We are a married couple who adopted our little Russky, Nikita {aka Nicky, Nicky noodle, little man, Nikoli, the Nickster, crazy dude, goofball, puppy love, etc...you get the picture!} from St Petersburg, Russia four years ago. Join us as we stumble through the joys and perils of parenthood, while our son teaches us a few things along the road...


2 Years ALREADY?!

Last Monday we had our two year post-placement home visit with our Social Worker, Jenna.  She was amazed at how far Nicky's come.  The first visit with her, he barely spoke (Russian or English) and was definitely not into giving hugs to strangers.  This visit, he greeted her at the door, gave her a hug and sat right next to her for most of the time she was at the house.  Of course, she did give him her iPhone to play games she has on it for her boys, but still!  He never would've done that before!  Of course, he flitted from one game to the next, just pushing the icons on the screen to which elicited a "wow - short attention span, huh?" from Jenna.  We went through the typical "how's he doing with this and that" questions and we all marveled at how well he seems to be doing in a lot of areas. 

We confessed our concerns with respect to his cognitive abilities and how it seems to take him a lot of explaining of things before he finally seems to "get it"; and even then, it's almost as if he's just telling us he understands so we'll move onto a new topic.  He still doesn't consistently recognize colors; doesn't know his numbers; doesn't recognize the letters in his name, much less, actually write his name correctly.  We know that a lot of kids his age may not be able to do these things either.  But, at what point should you stop and actually think "huh...something might be going on here".  Should we wait for him to fail before getting him some help?  This is one of the many questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis.  Having your son look at you with a blank face when you're trying to explain something to him, or trying to tell him a joke or merely carry on a conversation, is so hard and frustrating.  It's flat-out heartbreaking.

I told Jenna how slowly me and Nicky's bonding process was moving about, and based on all the other info we provided, she said she thought he might be suffering from attachment disorder.  We had done some research prior to our adopting him, however, we didn't really consider it as being a factor in our relationship because he does give us affection.  Now, after looking at the list of symptoms, Nicky does show many of the other signs.  It's hard to tell what's attachment disorder and what behaviors are that of being a "normal" child his age.  All I know is that despite all we've done thus far, something still feels "off".  We go through times where we feel that everything seems to be on track; then we turn around and think "what the heck is going on here?!". 

Jenna carefully broached the subject of Nicky possibly having to repeat Kindergarten.  We looked at each other, nodded our heads, and agreed that yes, we feel that it's a strong possibility.  And we're ok with that - there's nothing wrong with it.  Whatever we need to do for him, we'll do.  We don't doubt how far he's come; but we're not naive in thinking we don't still have a long road ahead of us either.  The hardest things we've heard up to this point is "he's just 2" or "he's just 3" or "he'll get it; give him time".  Well, how much time?  It's been two years and we still have a three year old!  The more opposition we receive from everyone around us, the harder it is for us to receive the help and support we crave.  Nicky's (unfortunately) not doing so poorly that he's able to get extra help at public school; he's merely getting by.  If he hadn't been a candidate (due to the fact that he was Russian) for the communication class when we first enrolled him, he wouldn't be a candidate now - he's at the top of his class of his 8 peers.  But, he's at the bottom of the class in his private preschool.  I don't know about you, but I don't think that's giving him the best that we can offer. 

So, back to the drawing board. 

Kris and I are going to meet with a new therapist (the last one we saw wanted to dismiss the fact that Nicky had issues, and instead, wanted to talk about Kris and I's childhoods...um...how's that gonna help?!)  We aren't too proud to admit that we don't know what we're doing.  Anyone can have a kid...but being a parent takes more than that. 

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