Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Big Girl Bike

Riding a bike has been a struggle for Hannah from the very beginning. As a toddler she couldn't figure out how to keep her feet on the pedals of a push bike and then it took her almost 2 years longer than her peers to learn how to pedal a trike (long after she was far too big for one) and keep her feet on the pedals and steer at the same time. Once we moved onto regular bikes with training wheels she was already pretty much too big for most of the bikes that are sold with training wheels. We got the biggest one we could, but her confidence was shakey at best. Last summer everything came to a head and bike riding became torture rather than fun. She was too big for her bike, too heavy for the training wheels, and too scared to ride with even the tiniest bit of wiggle. So, we bit the bullet and took her to an actual bike shop. They fitted her for a correctly sized bike (way bigger than the one she had) and installed heavy duty training wheels on it. Hannah is now flying around the neighborhood on her bike. She's throwing fits when I ask her to get off or tell her I can't take her out to ride right this second. I never thought I'd see the day when my little girl actually WANTED to ride a bike, but it's happened and I couldn't be more proud of her!

In other news, more big changes are up for the Spontak house. We've got 3 new foster care placements coming to stay with us sometime this week or the beginning of next. Two of the girls are very close to Hannah's age so this should be interesting. She's not really had to share any treasured possessions (other than mom and dad!) with the Hurricane since he's too little to play with most of her stuff, but all that's about to change. They'll even be sharing clothes since the older two wear the exact same size as she does. I'll keep everyone posted on how the acclimation process goes for the entire household. It's hard for me to believe that in the time span of 2 months I will have gone from a mama of 1 to a mama of 5! Crazy! At least that's as full as our house can get for awhile since our van can't haul any more than that! However, I'll let you in on a little secret that even Kyle doesn't know yet, I've already looked into what 8 passenger vehicles are out there! Insane I know, but the 3 that are coming have a 4th sibling that we don't have room to transport and that just breaks my heart. BUT, for now, a family of 7 is as big as we can get.

Photo Notes: Notice the color coordination of the bike and helmet. I don't think that was on purpose, we've had the helmet for a long time, but I can't be entirely certain! Notice how far way she is from anyone that could possibly save her if she started to fall in that last bike picture! That's a BIG deal for her! The last two pictures I just couldn't resist adding on. They're from a daddy/daughter wresting session one weekend.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


I have a feeling March is going to be a rough month. Kyle has already traveled out of state once and he is schedule to go out of state (and out of country) at least 3 more times this month. Hannah gets all out of sorts when he is gone and even the toddler, who I will hereby refer to as the Hurricane on this blog, seems to be affected by his absence. When he's gone I don't sleep well and that affects my patience to boot. It's a vicious cycle! We also have a 6 day weekend coming up this week. Hannah's school's "spring break" is actually 2 days off at the end of one week, the weekend, and then 2 days off at the beginning of the next week. The change in routine and the lack of structure on breaks really throws Hannah off as well. Add to that the fact that Kyle will also be gone for half of that break and we're prepping for disaster!

On a positive note, the door alarm is working. We do not believe Hannah has managed to leave her room even one time without our knowledge and that goes a LONG way to easing my fears about the medication stealing. There's still always the daytime that she could go for it, but at least I'll be awake and alert to her absence. I try not to let her out of my sight for very long at a time.

We had her latest IEP meeting and got things set up for next year. They even added some specific and measurable academic goals to ensure that she's not being allowed to simply slide by not learning since she already meets grade level standards. They identified that her reading level was at the beginning of 3rd grade level and her reading goal is to be at the beginning of 4th grade level by the end of first grade. I think that's actually a very ambitious goal since 3rd grade is where reading gets tough. You stop learning to read and start reading to learn. Comprehension and vocabulary knowledge as well as life experiences become a bigger part of reading than decoding and those are the things she sometimes struggles with. Her math goal is to be at the end of 2nd grade level by the end of the year. I actually think that is a skimpy goal since she's mastered much of 2nd grade material already. She's only doing first grade curriculum because there are a few holes in her knowledge on a select set of concepts. Her overall knowledge and computation ability is already into the 2nd grade level now. She continues to have her various social skill and behavior goals and now has OT goals as well since that was finally added to her IEP after the full evaluation the team did a few months ago. In general, I'm quite pleased with her IEP and I think it should set her up for success next year. The biggest factor will be her teacher. The wrong teacher could be her demise. This year the principal hand picked her teacher and it was a perfect fit. I HOPE they do the same thing next year.

Hannah's ability to spell and write complicated sentences has really blossomed the past month. I'm quite impressed by her progress. They do a lot of writing in her classroom and she does quite a bit in the resource room as well. Writing was one of her biggest weaknesses going into the school year and now I would say she's above grade level on it too!

Hannah continues to grow into her role as big sister. Jealously still abounds, but she did express to me the other day that she hopes the Hurricane gets to stay forever. She likes to play with him (in small doses) and he wakes her up every morning which she pretends to hate, but really loves! Working the behavior plan is tough with the Hurricane around, but somehow I'm making it work.