Teaching Jude to speak the English language was actually a lot easier than I ever imagined such a task would be.
I pride myself that in doing so I never reverted to “baby talk” and that even though I would explain complex words to Jude so she can understand, I also have not simplified my vocabulary for her. Even though I am from Maine my accent is actually quite subdued so my enunciation of words is generally considered correct.
As a result Jude speaks frequently, she will use grammatically correct complete sentences, and her vocabulary is vast.
But along the way something went wrong…
I don’t know what happened but I am the only person that can understand 100% of what she says. My Mum can understand probably greater than 90%, with other family members it get less…perhaps 50-75%. If you don’t know her and speech and language with the preschool population is your thing you will only understand Jude 20% of the time on a good day.
Jude has superb receptive language skills. Her intelligence is at least on target for her age so I can see that the inability to express herself has started to become exceptionally frustrating for her.
This means that in most settings I am still acting as a translator for her. And there have been situations with therapists where I will legitimately just sit in the room and translate everything that she says. Word. For. Word. It can be awkward but I also don’t want to censor her especially since oftentimes I am the link between her and the world at large. But I can’t (and won’t) do this forever.
Whatever happened. Wherever we are at now. I have stalled. We need help. However what we have struggled with is Jude has some leftover post institutionalalization fears which manifest now into a basic inability for her to function in places like doctor offices, school classrooms, the crib aisle at Babies R Us. Unfortunately most people who can help us work in spaces that don’t work for Jude.
Until Yesterday.
Yesterday we found the one.
She has a small room in her own home, she has years of experience, and Jude’s group is going to be one other (Russian) adoptee.
Jude has had 2 sessions (yesterday and today) and already appears a bit clearer with a few things and is using waaaay more pronouns.
Jude loves it and is excited to go back. I am thrilled.
Jude has a lot going on. And I have always known that there is no way to correct it all. But if this can happen for her, if somehow we can give her the tools to express her fabulous mind then I think I will be able to give my child the American Dream…Freedom.


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