The elementary where I teach sends home with students their class placement on the last day of school. Teachers receive their list for the upcoming year, but I always stick it in a drawer until I come back from summer break. This year was no different. In August, we had a Meet The Teacher time before school started. For 2 hours, my students and their parents walked through my doors, looked at their room, and introduced themselves to me. It was a quick meeting, and I tried very diligently to put names and faces together. I did remember a family that had a strong accent when I spoke to them.
During the first few weeks of school, I work to build a compassionate, caring learning community. We spend time sharing, celebrating, and talking about our lives. One day, we were sharing something unique when a boy, D, shared that his parents were from a country in Eastern Europe. Of course, I was so excited and I began asking D questions. Come to find out he can speak the same language as our Sarah's country!!!! I could hardly believe it!! D is now in charge of teaching a Word of the Day during our morning and closing meetings!! How about that!! I have my own language tutor from a fourth grader.
Life is GREAT!!!
Before I saw what I saw the last day of school, before I read the family blogs, before I thought about adoption and Down Syndrome, and before I was even shown this is the journey to go on, a young boy was placed in my classroom who speaks the same language as our little Sarah's country and would be able to teach me and my class conversational language from Eastern Europe. I shared with a friend my story the other day, and she said, "Shelly, you found out the WHY things have happened sooner than some. Count yourself blessed."
I do and I am.
I have grown so much in the journey thus far. I'm learning to laugh about inconveniences and happenings. (Such as: the dishwasher breaking a day before our first social worker visit and our kitchen is torn apart:( I'm learning to do what I can and leave some things for another day. (I'll never be caught up at school!!) I'm taking time to celebrate the small things. (My son loving his new cooking class /Cub Scouts activities and my daughter teaching her brother math games at home.) I'm learning to take deep breaths and walk away when someone says something insensitive about adoption and Down Syndrome. (It's only happened once, but it left me speechless.) Mostly, I'm seeing the world in a new light. In a few short months, Sarah will be seeing everything for the first time and I'm looking at the world around me with a sense of awe and wonder.
“Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.”