Newsletter #14 for Internationally Adopting Parents
April 16, 2006
PAL Center Inc.

In this issue

Adoption training courses are convenient and most affordable way
to quickly access a psychological consultation on the issues you
need to address.
Check out the course library,
use the opportunity to speak to the instructors


2006 Annual
Medical Institute & Conference


April 27 - 30, 2006

More details

You receive this newsletter as a former client of the Center for Cognitive-Developmental Assessment & Remediation, or a former student of the Bgcenter Online School, or a user of the International Adoption Articles Directory.


Latest Articles
from the

International Adoption Articles

This issue of the Newsletter is entirely devoted to reflections on 2 subjects we touched upon separately: trauma and the native language of internationally adopted children. They often intersect in a way that is unpredictable and even bewildering for the adoptive parents.

Language as trauma trigger

As Dr. Gindis wrote in his article Pros and cons of keeping the native language of the adopted child, the adoptive parents need to understand that native language can be a powerful trigger of many traumatic memories and new fears for a child, no matter how unfounded they are. Based on the accumulated material: parent's messages to Dr. Gindis and postings on the Internet, we offer you a collection of postings, where the real experience of real adoptive parents is presented. These messages were accumulated over several years, so it's not possible already to give the credit to those who provided these subtle and intelligent observations of their children's behavior. The real names mentioned in the messages are changed, but the stories continue to give you a powerful insight into what can be expected with your own child and how to be open-minded and sensitive.

Language as trauma trigger: a collection of messages from adoptive parents

"Are there any exceptions to these cases?" you may ask. Certainly there are quite a few: healthy children, who do not have problems with the English language learning, show no sighs of trauma and have practical use, in the family and outside, for their native language may succeed in keeping this language, typically a conversational aspect of it
(The environment that facilitates bilingualism in children). In every successful case we encountered so far, at least one of the parents was fluent in this language. It's possible that your children may try to go back to their roots later; they may even ask for courses and additional training in the first language, but these cases are still an exception, not a rule.

What can be done to help children to avoid language-based triggers of their trauma? Here is an advice from some of you:

  • My kids are from Kazakhstan and they were told the caregivers would come in the middle of the night to get them if they weren't good until they were completely grown up. So they are never safe. No amount of reasoning or reassurance from us has allowed them to completely let go of this fear. I've got their therapist working on it now to help them and us. So imagine a younger child who is viscerally scared and has no way to even explain that fear to herself, much less put it into words for the parents. The recommendations to keep a child close to home and to protect them from the outside world in order to facilitate attachment and a sense of belonging and restore emotional health are really valid.

  • We had tried to have a friend, who was from Russia, speak to the children several times in the early weeks home to find out if they had any fears or concerns. But, hearing the language traumatized them further. They were sure she was there to take them back! So, we began to use the telephone for times when we could not communicate. It wasn't needed often, but was a blessing when we did need it. Talking to her on the telephone instead of in person seemed less frightening for them. Though she is a very kind and loving person, they were still very fearful when they were with her in person.

  • The other thing that helped us greatly was a pocket translator and online translators. Since our son could read and write, as long as we used simple words, we were able to communicate fairly well using that method when needed.


To unsubscribe
send email to
with subject: unsubscribe