ESL student, ADHD, adopted at age 6

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Anna Suranyi

I am the adoptive mother of two Haitian young men. Wesly is now 20 and Sebastien is 12. They have been in this country for 7 years and although much of what I have read specifies 5-7 years to reach grade level (80%), I am uncomfortable with my youngest son being placed in that time frame.

My oldest son was raised for the first nine years with his natural mother and placed in an orphanage from age 10-13. He had transfer knowledge when he came to this country and actually could carry on a limited conversation in English. He just graduated from high school last June--barely. I would say he almost reached grade level (75% rather than 80%).

My younger son was brought from the hospital at birth to the orphanage, not nurtured, held when fed, talked to, etc., and was there for the first 6 years of his life. He has ADHD, which was diagnosed two years after he arrived in the US. The first year he was here was spent overcoming fears--like dogs (most are wild in Haiti), policeman (not seen as community helpers in Haiti, and large buildings (the only large building he had ever been in was a hospital where he received his immunizations for the adoption). He also spent that first year bonding, learning how to eat at a table with silverware--SO many things. He had no print recognition whatsoever and had a limited vocabulary in French-Creole. He is presently two years below his classmates. I find that since the seven year mark has come he is simply seen as learning disabled. I don't agree because of the variables impacting his situation.

Any thoughts? I am a teacher--sixth grade previously and kindergarten presently. I have five children and feel I have some valid insights that are being ignored because I am the parent. Sad but true.

I would love to read some research that involves adopted older children, w/out transfer knowledge and deprived Early Childhood.
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