Today, I have come to my favorite coffee shop in the city to do some planning, which has yet to happen. Instead of focusing on my work, I have sat here, sucked down two beverages—which were both more closely related to ice-cream than any self-respecting coffee—and I’ve caught up with my sweet-warm-funny-loving roommate Rachel, who was out of town for the week in the small town of Ongole, where Sarah Covenant Homes began. (Rachel cried. Haha, just kidding, I cried.)
So, three hours later, I have determined to use my unproductivity to be a bit more productive and write another post. Here it goes.
I guess the objective of today’s post will be to tell you all about my students—who they are and what they have taught me. Though I suspect that to fully encapsulate their individual brilliance, this blog post would need to be infinite, but I will do my best to give an overview.
I have a grand total of eleven students here. Their online names and ages are: Eden (2), Brianna (3), Charlotte (3), Mae (4), Chloe (5), Cedar (8), Dinah (8), Jasmine (9), Jeanette (11), Victoria (12), and Stephanie (15). Three of these students are brand new to me, as of last week: Jeanette, Victoria, and Stephanie, Two full weeks with them and I am already in love with their goofy spunk that they daily bring.
Two of my students (Dinah and Victoria) are low vision kiddos, and—from my experience with them—sight is their primary and preferred sense. The rest of my students are functionally blind, though I suspect some do have a minimal amount of light perception (mainly Mae and Cedar). I believe Mae can sometimes perceive shadows and forms of large objects/obstacles, and I believe Cedar only experiences light when engaging in eye-pressing behaviors. Eden is deafblind with a cochlear implant (we are all still trying to understand what she is and is not able to hear).
My schedule with them may change sometime in the future, but as of right now is as follows:
As I said previously, my conundrum is that to adequately describe each of my students would take more time than I have presently. It would also amount to more than you would probably enjoy reading through, so, I think I will dedicate the next several blogs to a handful of students at a time.
This week, I present to you… the preschoolers. (Well, some of them): Chloe, Mae, Charlotte and Brianna.
Let’s begin with the oldest. Chloe.
Chloe is a five-year old wild thing. She is constantly dancing, singing, laughing, learning, and listening to everything and everyone in her environment. At this point, imagining her future, I see her has an actress, a track-and-field Olympian, and any sort of musician. Chloe is constantly filled with absolute joy. In the class of preschoolers, I see her as a leader. Though she prefers bouncing and dancing, moving and singing to focusing, she is constantly listening. She retains and understands new concepts quickly. She is eager to explore and happy to receive praise when she has accomplished a new skill. I love to pray for and imagine her with her future adoptive family: hugging at the end of a dance recital, after school someday riding bikes, driving in the car while listening to all of her favorite music. She is quite perfect. So beautifully perfect, as they all are.
Charlotte is three, approaching four, approaching a career as a worship leader. This baby can belt it, and she constantly shows a strong preference for worship music over any nursery rhyme. Nikki, one of the foster moms I work with, has been on a long journey, trying to adopt this precious nugget, and their relationship is truly something to behold. (If you would like to find out more about their story, click here!) Charlotte, I am finding out more and more, is a little jokester. When asked what day it is, without fail she will answer “Friday,” usually after she has said the correct day or has heard another student say so. The flourish Charlotte places on names and certain words also demonstrates how much of an entertainer she is. (Examples, it is not “Thursday” it is “Fuuuursday”; it is not “smooth” it is smah-ooood).”
Next up, Mae, who is four. (Yes, I realize that I how quickly I abandoned writing their descriptions in age order. I make no apologies). Waking and knowing I will begin my mornings teaching Mae is always exciting. She is the newest edition to Nikki and Merissa’s home, and watching her personality unravel is always precious. She has very short hair, which I love, as she reminds me of Eleven from Stranger Things (sorry for the pop culture reference, watch the show). I constantly marvel at her enjoyment of life, especially the way she loves school. Each day I greet her, she says “book” and has now started asking for her cane. She then takes off, navigates to the reading room and sits down with a book. We read and she recites most stories with me. Everyday she responds to circle time with pure enthusiasm, clapping at the end of each song and trying to participate as much as possible. I am always so astonished with how much progress she has made. In language, she has adopted so many English phrases and understands even more (her first language is Telugu). In mobility, she was unable to walk before coming to SCH, and now she walks, uses her cane, and can navigate to most places in the home with limited verbal instruction. There are so many reasons I feel proud of Mae and I am unbelievably confident in her incredible future.
Finally, Brianna: the babiest baby of the baby bunch. She is full of surprise, and it is so enjoyable to watch these unexpected moments where she demonstrates how much she is constantly learning and all the skills she works so hard to develop. She loves those moments just as much as we do, too, and will be the first to give herself a few claps and a quiet “yaaayyy!” Brianna is a favorite among so many of her siblings, who constantly seek her out for hugs and kisses, no matter what else is going on. Though she is younger than the other preschoolers, she works hard and is constantly learning, proving how well she can keep up. Nothing is better than hearing her laugh, seeing her sparkly smile stretch across her face (pronouncing her sweet, baby double-chin), or listening to her ankle-chains as she bobbles from room to room.
I’m sure, if it is not already evident, that it will become absolutely apparent that concluding posts is extremely difficult for me and is a skill that I definitely do not yet possess. So, this is where I leave you. I ask for your prayers for all of my students, and I guess, today, these four in particular. I ask for your prayers for Nikki and Merissa’s home, for all of Sarah Covenant Homes, and for me. Pray, especially this November, as it is National Adoption Month, for these students and that they will find their adoptive families. I appreciate you taking time out to read about my life here, because being able to share it is a sincere blessing.
Message me if there is any way I can pray for you or if you have any questions for me!
With love and a lot of thank-you’s,
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