Thursday, September 1, 2011

Words, Words, and some more Words

Speech. I think that must rank high on the mental list of "things to be concerned about when bringing a child home from another country" that adoptive parents keep in their heads. Well, maybe not you, but it was certainly on my list. You want to communicate with this child. He/she is not a tiny baby without any words based communication skills. What if he/she is already speaking some of his/her native language and you can't understand them? What is he/she is not speaking at all? We got lots of advice on this topic or at least questions about how things might go. I was honestly not sure at all. I know I've taught, but speech was always confusing to me. Why does one child in a home develop a speech difficulty when everyone around him is speaking perfectly fine? I've always just gone with the "talk a bunch and label" method. Obviously I have no research to back this up, although I have had the joy of watching several students transition into a second language over the course of a school year which is always amazing, but Xavier seems to be doing just fine. I keep thinking maybe I'm missing something. We have such a fabulous child! Maybe I'm overlooking some problem in his development, but time and time again he does things or says things that surprise me. J.J. and I had to make a list of words he can say because we can't even keep track. Let's see how many I can remember:
1. up 2. dog 3. on 4. kitty 5. ball 6. blue 7. meow 8. woof-woof 9. quack 10. water 11. snack
12. please 13. thank you 14. bottom 15. eye 16. diaper 17. pull 18. wow 19. oh yeah 20. book
21. walk 22. shoe 23. whoa 24. Dada 25. Mamma 26. sing 27. box
Okay, I know there are more, but they are just not coming to me right now. I feel like I'm bragging on my child and maybe I am. At the same time I don't want to forget how much progress he has made. It is truly amazing to me and a testimony to how wonderful adoption can be. Please don't misunderstand me. Adopting our son was tough and raising him is even more difficult. He is not a perfect child. He hits me in the face. He throws toys that should never be thrown. He pushes the spoon away when he no longer feels like eating something. See, he is a normal two year old! Despite all those normal obstacles I really want to make sure people understand just how wonderful adoption is. I wish I could talk so many people into adopting. So, if you are considering adoption and you are concerned about communicating with your child don't get stuck on that subject. Before you know it your child will be saying and signing "No" to you and if they don't it wasn't a competition to begin with and there are so many resources for speech and development available. Check that one off the mental list.

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