We worked with number tiles. I have 100 little inch tiles, each with a number up to 100. I separated 1 though 20, and asked Julia to put them in order, 1 through 10 and 10 through 20. She has no trouble with 1 through 10, but at 13 she became confused. She put the rest in some order, the wrong order and was content to read them back, haltingly to me. I told her it was wrong. Slowly we counted 1 to 5, then 5 to 10. As we started on 11 and 12, Julia interrupted me and explained how 11 and 12 copied 1 and 2 but with a 1 in front of the numbers. We noticed together that the same was true of 13, and then she set about ordering 14 through 20. Very quickly. And she counted with a good deal more confidence that she usually does.
It was a wonderful discovery.
But more than a discovery, it set me to admire her so much. Julia has been working all year with the numbers 1 through 20, and she has not discovered this "trick" of counting. How has she managed to count relatively correctly for all this time. What feat of memorization and will to please her teachers and me has she managed.
Maybe this is a discovery that we all make as such a young age that we cannot remember not knowing. It is times like this that I am quite angry with China and the system that resulted in my child being neglected and her brain left without stimulation. This discovery today was not that of some child without capacity. Recently, on some of the adoption yahoo boards, there has been discussion of an announcement that China has made through a few adoption agencies. China is calling for examples of adoptees who have gotten awards, done wonderful things and been publicly praised, achieved something notable. I am sure there are parents who will respond to the request, sending certificates and pictures of miniature scholars, athletes, artists, and philanthropists. I wish they would not. Rather, I wish we would all send stories of children who needed love and care, medical help and special education and who can now love their parents, regulate their emotions, and learn how to count. I don't care about respecting the culture that Julia came from, I don't care what China cares about or wants to show her people or the world. These kids who were so deprived, so neglected, and who are healing -- these are the examples of successful adoption.