Helping her adopted daughter find her sister gave her daughter a purpose to learn. Mom, Erin, adopted her daughter M from a Ukrainian orphanage when she was only four years old. All Erin knew of her was that she had cerebral palsy caused by a stroke and was unable to walk. To her surprise when Erin first met M she said in perfect Russian, “Hello. Are you to take me home?” Although she could speak perfectly, writing and reading were a different story. In first grade, Erin pushed for M to be evaluated for dyslexia-she would write backwards and would often get math problems wrong because she mixed up the numbers. The school refused to evaluate anyone below the 3rd grade so Erin took M to a neuropsychologist who diagnosed her with severe dyslexia and dysgraphia as well as visual impairments and math disorder. School was very hard for M because she knew she was behind her peers and constantly talked to distract from her seat-work. Additionally, she was very defiant because she didn’t see the point of writing when her speaking was fine.
Erin knew that M had a sister who was also adopted. Through an online friend they were able to find out that her sister was adopted by a French family and also had cerebral palsy and dyslexia. The first time they Skyped face-to-face it was a joy for both girls. They showed each other their toys and compared their leg braces. After that call, the girl communicated by sending pictures and letters through the mail. Seeing her sister’s cursive gave M a purpose to learn how to write. She wanted to write like her sister and be able to write letters that her sister could read. Erin now homeschools M and uses letters and stories to M’s sister as writing practice. Erin hopes to one day bring M to France to meet face-to-face with her sister and motivator.