Sunday, March 8, 2009

Catching up with the Hutchinsons

Not the best picture because the lighting was low - but here are all the kids (Wistrom & Hutchinson families) after being home from Ethiopia for 3 months! We had a great time Saturday night as we visited the Hutchinsons (the other family that travelled with us to Ethiopia - we adopted 2 boys, they adopted 2 girls). The best part about our visit was being able to openly and honestly talk about our adoption journey with another family that has shared most every up and down with us.

As we pulled into the driveway - we could see the Hutchinson 5 lining the windows watching for us. The kids were happy to see each other again and Lila (Selam) immediately took the kids on a tour. I expected Lila and Jayden to immediately start talking to each other in Amheric (like they did when we got together at our home a few weeks after we got home). But instead, they spoke to each other in stilted English. I asked Emme & Maea later if they had started conversing in Amheric yet - and they said no - not at all.

Kate Hutchinson mentioned that in some of the research she had done, that if a child is not regularly speaking their native language when they start acquiring a new language, they will quickly "forget" their first language. I'll use Spanish as an example - for many kids that speak Spanish, they learn English in school but they continue to use Spanish at home. So they are able to keep their native language while acquiring a new language.

That is not the case with us since we are not able to converse in Amheric at home. So according to what Kate has learned, the kids would quickly "forget" their native language as they acquire their new English speaking skills. Once we got home, I asked Jayden to say several words for us in Amheric. "How do you say Cat in Amheric," I asked him. He thought about it for a second and then said "cat". "How do you say Dog in Amheric?" Again he puzzled over this for a second and then said "dog". OK -one more try, knowing the Amheric word for shoes is "chamas", I asked him the word for shoes. He again puzzled for a moment and then said "This I don't know ... shoes ... is shoes".

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