this girl

… is determined.

She managed to convince her other front tooth to come on out.

Despite the fact that it was really no where near ready.

I’m so grateful that she’s got that tenacious spirit… because she gonna need it.

She’s making progress at school, but the upshot of our recent IEP meeting was that she might be ADHD. And that she might benefit from medication.


After I picked my jaw up and I quit trying to shoot daggers out of my eyes, I listened to what they had to say.

And now we struggle with the weight of what to do.

Isabelle is so unique, so wonderful. It breaks our hearts to think of doing anything to alter who she is and how her body works.

This parenting thing ain’t easy. But, thankfully, loving Isabelle is.



  1. She is so adorable. As a former special ed teacher, I have seen the merits of medicating a child and how often the frustration for that child (and the teachers and the family) just melts away as they feel more in control of who they are. As a parent of 5 (soon to be 6), I would look into more natural methods first. For instance, adding Omega 3 fatty acids (fish, enriched milks, etc) can be helpful to kids with ADD and ADHD. I am sure you will get many suggestions and Google is your friend in times like these. In the meantime, I will pray that you have Godly wisdom and a peace about whatever decision you make for your sweet girl.

  2. I’m a frequent lurker. I love hearing about the adoption stories and seeing your beautiful children. But, I had to pipe up this one time.

    Medication for ADHD is no laughing matter. I believe my nephew was put onto this stuff because schools said he was ADHD. It changed him. Not only did it change him, he became pudgy. They tried a variety of medications and all with same results. Finally, his Dad had enough and took him off medication. My nephew did fabulous and manages his ADHD wonderfully on his own now.

    Some children with extreme ADHD needs medication; but, I do believe there is an overabundance of misdiagnosis of ADHD. In fact, some kids are just naturally enthusiastic and excited. Schools are often overwhelmed and just don’t have the ability to cope with active children and thus, make them go onto drugs. I believe that is what happened with my nephew.

    I’m not saying that it’s wrong. I’m just saying to be cautious and aware of your daughter should she go on meds. Medications shouldn’t change the kids personality; but, it often does.

    Lee Ann

    • Hi have to agree with first response, as a former teacher. Adhd has a wide spectrum and medication is not a catch all solution. Get other opinions, do research and ask a shed load of questions. I’ve read some research recently about the number of children in the usa on some form of medicated management for Adhd and it wad sobering reading. Thinking of you as you look for a way forward

  3. Good for you for listening to them. It’s always a struggle to hear that conversation. I’m a teacher, and it hurts me to see parents struggling with this discussion. I love that although you struggled hearing this, you were open to listening to what they had to say. This path is a very slippery slope, but I know you guys will make the best choice for Isabella…whatever you choose. You know your daughter better than anyone else!

  4. Hi Stefanie,

    I thought I would put my 2-cents in as well. As someone in the Special Education field, I have see pro’s of taking ADHD medication, but it was only for severe ADHD cases. However, I have witnessed personally, a young man who the school labeled as ‘ADD/ADHD’ and all he needed were people willing to ‘teach’ him when it’s appropriate to be running around/rough-house play etc. and when ‘ok, it’s time to sit and focus now’. After a few months, the school took off the label and he is functioning fine at school.

    How does she do in church/Sunday school where she has to sit for a prolonged period of time?

    In Him,

  5. Count me as one who has to pipe in. They told me my son had ADHD, and he very well might. But he also has sensory issues which can mimic ADHD. There are LOTS of things to try before you go the medication route. Is she allergic to dairy/soy/gluten? Diet changes can have PROFOUND effects. Also look into supplements. My son takes fish oil and magnesium. We are working on going to a GF/CF diet.

    I read you are considering homeschooling. We homeschool our kids and that is a great thing for my son. Kids aren’t made to sit still in a classroom for 6+ hours a day. My son learns better when he is moving. He would fail in a traditional classroom. But as it is, he is in 2nd grade and tests at a 5th grade level.

    Wish you lots of luck!

  6. oh, sweet friend, what a heavy burden. will pray for wisdom. i am glad some others chimed in with possible alternatives b/c i worked in special ed and do know that, for some kids, medication can make them in a pretty regular state of “zone.” if i were you, i would call her previous school (assuming you would respect their opinion) and see what they think…if Isabelle is in a new school that is pro-meds (coupled with the fact that she is in a NEW school and it is the beginning of the school year), it may be wise to wait a little while before making that decision.

  7. Trust your gut, Mama. Having been a teacher, I know there are a million strategies for ADHD aside from meds–they just take more work for the school. I would ask the teachers what else they have already tried. Sometimes, something as simple as being allowed to fidgit with a small stress ball is all they need. (I had a whole drawer of “stuff” for students who needed a physicl distraction in order to channel their energy and focus.) You have options; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Praying.

  8. Piping up for the first time here too:)

    We have a wonderful little girl in our daycare program who is enthusiastic and sometimes just can’t control herself. The school labeled her “ADHD” and her parents put her on drugs. She is now an empty shell of the girl she used to be. She comes to us in daycare at around 3pm and she just sits and stares, moves around slowly and mumbles to herself. She is completely medicated. As a worker in and out of schools for the past 3 years, I can honestly tell you that THERE IS NO NEED for medication unless the case is very clearly severe.

    Also, in the state I live in, it is ILLEGAL for a school employee, even special education, to offer, suggest, or even mention any kind of medication to a parent. So maybe look into that. I would research other schools/programs in your area that provide special education because it sounds like this school is too overwhelmed and are throwing out suggestions that could harm your daughter.

  9. I was put on ADHD medicine when I was in the 2nd grade. It does affect the child’s personality to some degree. For me, it was very helpful during school because I could NOT keep my focus on any one thing. During school I would be considerably calmer and quieter (I am a very loud, outgoing person). I only took it 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade, which I think are prime years to develop from being a child to a small person with responsibilities; thus why I think a lot of children are called ADHD at this time (just growing pains :) ) My 3rd grade teacher was instrumental in helping me conquer parts of my ADHD by giving me extra school work and making sure I was constantly busy. I think this set me up to be the hard working lady I am today. I will say, once off the medication, I’m still the same person I was before. She will be a little less enthusiastic while on it but she should return to the same person when she is off. I don’t condone nor do I advocate for the medication, but just know there are other alternatives to try before you put her on something. And sometimes, the medication is the best thing for a short period of time. I agree with the above comments – I think the teachers don’t have enough time and energy to deal with overly entergetic kids anymore. But depending on how her focus is (I could NOT sit still for more than 3 minutes – and still can’t sometimes) on all activities she does should give you some insight into if you think it’s ADHD or just extra energy. Hope this helps!

  10. First of all, I have to say that this is the most profound, precious quote I’ve seen in a long time: “This parenting thing ain’t easy. But, thankfully, loving Isabelle is.” What a wonderful way to express the angst that we feel in our struggles to parent the precious children that God has entrusted us with!

    Secondly, I have to agree with Heather (last post) about some kids needing to fidget in order to concentrate. I homeschool my kids and, at the beginning, I struggled with my second child not “paying attention” while I was reading aloud or explaining something to the kids. I quickly discovered that she COULD sit still and look at me when I was reading/teaching, but if she did, then she had no concentration left to think about what I was teaching. She HAD to fidget and wiggle to be able to concentrate. I would sometimes give her clay to mold while I was giving instruction. The best way for her to learn her math facts was to jump rope while she recited them. If she wasn’t moving, she wasn’t learning! It sometimes made me crazy, but that was something I needed to deal with, not her!

    May God grant you extra wisdom and discernment in these days of parenting!

  11. I’m another “chimer inner” here… :) Thanks for sharing and being so open. I am an elementary school teacher (public) and would also like to add that it there are MANY other strategies and ideas for treating/supporting a child with ADHD. And, might I add….Isabelle may be a child WITH ADHD but she herself is NOT ADHD. Does that make sense?? In other words, she is a child first WITH a (possible) condition but the condition does not define her. I know you already know that of course…..I’ve just been extra diligent in saying a label/diagnosis correctly so that my students and their parents know that the child is a child first who happens to have a special need. I hope it’s okay to share that…

    I also agree with the diet route…. EXTREMELY hard but so beneficial!! My 5-year-old niece has Apraxia of Speech and ADHD and was recently “placed” on the autism spectrum. My sister (and the whole family really) has drastically changed their diets to whole food, organic when possible, no (or little) processed foods, no chemicals (food dyes, fluoride, preservatives, etc.), grain fed meets, eliminating milk (unless whole and organic), and has added vitamin D, flax, fish oil, coconut oil, and other “real” foods to their diet. I know it sounds crazy hard and, well…..just crazy…but it has helped soooooo much! Food is really the BEST medicine!! I know this because I’ve lost 60 pounds in 1 1/2 years making the same changes in my diet and it has addressed several physical issues, one of which is a mental health issue. I’m convinced that our brains (where ADHD is “from”) LOVE to be fed well. :)

    Please be encouraged. Although I do believe medicine has a place….know that there are many changes you can make in your family AND that Isabelle’s teachers are REQUIRED to implement a plethora of strategies to support her. You DO NOT have to put her on meds. Please don’t let them bully you into doing so. Spoken by a teacher, remember. :)

  12. Hey Stephanie! I had to chime in too. I am a teacher and have seen the benefits medications CAN have on a child’s academic/social performace. With that being said, I am also a mom who believes that ADD/ADHD IS overdiagnosed entirely too often. There are certainly active kids who are just full of energy and life! I don’t know how I would feel putting my child on meds. I agree with allowing them be who they are! But, I also know that if my little boy needed glasses in order to better suceed, I would most certainly get him some glasses…. I by no means am a doctor, but I’ve also heard several people say to give your child Mt. Dew in the morning… It didn’t really make much sense to my non-medical mind, but supposedly, it has the same focusing effect as Adderall. I thought I would pass that tid bit on to you. I would say it was at least worth a try before going the med route. Good Luck!! You’re a smart Mamma!! I KNOW that you will do the best thing for your BEAUTIFUL and PERFECT little girl!!

  13. We think our Anna has adhd/ add too. She is always moving and cannot sit still! I think this is how she learns- multi sensory!

    My sister- a teacher for 35 years is not a fan of medication- only in extreme circumstances. She told me we need to teach Anna how to manage her ADHD- so I am looking into that now! I need to learn the skills first so I can teach her. The skills we teach her will help her manage it into adulthood- instead of masking it for now and changing the delightful little person she is we want to help her to live with her ADHD in a positive way!

    How can I not delight in the fact that before or while answering a question she twirls like a ballerina!

    You may want to consider homeschooling her!! Since you do move frequently – homeschooling is so stress free for the children! They just pack up their books and learn where ever mom is!!

    Blessings to you!!

  14. Oh my…I’ve been a lurker for a long time. I so appreciate your honesty.
    Our daughters have been with us for 3 years…are they active? Heck YEAH! Are they possible ADHD? Heck YEAH!
    Have they been through more in their 10 years than I’ll ever be able to understand? Heck YEAH! Is it complicated, Heck, YEAH! Could they benefit from ADHD medication? Possible. Have the schools brought this up? Yes. Have we pursued it? Not at this time. We work closely with experts in International Older Child adoption. We will follow their lead and make the decisions that are best for them at the time.

    I work as a school nurse. I work with many, many students who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Some are on medications and it helps them immensely. Some have tried meds and they have been stopped due to weight changes, personality changes, many, many reasons. IF/WHEN you decide to try medication, it is a trial. It’s up to you. My blood still boils about one of my daughters teachers labeling her as ADHD the first week of 2nd grade. I replied, “WOW. It’s amazing to me that you can figure out my daughter in a week. We are learning more and more about her everyday!”.

    The answer will present itself. We have not chosen meds at this time. Our daughter’s next 2 years of teachers have embraced who she is, and she has done well at school….active and all!

  15. Oh Mama – Trust your gut! I have a 27 year old that was labeled in Pre-Kindergarten with ADD. He wasn’t hyper, just had trouble focusing. We put him on medicine in the 1st grade and he took himself off them in 8th grade. He has a learning disability in reading so he struggled throughout his school years and looking back I think that was more of the problem than ADD. He was incredibly smart just had trouble with reading which affected every subject. I wished we would have done more on working with the reading issue than medicating him. You mentioned an IEP. Make sure that everything that is written down in that IEP is carried out. You will have to be very diligent in that, because the school won’t.

    Isabelle is one lucky child, as are all your children, in that she has someone that loves her and will do anything to help her succeed in whatever she does (even pulling out a tooth not ready to come out). I will be praying for you and your family.

  16. I’m weighing in on the side of meds! As an adult who struggled as a kid and as a parent. I was diagnosed and medicated as an adult and I have offered to be the poster child/adult for adhd! I was afraid the meds would change me or squelch my creativity but in fact it has done the opposite. I can complete a task and I find myself dreaming up new projects!! I also had to grieve what I didn’t do. I didn’t finish college. What might I have done? God spoke to me about this and I am supposed to be a mom. If I had an advanced degree I wouldn’t be willing to be home with my kids giving them the opportunity to learn and blossom where they are. My 11 yr old daughter has been on meds since she was 8 and It has made a world of difference for her. Yes, it changed her, but for the better… she was impulsive and argumentative (which happens as adhd kids get older. She was a sweet and kind preschooler.) We are homeschooling this year and I cannot even mention what she needs to do until the meds kick in. She still needs to dance and fidget while she is working but thats ok.
    If your child had diabetes you would not withhold insulin from her. Why would you withhold a med to help her be the best person she can be. Why are we so quick to discount a wiring problem in our brains? It is just as real as a miss wired heart or a missing limb. We wouldn’t think of not giving them a med to help their heart or a prosthesis to allow them to walk . On that note ,if a child doesn’t need the heart medicine and we give it to them it can be detrimental. You will know if she doesn’t need the med! Our daughter as an extremely high IQ which can go along with adhd and sensory processing issues. The school denied this. Saying she was average and just needed to sit down and do her work. We had her tested professionally and low and behold !!! The school wants all children to fit nicely into their mold and slide on through the system. What kind of parents are we when we allow our child to be conformed to what someone else thinks is right?! God created your daughter and mine just as HE wanted! The saying in our house is “Olivia is going to be the president of her own company OR of the USA! I just hope I live to see it!!!”
    ALSO, we really need to stop thinking of adhd and auspergers as a curse and thinking of it as a special gift. I can trace my family back to Andrew Jackson, Stonewall Jackson and Levi Jackson. All larger than life figures in our history. They ALL had adhd, I am pretty sure! You may never know who Isabelle’s ancestors are, but who knows, they may be larger than life figures in Chinese history!
    Another thing… kids grow and change and she may not need them when she is older. Stay tuned in to her and find a good doctor. Preferably one with adhd!! HEE!! Please be sure to email me if I can help you!!! Really! Sheri

  17. Rachel Stahley says:

    Hi Stefanie-
    My oldest was diagnosed with ADHD. I will say raising him was one of the toughest jobs I have ever had….he is 25 now and still on medication (his choice now) and even with all the struggles we had, he is the most creative, sensitive, caring and sweet guy you would ever meet. He still struggles with keeping it all together, but I truly believe that when God created him and gave him this hurdle, he rewarded him with so many other positives that they outshine his troublesome areas.

  18. Stef,

    Many years ago teacher told me that Will “might ” have ADD. A very healthy diet of foods that are not processed and a vitamin called Added Attention helped TREMENDOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot stress this enough. He has never taken meds and he has NO attention issues whatsoever. I would be happy to talk about this with you more. I am SO SO SO SO glad we never medicated him. He is a straight A student, Vice President of the National Junior Honor Society and all of his teacher adore him!!!


  19. Our son who is nine has just recently been diagnosed with ADD. At first I was totally against the medicine and felt so bad given it to him. We just recently moved back from living in China for the past four years and we were all going through so many changes that I felt like the school was rushing him to be on task with them to quickly. Now that he has been on the medicine now for two weeks we do see a change in him. He doesn’t mind doing his homework now and seems more focused. Yes, he is still struggling some at school but the curriculum is so different that is going to take time to learn it all. You know your child better then anybody so you know best. The doctor we went to was great about not pushing the medicine. He told us just to try it and if nothing happens stop. He explained it that for some kids taking the medicine is liking getting glasses for the first time. When you put on the glasses you can see things you never saw before and the medicine works the same way. I recommend going to a good doctor that understands ADD/ADHD really well. They might test her and find out something different. You are a great mom and i know you will know what is best in the end.

  20. Hi Steph,

    OK, School psychologist here and I do ADHD rating scales all day long and personally, my 11 year old son is ADHD and has been on meds (adderall XR) since the first day of 2nd grade (he is in 6th now). He has not been on an IEP but I have done “unofficial testing” and he has some visual processing issues and school has never some super easy for him. Here I am as an educational psych and when I was told he needed meds I just was not ready to hear that. We struggled all summer long but at the end, we determined if he is ADHD and is doing well in school then meds are not necessary– we could manage the behaviors ourselves and yes he may be more work for the teacher but oh well– thats what educators get paid for. If he is NOT doing well in school and is not learning, then we must take action to level out the chemistry in his brain to allow him to learn to his max potential. We had to go with the second option beucase he was not learning and in first grade was a little behind. We tried meds and amazingly, the first med we tried worked beautifully. The change was instant. The hours of homework and falling on the ground crying and throwing fits was over. He was focused and the change was amazing. He started at 5 mg of Adderal and 4 years later he is now only on 15 mg of adderal and we have not had to change it once. He is still on a small dose for his size but it works for him.

    In my work I see meds change kids lives and typically if we start recommending early on (first, second grade) and parents are resistant and dont use meds, usually the kids continue to not learn. It is usually when they finally get into 5th or 6th and even jr high that they finally are so far behind that parents give in and try meds and they then wish they would have tried meds back 4 years prior. This is my experience but I will say that the pro’s far outweigh the con’s and if you are dedicated to finding the correct med and dont give up if the first one doesnt work then your child will respond well and things will be better. Sometimes it does not work but since the meds are essentially uppers and when you give them to an ADHD kid it acts as a calming agent– that is how you know they are ADHD– give a kid a stimulant and it calms them down– if that happens then you know they really are ADHD. If it stimulates them, then they probably are not ADHD. It never hurts to try meds and if it does not work then you know. If it works– AWESOME!!!!!

    Just wanted to give you my expereince. If you need more advice from someone “in the field” feel free to email me anytime.


  21. I would just like to say that while medication should not always be the first avenue you take, please do not completely rule it out. As an adult who was finally diagnosed with ADD, medication has been a miracle for me. Just as Sheri spoke about hereself above, I have always been a great starter and a poor finisher. I believe medication was the reason I was finally able to finish my degree after 3 different attempts over the years – and I graduated 2nd in my class. I never understood why it was so hard for me to accomplish things because I always pushed myself so hard. I literally had to talk myself through so many task in my life. After I started medication, there were many times I cried because I was so greatful to feel “normal” and sad for all of the years I struggled. As a nurse, I am aware of the many side effects of medication, but you have to decide whether the benefits outweigh possible risks. Some of the previous posters have stated that ADD/ADHD medication turned some kids they knew into zombies. If that is the case – they are on the wrong medication or too high a dose! The medication should make them feel and behave within “normal” or manageable limits. Just like with any other medication, some people’s bodies respond better than others to ADD meds. Every person with cancer or diabetes responds differently to chemo and insulin. If you choose to try medications and they aren’t working she can always go off of them. I know that our Heavenly Father will show you what is best for Isabelle. You guys are wonderful parents!

  22. I just read a few of the other parent posts and while I agree that an excptionally disciplined parent can adjust the kids diet– it takes a TON of work and I explain it to parents like this– with tremendous work diet can get a kid 30% and their brain chemistry is adjusted at a mild level that then allows them to learn. With meds– if you are on one that works for your kid- your childs brain chemistry is changed 80 to 100% to allow them to be equal with the non ADHD kids so they can learn. If you want to try diet– it is a great option but results are minimal if a child is more severe. Diet works well with the very mild kids who are more inattentive and still doing well in school. The more moderate kids need more than what diet can give them. Meds get a bad name but they are not bad– they are wonderful in that they allow our kids a level playing field where they can learn and focus the same as non ADHD kids. Meds are not the enemy and in my 14 years as a school psych I have seen amazing results with students who finally try meds. They honestly change some of these kids lives. I have seen very few sucesses with diet– its just too difficult and the results are minimal beucase these kids still have the chemical imbalance that is not fully addressed with diet.

    Again, I am not pushing meds but I am seeing most of the comments are against meds and being someone who deals with this on a regular basis and have seen kids on and off meds and diet etc. I can speak from first hand experience and I do not think it is necessary to avoid meds at all costs like it seems like much of the advice you are being given suggests. I agree, make changes in the class and there are tons of attention strategies that can be used but again, they dont address the core issue and if a kid with a few strategies can learn well– wonderful– no meds needed– but if a kid, even with strategies in the classroom, is still not learning, then something needs to be done. I think it is our responsisbility as parents to give them what they need in order to be sucessful and sometimes that is meds.

    I will end with a story. My good friend has 2 children adopted domestically. Drugs were involved with pregnancy so both kids have a few needs. The younger is now in 3rd grade and has always struggled tremendously. She has sensory issues plus ADHD and learning disabilities. She is a sweetheart and tries so very hard but with little progress. She has to be moving all the time and OT has helped a bit with that but not really sucessful. Parents have not wanted to medicate at all. They have done everything but. Her state testing has always been far below basic in every category and she is a couple grade levels behind. She feels bad about herself and parents were at a loss. I started helping them (outside of the school district– just as friends) around Christmas of last year. I told them about meds and how they owed it to her to at least try and they hestiated but they thought “how can it be any worse” so they decided to take her to the Dr.just to see. Dr. gave meds and the difference was instantanious!! She was focused and able to learn for the first time. She began catching up, growing in self esteem and by the end of the year, the state test she had always scored as low as the test recorded, she scored Proficient in English Language Arts and Advanced in Math!!!! (it goes– far below basic, below basic, basic, proficient, advanced). The change in this little girl has been amazing. She is now totally average in her class and on her way to being towards the top. She is making up all the ground she had lost and her parents wish they would have tried meds years ago. They are thrilled with her results!!! Again, this is one example but where I tell you this one, I can tell you 50 more just like that. Meds are not the enemy– they are there for a reason and they WORK!!!

    Good luck and I just wanted to give an alternate opionion.

  23. I’m one of your weekly lurkers too. My son is ADHD and I tried everything under the sun. Private school so I could have more of a say in what was going on, the diet I read every ingredient before he ever ate a thing for 5 years and anything else I could do to help my child avoid medications. My kiddo was a mover couldn’t sit still for 2 minutes or stay focus on school work. I was the parent that got the calls on the first day of school from the principle and usually once a week letting me know how my child was disruptive in class, the list went on. I spent hours at home with him at night doing homework, teaching him the work he did not learn in school that day so he would not fall behind.

    The year he started middle school I took him to a new doctor for his yearly checkup. The ADHD thing came up and I flat out said I will not drug my son. The doctor looked at me and said “so if he was diabetic you wouldn’t give him insulin either”. That was the turning point for me. After a lot of research I decided to try him on a very small dose, the change in him was amazing in just once week. He went from D and F’s to A’s on his assignments. He had hardly any homework at night because he could actually finish his work in class. Report cards came out and he had all A’s & B’s. I school phone calls stopped and he was on honor roll all during middle school. Last year he was a freshman and finished the year with a 3.86 GPA. He is now 15 1/2 driving and getting straight A’s, all because he is on a very small dose of medication, just enough to help him stay focused and not alter his mind or personality one bit. The dose it so small that it is out of his system by the time he gets home from school. I regret taking my son’s child hood away from him, the medication made that much of a difference in his life. He could see the difference and told the doctor he didn’t want to come off of it during the summer or weekends because he had more self-control. I wish I could change time to do it all over again, I would have done it all different just as Christy above said.

  24. We were told the same thing. I refuse to medicate my daughter because the class has 30 kids and one teacher with no help. Now maybe she does struggle with focus but I will decide what is best for her and not have someone tell me what she needs because the teacher is overly stressed!!

    Oy, you got me going on this one~ What we did…pulled her out, she starts home school on monday. I can do lessons with her sitting on a bouncy ball to keep her busy if I need to and she likes it!! She can twirl in circles while singing her ABC’s and thats ok to.

    We also have our 8th grader in K12 academy. (Online virtual school) Love this and cant believe we didn’t try it sooner with all our moves. Woudl have made things so much less stressful.

  25. Your getting tons of advice and well, not be outdone….here’s mine! (~grin~)

    Our almost 7 yr old was diagnosed with ADHD at age 4 and put on the heavy stuff (Adderall and Ritalin). Suffice to say he is doing fantastic WITHOUT it!

    Fish Oil, Magnesium, Zinc, and Niacin. (I can give dosage info if needed). It is found that children with ADHD, ADD, and Autism have low amounts of those specific items in their brains. Worth a run, of course, before considering prescription meds…and there is also the benefits found in homeschooling your little blessing as no one knows her baby like a mama!

  26. This is going to sound completely terrible, but between my sister and I, we have 7 kids… 5 adopted from china. out of the 7, only 1 bio and 1 adopted is not on medication for ADHD. I did not want to medicate my kids nor did she want to medicate hers, but we’ve now know it was the right choice. Of my 2, I have 1 inattentive and 1 agressive adhd – before the medication in the morning and after it wears off at night… the inattentive could stare at her feet in her socks forever if you didnt say anything, the other doesnt care what punishment he gets nor if what he did was wrong. With medication, its like the switch flipped on and they are ‘here’.

    My sister’s are the same – she’s got 1 inattentive and 2 aggressive. The 1 agressive is a bio and it didnt get caught until he started to unravel because of the pressures of middle school.

    I know I have inattentive – I take medication for it as well. My college age nephew, after being around 7 cousins for 4 months solid now, seeing how they are off and on medication, and comparing himself to them has started asking us questions that lead both he and us to believe he’s got inattentive adhd. The college age nephew has always had a horrible time paying attention in school and he’s finally seeing what might be the cause of it.

    Dont put your child on medication without a ton of research, parenting changes, diet changes, or a supplement addition. We agonized over all of ours… but I would not recommend medication for others if there are other choices.

  27. Amy MacEwen says:

    Hey, haven’t commented or talked to you in a long time, but this is something near and dear to my heart. Our precious boy who is 8 was diagnosed last year as ADHD by a psychologist at the children’s hospital. We have a pediatrician with a son with ADHD as well and one thing I love about him is he doesn’t just write the prescription, he discusses the options. He said any child who is a zombie is not being medicated correctly. There are many options and he starts his patients out on the lowest dose and works up from there. If they are zoned out, the dosage is too high. He said true ADHD kids start to really show it at age 7 or 8 and it shows up in school. That was the case with our boy for sure. We did have him diagnosed by a specialist to make sure, but he is doing so much better. He hardly ever gets in trouble at school anymore because he is able to regulate himself much better. He is still the boy we know and love…warts and all:), but he is so much more confident and sure of himself since he doesn’t have as much trouble listening and following directions. It was a struggle for us to, because I didn’t want it to be a crutch, but it has been a real blessing for us. Feel free to email or call me if you want to discuss, because I have been in your shoes:) Praying for you.

  28. Wow, there is a lot to be said here isn’t there? There are so many variables and God has created each of us so uniquely. We have been down this path with our oldest with a little bit of several of the different scenarios above. He had/has such a sweet spirit through it all, never disruptive when in school, just more of that multisensory stuff. I will say up front we chose not to medicate when the school suggested it, but who am I to say that no child needs medication? Some do. There are definitely vitamins that can be tried and they do work for some people. We homeschool now and that became such a blessing for us all but especially for him. When he struggles with concepts that might take him a little longer, we can slow down and do that–some things he moves right through and it all ends up in the same place if you know what I mean. There are lots of details to his “story” as well, variables. You have a beautiful family and I can see such inner beauty in them all, they radiate it just in pictures. It may be wise to take your time on this one because it truly is such weighty decision with so many people having different experiences to share. We have prayed much about it as we go because some days are harder than others as we also weigh the academic versus spiritual growth and how to focus on the most important while also doing what needs done in the other areas as well. I will pray for you, Stefanie, that the Lord will make it clear what to do.

  29. I know you must be aware of who Karen Purvis is. If so, she’s really good at explaining what happens to the brains of children who come from “hard places” and how healing through love and attachment with their forever family can occur.

    When my daughter from China was still in the school system, she was beginning to be labeled ADHD, the teachers not taking into consideration the different learning styles or different ways children are “smart”… Sonya was only seven months old when she came home from China, but i think those first seven months in the orphanage and her tummy momma’s diet had an impact on her brain development and hence her learning curve.

    I home school Sonya now, and i am so glad the Lord lead me down this path with her. In my cleaning business, before i started home schooling, i’ve seen a lot of children through the years placed on meds and how it changes who they are.

    We are now preparing our home for another daughter from China who is seven years of age. I know now that not only was the Lord putting me in a position to help Sonya but he was preparing me for the special needs of this second child.

  30. I just finished my teaching degree (hoping to find a teaching job next year) but in my time in the classroom, both subbing and student teaching, I have also seen both benefits and drawbacks to medication. I definitely agree with a lot of the people on here who say that there tends to be “over-medicating” in the US. My suggestion would be to look at non-medication alternatives first and see if that helps. Then, go from there.

  31. Another lurker here who is a part-time photographer and adoptive mom and loves following your blog – your children are beautiful!

    I also have some strong opinions about ADHD diagnoses – and experience with *mis-diagnosis* with two of my children. My ds was born to us, and had a 2nd grade teacher who very much suspected he had ADHD when he began struggling in school. Our pediatrician recommended a neuropsychologist eval, and we learned through that that our ds had a learning disability which none of us had suspected. When we accommodated for his disability, the ADHD symptoms disappeared.

    One of our dds adopted from China (who had been in an orphanage which was very stressed for resources) is an extremely active child who likes to fidget. She was soooo super-bouncy and active when she was younger that all of her drs were convinced she had to be ADHD (she had a lot of drs due to medical issues). She was also referred for a neuropsych eval in 2nd grade because she was struggling with reading and copying from the board. We found out through her neuropsych eval that she was most definitely not ADHD, but instead had suspected vision challenges. This was a huge surprise for us because she’d just recently been seen by our regular eye dr and we’d been told she has 20/20 vision – which she does, in each individual eye. But her eyes weren’t tracking together, she had severe double vision, and extremely limited peripheral vision. We found that out when we were referred to a behavioral optometrist; our dd went through one year of vision therapy and within just a few weeks she’d lost the jittery fidgety can’t focus actions and became much calmer. Her reading skills improved so much too – she’s gone from being a struggling student to being a good student.

    So, just fwiw, I wouldn’t take the school district suggestion of ADHD/meds without a thorough private educational eval. We’ve been through both with our ds and our experience was the school district doesn’t provide the depth and breadth of testing and insight into what’s happening that a private provider does. I’d like to think that that’s just our family’s individual experience and not what happens in many schools, but from the networking and research I’ve done I’m afraid it’s fairly common.

    Best wishes to your sweet daughter –


  32. Isabelle. What a sweet girl, sweet smile, and spirit. Take it slow. trust your gut. Love your pics as always.


  33. from the same mother of 3 VERY energetic kiddos…
    we were told ADHD on number one and two and need meds…
    we went with OT for sensory processing (book:the out of sync child) and diet.
    oh, and wait for maturity to kick in.

  34. Stefanie-

    I’m sure the last thing you need is another idea. I didn’t read all the other comments, but……try caffeine. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive. However, when I was teaching, I had an ADHD expert in my class (well, the parent was the expert, like that was his career), and he helped me with a little girl in my class who was off. the. charts ADHD. Apparently caffeine in smallish doses actually has a CALMING affect on kids with ADHD. We suspected at the time that my husband had undiagnosed ADHD, so he doubled the amount of coffee he drank daily, and the results were amazing- a total improvement in him and in the little girl in my class. She would drink one mini-can of soda at the beginning of the school day, and WOW- what a difference it made.

    Just my thought when I read this- maybe it will help you- maybe not.

    Praying you have wisdom as you decide what is best for Isabelle!

    Jenna :)

    • caffeine is a stimulant,
      ADHD meds stimulate the brain so that the person can focus on one thing and not get distracted by the constant messages to do this and that and the other thing randomly. So you see, it does make sense that a stimulant could make the brain have the ability to focus and not feel scattered and unable to shut out constant random messages.
      This is good advice from what I’ve heard from drs. who help alternate approach to dealing with ADHD symptoms.

  35. Unless it was a medical professional (Dr. or Psychologist) that suggested this then and even if it was, this is something that needs to be reviewed by her physician and she needs to be assessed for this condition. Anyone that is NOT a physician should NEVER be making a diagnosis and suggesting medication for your or any child. That is outside their scope of practice. Even as a registered nurse I would never presume to make a diagnosis with medication suggestions. If it is something that she needs then that is up to her physician and you as her parents. Then you work together as a team to find the lowest effective dose possible with the absolutely fewest side effects possible. I would have been staring daggers as well.


  36. You’ve got a lot of comments to look through…. I guess meds for ADHD is a big topic!

    Before you go the med route check out artificial colors and flavors in your kiddos’ diet.
    This might be helpful for your Asher as well, try checking out the feingold diet

    Here is one site, there’s lots of information on it.
    I’m considering this diet for myself b/c of my own distractibility and demands at work. I could you all the help I can get to perform clearly!

    Blessings to your family!

  37. Chiming in here…go with your gut…meds should be the last resort…divurgent thinkers are often confused with ADHD…do your research…check into additives & artificial colors in foods as they can wreck havoc in a child’s system…too often ADHD is a catch-all…just sayin’. Hang in there!!!


  38. Stef:

    Another Lurker…that feels the need to chime in….There is a book by Leonard Saks titled “Boys Adrift”. It is available on Audio Book (got mine at the library) and although it is mostly talking about boys, it does address the ADD/ADHD diagnosis that seems to have risen in the schools. His book is based on his research of quite a few children (in the hundreds I believe) and one thing that was new to me was that he talked about the long term effects of the medications. I don’t believe long term affects are something often talked about.

    My son is very “wiggly” and if he were not homeschooled, I am sure we would be at the school weekly for meetings. My nephew was put on the medication at the suggestion of his school and it just changed his personality almost immediately. Of course I realize every child is different….but perhaps if you are going to homeschool Asher, you could just add sweet Isabelle to your curriculum. One thing that helps us is we get outside and exercise first thing. And then take a break about every hour and a half and get more exercise. And of course, like another person said skip rope or jumping jacks while you recite math facts etc. In the short term while you are making your decision, perhaps you want to try some diet changes and try to get her to exercise before she gets on the bus (I know its so early!), and see if that shows some improvement.

    Praying for your wisdom and that you get all the facts you need to make your decision.

  39. FaithWalk says:

    Just stating the obvious, so forgive me…

    I don’t recall Steph ending here post with, “So guys, tell me, what do you think?” She didn’t ask for our opinions like she did with the homeschool post.

    It’s none of our business!

    People, learn to wait for those magic words…this is a very personal and private matter between Steph, her husband and kids. Period.

    If she wants our opinion, she’ll asks us.

    Steph, be filled with wisdom. James 1:5

  40. We have been down this road for a bit. We are still walking the road and trying to find our way. PLEASE email me if you want to chat. I’d be happy to give you my # too. Big hugs sister.

  41. Good luck with whatever road you take. Parenting isn’t for the weak at all.

  42. That Isabelle is truly precious! Everytime I see a picture of her that you post I can’t help but be captivated. Again and again I am amazed by how wonderful a mother you are. I imagine how blessed you must feel, but I cannot help but be in awe of how lucky those kids are to have you and your husband. I will pray that you find an answer that brings you comfort and peace. However, it is clear that you act only out of tremendous love for your children, and if that is your starting point, the end result will only ever be right.

  43. I just wanted to interject a thought – in case no one else has mentioned this – but children who are labeled as ADHD make excellent candidates for homeschooling in many cases, and often can flourish outside of the classroom setting. I mention this because I know you were considering it with your son. Just something to think about if you haven’t already considered it.
    You have such a beautiful family! It’s crazy how blessed you are. (I know you are aware of that, lol.)
    In Christ,

Leave a Reply