Saturday, April 7, 2007

Adopting a Culture

My Aunt sent me an email stressing how important Poland and being Polish is to the Poles. It got me thinking that it is time to immerse myself more into learning about the culture and history of Poland and in embracing the links that I do have to Poland.

My understanding is that the powers that be in Polish adoption are very keen on placing children with families that have this connection and hope that the children will know their heritage. Beyond this, I think it is important to embrace the culture and history that one has; especially for internationally adopted children. By the nature of being adopted, a child will always have the wonder of where they come from, and what could have been. They likely know very little about their birthparents and will naturally have curiosities about the people of the place of their origin. I'll be proud to have some essentially ancestral connection to my child.

I think when we are done with this procedural paper pushing, and when we are officially "waiting", that we will make more efforts to learn about the culture and language. Right now, honestly, we are still a bit in disbelief that we will really be parents. I think that must be the infertility issues talking. I mean, we've been disappointed before. We have this sort of, "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude. I don't want to have this attitude. But it is what it is.

I truly believe that it will take having our dossier being finally submitted to Poland to really be able to enjoy the anticipation and believe that this is real.

OK - back to the "ebracing a new culture" part of this post. OK - I've taken a brief glance at Polish linguistics. Holy crap! I know nothing about Slavic languages. I mean...I've taken Spanish, French, Latin, Greek...I understand a bit of other romance and germanic lanugages and even some Cyrillic (just insofar as the Greek characters are similar). It looks very difficult, to say the least. Well, we will probably just take it one word at a time. Our aim will be to try to pick up enough to get around when we visit Poland and maybe have a few words in common with our child when we meet him or her!

Quick update - we just got our homestudy fingerprinting done. It was easy. Then we sent a few things to our social worker. Next step - medical exams and reference letters.

1 comment:

Lain said...

Hi,

Here are some websites regarding Polish language learning. Given the ages of the children you are requesting, you need to focus on "conversational Parent Polish" rather than learning the whole language.

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~atpc/learn/tools/pl-alphabet.html

http://www.apronus.com/learnpolish/

These sites have sound files to listen to for the basic expressions and vowel/consonants.

I co-moderate one the Yahoo Groups on Polish adoptions. One of our members, a native Polish speaker who has recently adopted with her American born husband, made a list of common Polish Parent expressions with English phonetics. Good Stuff. Dobsha!

(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Polish-Adoptions/)

About half of our members are home with their children, so there is a lot of collective wisdom.

There is also information about Poland in general as well as advice to those people who are going to adopt siblings at the same time.

As one of the old ladies of Polish adotpion, I find that many waiting parents worry so much about the langauage difference. Sadly, the children will loose their Polish all too quickly. Our three lost most of their Polish within a year. The youngest within 6 months.

We are in the process (close to three years home) to re-teach our children the basic Polish pleasantries. The process of being adopted is hard for children, even if it is a very good thing for them. Their lives will change very drastically in a short time period so your brain strain of learning Polish as an English speaker will help you understand how hard they have to work to be suddenly immersed in an English speaking culture.

Good luck on your adoption journey and may your wait be short.