28 Comments
Nov 12, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

Wow! I suspect that you've been writing this post in your head for far more than a few months.... Thank you for sharing, we who've been here for a while know that it's not easy, whether to learn the language or to voice doubts, it's all supposed to be wonderful... but it's life, after all. I love your writing, your willingness and ability to bare (and share) those niggles and doubts. Muito obrigado.

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Nov 12, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

As always I enjoy your writing. This line particularly: "From August of 2020 to April of 2021, Filha’s classroom was a collection of pixels." I am happy to hear she is on her way.

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Nov 12, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

Great article. Even though I don't have children, I can only imagine the stress! And poor - Filha! SO glad it seems like it's working out now. The note from the children to Filha is so sweet to see. All the best to your whole family.

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Nov 12, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

As someone who works at (and has children who attend) the big fancy private school, I SO wish there was more parents like you. There are certainly students like Filha (my own Lu is incredibly shy and slow to warm. In fact each year when we have to fill out the “what would you like me to know about your child?” Survey we write “give him time.”) but for the most part I always feel very much alone amongst the adults. If I am lucky, there are other staff parents in the class, but in general I dread going to the birthdays and class gatherings. I’m an introvert anyway, but add to that employee-of-the-school and far-left-socialist and I just want to stand in the corner with my hat pulled over my face. I’d give anything to have a Ladonna as a fellow parent. I am so glad she is doing well and finding her place. I am also glad she doesn’t have to be at school until 5! That seems absolutely dreadful! I can’t believe that is the norm in the private schools.

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Nov 12, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

Best story ever! This story brought the struggle to find the right school for Filha to life for me. So well written . When my kids were young, I read volumes of child development books. I wanted to raise my children in a different way than I had been raised. One thing I learned from research, my own childhood experience and the experience of my daughters as well as my husband’s wonderful childhood experience, is that children are not as resilient as adults as a group. This is a big lie and makes common sense. Of course within each group people are more and less resilient.

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Nov 12, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

Brilliant. I'd love to quote your "you don't know what you don't know" paragraph if that's cool let me know! These experiences and your perspective are so important. Although I have experienced a lot I can help people with in their journey... this moving your child is not one of those things.

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Nov 12, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

Wow. I so wish you were my mom ( I am almost 68 😉). It's difficult accepting we don't have the magic mom wand. However your deep love and protection of Filha is so apparent. She will always know this as she navigates her life. You are awesome.

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Nov 24, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

I'm very impressed with your perseverance. Well done. I am in the middle of this long road and I'm bewildered. We live in the Silver Coast area in central Portugal. We've been here 18 months. We are going through many of the problems you mentioned in your article....and....it's all occurring within the same public high school. The shaming from the teachers, the impatience, the lack of giving a damn, the language acquisition taking longer, etc. Thank you for writing this. Your article resonated very strongly with me and it gives me some hope that we are in the middle of what will eventually be success. I hope your journey continues to go well.

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

I didn't bring any children with me but I have friends here who have and I've constantly wondered how I would have done as a child in this circumstance.

I was deeply touched not only by the story, but also by your vulnerability and honesty in its telling. All the best to Filha!

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Thank you for sharing this powerful story. I'm so relieved that Filha has finally found their footing. I'm rooting for all of you!

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My heart has ached for Filha, for you and for Marido as I have followed your journey. When she was in the first “goat” school I thought that it would be hard, but with the small size and the nice teachers, that she would be able to settle in and bloom there. And then when that fell apart and you wrote about the troubles at the next school it broke my heart for you all. I truly hope that you are now at a place that will continue to get better for Filha and allow you all to heal from the trauma this has caused.

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So glad the 4th time was the charm! What a journey it's been—for all of you.

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founding
Nov 12, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

I'm so glad to hear that Filha is happy and things are good at school now! And you're a great mom who is navigating a not-so-great situation, so there are ups and downs. We all celebrate that right now is "up" because you have come through those "downs" and learned from them. Thanks for sharing this experience with us.

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Wow! Your filha is pretty close in age to our eldest neta who is also trying to adjust to middle school in a foreign country, but in the northeast US - having moved there from British Columbia last year. The adjustment has been tough, but she is shining. Years earlier, her Mom had to adjust in 5th and 6th grade just from the northeast US to the southeast US - and it might as well have been Portugal!! Those are the roughest years but, because you and Marido are super-invested parents, she will do well. What a lovely post. Thanks.

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Nov 12, 2023·edited Nov 12, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

I so appreciate this post, on so many levels, for so many reasons. It resonated--deep, sonorous, repeating bongs. Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing these thoughts and emotions--like someone else mentioned, I also suspect it's been percolating for awhile.

Does it help to know there's another boat out there, not far away, having a similar experience?

Our son is in third grade this year. It will be his ninth school since leaving preschool. Just writing that hurts. We moved from the US to Copenhagen and experienced the same disconnect you did with international schooling--the very "see and be seen" aspects (though at least they do not require us to purchase materials with their logo). Ours is more of a "benign neglect" approach, with as little communication as possible out to the parents...I'm beginning to wonder if this is, in fact, a part of the overall IS approach.

To those who insist "children are so resilient"...the third culture kids might agree. But it's going to take awhile for them to get there, if they ever do.

I'm so glad Filha is finding her space--may the road ahead become even more hers.

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Nov 12, 2023Liked by LaDonna Witmer

I have been thinking of filha and wondering how school has been. I am so very happy for your entire family that the silver lining has appeared. My fingers are crossed tightly for you. In the end we do manage... the time we take to manage is our own though. 😘😘

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