she would be able to do were off by quite a bit. We had to go back to the basics with her and let her do little “baby” things. I hit up some garage sales and Target to buy some baby toys that we had gotten rid of when our older girl outgrew them. That playtime built up a foundation for her to catch up developmentally. In the beginning when we tried to read board books to her, she would try to slam our fingers shut in the book and would get angry. We just continued to read in front of her and around her and now she loves books more than anything else in our house. Being able to focus on exactly what she needed rather than sending her off to a daycare or preschool where they are not prepared for those issues gave her what she needed to catch up to the children around her.
I know a lot of people who homeschool and a lot of people who have adopted. For those who adopt older kids it’s even more appealing to homeschool because most of those children have suffered a large amount of pain and loss that most of us can’t fathom. It’s a chance to spend all day getting to know your new child while also introducing them to new things each day. Especially for kids who are internationally adopted at an older age, the culture shock of being in an entirely different country where no one speaks your language can be overwhelming. If you are homeschooling you can teach at the pace that is comfortable to them without the pressure to place them in a grade or category.
Homeschooling your new family member all day can develop the trust they need to learn to be a part of a family. They can learn in a safe place and not be made fun of by kids who don’t know or understand what they have been through. One mother told me, “If you homeschool an adopted child, they are completely immersed in the family atmosphere and they learn that they belong and they are loved. They are offered a real sense of stability.”
I am so glad that we have come across such a wonderful community of homeschool families that have also adopted. It helps to know that there are other people out there who have been through this before and can be a wonderful support. Have you adopted and did that motivate you to homeschool? Do you think it’s made the transition easier?