It’s been a really interesting weekend. Hope is doing things I’ve never seen her do before.
She’s making pro and con lists.
She’s reaching out to classmates at both schools and parsing out the good advice from the not so good advice.
She’s asking me to check the blog comments and votes (she’s incredibly grateful for all of your contributions and comments!).
During her therapy appointment, she talked about her options with AbsurdlyHotTherapist.
She’s thinking about her future in ways I’ve never seen her do before.
She is researching. She’s making a question list to send to the boarding school for more information.
Whatever her decision, I’m seeing her do what I saw her do throughout the summer program: Rise to the occasion.
Talk about stepping up: She’s organized, thinking critically, asking questions and shouldering a huge decision.
Every few hours I make a point to remind her of a couple of key considerations:
- I want her to prioritize her happiness.
- This decision isn’t just about academics; it’s also about emotional needs and that one is not more important than the other.
- There is a chance for a do-over. We could figure out how to make it work if it comes to that.
- Don’t fret about the financial consideration—that’s a mom issue and I got it under control.
- I and Yappy will miss her like crazy.
- I will also make sure that if she chooses to go to the boarding school that she can still make it to a few of the football games at her home school if she wants to go.
- I’m happy to also invest in a private online language courses in Korean if she goes to the boarding school since they don’t offer it there and I know she wants to keep up with her language development.
- I will never, ever abandon her. I’m her ride or die, no matter what, where or why.
It has been a stressful weekend for Hope. This has been the biggest decision she’s been faced with since deciding about wanting to be adopted. It is weighing on her. So today, we’re going to do some fun things to take our minds off of the choice that has to be made.
In all though, it’s all good. I’m happy with how the process is shaking out; so much so, I’m really not focused on the decision. I’m really into just Hope’s immediate emotional needs.
Some of you posed some questions and comments in the comments of my last post that I’ll address below!
Do we have a school selected?
Yes, Hope attended a lovely military academy about 80 miles away from our home in Northern Virginia. It’s in the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, on a small but beautiful campus. The school is very small, just 350 students in the high school total with about a third or so in residence. I hadn’t even heard of the school 6 months ago, but I’ve been wowed by the support they offer, the responsiveness, the racial and ethnic diversity and their commitment to excellence. Of course, at that price, they should be, but it’s definitely a good school. They know what they’re doing there. I do wish it was close enough for day school, but 80 miles is just too far.
Can she switch mid-year?
Yes, but only in one direction. She can go from the boarding school back to the home school, but not the other way around. I’ve told Hope that if after the first quarter or semester it’s really not working out, she can come and finish up at her home school.
Decisions of the Head and Heart
Several readers have noted that this is a decision of both the head and the heart. That point has really resonated with us. Thank you for framing it that way! I’ve tried to impress upon Hope that it’s totally valid to want to just be home. Home is critical; home is especially important when it’s been elusive for periods of your life. A decision that is centered on home and everything that comes with it is a valid decision, and it even might be the best decision.
What about accountability and can it be replicated at home?
To some degree yes, but I simply can’t replicate what they do at the boarding school. I don’t think I could do it here with the best planning and execution, and I especially don’t think I can replicate it as a single parent. One, my work/management style is just not as rigid as what is offered there. At heart I’m a creative; I know that I don’t thrive in that kind of environment and my ability to construct that kind of home is just…nonexistent. The home school is a good school, but with a couple thousand students, they don’t have the time or resources to create the structure that Hope seems to crave and thrive in. What’s been interesting about this summer experience is that Hope has started considering a possible military career because the structure and direction just works for her. It makes me proud and scared shi%less.
Counseling by phone?
AbsurdlyHotTherapist is totally down with this. We would also schedule her appointments on the weekend when she can have in-person therapy as well. Of course, he has declined to offer an opinion, but is delighted that we’re considering options and how well Hope is doing self-managing through her decision-making process.
Small college in the future?
The plan was always to do community college for the first two years and transfer. This decision potentially changes the trajectory of the future. Actually, I think no matter what decision is made, the future path has evolved. I wanted Hope to do community college, so she would have more time at home before launching, but her transfer school would definitely have been a small, liberal arts style school. We’ve actually considered a few over the last year or so to visit.
Now of course, Hope is seeing a wider range of possibilities including going straight into the military, going to a small college first and going into the military as an officer, launching straight from boarding school, still sticking to the original plan. I’m delighted that she sees choices. One of our big values in our home is that choices equal freedom. You want to have choices, and you want to create scenarios where you have the best choices available to you. Hope sees what she needs to do where ever she chooses to go to get the widest array of choices. So, we’ll see!
We’ll make an announcement when a decision is made! Thanks to so many of you for weighing in. We both really appreciate it!
August 5th, 2018 at 10:13 am
wow, I am so impressed with the thought and maturity that Hope is showing in all this! I have had similar moments in the past few months with my daughter of just seeing her show maturity that I never saw before and growing up into such an amazing adult.
No matter how this turns out, the way she is handling the decision speaks volumes of how mature she has become and also of what a good job you have done of giving her that safe home base to branch out from. 🙂 For her to be thinking this way says that she feels very safe and secure in her home with you which means you have done a great job, mom!
August 5th, 2018 at 1:07 pm
What an exciting time for Hope — I am so impressed by how maturely she is handling it! While I read your blog regularly, I don’t comment often, but just wanted to chime in to say: I’m faculty at a top-20 SLAC, and if she ever wants to talk, just send me a message and I’d be happy to talk with her about our school and the others I’m familiar with.
August 6th, 2018 at 3:15 pm
I sooooo hear this: “Hope has started considering a possible military career because the structure and direction just works for her. It makes me proud and scared shi%less.”
I think one thing is totally clear – Hope wouldn’t even be considering the boarding school if she didn’t feel attached to you and confident in your loyalty and dedication to her. This is a big win, no matter what you two choose for school.
August 7th, 2018 at 9:12 am
WOW just WOW what amazing growth she is showing and how absolutely wonderful she is seeing a future with options for herself. I went to college to become an officer so if she ever has questions please use me as a resource. I spent 23 years with the military.
August 9th, 2018 at 1:52 pm
Yay for you guys! My opinion – but I think that structure is so important because kids that grow up in illogical environments don’t learn to interpret and have intuition the way kids from logical environments do. I think that you have created a very logical and structured home environment because Hope obviously is able to interpret you and she feels safe with that. School and someday work is a different story. I hate free for all social environments and love love love structured environments like work or book clubs 🙂 Good luck to Hope with her decision!!!!