Simple Amharic for Adoptive Families (available for ordering here) is a book and CD set that was highly recommended to us as we get ready to bring our sons home. A friend of mine brought her 8 year old son home a month ago and she told me it has been invaluable to their family. As we have spent time with this resource, we agree with my friend – it’s probably going to be VERY useful to us!

The book and CD match up exactly – so as you listen to the CD, you can follow along in the book. The CD is an English speaker saying the English phrase, then a native Amharic speaker saying it in Amharic. The book is English on one side and the phonetic pronounciation of the Amharic word/phrase on the other.

The first 8-9 sections are phrases that, although are helpful, are long and a bit overwhelming for us! Chapters 10-12ish are the basic words… yes, no, thank you, please, stop, wait. The kids and I listen to those chapters over and over again. Learning the cadence of the language and pronounications, even in the small basic words, have already been a help. As we master the basic words, we’ll graduate up to the longer phrases! Even if we don’t master the longer phrases, I’m so glad we have them so in case we need to use them we can quickly open the book and at least read the phrase we need.

I think this is a great investment for any family bringing an Ethiopian child 18mo or older home. Even though the children will pick up on English quickly, it’s still important to be able to comfort them and direct them in their heart language. We learned VERY basic Mandarin when we were preparing to travel to China to bring our 21 mo. old daughter home for two reasons:
   1) to be able to communicate with her on very basic level so that at least something was familiar to her and
   2) to be brave enough to try to talk to the Chinese adults.

People in other countries get so excited when you at least attempt to speak their language. I think it is a sign of respect for us to learn the basic phrases of our children’s heart language. AND, although this isn’t easy, we sure have had alot of fun learning and incorporating Amharic into our daily conversations!

written by Jeanette Stephens, YWAM adopting mom