Sunday, July 17, 2011

Learning Amharic

One of our projects while waiting is to learn a bit of Amharic, as we have bumped up the requested age of a child of our adoption. Since our future kiddo may have some language when coming home with us, it would be in everyone's best interest for us to be able to communicate a little bit, but I have also learned that the best way to learn Amharic is to be born an Ethiopian baby in an Ethiopian family in Ethiopia--it's pretty different and pretty darned hard.

So we got this book/CD combo this week:

(Simple Amharic for Adoptive Families)

This is an excellent resource for us, and exactly what we were looking for.

And it broke our hearts.

Here are the first few phrases:

I am your mommy.
I am your daddy.
You are going to live with us.
We will take good care of you.
We are so happy to be your family.
Don't be afraid.
We are going to ride on an airplane!

This long-distant future, elusive, theoretical experience of going to Africa, meeting our child and bringing them home to live with us just slammed us upside the head in a major way. The loss, the fear, the confusion our child will face...I think I just actually, truly started processing this. We are doing our homework, reading the books, taking the classes. But attempting to explain to a child just how much their life is changing, for better or worse, is just...I don't know. Inconceivable. Understanding from their point of view...also inconceivable. But we will try. And try. And try.

Honestly, I could write a novel or a completely incomprehensible blog post, so I think I'll stop while I'm ahead. And I will slowly, and I'm sure incompletely, attempt to wrap my head around this aspect of adoption.


  1. Oh, we got that one too and I agree entirely! It's like an unintended primer in adoption loss. Heartbreaking. Awful.

    You are totally right about the difficulty of the language, too. Ouch. It's embarrassingly difficult.

  2. Oh, man. I'm def not ready for that. I should be though. Oh, man. So much to think about.

  3. What age did you bump up to? Do you have to meet certain requirements to be able to bump up the age group? Just curious! This is pretty heavy stuff, but you're way ahead of the game! Most people I talk to about our adoption say not to bother with learning Amharic because they're going to learn English quickly. I feel sad to know nothing of their culture, though. I think they're wrong!


  4. I'm still wrapping my head around this loss, even with that plane ride and placement with our baby over a year behind us. I think it's great you are trying to learn some basic phrases. It goes along way to try and speak the language of another country regardless of why you are there, and especially if you are there for adoption.

  5. Holy moly. Wow, I guess those are important phrases for the first few days, but jeez. Yeah, I guess work with adoption loss will start right away!

  6. Long ago I had made a mental note to order this set, and then I lost that mental note. So, thanks for the reminder - I'm going to order it right now, as we want to be working on this. While of course it makes sense that these are the types of phrases taught, it also was very shocking to me to read through them right now. Wow. I can see how upsetting and thought-provoking just the simple act of trying to learn a few key phrases can be - when THOSE are the key phrases we need. It sums up a lot, doesn't it? It gave me the chills right now. Gulp.

  7. Those of you who like to learn basic/foundational Amharic easily, please check this android mobile application – It is not expensive and yet very useful particularly to study using your phone and/or tablets.
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