When we brought Anna home a little over five years ago, we thought she would talk right away. She had been somewhat verbal in Ukraine, but her understanding of a new language and how to put it together has been slower than anticipated. In the beginning I worked with her (and Tanner) with every program out there. We did oral therapy, and basically practiced all day long.
It was slow going. She eventually built a basic vocabulary, but her expressive language hasn’t really been blossoming. Her memorization of words is great, but putting those words together in order to communicate has been lacking. We began to wonder if she would ever learn to make her needs known, if she would ever understand a conversation. It’s amazing to think about what you can do when you can have a two way conversation. I never realized how complicated communication actually was.
I stopped doing all of the memorizing and work for a year. This year we will be working on speaking clearly, but I really just took a break over the last year. She played, she grew, and she began to really talk.
It started out with simple things.
She began to say she was thirsty. This was a big one for us, she could tell us her need and make a request. Then she began to ask to go with us when we left the house. Simple “I go to” or “I sirsty water pwease” but still huge in understanding her desire or need, and communicating it to us.
Then she progressed to something new.
It was, “what doing?”
Then, “what are you doing?”
Then, “mom (or dad) what are you doing?”
Then, “mom what are you doing in here?”
Then, “mom what are you doing in here now?”
Yesterday she was in the bathroom putting laundry away and John walked in to wash his hands. She said, “I’m done in here now Dad, you wash you hands.”
When people say hi to her she actually responds appropriately now, and when they ask her how she is, she tells them she’s good.
Every day she seems to be expanding her communication skills, and everyday I am more convinced that a little sister is so much more valuable than anything anybody else could do to help her talk. Grace is 3, she speaks VERY well, and Anna is her best friend. It’s quite the motivator for Anna, plus it’s pretty much 24/7 practice since Grace shares a room with Anna, and she tends to talk all night.
Not only has Anna begun to communicate better, but her personality has begun to blossom. She doesn’t just agree and go along anymore, she’s quite opinionated…..and she also has figured out how to sneakily annoy her siblings and get them into trouble…I am amazed by her progress from that little girl who wanted to sit and look at her reflection while sucking on her hand. There are so many children on the Reece’s Rainbow website looking for a family to see in them what I have seen in Anna. No one who met her or saw her first pictures would have guessed how she has transformed. She was amazing then and she is amazing now, I’m glad God knew her worth and showed us. I hope that each of those children can be seen the same way and find a family to love them.
Have you seen the children, have you been called to adopt, have you been called to donate and help in any way you can?