Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Big Questions

There are two questions that are asked of us more than any others about our adoption journey. The number one question is, "When are you going to China?" But surprisingly the second most asked question is "Does she know English?" The answer to the first question is, "We don't know, but soon." The answer to the second one takes a little longer to answer, but it is just as simple. Children in China who are part of the international adoption program (and not all Chinese orphans are) are adopted to families all over the world. The orphanages and foster homes don't know where the child will be adopted until they are within a few short months of the adoptive parents coming to get them. That isn't enough time to teach them the language of the country in which they will be living. Sadly too, some adoptions don't work out and then the child may become available again and be going to a different country. So even if the CCCW@ had the resources to teach the children a different language, they really wouldn't know which language to teach the child in time for them to learn even the basics.

The good news is that children are very resilient and learn language fairly quickly when young and immersed in it. I've read over and over again where children have been home for only one month and already they could understand almost anything that was spoken to them, and they were starting to use English phrases. We will try to learn some helpful Mandarin phrases (the language spoken in much of China),  and we are looking at some simple sign language to aid in communication to keep the frustration level down while she is learning English. You can help by using simple phrases and speaking clearly when talking to her.

We are not nearly as concerned about language as we are about her bonding with us. Attachment will be our main concern. Many people think that love is enough, but it isn't. There is so much more to it. A person has to not only receive love, but they have to know what to do with that love and how to reciprocate. Most of us think we are born knowing how to do that, but we aren't...we are shown that and it develops through our relationships with our family or caregivers. And for some in this world they have not had that example, or they've had a trauma (emotional or physical) that has blocked them from giving and receiving love. We may be very blessed with an easy transition, but we know if we aren't, God will help us work through anything that comes our way.

Rachel on a riding toy


  1. I think an easy way to explain it is even though she is being adopted into a family that loves her and she will have a better life, SHE doesn't know that.

    What she knows is that she woke up one morning and her ENTIRE world as she knew it was gone.

    She will never again wake up in her bed, never see the same people again, never eat the same food, hear the same language. To HER, her world is no longer a safe place, even once she gets used to her new family that fear that things could change again without warning will always be there.

    Adoption is nothing short of a legal kidnapping!!! I know you as her family get that I just hope that others who want to love on her can understand that.

    She will most likely be happy and friendly to a lot of people because she will want to hopefully pick her new family "just in case" they can't look at her friendliness as her fitting in so well, or adjusting. As hard as it will be for us to hold back, we need to give you guys space to bond as a family so she can feel safe and KNOW that you are forever. For us that took longer with our family than she was in China, that could mean 4 years for you guys.....But that is a SHORT amount of time in terms of her entire life.

    Hopefully everyone around you will understand when you have to hold back with bringing her places and especially about others holding her or babysitting!

    I am soooo excited to see this miracle unfold, and can't wait to see you holding that precious baby girl in your arms. My heart however will be breaking at the same time because I know what her poor heart must be feeling at the same time! Hopefully you will find out VERY SOON when that big day will be!

  2. Well said Dawn!! Sometimes the kids are prepared for the adoption (as our boys were) but I don't think they really understand it until it happens. Praying you have your sweet baby in your arms soon!!!!
    Karen Butner