Originally Posted By Emily
Is it hard to teach a child English, when they are small? How do you understand and communicate with each other until they learn English? Is it common to learn your child's native language?
Originally Posted By Carolyn
We adopted a 2-year-old boy from Russia in February 2000. He also spoke no English (actually very little Russian!), but he has learned very quickly. He watches certain things on TV and just listening to us talk - he has three teenage siblings, so he's not around children very often. We will probably enroll him in speech therapy (it's offered in our school district at age 3 for free) just to give him the extra help he needs.
Originally Posted By Rene
Speaking from experience - NO. My 2 kids learned English by playing with other children and by their pre-school teacher talking to them in English. And it only took several months. Before that, they only spoke in our native language at home. Those advice given to us that children will get confused because of the 2 languages are a lot of bull. My son can switch in either language very well, but my daughter has adapted to English very well, too. Just keep talking to your child in English and he/she will learn quickly. Sesame Street can also help.
Originally Posted By Linda
I have to agree with the others. Our daughter was 7 when we adopted her from Russia in April 2000. It is amazing how quickly she has picked up English. Even in the begining she got her point across by pointing , pantomining, etc. Ther first week she could count to 10 in English. Young children are remarkable. What is funny is you cannot ask her ;how do you say meat in Russian?" because children do not TRANSLATE in their heads. They will speak one or the other. That is why it is so much easier for children to learn language. We adults try to translate in our heads. SOmetimes , when you don't quite understand, a smile and a nod and a "Oh, I see" is adequate- just like when my bio 2 year old would bable away and I had no idea. A response makes them happy!
We have 2 yr old twin girls. They spoke a few words in Russian but understood a lot of the simple Russian words. We picked them up and spoke English to them with a few words of Russian. Being twins, they have their own "twin" language.
It has been a year. Our twins speak and understand the following languages: "twin", English, Russian, and Spanish to their . They go to a parochial Pre-K3. They attend ESOL for English and Spanish twice a week. Also, I have Russian friends which only speak to them in Russian. We play "Binlingual Baby", a video tape to teach a language. This one is Russian.
Good luck.
My adopted sister was twelve when my family choose to adopt her. After about four months, she understood everything, but spoke very broken English and could barely read and write. She and I spent two summers working really hard and now she's getting four A's and two B's in the grade she'd be in if she were in Russia. The older the child, the harder it is. It means more vocabulary, a pretty high reading level, and learning how to spell relatively long words.
On the other hand...I have a friend, Masha, who came her when she was four, started kindergarten when she was five, and has been an excellent student all the way through school. It only took her 8 months to learn English.
We adopted an eight year old from Russia who arrived on the first of December - no English of Course. We put him right in school and on the first of March he told us in English he was giving up Russian and would only speak English. It is now eight months since his arrival and he speaks just like the other kids. Tricks? we gave him maximum exposure to other kids including after school programs. He had ESL support a couple of days a week - the rest was up to him.
Encourge him not to give up his Russian completely. If he is biliterate it will be an advantage to him as an adult, perhaps opening doors for employment. Now that he is in school in the US he will do fine in English, but I would encourage him to read some every day in Russian like age appropriate and ability level novels and speak it with anyone with whom he has the opportunity so he doesn't forget. It is a skill few in this country will have and may give him a leg up. Many immigrant families encourage their children to speak their native language at home to retain fluency while learning English at school. This will be harder as you probably don't know Russian. Maybe he can teach you! God bless.
Hello there,
I used to teach the English language to children in the orphanage in Russia.The age when the children start to learn English langauge in a Russian average school is 10 years of age.
I am talking about ordinary schools which are ure supported by the state financially. Usually there are two hours of a foreighn language 45 minutes length.
Now I work in the adoption agency helping to adopt orphans from the orphanage where I used to work and when adoptive parents ask me if the children speak English I smile :-) This is not possible to speak fluently if you have only an hour and a half of classes once a week.But the children know the idea of the English grammar and they know everyday life common phrases and it helps them a lot when they happen to be in the language environment.
But the most interesting thing is when children who do not know a word in English start to speak fluent English by the end of the first month. This is a miracle of course and though I have seen it many times with the children who have been adopted I cannot stop admiring at their amazing ability to absorb all the knowledge like sponges. I can only imagine myself being placed into the environment of absolutely unknown language... what would I do? :-) PM me if you want to know about these amazing changes!
I understand your fears. My husband and I are just contemplating a Russian adoption. His fear is the language barrier. Once we finalize our decision and send in our application to the agency I will make it my MISSION to learn Russian. I would like to help them with the language transition in the beginning and at the same time, hope to help them continue their bilingual abilities thru their childhood. Being bilingual is a gift!
I would be seeking a 3 year old in fear that a school aged child would have a hard time adjusting. You have all given me confidence not to fear that! Thanks!
Our sons, now ten and eight, both came home from Guatemala at age four (two years apart). Our oldest son was speaking only English after two months. Our second son was busy showing off his large motor skills and making little boy motor noises, so it took him six months, but he went from a few words to using complete sentences once he decided to speak as much as he moved! By the time the second son came, the first didn't remember any Spanish, so they couldn't speak to each other in their first language. Sad to say they lost it all, since we are not bilingual.
We can't even remember what we might have done to encourage their language learning, except immersion in our family and culture. We also have four daughters, so the boys had plenty of one- on-one attention and opportunites for conversation.
We are hoping to soon travel for our new ten yr old daughter in Guatemala. This time around may be more difficult, because of her age, but we don't anticipate any huge difficulties. We know many families w/ older Guatemalan adoptees and have seen how well they have adjusted.
I've purchased a small, inexpensive Spanish/English translator from Radio Shack, as a friend recommended it, after using one with their daughter who came at age nine from Guatemala.
I've purchased some Spanish and bilingual children's books and CDs...stories and songs I'm familiar with, so I'll know what she's being exposed to. We know just enough Spanish to be "dangerous". And though we would love to be fluent in Spanish, unfortunately more of the burden will be upon her to learn English, to be able to function effectively in our culture. I anticipate much pointing and pulling each other by the hand and laughing at our ineptness in languages.
We have resources such as Spanish speakers in our church and community, the promise of an ESL teacher or aid in our elementary school, etc. We can't wait to get her home to start the exciting process of becoming her family and learning new ways to communicate our love to her.
Our agency has always told families not to worry about the language difference, that the kids will learn English quickly. That has proven true with all the children we have met who are now in their new families. Best wishes with your adoption process. "Love in any language", as the song goes..."fluently spoken here."
I was adopted from Guatemala. My parents knew spanish and yet they wouldn't speak my native language to me. I eventually learned it myself. But the best time for me would've been as a baby
I don't think that language is a problem in international adoptions.Language can be taught to the kid after the adoption.Many international celebrities have also adopted some kids that are not of their region yet those kids are happy with them.So it isn't any issue.
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:cheer: Somebody think that the best time to learn foreign language for chuldren is when he is 3 years old, not at all, :fish: some children who learn English in 3 years old will mixture the English and his month tongue. All of that depend on the kids themselves.:flower:
I remember before we adopted our girl from China someone told us that the least of our problems would be language. We were sceptical but with hindsight they were right. We took along some books with pictures for her to point at (things like food, toilet, bath, etc) and we also quickly found that sign language worked well. So pointing to your mouth for food, miming drinking from a cup for drinking and many more. Go for it, I really do think you will find that it is not your biggest issue.
A quick update on my post. I forgot to mention that we did learn the Chinese for toilet activities so that if the poor girl needed to go she could at least communicate the fact.