Such a proud momma...I NEVER imagined we would get here!

To those of you who know me, either personally or through my blog, you will know that my husband, Martin, and I struggled for years with our adopted son, E, who just turned 15. When I say “struggle,” that is one helluva understatement. Our beautiful house that we bought just 5 short years ago looks like…I don’t even know what word to use. There is duct tape and a lot of it…holding the bathroom tiles on the wall after the bathroom door was slammed so hard that the tiles became loose. There are several holes in the drywall in the basement. We have had to kick in more than one door to drag E out of a locked room. I’m sure you get the picture.

E at 8th grade graduation

E at 8th grade graduation

But, this post is not about how bad it is, but about how well things are going now. E decided that he wanted to get out of being in a special education school after spending almost his entire elementary school life there. He got up at the crack of dawn, not once but thrice…and this boy is a big time night owl. The fact that he got up at 6am in order to take the entrance tests in order to be able to apply to the selective enrollment high schools was a miracle in itself.

Also, E is and always has been lucky…getting accepted to schools, winning raffles, it’s uncanny, really. So, when the testing was over and the application process complete, he was accepted into 4 high schools. Mind you, the fact that he is mixed race with an IEP (Individual Education Program), was a factor, I’m sure. He chose Roosevelt High School which is a very interesting school. Located in the Albany Park neighborhood, it has been around for almost 100 years. It started out in 1922 as William G. Hibbard High School, but was moved into a new building and renamed in honor of the 26th president of the United States in 1927. Who knew? Not me, until I just this minute looked it up.

It has had several notable alumni including Nelson Algren, George Gobel, Shel Silverstein and Bob Sirott. Also, my aunt and 2 uncles attended it in the 50s and it seems I meet someone every few months who attended the school at some point in its long history. It is one of those huge schools with wood everywhere, a large auditorium and a gorgeous, inviting library. It’s a hike to get from one classroom to another, so E gets a workout everyday. The other cool thing about Roosevelt is that it is a Magnet School now, after being a neighborhood school for a long time. It even went through a period where it was considered “rough and not very good.”

Roosevelt currently has a CTE program which stands for Career and Technical Education to which E was accepted. He had a choice of the Information Technology Gaming Program or Culinary Arts. Guess which one he chose? So, if all goes as planned, by the time Martin and I are too decrepit to work anymore, E will be making a 6 figure income, designing video games and he will be supporting us in the manner to which we have never been accustomed.

Anywho, the good news is that school isn’t very far from our house and there is a bus that stops right across the street from us and with one connection, drops him directly outside the school. After years of driving him here, there and everywhere, to school and back, we made it clear that E was expected to take public transportation. However, the bad news is that school starts at 7:45am….what the hell is up with that after every study about teenager and sleep suggests that they can’t fall asleep until the wee hours due to teenage circadian rhythms and so school should start at 10am???? Martin and I were EXTREMELY concerned that E would NOT get up and make it to school on time…especially after he was consistently late to his elementary school, which started at 8:45am, located 6 blocks away.

But, then, we thought our prayers were answered when last summer, CPS, in an effort to save money on buses, changed all the high school times to 9am. We were overjoyed…for about a week…when we discovered that his school start time was pushed back to its original 7:45am. Apparently, enough parents complained about it…if I ever find out who… But, here we are at the end of the first term. E has made it to school every day but one, and there have only been a handful of days when I had to drive him to school or to his connecting bus a mile away. Not only that, he is doing incredibly well at school….all As and Bs…and thankfully, the tide has turned when it comes to homework. Administrators have finally believed the research that indicates that several hours of nightly homework does not improve school or testing performance; it makes for very unhappy students and their families. As long as E works hard in the classroom, which he is doing, then there is no homework. He only gets homework if he doesn’t finish his work. Here’s a link to my homework rant.

Martin and I attended “Report Card Pick-up/Teachers Conferences” in mid-November. Every single teacher “sang his praises;” he was respectful, hard working, with no behavior problems and he worked well with his classmates as they often work in pairs. His Biology teacher told us “a child like E only comes around once a year.” We looked at each other in disbelief. Our new theory is that E was abducted by aliens and a pod person who looks identical to E was sent down to earth in his place. LOL! We couldn’t be prouder of him….now if only he would pick up his room!!!!!

I would love to hear your stories of situations that turned out well…beyond your wildest dreams.

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