When Rain Hurts by Mary Evelyn Greene

More IN PETER’S OWN WORDS (please listen 6/12/10)


A few weeks ago on a rainy afternoon while Sophie was taking her horseback riding lesson, Peter and I had a few quiet moments in the car.  When he started asking why 3rd grade was so hard, and why he didn’t understand anything, I decided to tape his words on my IPhone.  I recorded this conversation several weeks before the “teacher turned laundry mat” controversy and had intended to keep it private, because its just so sad.  I know his school, at least certain persons in it, have decided that I am the anti-Christ and should be burned at the stake.  I get it. I really do.  I have ruffled their feathers.  But here’s the part I truly don’t understand: they’re constantly saying how fond they are of Peter.  Can they really think trying to force our hand, so that they can send a little boy who is operating 3 years younger than his age, at best, and is still not toilet trained, to a fourth grade classroom, is in his best interest?  Even giving them every benefit of the doubt – let’s even assume they are 100% correct and Pat and I are 100% wrong, they must know we have no intention of dropping this.  To us, they are killing him, slowly but surely.  We are asking them to send him to a neurocognitive rehabilitation program, not a leper colony or a plague-infested outpost.  If they truly care about Peter, knowing we won’t drop this, why won’t they give our concerns a try?  Listen to our son’s words for yourself and decide whether you think the school is acting in Peter’s best interest.

I could only copy and paste a segment of the recording into this post.  The rest revolved around what was then our upcoming trip to see Dr. Federici.  I told Peter that we would have fun while in the Washington, D.C. area because we would get to see Jay, his older and much-worshipped cousin who goes to Georgetown.  Peter had seen Jay 6 weeks earlier in Atlanta and spends holidays and vacations with him and the rest of his family.  But his one and only response to hearing this news was, “who’s Jay?”  He didn’t remember.  I played the whole recording for the head of special education.  I guess it wasn’t enough to sway what has become an institutional, dehumanized staunchness.

Thank you for listening.  And keep your fingers crossed that somewhere in this arduous process Peter’s best interests will be considered.

PS:  Lindy is Peter’s home teacher.   She is a certified special education teacher who developed and implements a home-based ABA/VB program on a private-pay basis.  She is an extraordinary young woman with an extraordinary gift for understanding and connecting with developmentally disabled children.



  1. So similar to the conversations that I used to have with my sweetie when he was in the PS 2nd and earlier this year. Thankfully, now he’s in a school for kids with LDs.
    And he is so far behind his chronological peers, it’s scares me to death… BUT, emotionally, he’s thriving! I’ll take that over academics any day; you can always work on academics. The point I tried to make all along to the Public school is that in a heightened state of arousal, he can’t process anything, that the environment is everything. They disagreed, but it came to a point where he was literally walking on the desks, constantly disturbing other kids, that they agreed to the move. (BTW, we have the same deterioration of IQ scores. I made a little chart to present to the team to illustrate.) We have absolutely NO behavior issues at this school, AND he is starting to feel comfortable actually telling his teacher when he doesn’t understand something, or when something is too much for him. That is HUGE since before he used to say if he did that, they might get mad at him and kill him. 😦

    Isn’t it amazing how our kids “know” themselves well enough to know then they don’t understand something, “know” when someone “gets” them or not, and they figure out quickly whom to trust. It floors me that NO ONE AT THE SCHOOL EVER ASKS THEM!

    Hang in there, get your experts lined up and you’ll win, I know you will.

    Comment by Elizabeth — June 13, 2010 @ 12:13 pm | Reply

  2. Mary,

    I have been noting many similarities between your little town and my little town’s people. They all say how much they like our kiddos. But their behaviors counter their words. At least down here in Dallas, there is often a false Christianity (my words) of ‘nice’ comments, that when asked why they are essentially lying to my face about liking my kiddo while they are mistreating her at the school, they tend to say they are Christians…lol Well so am I! So is my daughter! But we don’t just do the golden rule, as the people in my little town do, and I term it feed off of each other…lol We do better. If we say we like someone, and we like everyone for the most part and should, we act as such, until for some very strange reason it would be a safety issue, which has been very rare. So, we are kind, and we listen to others about what they feel is best for their family, because they do know what is best – it’s their family.

    I am so sorry what should be so very simple in life is just plain not happening. I still feel, right or wrong, that so many people just do not care to understand or be helpful or do the right thing, particularly for special needs kiddos, even adoptive. It takes many, many generations for discrimination in other ways to have shown any improvement.

    Mary, always keep in mind you are one of the pioneers on the front of the international adoption arena. I cannot think of a better person for the job. Your Peter picked a great mommy and daddy! He is showing amazing and very astute understanding of others. He’s coming along very quickly now. I’m proud of all his bravery, and all of the little ones who have been brave coming from Russia. I feel very blessed that my daughter chose me. And, she did, after she looked me up and down, walked around me, and finally lifted her little arms to say, “You’ll do nicely, now pick me up!” lol I did. Joy.

    Keep with that positive energy. 🙂


    Comment by Lori — June 13, 2010 @ 1:38 pm | Reply

  3. Mary, It breaks my heart that Peter, for all the storms in his brain, can so clearly separate what works for him and what doesn’t, while the “professionals” choose not to see this. I’ll keep hoping that the hearings produce the results you need and that, if they don’t, you find the strength to keep fighting for your kids. Nan

    Comment by Nan — June 18, 2010 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

  4. Your story is all to familliar to me. However we got no relief and wasted years of energy with the public school system. It was not an international adoption, but a case of extreme neglect. He was not diagnosed with Autism, but Reactive Attachment Disorder or RAD. The symptoms sound very close to what is described here. He is now about to turn 16 and has made tremendous strides. These kids require a LOT of love, prayer, patience and a support network for the parents and other children in the family.
    God Bless you!

    Comment by Jennifer Amy — May 31, 2011 @ 7:59 am | Reply

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