Thursday, January 23, 2014

How will our two Bulgarians communicate with us?

How will our two Bulgarians communicate with us?

How will we know what memory they are experiencing when they display symptoms of grief (anger, lashing out, grumpiness, crying, "perfect" shut-down behavior)?

How will WE help them communicate (since it really is on US)?

Because it IS on US we will be attentive to our:

  - Tone of voice (An intense voice can seem like yelling to someone who had been through trauma.)
  - Facial expression (We might want to spend some time in front of a hand mirror during the day.)
  - Words (Just because they can speak some English words doesn't mean they have the receptive ability to understand complicated word groupings and inflection and tone..... see how COMPLICATED this gets!)
  - Body posture (again, some time in front of a mirror might help.  Are we standing over them when we speak?  Are we rubbing their back, holding their hands, being kind while we correct?)

Communication is SO MUCH MORE than WORDS!
We call this facial expression the "Nate face".  Sometimes Nate can have a grumpy face :) .
How are we watching how WE communicate?

And how are we PROVIDING them with ways to communicate?  Don't leave it up to chance!

Do we tell them AGAIN AND AGAIN that we love them?  That NOTHING they say will make that love go away?  That NOTHING they say will make us go away?

Do we encourage them to open up?

Do we use role playing to help our second language learners to understand?  (You will find SO MANY ideas on Christie's blog!)

Do we lower the stress level in our home so that the words will flow?
What does this face communicate?
Communication is so important in a family.  We will do anything needed to help our newest kids be able to talk and converse with us.  Nellie isn't talking at all yet and so we are coming up with many ways to encourage her to find her voice (if she doesn't that is OK too).

We plan to:

Sing with Nellie (and Marin)
Give her an echo microphone
Make noises like "bbbbb" and "shhhhh" on her hand
Telling her things that she loves over and over  - like "cat Nellie"  "Nellie likes cat"
Being very intentional in how we speak to her, giving spaces between the words

All these things I think and think about while waiting and waiting.  I want to make the transition to our family as easy as possible and finding a way to communicate is key to this.  

Luckily some members of our family never stop talking.  I won't point fingers because I am so above such behavior.


  1. Why not take the initiative to learn some key phrases in Bulgarian? You've got a few months until both kids come home, you can borrow a Rosetta Stone program from the library or maybe even take an inexpensive class at a local community college?

    It would be SO amazing if you could learn a little of their native language so that you will be in a better position to meet their needs (Marin wants milk not juice, is cold and needs a sweater, etc) in order to help gain their trust!

    1. Kiki,
      Such nice ideas. I'm sure you will be shocked (as we were) to hear that RS doesn't offer a Bulgarian edition!
      Nate has been practicing a few Bulgarian phrases and we have a phrase book. The good news is Marin can point to the phrase he is using!
      I'm slow in the Bulgarian learning department...but then I'm learning a bit of sign (for Nellie) and Braille is where I am placing my focus.
      I'm hoping we can get a college student to keep Marin's Bulgarian alive (after he has been home a while). So many choices, so many options.
      Thank you for writing!