Achievement (Memory Box)

This is my second post for the memory box on The Adoption Social – I’m going to make it a weekly thing, so this is Memory Box Monday #2 :)

To set this up – Kestrel has a learning disability. When she came to me (having just had her 8th birthday) she was still in mainstream education. She attended a special EBD school from the age of 9 to the age of 16 and is now at college doing a vocational course.

Not only does she have a learning disability, but when she came to me she was very delayed even taking her LD into account. She was 8, but she could not read or write, or even hold a pencil properly (poor fine motor skills).

I’ll condense the next few years down into memorable moments/periods and then finish up with The Big Moment!

  • By the age of 9 and a half she had made major improvements in her fine motor skills, enough to be comfortable with pencils and to discover a love of arts and crafty stuff – interests in 20 piece jigsaws, felt boards, paint, and starter sewing (pulling large string through a soft felty sewing board) all followed in their time
  • Aged 10, she learned to spell, read and write her name <proud mum moment>!
  • In her new special school, as she felt much safer, she really started progressing. Turns out that many of her previous issues were not due to her having a moderate LD as I was told when I adopted her, but actually due to C-PTSD and trauma. She does have an LD but is not behind to the extent everyone originally thought she would always be
  • Over the next few years she started reading quite well and writing quite happily (very messily and poor grammar/spelling but who cares? Certainly not me)
  • Also, her maths skills progressed. When she came to me, she could count to 5 and then got stuck going any further. By the time she could spell her name, she could also do very simple additions on her fingers and count to 20. Then she gained confidence and went fast from there…
  • As she went into teenagerhood, she started being interested in fashion, and would draw little designs for clothes on paper. She bought loads of clothes for her Barbie’s, Bratz, Baby Born and Build-a-Bear (those BaB clothes are bloody expensive BTW!!) and changed all their outfits every morning (she’ll still spent ages doing this even today)
  • She also started getting good at sewing properly. And ripping too, we love destroying clothes :D She began doing things like modifying old jackets by ripping off the sleeves and adding patches and sequins
  • Fast forward to aged 14. Her school started teaching her the foundation English, Maths and Science GCSE syllabus. It was also decided she should do a GCSE in Textiles because of her love for everything clothesy and designing them
  • And she worked! Not always hard, consistency is not a strong point of hers and nor is concentration. Several times she would destroy her work in a fit of rage. BUT, she did work in school and she did do some work outside school

Revision was NOT a strong point, and thats putting it mildly. I hoped she would sit through the whole exam and not feel so anxious she couldn’t continue. I hoped she would be able to perform as well as she could do.

She hated exams. She loved the bit after when she got a holiday

She left school crying and saying she loved her school and it wasn’t fair they didn’t go beyond Y11. I said goodbye to the head and her teachers with great sadness. They are all amazing

And on GCSE results day 2012 we got a call from school……


The girl who couldn’t count to 10 aged 8, got an E in Maths (and an E in Science)

The girl who only learned to spell her (short) name aged 10, got an F in English

And the girl who drew dress designs on papers, the girl who shows off her knitting proudly, the girl who rips the arms of jackets and then decks them in sequins….that girl got a C in Textiles


Achievement does not mean being the best

Kestrel Achieved

Success at school does not mean getting all A’s and going to Cambridge

Kestrel Succeeded

Against all the odds. Despite all the blocks of trauma and failure thrown at her. She just blossomed anyway



One thought on “Achievement (Memory Box)

  1. That is a really lovely celebration of Kestrel’s achievements. And wow, what a lot there are! Well done to you both, and thank you for linking up to Memory Box x

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