Posts Tagged ‘translation’

English 101

April 27, 2012

Since the addition of the Colombian princess to our happy family, the English language has been under much scrutiny in my mind.  Our little girl, who only spoke Spanish when we met her, is now only speaking English.  I remember the adoption agency telling us that at four months she would be speaking English.  I hoped and dreamed that would be true for each of the 120 days leading up to the four-month mark. 

My eldest daughter and I had some grasp of mangled Spanish when we headed to Colombia, and with the addition of Google Translate (that speaks aloud for you!) we did communicate fairly effectively, I thought.  A year after the fact, I now believe that there was a lot of smiling and nodding going on without much comprehension.  But we survived those early days!  Whew!  What made me sad was that Nora’s daddy couldn’t talk to her at all.  My sweet husband simply spoke louder…. as if that would help the translation somehow.  My mother also was a bit uncomfortable being left with the care of a little girl and a big language barrier.  The sooner the four-month switch occurred, the better!

At three months, three weeks and three days, I was getting exasperated with the translation between our little Colombiana and the rest of the family.  It didn’t seem to me like she was understanding English.  She wasn’t using that many words in her new language.  What I didn’t realize was that her little brain was storing English words.  In little filing cabinets… that could be referred to later.  After four months.

Then four months ended.  And POOF!  She spoke English.  Spanish was gone.  English had arrived… the switch in her brain took place ON CUE at four months and she has not looked back.  I don’t think she even realized what happened.  It was as if the Spanish filing cabinets were closed and locked.  The English filing cabinets were opened and readily available for use.  Unbelievable how God made young brains to absorb language.  Unbelievable!

As she continues to experiment with the English language, I have had to think through a lot of her sentences, words and syntax…. to try to discover WHY we say things like we do.  It is confusing.  Tonight she told me, “You don’t have to fed the dogs.  I did.”  ‘Fed’ is past tense.  ‘I did’ is past tense. I can see how it seems right… sort of. 

One time I asked Nora to close the back door.  She stood still, eyes roving the room as her little brain tried to grasp…. something….  Finally she held onto her shirt and said, “I think this is clothes. How do you clothes a door?”  Made perfect sense to me.

And the -ed ending to words is so confusing.  Go…. goed.   I saw the bird…. I sawed the bird yesterday.  Eat… eated.  Run…. runned.  Sat… satted.  Drive… drived.  “Well, -ed is usually how you add past tense….. but not this time, Honey.”  Witnessing the transition has been a blessing and an awe-inspiring adventure!  Adoption stretches you in ways you never expected.  Ever.  And I love it!

It’s ALMOST Comical

January 17, 2012

Yes, I’m talking about one more glitch in the adoption process.  Yes, we have adopted the Colombian Princess.  Yes, it is final in Colombia and recognized in the USA.  She is ours. We are hers.  Done…. with papers to prove it.  She is an American citizen and we have a pretty paper to prove that too. BUT, we are in the process of re-adopting in our state so we will have an US adoption decree, an US birth certificate and the final name change decree, which the courts in Colombia wouldn’t allow. (Even though she asked for her name to be shortened, they wouldn’t change it because she was over 5 years old.)  We all know how important it is to prove that you are a natural-born citizen OR have hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover up that you aren’t…. but I digress.

I assumed re-adoption in Arizona would be easier than an international adoption.  It is slightly. Of course we had to get our fingerprints done for the ninth time.  Since our eldest daughter turned 18 in the process, she also got to join in fingerprinting fun.  More financial statements.  More home visits.  More paperwork.  You may recall a blog about the need to prove that our dog had the rabies vaccine too.  (Do they really think the type of people who go trough this whole rigmarole to adopt a child would not get their dog protected against rabies?) Seriously.

We are so close to getting our final court date here in AZ, but come to find out, we didn’t have an English translation of the Sentencia, the final Colombian Adoption Decree.  Ironically, I could not get a straight answer out of anyone at the County Attorney’s Office as to whether this translation had to be certified and/or notarized.  Our social worker was eventually able to pull some strings and get some answers for us.  We sent the Spanish version off to our friend in Colombia for translation, and we received an email back that said there is a mistake on the original, official, final, Colombian Sentencia.  This is almost comical.  Thankfully, our friend could go to the court and get it changed, so we don’t have challenges later.  OF COURSE this includes more time, more money, more paperwork.  Really?

If you are adopting from Colombia, make sure you get a translated copy of the Sentencia BEFORE you leave Bogota!!!

One translating step forward and two adoption process steps backwards.  Some day we will be done.  Some day.

Dental Work in Mexico

June 4, 2008

Yes, Rico needs some dental work done and being the spend thrift that he is, we are heading to Los Algodones, Mexico today to get him some gold teeth.  Joking, Mom.  It saves us hundreds of dollars.  Keep us in your prayers.  It’s a two day deal but we stay over night in AZ.  You can walk across the border to the dentist.  Should prove entertaining, if nothing else.

Keeve, our 9 year old, was on babelfish.com translating important sentences that he might need to use, like  “My favorite letter is Q.”  Things like that.  Larisa, 14, asked him to translate, “Please don’t abduct me.”  I told her we would be surrounded by hundreds of elderly Canadians and Americans and we’ll be just fine.

I’m sure at least one really good blog will come out of this trip.  Hasta la vista.

www.LindaCrosby.com