I think the number one thing people ask us especially adopting an older child has been language.
Some people even use the lack of knowing another language as an excuse NOT to adopt.
I don't know Mandarin - although several of my kids have a knack for language I do not - thus the partially used rosetta stone sitting in my growing pile of good intentions!
AND for some reason people are under the impression that our son - who lived in an orphanage in basically podunk China knows English. I know it's so bad - but I am sure I give them this look that says - really - really you can't be using up air to ask me this question.
But alas - the same question keeps coming.
SOOOOO, the answer is NO - I speak maybe 10 whole words of Chinese - I know 10 whole words of Chinese because
a. it was the one word a particular child needed repeated the entree trip for my sanity
b. it's easy
c. my children learned it on said trips and kept correcting me in fits of laughter until I got it.
So here is how our day goes -
Good Morning, Ma Ma
Good Morning Dawson did you sleep well?
followed by this grunt that sounds like a baby dinosaur yawning.
Then I gesture shoveling food into my mouth
he smiles, and nods if he has already eaten (daddy makes the breakfast).
Then I point to the broom,
and eventually his backpack before he leaves the house.
All this time the other kids are incessantly chattering away.
I get him from school (see below)
AND he smiles with a Hi,. . . . Mama (although yesterday he called me mop lol)
I say my few pat words
Swayshowe - How or La (school good or bad)
Pengyo - How or La?
Shovel food into my mouth and do a thumbs up or down.
HMMMM, writing this I am thinking no wonder he looks at me like I am a dork LOL.
Luckily, he goes to a Mandarin immersion school, so the teachers all are from China and can speak to him for the most part -
Since I am ADHD today - his stinking teachers can't get he or she right either LOL
If we have issues at home, or questions about school, we go in with him and have them translate to him.
Also his ESL teacher works on him answering in English.
Anyhow, I write all this because I can see how having him home with me all day, with no one to translate would cause many of the frustrations that I hear about with older kids. We do use the translated on the phone to get important facts across but my guess it's not always exactly what I am trying to say. In addition, because of where he grew up - they have a very strong dialect (his Mandarin teacher told the principal he needed to work on his Mandarin heehee - she said no he needed to work on his English LOL!)
Dawson can read the translator but doesn't understand what the voice is saying much of the time.
As far as English - we have pulled out the preschool prep videos, the preschool apps on my phone and right now we are just working on letters. My goal is to have him proficient in letters, sounds and beginning to blend by the time school starts next fall.
A summer home with our extroverts will hopefully help.