Friday, April 1, 2011

The Dance

Let me remind you that I do not dance (or sing) in public.  I am tone deaf and rhythm challenged.  But I am learning.  But this dance that I am talking about is actually the adoption dance.  With Bella's adoption....the week was broken down to the emotions that the day of the week evoked.  The dance went sort of like this:

Monday: no communication with Belay so no new news was coming that day but the seed of hope would be planted.  This was going to be the week that we got our referral, or court day, or we passed court (and when we didn't), or they fixed the problem.

Tuesday: a good day, hope was growing

Wednesday: the best because we would have a conference call if it was the end of the month or there was a really good possibility that good news was coming this day or the next

Thursday: disappointment taking root, would another week pass with no news?

Friday: crushed, I would have to wait another three days before news came.

Jason could tell the day of the week by how fragile my mood was.  So the dance played out for the better part of the year.  The hurry up to wait.  The stalking the Gladney FBI or other blogs.  Can't you see it as a ballet?  Can't you see the building of tension mid week?  The conductor waving the hands and the excitement building only to come crashng down for the weekend.  The weekend was restorative and healing.  Gosh, the only thing that kept me sane were the prayers, mine and those of dear friends.

This adoption is already playing out differently.  I am learning a new dance.  I must be getting to be a better dancer because this one seems a whole lot easier.  I don't seem to be riding the waves up and down.  I am filling my mornings with Bella activity, bible study, and cleaning (always cleaning).  I am filling my afternoons with sports activities and listening to teenage happenings (and silent prayers for me to have the wisdom to say the right thing or better yet, say nothing.)  I have learnied that our weekly update comes on Thursday.  (What???  A weekly update???)  So Thursday no longer means what it use to.  That is one of the subtle differences.  I am learning new steps.  I am exercising muscle memory, too.  Stay tuned and I will let you know if I make it to the finals.

So the next question...does the reputation of the school (being good) trump diversity or does diversity trump reputation of the school?  I have to make a decision for Bella's school in the next 10 months.  We live around the block from the elementary school that my older kids went to.  Bella really would like to go there, also.  I have already told her that she may not be going there (she may be one of maybe 3 AA kids in the whole school), that Daddy and Mommy must decide the best place for her and it may be different.  I am thinking about applying to a school that has in the past had much more diversity (last year had 4 AA in the kindergarten class!) even though the school around the corner may (stress, may) be a little better.  Hmmmm.  Any thoughts?  Any life experience?  Fill me in.


InventingLiz said...

Here's some advice that I read long ago when I was still waiting for a referral and has stuck with me as I make school decisions for Elfe - choose a school that complements your own strengths and weaknesses. In our case, we live in a diverse neighborhood but my extended family is not very diverse, so I want her to go to a school with more diversity. I can enhance, up to a point, whatever the school may be lacking in academics - I can take Elfe to museums and enroll her in enrichment classes and provide her with lots of books at home, that kind of thing.

Also, I am learning that diversity in the student body is important and good, but even more important is diversity in the school staff - will Elfe see successful adults and role models who are the same color as her?

That's my two cents on the subject, good luck with your decision!

emily said...

So well written friend. I think you are a beautiful dancer.

Deena said...

Good luck with your decision! Our school district has only 7% of the student body considered "minority." The pupil services director was excited to tell me that the numbers were up from a few years ago...hmmm...still a pretty small number. I love having my kids attend our "neighborhood" school though.
I look forward to hearing what you decide.
Good luck with your "dance." You seem to be very light on your feet and appear very graceful ;)

scooping it up said...

we are starting to do more and more for diversity. even with our bio kids. we didn't enroll jane in soccer in our town. we went to JP because there are more diverse families. we are likely not going to send our kids to schools around the corner for this reason. in fact, we might even move when the time is right (two yearsish?)

i never thought it would be like this, but the diversity thing is far more important to me than i anticipated. we are so done with our white town.

Anonymous said...

I think it is great that you are considering all factors when deciding on Bella's schooling. For what it's worth, I think being in a more diverse environment is more important. I have no doubt that your family will make up for the slight difference in academics. I have been the "Bella" in academic and social settings and I can tell you a face that looks like mine was always welcome and at times desperately needed.

Jen said...

Thank you, anonymous! That is kind of what we are thinking...we are actually starting to question and challenge that an "quality" education is actually lacking if it does not offer diversity. Different perspectives challenge us to think and see differently. But thank you becuase it's nice to be able to see how "Bella" may feel years from now:)

Bonnie Nieuwstraten said...

As for the dance....I can see how it would be a little different this time around. I am ready to start the process again. My hubbie needs a little more time, but I am praying for summer to be a "go" and already I feel more peaceful about it. I know there will be ups and downs and I know how hard it will be when a bring a pre-school age child with lots of wounds home. Hard, but beautiful and so worth it!

As for school, it's all so complicated. Our neighborhood school is not diverse at all. (In fact, my friend's adopted Korean daughter thinks that she's black!) Our community is not diverse. I am tired of little toddlers coming up to Grace at storytime at the library and touching her face. They have clearly never been up close to someone with dark skin. Sad, but true. But, this is where we live. We did change churched right before we brought Grace home and our church is very multi-cultural and there is even the sweetest Ethiopian lady who loves on Grace. We have been blessed to find a small, private school where there is a big adoption community. Grace will go there next year. It's not perfect, but it's the best we can do.

I hope that as you press in and pray that your decision will be so clear and that you will feel perfect peace.

Erin Moore said...

We're in southern Maine/NH border and there is very little diversity in our area - we put our kids in a private Christian school that is more diverse than the public schools - we've been happy with the school and that decision.