Recently someone we're close to learned for the first time that our adoptees aren't academically at grade level. They're behind, whatever that means. (Who do I compare them to anyway? Do government schools provide my goals or is the Bible my plumb line?)
I was reminded of a party I attended last year, where I ran into someone I hadn't seen since way before our adoption. They were absolutely fascinated with our adoption story. I mean, seriously captivated by every detail. That is, until she asked if they were on grade level. I laughed and said: Oh no, she's probably about ____ grades behind.
Her face dropped and she actually looked embarrassed for me.
I suddenly realized there was no way I could explain it to her in a way she would understand.
Of course my adoptees are behind! Of course they're not on the level of children their age who were read to, sung to, hugged, held, and talked to!
And I don't expect them to be!
My Maya could run a house at her young age of 14. She is gifted. She knits at the speed of lightning, decorates cakes, and has a passion for photography. She knows how to calm a wailing baby and what spices go with which foods. She has great strengths.
She loves the Lord and forgives easily and quickly. She is an amazing peacemaker and very willing to give up her wants to make someone else happy. She's not a martyr; she's loving and loving others makes her happy. She reads the Bible every day on her own because she wants to.
I wanted to tell this lady: Don't be embarrassed for me! I'm PROUD of these children! Don't you see what they've overcome? What little they were given? What struggles they have to compensate for? We didn't adopt them to give them an academic future! We adopted them to give them a FAMILY!
But she was too entrenched in her mainstream thinking to be able to see any of these things. It made me sad.
We just weren't speaking the same language.