It's the basis of our community.
It's how we make decisions and come to consensus.
It's often the dynamite the blows up our differences.
It's central to our modern-day existence.
And it was my greatest area of fear when we were neck-deep in prayer and conviction to change our "preference" to adopt an older child as opposed to an infant.
"What about the language barrier? How will we communicate?"
And I scoured the internet for help.
ESL and ELL teacher resources.
And I found?
A couple of lists of useful Amharic words for adoptive families.
A couple posts talking about how quickly children learn/lose language (about 1-2 months for every year of life)
But overall? very little about this issue.
Where were all the real pointers?
What about the practical tips?
So, I thought I would document what we have done.
Because, I can't help but think....If it was my greatest initial fear?
Maybe it's yours too.
But before we take one more step, I want to assure you of this truth.
LOVE? Is so much more essential than language.
We knew 15 words.
Marvel? knew zero.
Language is a pillar in our culture. No doubt.
But Love? Is the foundation.
Patience is pretty nice to have too.
All that being said, Here is a list of words we decided were important for us to learn.
Because --let's be honest-- it's completely ridiculous to expect a 4 year old to carry all of the language-barrier-weight while we get frustrated and impatient because we can't communicate.
Some other tools we have used to bridge the gap and make the language transition easier on our sweet little guy:
*Flash cards, flash cards, flash cards. Marvel LOVES "point and name" which made going through a stack of flash cards a game in itself!!
* Word Puzzles. This was also FUN! FUN! for little Marvel! He learned a lot of "around the house" terms using these puzzles!
* Photo Albums. Here's a few lessons we learned about photo albums that you want to give a 4 year old: Laminate all photos. Use metal rings. Durability is key!
The first album pictured is one we sent to Ethiopia after our first trip to meet Marvel. It's filled with pictures of us with him, the other children, etc... The second album was one The Husband made filled with pictures of foods, activities, airplanes, our home, cars, etc...This was our first "point and name" attempt! It was used a lot on the trip home and now is just carried around in his backpack ;-)
I think what surprised me most were the words he picked up on the fastest:
And the lesson for us was to go in with open hearts and allow our "preparedness" and patience lead the way.
One month home? Marvel has over 50 words and adds new ones every day! Colors, numbers, alphabet, songs.
This kid is definitely a genius child. =)
And I can confidently assure prospective parents not to let language dissuade them! It's far less important and critical to building memories than we think it is.
Truth be told? We talk too much anyways ;-)
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