Today was our first fun family outing that we have braved since coming home with Avery. We have been trying to keep Avery home as much as possible or only going out on errands where I take only her with me, one on one! She is unpredictable, curious, handsy, ventures away from us VERY quickly, cries inexplicably, and is unaware of danger and personal boundaries with strangers.
We have made a major decision to put Avery in school. Though we homeschool our other children, it has been a humbling experience for me to realize that I am not qualified to educate Avery. We have also been looking at sending Julia to school, but don't yet feel its the right time for her. Currently, we are looking at the possibility of next year, after another year of various therapies are under her belt. But at this point with Avery, we all (doctors, therapists, teachers, us) agree that she is functioning at about a 2 year old level, is non-verbal, and needs one on one, intensive language immersion/therapy. They predict she is going to continually FLY passed her goals FAST : ) The speech therapist believes that she will be able to talk in full sentences within months! This was incredibly encouraging to hear. She has been picking up sign language with us very quickly, but through evaluations we believe that this method of communication will most likely only be used until she can communicate verbally. They have noticed, as have we, that she is a sponge....wanting to learn so much. She simply needs to be in the right environment to do so. Our county has a great special education program and over several meetings it has been heartwarming to see how delighted the staff is to have her. It's been a wonderful experience working with them and we are so excited to see all that Avery is capable of. Tomorrow is her first day and we will be starting with a half day. We are not anticipating any apprehension on her part. During our visits to the school, she has seemed very comfortable with the environment and the teachers. We pray this will be the case during her adjustment this week.
On another note, in these pictures you will notice another adorable little girl amongst our crew. Her name is Rachael and she is now living with our family. We have petitioned to have joint custody of her, shared with her grandparents (a church family we have known for 14 years), who currently have sole custody of her. The circumstances surrounding why and how long she will be living with us is something we will not be sharing here on our public blog. She is a beautiful, sweet, helpful, and smart 8 year old girl. We have known her since she was a baby. She has always had a special place in our hearts and she is welcome to live in our home and be a part of our family for as long as God has planned.