Thursday, April 8, 2010

How Aliya is doing after being home 8 weeks

When I would read people's blogs, especially people who adopted an older child, I was dying to hear how the child was doing at home and school, practically speaking. I wanted details and examples because I wanted to imagine how it *might* be for us. Good to be prepared, I thought!

So, I know lots of you are wondering just how Aliya is doing. She is still doing well and fitting in with all of us well. Her English is improving rapidly and the fact that she likes to be heard and isn't afraid to try (at least at home) helps her immensely with this growth.

When we were home about 3 weeks, she went with me to pick up Mihiretu up from church. (I'm hoping I haven't already shared this!) This is the conversation we had in the car on the way there.

Aliya: "Mom, why I no see in Etopia?"

Me: "What did you say??"

Aliya: "Mom, why I no see pointing at her legs) Etopia?"

Me: (Thinking about what this could possibly mean.)

Aliya: "Mom, did you HEAR (roll the r) me??!!"

We laughed pretty hard at this point:)

I finally figured out that what she meant is, "Why do I not see people walking like I saw in Ethiopia?"

Ahhhhhh, I get it! She didn't know the word, "walk."

Now, 5 weeks later she has improved so much. At home, she is very confident and not at all afraid to speak...which she does a LOT!

She just came up to me and said, "Mom, is Katie REALLY going to Etiopia?"

Me: "Yes, I just bought the tickets for the kids."

Aliya: "Mom, are you SERIOUS? I don't believe you. I'm going to go ask her."

She knows I'm serious but this is just her sense of humor at work!

Aliya: "Katie, why you going to Etopia? You CAN'T go! Who is going to pick out my clothes when you gone?"

See the improvement??

She, on the other hand, is afraid to talk at school. She told me that the girls that she sits with at lunch talk to her but when she talks to them, they think she's speaking Amharic! She does have a very strong accent but I don't think she is that hard to understand:)

In class, I think the teachers think she can do and understand more than she can. I know they want her to try and I do, too. But she absolutely cannot compose a poem...her grasp of the English language is just not there yet. She has a difficult time with short sentences. When she brings home as assignment to compose a poem, I try to explain what is expected in the poem and then I try to get her to give me an idea for the poem. Mostly, I write it...put it together with her ideas. She can't do this on her own yet.

She is a very bright girl and I tried to get her to realize today just how far she's come in the past 8 weeks. I reminded her that in the past 8 weeks she's learned how to be in a family, eat different food, go to a different school, live in a completely different culture, and on and on it goes. All this on top of what she's learning in! It's a lot. She needed to be reminded about how far she's come.

When you remember that she's a 14 year old girl going through all of these changes, it's even harder to believe she's holding it all together and not having major breakdowns.

Plain and simple...we are blessed beyond belief!



  1. I can totally relate to all of this! Praising God for just how far they have come.

    Blessings and love!

  2. So fun to hear how she is doing.

    And a poem!! You got to be kidding!! There are tons of kids who grew up with English as their first language and cannot compose a poem---like my whole family!! HAHA!

  3. Yes, yes, yes. I get all of this. Our oldest daughter came home from Ethiopia when she was 13, almsot 14. She knew no english. She didnt know anything her teachers were saying to her. Her first adoptive family made her go to school just a week after coming to America. She wished she had a couple of months to get to know the language first, but couldnt express that. She still has a strong accent, but doing so well with her Enlgish now that she wanted to apply for her first job the other day! She doesnt feel ready to work face to face with the public yet, so she chose a job she can do "behind the scenes", but still, she asked to do it, and that was a big step! We homeschool all of our kids, so when she came to our family we started homeschooling her, and it gave her the feeling of comfort, not being put on the spot in front of all of her peers. She blossomed.
    her accent and lack of English skills were making her feel very insecure about herself. Homeschooling has boosted her confidence.
    She gets her peer interaction through church you group and homeschool groups now.
    Anyway, sorry I wrote a book! Just wanted to say I get everything you are saying!!!!