We have gone back and forth and back and forth on whether to keep Joseph at home this year or go ahead and send him to school. On one hand, attachment and bonding is important. On the other hand, the boy needs lots of structure and when he gets bored you know some of the mischievousness that occurs. On one hand we really like having him around cause he's so sweet and a lot of fun. On the other hand, it is nearly impossible to effectively homeschool the others when watching Joseph is a non-stop responsibility. On one hand there are things we can teach at home but on the other hand there is so much more that the school can offer. Ultimately school was the winner.
I was a little distressed during his testing and his IEP meeting because he was not cooperative. Not one bit. If they wanted him to drop the bean bag into the bucket, he would throw the beanbag across the room and dump the bucket upside down. If they wanted him to point to the ball, he slapped the book and laughed....Etc.....That kind of thing. He took off his shirt and ran around the room knocking things off the counters. When I tried to correct him he arched his back and hollered. And laughed. Yes, it was that kind of first impression. I knew he was just overstimulated and overwhelmed and excited, because, although he is generally 'busy', he is 10 times busier and more excitable in a new environment (as we learned the first day we met him, when he broke my necklace, pulled my hair, yanked out my earring, and pinched and slapped John's face. Did I never mention this?)
I tried to tell the teachers and therapists that they were seeing him at his worst, just as we had on that first day, and I promised he would be better after the first day or so. I prayed he didn't make a liar out of me when I dropped him off for the first time this morning. I was a little tearful and a little worried, but it ended up being a wonderful day. Here are Joseph's first-ever first-day-of-school pictures. Hope was SO excited and so proud to take him around and introduce her "baby brother" (ha! they are only 10 days apart) to her fellow classmates.
I remembered a very low point in my life when I cried my eyes out, the time I learned that Joseph had been deemed unadoptable by a judge, and we had to face the reality that when he turned six last month he would be transferred to a mental institution where he would spend the rest of his life. Remember that post?
Well today not only is he NOT in a mental institution, he had a mama who picked him up from a real school where his teachers who already love him are determined to help him reach his full potential. His mama welcomed him home with a little snack, went through his little backpack, pulled out his little craft, and hung it on the refrigerator next to some photos of his brothers and sisters.