How PALS Began

Welcome to PALS! 

When my husband Shane and I adopted our older son from China, we knew he had a rare joint disorder, that he'd only been able to attend school for two of his nine years, and that he was expected to use a wheelchair for mobility for life.

We got Fu home and learned all we could about his joint disorder, AMC. Within a year of the right medical care, he was up and walking; by the end of two years, he'd left his wheelchair behind entirely!

But Fu was struggling in school. Four years post-adoption, he read at the 4th percentile for his age. He confused words all the time, dropping and mis-pronouncing word endings. His teachers insisted it was all just an ESL issue, that he just needed more time.

After a dozen school evaluations and a complaint filed against the school in federal court, we finally found a speech and language practitioner with 2 decades experience working with children adopted internationally. Thanks to her, we learned our son has a severe auditory processing impairment. It took us 5 years to begin finding answers to our son's learning struggles.

Along the way, many fellow adoptive parents contacted me about their children. It turns out I wasn't alone in agonizing over the puzzle of my son's learning struggles! Parents don't expect the complexity of consequences triggered by childhood institutionalization and loss. Schools don't expect children adopted internationally to have unique learning needs.

After lobbying in DC and the TN Legislature, joining the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, and participating in the 9th cohort of Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's Volunteer Advocacy Project, I decided to share what I've learned, in hopes of helping other families find hope and help for their children. 

This site is a work in progress! I invite you to browse, to check out the Resource links, and to email me with questions. I'm also gathering emails to launch a newsletter for Spring. Whether you're an adoptive parent, an advocate, or an educator, PALS can help you on the path to understanding and supporting the unique learning needs of children adopted internationally.

Anna Caudill
Executive Director