Thursday, February 3, 2011

In Which We Now Wait Forever And I Prepare To Start Thai Kindergarten

Thanks so much for all your wonderful suggestions about what to send Ellen!  Jer and I will be putting together our little package over the next couple of weeks, and now we have some fantastic ideas about what to put in it.

I'm happy to say that our dossier is finally finished!  If it doesn't go over beforehand it will be hand carried by the adoption agency to Thailand.  Then we start the long, long process of waiting for Thailand to send us a formal referral for our daughter.  The earliest we could expect to hear back would be sometime in September of this year, and then we'll still have to accept the referral and wait for our travel date.  I don't anticipate the waiting will be very easy.  The earliest we could expect to travel would be December.  The wait could drag on as long as a year and a half, though, which would put us traveling in August of 2012-- a date that seems ridiculously far in the future.  I'd probably be a total nutcase by then.

Not that I'm not already, but you know what I mean.

So next week I'll officially be beginning my Thai language lessons!  We just happen to live extremely close to one of the largest Thai wats (a Thai Buddhist temple) in the country, and they offer free Thai language lessons, along with cultural and dance classes.  To tell you the truth, I'm a little bit nervous about the class as I have no idea what to expect, but I think it will be really good for me.  I suspect I may be in a classroom with a whole bunch of five year olds, and I'm a little worried that the Thai they're going to be learning is Thai writing and not Thai speaking, which might be a problem if the class is taught entirely in Thai.  But we'll just have to see.

While I'm nervous about the class I think it will be a great way for me to feel more connected to Ellen.  As the vast majority of the people attending the temple are of Thai nationality, I'll probably be one of very few white faces in a sea of Asian faces.  Many of the people who attend also don't speak English-- in fact, the monk I first spoke to on the phone had to go get somebody else to understand what I was saying-- and so I'll probably be way out of my depth for a while until I get a better handle on the language.  Not only is this a great chance for me to meet Thai people who can help ease Ellen's transition to the states and allow me to gain a better handle on Thai culture, but also this gives me a chance to see what she might feel like when we bring her home.  After all, she'll be one of a few Asian faces in a predominantly white society, and she'll be expected to learn and speak in a language that is not her native tongue.  It will hopefully put things into perspective for me.

While I don't expect to become fluent by any stretch of the imagination before we travel to meet Ellen (though depending on how long the process takes I could at least get to the point where I can hold a conversation) I hope that I'll know enough of the basics to make her feel welcome and comforted.  Jeremy's schedule probably won't allow him to take the class, but I can share with him what I'm learning so that he's able to connect with Ellen right away too! 

At least it will give me something to do while we're waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.

Can't she come home now?



Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

Waiting is so hard! We have done our share of waiting. Not for an adopted child, but for a biological child (we were married for 12 years before my daughter was born). Taking the Thai lessons sounds like a great idea. What a blessing that you have a place close by that will help you learn the language and the culture.

krlr said...

I don't know why but that struck me hard this morning. I'm a little verklempt! I mean it makes perfect sense to learn how to speak Thai, but it made it seem more real - in a 3rd party-blog-reading-internet sort of way. I'm so excited for you (though apparently I'll cont'd to be excited for the next year or so? yikes. sorry)

Bonnie said...

Are you going to take Thai cooking lessons? I can't think of a better way to welcome her than to let her know you've taken the time to learn to cook the foods she's used to eating.

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