We adopted S from Bulgaria at the age of 4. He was a very verbal child; however, he spoke Bulgarian and we spoke English. To help with the transition, we learned some Bulgarian before he came home. We purchased a CD that another adoptive family had put together that included helpful phrases: I am your mom, I am your dad, I love you, Give me a kiss, We are going on an airplane, Don’t do that, etc.
We talk about the transition period for all of us as the time we spoke “Bulgarish”. He spoke Bulgarian with a little bit of English mixed in. We spoke English with a little Bulgarian mixed in. He would use Bulgarian verbs but add “ing” to his words. We would speak in English but throw in Bulgarian words for “boy”, “girl”, “bath”, “bathroom”, “milk”, etc.
It worked for us. The first time we took S shoe shopping he wanted a pair of sandals; however, they were pink. He has always been strong-willed, and he let us know that the pink sandals were the pair of shoes he wanted. We stood in the middle of the store explaining to him in “Bulgarish” that pink sandals are usually for girls using the Bulgarian word for “girl”. He finally understood and opted for a pair of brown sandals.
Then, there is the time S saw the pediatric neurologist at the Developmental Clinic. The doctor was asking him if he was a boy or a girl. S just repeated the English words he was hearing, so he usually told the doctor he was a girl since that was the last word he heard. I had to go across the room and ask him if he was a boy or girl using the Bulgarian words for “boy” and “girl” mixed in with English since I couldn’t put a complete sentence together in Bulgarian. He answered appropriately. The doctor was convinced since S didn’t even hesitate when he was asked.
This is the same doctor who was asking him his colors by showing him colored blocks. S was responding with phrases like, “Red bird”, “blue horse”, “purple cat”. The neurologist was looking a little concerned at this point. The developmental pediatrician turned to us and asked us if we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? a lot at our house. When we told her yes, she told the neurologist that S was just fine.
S picked up English very quickly. He has always had a lot to say and continues to have a lot to say.
While S is talking, I will be on the couch with chocolate.