Acquiring English

When parents adopt older children internationally, their concerns are about communicating with their new child and about their child learning English.

All children are different. Listed below are tips I learned through my own experience with my child’s language issues. Hannah was adopted from Russia and had just turned six when she was adopted.

Communication tips:

Using a translator/tutor:

I had a Russian graduate student who spent a couple of hours with Hannah each week for a couple of months. They were speaking Russian, but Olga was also teaching Hannah basic English, like vocabulary, numbers, and a few letters. I also used Olga to translate the “big” issues, such as safetytopics, upcoming Christmas, and the aunt she would meet who was pregnant.

Notes from my journal regarding Hannah’s language progress:

Every child is different – these are merely our experiences.

Susan M. Ward, an older child adoption specialist, provides parent coaching and resources for adoptive families. Susan’s training has focused on adoption issues relating to attachment, grief, and parenting. She’s also the adoptive parent of a child healed from RAD (reactive attachment disorder). Her website is