American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
science-smart

The Science of Smart

Researchers have long been searching for better ways to learn. In recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better. In this program, we look at some of the big ideas coming out of brain science. We meet the researchers who are unlocking the secrets of how the brain acquires and holds on to knowledge. And we introduce listeners to the teachers and students who are trying to apply that knowledge in the real world.

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American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
science-smart

The Science of Smart

Researchers have long been searching for better ways to learn. In recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better. In this program, we look at some of the big ideas coming out of brain science. We meet the researchers who are unlocking the secrets of how the brain acquires and holds on to knowledge. And we introduce listeners to the teachers and students who are trying to apply that knowledge in the real world.

Recent Posts

  • 08.20.14

    Variation is key to deeper learning

    Humans obviously learn a lot of things through trial-and-error. A level of "desirable difficulty" built into a learning and exam process appears to boost the overall retention of new skills or knowledge.
  • 08.19.14

    Learning to love tests

    If there's consensus on anything in education, it's this: Tests are awful. But maybe we've been thinking about tests all wrong. Research shows that tests can actually be powerful tools for learning -- but only if teachers use them right.
  • 08.19.14

    Paul Tough on how children succeed

    Paul Tough talks about his new book, How Children Succeed. He says it's character that matters when it comes to learning. Children need curiosity, optimism and self-control.
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Adoption stories


Presentation ceremony of Nicolas. July 6, 2004. Bogota, Colombia.

Erin Conroy
Moorhead, MN

Birth Country: Colombia
Decade of adoption: 2000 or later

Our son Nicolas (named by his birth mother) was adopted from Colombia in 2004 as a special-needs adoption. My husband is deaf, and we sought to adopt a deaf child. Working through Lutheran Social Service, we originally wanted to adopt from China because of the stability of the China program. However, almost immediately after our submission to the adoption program at LSS, I received an email from our social worker asking us if we would be interested in adopting a deaf boy named Nicolas from Colombia.

When we were children, my sister had always wanted a boy and she was going to name him Nicolas. During both her pregnancies, she had chosen Nicolas as boys' names. Both pregnancies turned out to be girls.

The first person I contacted about Nicolas was my sister. (Not my husband, oops.) I told her of the deaf two-month-old baby in Colombia. She hesitated for a long time before sadly asking, "Erin, are you sure you want to do this? I thought you wanted a girl from China?"

I replied, "His name is Nicolas."

And she said, "That's your baby."

I returned the email to our social worker exclaiming, "Yes!" Only as an afterthought, I emailed my husband and told him of the possibility.

We flew to Colombia on July 5, 2004 to collect Nicolas. We stayed for approximately six weeks and came home August 12, 2004.

Adopting is a soul-searching, oftentimes gut-wrenching process. Parents often grieve for the loss of a biological child, myself included. In hindsight, I wouldn't change anything. The emotional, spiritual and social growth I have experienced as an adoptive parent is something I would never have had if I had only biological children.

I still grieve now, mostly for Nicolas' birth mother. The most surprising aspect of the adoption process for me was the amount of loss I feel for Nicolas' birth mother. I think of her on a daily basis. I hope and pray she has peace with her decision. She has given us the opportunity to be a family. I can never repay her.



Back to Adoption Stories


American RadioWorks | Hearing is Seeing
science-smart

The Science of Smart

Researchers have long been searching for better ways to learn. In recent decades, experts working in cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience have opened new windows into how the brain works, and how we can learn to learn better. In this program, we look at some of the big ideas coming out of brain science. We meet the researchers who are unlocking the secrets of how the brain acquires and holds on to knowledge. And we introduce listeners to the teachers and students who are trying to apply that knowledge in the real world.

Recent Posts

  • 08.20.14

    Variation is key to deeper learning

    Humans obviously learn a lot of things through trial-and-error. A level of "desirable difficulty" built into a learning and exam process appears to boost the overall retention of new skills or knowledge.
  • 08.19.14

    Learning to love tests

    If there's consensus on anything in education, it's this: Tests are awful. But maybe we've been thinking about tests all wrong. Research shows that tests can actually be powerful tools for learning -- but only if teachers use them right.
  • 08.19.14

    Paul Tough on how children succeed

    Paul Tough talks about his new book, How Children Succeed. He says it's character that matters when it comes to learning. Children need curiosity, optimism and self-control.
  • 08.18.14

    This is your brain on language

    For decades psychologists cautioned against raising children bilingual. They warned parents and teachers that learning a second language as a child was bad for brain development. But recent studies have found exactly the opposite.