Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Questions Answered!

Larita asked-
I've been trying to learn our daughter's language but am not doing very well. How does the language issue work out? Our daughter is 7 and I'm starting to worry about communication.

I answered - I also tried to learn Chinese but was not successful. I bought ros*tta st*ne but just didn't have the time to learn such a challenging language. It is wonderful that you are trying to learn it!

Our Daughter Sarah came home at 8.5 yr old. She did not want to learn english but she is a talker and caught on quick! She got most of it from home- repeating what we said. We had her do ELL classes in our local elementary school- that was only for 45 minutes a week- but it still helped. We had her watch sprout TV and learning videos- baby Einstein, Elmo, curious buddies, preschool prep, etc. She had such a strong desire to communicate that her language skills happened rapidly!

This time I'm afraid it will not happen as fast. The girls can talk between each other and they don't seem very driven to try the language. We will need to give them more time. We are thinking about doing ELL in the schools again (even though we homeschool). I haven't had the time or energy to devise a homeschool language plan yet- we are still just adjusting.

We do a lot of pointing and charades in our home!
I started writing this post this morning and already by the evening Ellie is showing interest and copying what we say! So maybe it will be faster than what we think!

By 2 months we were communicating with Sarah through very simple language. By 6 months people had no idea that she was just learning English- she did great! We knew where the wholes in her language where others did not.
By one year others raved about her english. We continue to work on tenses, plurals and vocabulary, etc. At 14 months she was comprehending what she was reading about 85 % of the time. It is just happens- it is so awesome to experience!

Blogging friend asked-
I guess the questions I have are more down to earth and home life.
1).How are the girls doing with attachement?
2).Are they calling you Mom and Dad yet? if not what do they call you?
3).How is Anna doing with having 3 big sisters? I know she and Sara became very close after a while and wonder if that has changed? Is Sara protective of Anna with Emma and Ellie?
4). Where you able to get Emma and Ellie their own American Girl Dolls (I think that is what they are called)? If so, what did they think of that? Obviously they like dolls but having one of their very own I bet is nice too.
5)?How are the girls doing with discipline? What type of discipline you use? Assuming you have had to do much other than saying NO.
6). How are they doing with sleeping? Has it taken them long to get use to the new time difference?

I answered -
1). Surprisingly well. In fact we think it is better than with Sarah. They don't seems to be parent shopping. They seem to like us and respect us! They had birth parents that they new, they had foster parents for 3.5 years so they get what a family is! Honestly I think they more than like us- I think they are lovin us- it's growing everyday!

2). They called us Momma and Babba from the moment we met them! Now they sometimes call us Mommy and Daddy or Momma or Babba!

3). Anna is really enjoying having her new big sisters! She has regressed a little bit- talking a little baby talk, wants to be carried a lot and a little whiney but she seems very happy. She has no problem speaking up for herself and telling a big sis a thing or two! Sarah is not protective of Anna. If she felt she were in danger she maybe would be but Sarah is a little bit more of a leader who now has a following- her 3 little sisters! All 4 sisters tell on each other, tease each other, and play with each other.

4). We are waiting a month or two before we get them. They love dolls but they need more time to adjust to everything. We have actually put Sarah's Am. girl dolls away for a little bit. Emma was taking everything from Sarah and hiding it- kind of the hoarding thing. So we are just going to give them more time and wait until we can communicate about it. Then they can tell us what the want!

5). We had to use very strong discipline in China. The girls were wild and out of control. They didn't seem to respect anything or anybody. They spoke rudely to others in Chinese, they ran away, they had never had any experiences and had no idea how to act. They hit us, bit us, pinched us, pulled our hair and kicked us. They spit out the bones and cartilage from chicken feet onto the carpeted floor of the restaurants. They threw food- oh my, I might as well stop here- you get the picture! We kept them very close to us. One adult always had one of the new girls at their side. We had to say firm No's to them. If they laugh at the No's we give them the stare down to show we are in control. If they continued to be disrespectful we had to get in their face and give very firm no's. We prayed about their behavior and that God would intervene and help our girls and help us. They scared us. We had each of our guides talk to them and make it clear what we expected out of them as far as behavior and how they needed to act if they wanted to come to America. Pardon the expression but we called ourselves the "N@zi parents".

This may sound terrible and overdone but it was necessary. It surprised hubby and I that we needed to be this firm and at times we were uncomfortable with it too.

After 2 weeks of that we came home with two good girls! They want a family, they want love, they are happy and they have come a long way as far as acting appropriately! We are amazed because we were concerned it wasn't going to get better. Now we say a firm no, we do not get in their face but we make sure we have eye contact. We have them say sorry- in English or Chinese. Very little is needed now. If they misbehave it is often because they don't understand or they have not been taught what to do in certain situations. I can see on the face they really do care and they are trying! For us it is like a miracle- only God!

6). Sleeping in China was rough- they were so excited and over stimulated. They are doing pretty good now that they are home! All 4 sleep in one room with 2 sets of bunk beds. They go to bed around 8:30 pm and get up at 6:30 am. The first week we were all tired but now the jet lag is wearing off and we are getting settled in!

Carol asked-
Although I did not think I would do this, I ended up taking our daughter (and myself) to Chinese school and we love it! We are both in Chinese Second Language (CSL) classes and participate in all the events and activities throughout the year. Do you or will you take your girls to Chinese school (assuming you have one in your area?) The older girls may appreciate it because they will feel like they still have a link to China and can retain their own language and be bilingual. Thank you for taking the time to share your family with us.

I answered -
Sarah was in China school and Dance every Saturday last year. This school year we have decided to wait until after Christmas to sign the girls up for China school. They have so much English to learn we want them to get a head start on English before they continue with their Chinese. We would love it if they were bilingual and are planning to have the Chinese language as part of our homeschool in the future! We are also involved in a play group with other families that have adopted from China, we meet every week in the summer and every other month during the school year.


Mary Kate said...

Wow Jean...Thanks so much for all of your "candid" answers....I feel like I am learning so much! I am so happy for you all...things are really seeming better everyday!

Dawn - "Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

Love the insight. We too have all 4 girls in a room, and our 4 boys. They love being together :)

Jill said...

Love these Q and A's Jean! Mark and I are stil hoping to adopt an oder child from China someday. Financially it isnt on our radar for awhile, but Lucy keeps telling us she has an 8 yr old sister in China named Ruby! (name not on our radar either, but hey, who knows???)
Really enjoying your insight on all of this!

TanyaLea said...

Wow Jean! I love these Q&A posts you have going on... how helpful to fellow AP's and those considering adoption. You are a great advocate and a wonderful leader!! :)

I just caught up on all of your posts about the girls. It sounds like things are progressing really well and that you have made leaps and bounds with each passing day. What a night and day difference from your time in China! The girls are learning fast...Praise GOD!! You're a wonderful mama and what wisdom in setting those boundaries early. Children NEED and WANT boundaries...it always makes for happier parents AND children in the end! :)

I LOVE their room...that is one of my favorite PBK bedding lines...the tulips are great!...and the set up of the bunks that way turned out so cute. What fun for the girls to grow up in that space together!!

I haven't attended a play group yet. I wondered how long I should wait after being home to join in, but I see that you are going already, so maybe I SHOULD attend one soon. Fridays are often so busy for us though, but I really would like to go and finally meet you in person. Hopefully I can attend one in August.

Keep the great posts coming and know that your family remains in my thoughts and prayers as you transition to a 'new normal' at home!! <><

Blessings and Hugs,
~ Tanya

Serving the King said...

Jean thanks so much for sharing with us! I am learning SO much from you!! We just returned from vacation and there I was every couple of days checking in on your blog cuz I didn't want to miss an update! I may be slightly...uhhh..pathetic like that. ;)

Pam said...

I've loved following your Q & A posts!

Grace is moving VERY slowly with her English. And she doesn't seem particularly motivated to learn either. Sigh...She talks a lot to Charlie in Mandarin, but he answers her in English most of the time. Charlie's English is coming along really well. He understands everything (or seems to) and says quite a few words, too.

I am so glad that Emma and Ellie are doing so well now that they are home. Our experience has been similar with Charlie. Though his behaviour was not nearly as extreme in China, it still left a lot to be desired, and I was pleasantly surprised that once we got home he settled down almost immediately.

Nancy said...

I am so proud of you Jean! I know that must have been hard for you to be so firm, but it sounds like just what they needed. I have the privilege of knowing you here at home, and if the others knew how sweet and considerate you are, they would truly know how you stepped out of your comfort zone in order to do what was best for your daughters. You are such a great momma!

Sue said...

I have enjoyed your Q&A too, most of this I already knew from talking with you, but it is nice to read about it. You are a wonderful mom.

Cari said...

I have enjoyed reading your Q & A posts. Thanks for doing that. It was very interesting to read. I glad that you are all making good progress through your transition time.

LedaP said...

Yes, loving all this info. So appreciative and glad to get this insight from you. Thank you!