International Adoption Info

Newsletter #131 for Internationally Adopting Parents
July 12, 2010
PAL Center Inc.


Dr. Gindis accept patients in his Phoenix, AZ office on September 13-24, 2010
Call 845-694-8496 for details


New Specialist
in the BGCenter-West

Carol Zelaya
School Psychologist,
M.Ed., Ed.S.

Beginning June 2010,
we accept Spanish-speaking internationally adopted children
for psychological screening, proper school placement determination, and services
in our BGCenter-West office
in Phoenix, Arizona.

For more information
call 845-694-8496

or email

You receive this newsletter
as a former client or correspondent
of the Center for Cognitive-Developmental
Assessment & Remediation,
or a former student
of the BGCenter Online School,
or a user of the International Adoption Articles Directory.



Latest Articles
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International Adoption Articles Directory

From our Database

Exiting ESL Program

ESL is a required subject for any non-English speaking child and was created with the best interests of the immigrant children in mind. It would ease their way into the American schooling system and culture, helping at the time when the family is not ready to do it on their own, continuing to speak their native language in the family and often struggling with the same problems. Internationally adopted kids are a different story - they, in the majority of cases, arrive into a completely English speaking environment, with all necessary support at home. For them ESL may be not the best option after an initial familiarization with the school; typically they need to catch up in academic subjects where they lag behind for many reasons. For them testing out of an ESL is often a problem, but staying in it is a problem too.
Below is the question of a parent and Dr. Gindis' answer about how to proceed in such situation.

Q. Several years ago we visited you with our daughter. Since our meeting she has been attending school and ESL. Now we are being told that she needs to stay in ESL for another year. We are afraid that it may be detrimental to her learning. Our daughter does need help with reading and writing, but her Russian language is completely gone. We think the time she has missed from the regular class has actually hindered her learning. We would like to know what your opinion is.

A. You situation is so typical that we have developed a special service called "Expert Letter Writing". In essence, that's what this service is:

I see a child in my office and administer the test called: Bilingual Verbal Ability Test, Russian Form. Based on this testing, I write an affidavit that the child does not have the Russian language at all and her only language (and in this sense - her native language) is English. My next step is to prove that the child is not eligible for ESL according to the NYS educational regulations because:

  • She is a monolingual, English only child
  • She lives in a monolingual, English only family
  • She has been receiving all school instructions in the English language only.
Due to all of the above, this child is not eligible for ESL, does not need ESL and is to be released from the ESL instructions immediately.

In many cases and in addition to the Expert Letter, parents asked for an educational (not psychological) evaluation to determine their child's educational progress and current needs in reading, writing and math. This kind of evaluation results in an objectively measured academic status and the updated remedial program for the child. This extension of the Expert Letter is particular useful if a child has an IEP and if a child failed the NYSLET (a major exit test for ESL). The educational update is only available to families whose children had been assessed by me initially (their base initial measurements are available to me to compare against and measure the progress).

New articles

Catherine Olian
Kidnapped or saved?
How some orphans really feel when they're adopted
During our first night in a hotel in Ukraine, after she was officially "ours", she couldn't or wouldn't stop screaming. The only time she was quiet was when she sneaked out into the hallway and tried to run away. "I was so scared", she says now. "I didn't know what adoption was. I thought I was being kidnapped. "

Things didn't immediately get better when we got to America. For months after she came home, she would often kick or spit at me if I tried to get physically near her. Once she even grabbed a kitchen knife and put it on her neck, as if she was going to slit her throat if I got any closer. "At that moment I wanted to die," she says. " I was angry at everybody, at you, at my first parents, at the world. I didn't know I would ever feel better."

But she did start to get better. She loved our dog and enjoyed her new toys. She even started being civil to my husband and myself, and we thought we were out of the woods: far from it, as it turned out. When Maria had been home about six months, she began having rages and tantrums, and now I know why. She was losing her ability to speak Russian, which is typical for kids adopted into families that speak another language. The English was pushing out the Russian, but she still couldn't speak much English. "I had no language to think in, " she says. "I thought I was going crazy. I was losing my mind."


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