I thought we were doing fairly well at educating our three kids about adoption. We are currently waiting for our referral call for our little 3-5 year old daughter from Colombia. The family discussions have been going on for 18 months… so I assumed we had covered at least the basics. Nope. Yesterday I went onto hallmark.com and clicked on one of their adoption shows for my viewing pleasure. When the commentary began my two boys, ages 11 and 9, came and sat on either side of me to watch the tear-jerking clips of a family adopting from Romania. I always need tissue close at hand to watch those happy introductions and homecomings.
Anyway, the adopting family was at the orphanage in Romania with their two previously adopted kids and their biological daughter. They were back in the same country to adopt the older sibling of their kids. The daughter being brought home was 10 years old and the initial moments of reunion were filmed for all to see. There wasn’t much speaking going on until the 8 year old said to her 10 year old sister, “I love you,” in Romanian and the girl answered in English, “I love you.” I’m tearing up remembering the scene. The siblings had been separated for more than 4 years.
Back to my house, Austin asked in disbelief, “You mean they can’t talk to her?!?” “No, they don’t speak Romanian and she doesn’t speak English yet.” I was witnessing culture shock in my family room. “Are we going to be able to talk to our sister?” he questioned, hoping for an answer that would fit into his comfort zone. “No, she speaks Spanish,” I replied. “They aren’t teaching her English????” he was aghast. “No.” He couldn’t believe his little ears. International adoption just became crystal clear to him, especially the international part. After a few moments of sitting with his mouth hung open staring at the computer screen adopting family….. he asked in confusion, “Then how are we going to talk to our sister?”
Great question. “With love,” was my answer. You don’t have to speak the same language to hug, or giggle, or point and smile, or hold hands, or scratch a back, or color, or cry or even play happy-clappy games.