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A Girl of Few Words

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As I have mentioned multiple times, when it comes to everything you can experience when adopting a child internationally, we have had what I would consider a pretty easy and smooth transition with Reagan.

I look at those first few days in China with her, and although they were difficult at the time, a few days of grieving is nothing compared to what some children can go through when transitioning from life in an orphanage, to life with a loving family.

Those that are in the adoption community know that it is not uncommon for our children to come to us with bonding and attachment, sensory, and/or developmental issues/delays. Some experience it to the extreme, some have very minor cases, and some never experience any of the above.

During the five years we waited to receive “The Call”, I tried to prepare myself for anything and everything that could be on the horizon for our little girl.

Bracelets and Little Legs Collage
I don’t want to be that Mom that self diagnoses or marks their child with a disability or syndrome before they know for sure that something exists, but on the other hand, I don’t want to be the Mom that is in denial and could be doing somthing for their child when they need it and time is of the essence.

I fully understand that every child develops and progresses at different paces and in their own time. Like most adoptive families, we had Reagan assessed by our doctor as soon as we arrived home. All appeared to be within normal range developmentally and emotionally.

We have continued to monitor things over the last few months and there is one area that is beginning to concern us…….

SPEECH

Surprise, Another Bag of Fish BLOG
While congnitively, she is doing extremely well, her language development does not appear to be progressing at all.

We can ask her to do things and tell her to point to people or objects and she will. She can point to her ears, eyes, nose, and mouth when asked where they are located. I know that this is all very good and positive, because this means that she clearly understands what we are saying to her…….but that is where it seems to stop.

Next week she will be 20 months old and the only words that she will say are: Mom, Da Da, Ouch, Hot, and on a very rare occasion, Nick.

Now, there are a few things that I know we need to consider……

A typical 20 month old should have a vocabulary of at least 12-15 words.

I don’t know that I would consider Reagan a typical 20 month old because for the first 11 months of her life, she only heard people speak in Mandarin.

Secondly, she is the youngest of three children and we tend to dote on her. The minute she whimpers, points, whines, or cries, she not only has two parents, but two older siblings jumping to get her what she needs. We are now trying to be cognisant of our actions. If she points to something, we don’t just get up and get it for her. We say “Do You Want ____?” We repeat the name a few times putting emphasis on whatever it is, stating it and showing her what it is, then we hand it to her.

I have really watched her closely the last two weeks and she when she wants something, no matter what it is, she says “mom”…… I am assuming she is doing this in order to get my attention to bring her what she wants.

Our last visit to the doctor was for a check up in May. At that time I expressed my concerns and he told me not to panic, but to keep an eye on things and if we did not see any big improvement by her next visit at 24 months we would definitely test her. Then he added…… if a few months go by and you don’t see any improvement whatsoever, give me a call and we will go from there.

She is a very smart little girl and I know she understands us. She has her own way of expressing what she wants or needs(I wouldn’t necessarily call it sign language, but there are a few gestures that she uses for certain things)without words so we can understand her, but if there is more that we can be doing for her, than I want to start now…..instead of a few months from now.

Both Nick and Sarah were what I consider early talkers, so I have struggled trying to measure what is considered normal and what is considered delayed. I am also trying very hard not to compare Reagan with other children, but it is hard not to.

Recently, I have had conversations with other adoptive parents who traveled around the same time we did and adopted children the same age or even younger than Reagan and they tell me that their children are already linking words together.

I don’t want to jump the gun, but I can’t ignore the nagging feeling in my gut. I think I am ready to make that call to the doctor and see if we can have her tested now, instead of later.

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  • paige - hoping you get some answers and encouragement soon. i obviously have no history or experience whatsoever but i will give you this unasked for bit of information…
    my madison was considered a red flag because she hardly ever said a word until she was 3sh….now that child will NOT stop talking.
    i know those are not the same…but in all seriousness, i’m hoping ya’ll will start to see some encouraging signs with sweet precious baby girl!
    you are such an incredible mama!ReplyCancel

  • Leah Mei - I agree to test sooner rather than later. We have experienced speech delays with one of our biological children and also our adopted daughter so I know where you are coming from. Our son did not speak clearly until he was almost 4. We live in a bilingual home so I knew to expect this. With our youngest, she had a diagnosis when we brought her home from China and MRI results showed that the part of her brain that controls speech had been damaged by a stroke at birth, so for us, it was clear she needed speech therapy. Fast-forward 3 years, she does speak, is very expressive and gets her point across. However, she does not speak in the way other 4 year-olds do. She was evaluated and it was determined that her speech was within the normal range. Of course I was very happy but as you say it is hard not to compare them to other children and I could see she was still behind. So we went through private therapy. But know our daughter did not speak when she was Reagan’s age and she is a chatter box now. Language does take time to develop.ReplyCancel

  • The Payne Family Blog - Just a word of encouragement… My bio son had even fewer words at 20 months. At 24 months he started Speech Therapy and by 36 months he was right there with his peers. He is still a man of few words but he is good to go:) Like you said, this was no indication of cognitive delay or a sign of a larger problem.

    You are doing the right things. She may or may not need therapy. It makes sense she would have a little delay given the amount of time she spent in less than optimal care.

    Before you know it she will be chatting up a storm:)ReplyCancel

  • Life with JJ, Starr and Spice - Lisa, we had similar concerns about Katie Starr and had her tested. Early intervention was not concerned due to the fact that she heard only her dialect of Chinese for so many months. They were right…soon thereafter it all exploded and she began humming right along. She is the top of her class and is considered to be one of the top readers in Kindegarten.

    I agree that testing is always good and brava to you for being proactive. Our kids have different initial circumstances that play into some delay so I am quite sure this will simply be an exercise in precaution.

    Hugs
    LoriReplyCancel

  • Tara - oh Lisa, I feel for you. All moms think about and sometimes worry about their children at all ages and stages. But with parenting an adopted child there just seems to be more. My heart will always be… sad (for lack of a better word) for what Anna had to endure for 14 months. I know that I know for a fact that living in an orphanage for infancy without a loving family does change things for a child significantly. And I won’t go into detail here but we did have to seek significant emotional help for Anna around age 6.
    I’m glad for you and Reagan that speech is the only thing you’re facing. But it is significant. And you should trust your instancts. She’s your daughter and you know her best. Get the help you need if you feel it. Even if a speech therapist tells you everything is fine you’ll be glad you did. As a teacher for 10 years I know that speech therapists are so good at what they do. Often times a child just needs some work that is carried out at home. Anna received help in the area of gross motor from the Birth to Three program when she came home. Walking was significantly delayed. With some home visits and love and practice she caught right up!
    Hang in there Lisa. Do what you feel. Know that she will be okay in the end.
    Ps those pictures of her are just so sweet!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - I totally agree with making the call sooner! Our son came home just about 2 months ago- our gotcha day was at 21 months, so he’s now 23 months. We are having our first assessment with the county today. Granted, our Milo is a bit older than Reagan, but we totally believe that sooner is better than later. Milo does a lot of grunting, pointing, & whining to get his point across. Good luck to you & Reagan! Get all the help you need!!ReplyCancel

  • Mia's Mommy - Trust your gut. If you think you need to call now… instead of waiting… then do it. It certainly couldn’t hurt, right?

    But I get it. I think we’ve educated ourselves so much during that long wait.. that we may over analyze every little thing. At least I do… but I’m brand new at this mom thing. LOL!ReplyCancel

  • sandra - Lisa, it may be nothing and she might just be a late talker, but I think calling the doctor is the right thing to do. If there is an issue, early detection is key. I know a little about speech development because of Jazzie’s history. I know her case is totally different, but over and over we heard the emphasis put on early detection when there there might be any kind of hearing loss or speech delay. You are doing the right thing.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah - My daughter came home from Guatemala at 18 months and didn’t really say many words until she was 24 months. She literally went from saying a handful of words one week to almost tripling that amount the next week.

    My son came home from Russia at 25 months and within a week a home was speaking some English.

    I would continue watching Reagan, but wouldn’t worry too much yet. Your love and connection to your kids just shines through in this blog :)ReplyCancel

  • Briana's Mom - Briana was a late talker. She didn’t say many words at age 2, so try not to stress. I would get her tested if you are concerned though. Even if it is to just put your mind at ease. Right before age 3, I had Briana tested because I was so worried. She wasn’t able to string words together very well. But I was told she was just fine with the words that she was saying. As soon as she got into school, everything changed. Now I can’t shut her up. 😀ReplyCancel

  • Football and Fried Rice - It could be lots of things, like you said – including her personality, being #3, having limited exposure to the language – but, as a mama,I would never ignore that nagging feeling! It’s never a waste of time when it comes to your kids!

    And boy, I’m sure when she takes off (as you probably know with Sarah!) she won’t ever look back!ReplyCancel

  • Love Letters To China - I felt the same way when Liam first came home. He was older when he became a part of our family, so I realized our language was very new and would take a bit longer to develop. I got him tested and was told he would eventually speak in his own time. They were so right! Once he started preschool a few hours a week, his words started spilling out of his mouth. Now he keeps up with his chatty sister 100%.

    I think it’s smart of you to follow your instincts and get her checked out. I bet your doing everything right and she will start speaking in no time at all.

    xoxo

    GraceReplyCancel

  • Gail - First of all, you are an AWESOME mama and know your little girl best. As a mom and nurse I say always trust your intuition. Getting tested is never a negative thing. You have to remember Reagan heard Mandarin for almost a year and all those neural pathways are established, she has 2 languages right now that she’s processing. Children aquire a new language at different rates.

    We can talk about this anytime Lisa. I had Grace tested at about 18 mos, and then again at 24 mos. That’s when she qualified for speech through our state’s birth to 3 program. Try not to worry, I know that’s easy for me to say. She may a late talker. My Nick spoke early too he was also my benchmark. You are doing the right thing to start thinking about testing…

    Big hugs to you,
    GailReplyCancel

  • Barbarann - Lisa–this is my area of expertise–call me!!!!!
    BarbarannReplyCancel

  • elliotts - Trust your gut, Lisa. It will all work out for the best in the end. Reagan is your little girl and you know what is best for her.

    I remember a few years ago, our friends adopted a healthy child from China…and her speech was limited too. We would go to cook outs and question why she didn’t talk…at all. She did some signing, but that was about it. Now, she will be 4 this September and you would never know there were any issues.

    I think there is so much these children miss so early on…we know that Tatum only says a few words right now in China. Part of that might be due to her cleft, but it is still scary.

    Hang in there!
    Hugs,
    DianeReplyCancel

  • LWH - If it makes you feel better, absolutely call and go ahead and get her tested. It certainly can’t hurt, and it’s not like it would be unpleasant or painful for her.

    For what it’s worth, all 3 of my boys were late talkers, especially the youngest because, as you pointed out about Regan, the moment he indicated he wanted something, someone got it for him. They’re all absolutely fine now. I pray Regan’s just taking her sweet time!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - We have two internationally adopted daughters, 1 from Russia and 1 from China. Our daughter from Russia came to us from an orphanage. At the age of 14 months she came home and was not babbling or walking. She is now turning four this week ! Ava talks non stop :) She still attends speech for articulation .She has made amazing progress but is still behind her peers in speech. I would contact your school district for their Early Childhood intervention program. Most offer these services in speech up to the age of 3 and then services are offered at your local school. Ava transitioned into our local elementary for articulation and also has private speech 1 x a week.
    It is such a catch 22 with the adoptive child! You need to cater to their needs but when it comes to speech we had to wait for her to vebally request the item she wanted! We started off simple by verbally naming the item for her then we worked our way to getting her to make the request verbally.
    Good luck to you and your sweet girl!
    If I can help you with anything my email is nmsettle@yahoo.com.
    And remember you are not alone there are a great deal of these sweet kiddos lagging in the speech dept and they do great!
    NicoleReplyCancel

  • Jill Samter Photography - Lisa – do what you feel is best for her.

    I want you to know from having hurt children and those who are late bloomers just because – you can’t compare a child who was adopted with trauma in their past and expect them to perform at normal speed. Some might and others wont. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t normal. She may need extra time to catch up to what is normal for her age.

    Like you said – she doesn’t really need for much since all of you shower her with constant attention and she gets what she wants easily. She is NOT dumb and knows how to get exactly what she needs without wasting words. Kids are so much smarter and will use what works. Why fix something if it isn’t broke?

    Love you and praying you get the answers and encouragement your heart needs!

    xoxoReplyCancel

  • Jill Samter Photography - Lisa – do what you feel is best for her.

    I want you to know from having hurt children and those who are late bloomers just because – you can’t compare a child who was adopted with trauma in their past and expect them to perform at normal speed. Some might and others wont. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t normal. She may need extra time to catch up to what is normal for her age.

    Like you said – she doesn’t really need for much since all of you shower her with constant attention and she gets what she wants easily. She is NOT dumb and knows how to get exactly what she needs without wasting words. Kids are so much smarter and will use what works. Why fix something if it isn’t broke?

    Love you and praying you get the answers and encouragement your heart needs!

    xoxoReplyCancel

  • Christina - Here’s what I think…and this is coming from a mom of a 5 year old who is still non verbal because of medical issues.

    You know when someone has a premature baby and calculate their age according to when they should have been born???

    Since Reagan was only exposed to Mandarin for the first 11 months of her life….when she finally came to your home …that is when she was first exposed to English.

    So…. calculate that time {the time you got her} til now {present day} and that would be her chronological age as far as a speaking milestone.

    Does that make any sense?ReplyCancel

  • LaLa - Our daughter (home at 13 mos) has a huge expressive lang delay. She is 6 1/2 now and it is still an issue. Her receptive lang has always been above her age range. At 3 years old she said 10 words clearly. She was my first so I didn’t jump on it all as quickly as I should have and when I did have her tested for Early Intervention they kept saying it was b/c she heard Mandarin the first year (I balked at that b/c her receptive skills were so high) She finally was serviced by the school system. She is going into 1st grade and is still struggling with pronouns, lots of sounds (medial mainly)Now our son is above and beyond with his speaking.

    I would call Early Intervention in your state and just have them screen her. See what you can get for services and go from there. In Tennessee when they turn 3 the school system is required to provide services. The main thing is to NOT worry b/c she will catch up. Like you said, it may just be a case of her being the baby. One thing the speech therapists all told us was to make her talk. If she came to us saying “milk” then to say “yes, we have milk” and force her to ask for it. (this was at 3 of course but you get the idea) The point is to force her to use the words she has and not rely on pointing. I know it sounds crazy but signing helped us too.ReplyCancel

  • Ellie - You’ve gotten a lot of great advice :) My oldest bio. didn’t start talking until after 2 (he had about the same number of words as Reagan at her age). He is a straight A student now. My son from Ukraine was 20 months when we adopted him and I knew almost right away that something was wrong. The experts kept saying it was too early, give him time etc. however I finally got him into Early intervention before he was 3 (he still wasn’t talking!) and now he talks pretty well (but he’s 8) I would definitely have Reagan tested as early as possible!

    She is adorable!

    xo ellieReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Lisa, Go with your mother’s intuition – it can’t hurt! Some of the things you mentioned definitely could be attributing to the few words but it would give you peace of mind to get it checked out. Thanks for your openness and please keep us posted! Hugs, WendyReplyCancel

  • Katie - It is SO hard to know what is what – especially in the first few years home from China. I remember constantly wondering, is this normal? What’s normal anyway in this situation? Is this an attachment problem, etc…. It was hard. You have to follow your gut – there are no concrete answers in our situations. It certainly wouldn’t hurt anything to have her tested. And then you would have an answer. I know personally, I feel better when I know what is going on and I can take action. It is the fear of the unknown that throws me for a loop every time!ReplyCancel

  • 3 Peanuts - Follow your gut…every time I have…I have been spot on. Will had speech therapy at 18 months old (partially due to his brain surgery) and I believe the earlier we intervene the better they fare. Speech therapy was FUN for him and he is an amazing speaker now who never stops talking. Praying for peace in your heart.ReplyCancel

  • 3 Peanuts - Oh one more thing….Kate came home at 10 months old too so she only heard Chinese for that time too and her speech developed normally and rapidly. And while every child is different..I would not ignore your gut on this. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • JinXiu - Lisa

    as an adoptive mom of a now 6 year old I truly understand. When Emilee came home at ( months she was delayed but i kind of expected it. At 9 months she could not hold a bottle, roll over or sit up. she was very quite, but smiles a lot. she only cried when she was wet or hurt. besides that a very happy little girl. With in a few months of love and proper nuturing she was on target except for speech. She didnt make a sound. Not even baby babble. i was very concerned and had her evaluated. 4 doctors and an enoscopy later she was diagnosed fine but delayed. By 20 months she was still not babbling. I was sooooooooooo concerned as you can expect. i had her evaluated again and she was diagnosed a sight autistic. they felt she had no language skills, was too passive she didnt care if someone took things out of her hands or not and was not attached to any object. Except her family. i knew they were wrong and started speech therapy. I was afraid to even tell people what they had said. i guess i didnt want to believe it. She was just a happy child who was on target in every other area. She understiood everything i said and was very advanced in motor skills. I felt the issue with not being attached to anything was due to the fact she never had anything and was very content with life around her. why cant a child just be a happy child with out diagnosing her. But i was still very concerned with her speech, Finally at around age 2 she started babbing. It was the greatest sound i ever heard. but while other 2 year olds were speeking she was babbling. ma ma, ba ba , da da, eh……. By the time she approched her #red bday there was not much progress. she could write her ABC’s, write her name and numbers, build sky scrapers and was very bright except the fact she didnt talk. I had her tested again and still they could not tell me why she would not speak. @ days after her 3rd bday i was sleeping and heard something on her monitor. It sounded like “Mommy come here”. I thought i must be imaginging things. And went to her room to see if i was crazy. she looked up at me smiled and said Hi Mommy. i almost cried. she could speak. In fact she was speaking in full sentences. They were undeveloped speech but they were words. With in 4 months she was speaking perfectly. By Pr-k at 4 years old you would never know she was speech delayed. infact her teacher said to me at parent teacher conference she is so verbal she must have been speaking at a young age. boy if she only knew. Emilee made a gifted school last year and i am so proud of her. in fact she was picked to read a poem at her kindergarden graduation due to her articulate speech. My friend kept reminding me that English was not their first language and sometimes they just need to come into their own. i hope this helps. I wish all of you the best.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - My husband couldn’t really talk until he was 6 (yes S-I-X years old) he is now working on his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at Stanford and has the best verbal communication skills (better than most women) of anyone I know. Don’t panic yet :-). Your children are just adorable, by the way.ReplyCancel

  • Kristi - Trust your gut and make the call. Knowledge is power. No matter the outcome, you know you can trust me when I say that you can effectively deal with whatever the testing may or may not reveal. I do believe that her having a handful of words at 20 months is quite encouraging as far as her future verbal development. Please email me if you need encouragement or insight post testing.ReplyCancel

  • Debbie - We know our children better than anyone else, Lisa….so follow your instinct. There is absolutley no harm in seeking out more info. I personally think that having older siblings (who dote on her!) makes a big difference though. Gracie is a week younger than Reagan and I don’t think she has a vocab of anything near 12 words…..DReplyCancel

  • Tisha - Hi Lisa,

    I have been out of the blog world for so long but when I saw your post, thought I would jump in. First, Regan is adorable and seems very bright. I couldn’t be happier for all of you! It looks like life in your home is full and blessed!

    As you probably know, Sloan has had lots of developmental issues with sensory integration and speech. My gut also told me to do something. We had him first evaluated at 14 mos and the speech therapist thought we were jumping the gun on speech therapy but suggested we get an evaluation from an occupational therapist. That, in and of itself, was beyond valuable information because he really needed early intervention in OT. He then started speech about 6 mos later. We still are in therapy 7 years later.

    I think going is a win-win. You either will get the intervention to help your precious Regan reach her potential, or your concerns will be quieted. I, myself, have had to learn that worrying about something that I might not want to deal with, is MUCH more difficult than actually dealing with it. Lisa, you are a survivor and if Regan has any speech or developmental issues, she has the perfect mother to see her through it!

    Hugs,
    TishaReplyCancel

  • Missy - Hey girl! I didn’t read everyone’s responses, but wanted to ask if you have Early Intervention Services close by? They are sooo good at diagnosing and working with internationally adopted children and their needs. Paige was a big talker when we got her, however her annunciation was WAY off. I think it is a great sign that Reagan’s receptive language is in tact. I am sure she will be just fine and will take off sooner than you know it, but I would def. listen to my gut. She is so beautiful and gets more precious with every pic. Praying for you guys as you wait and watch. I know she’ll be just fine!!!ReplyCancel

  • Freckles & Dimples Photography - I’d say go with your gut. It cant hurt to have her tested, and its free through our EI program. They’ll come to your home, do a few tests and then determine if she is delayed by 25% and qualifies for services. If she isnt delayed & you still have concerns, she can be put on a tracking system where they’ll check in with you quarterly to see how she is progressing. the eval is free & the services are free, and it cant hurt to have it checked out since there are so many factors that play into her language development (ie hearing only mandarin for such a long time). i know you are one resourceful mama, but email me if you need the number….ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - One thing I would suggest is instead of asking “Do you want X” which requires only a yes or no answer that you ask her to tell you in words what she wants. All of you may be inadvertently making it too easy for her to nod her response. I would ask a lot of questions while reading (the elementary teacher in me) that get her to enunciate what she is hearing and seeing in picture books.ReplyCancel

  • Christy - OK, as a school psych, I have a lot of insight on speech but am not a speech path. I for sure have been in on MANY speech assessments for preschoolers but again am not an expert on this. I struggled with this as well becuase both my boys were early speakers and I was not sure about Mia. When Mia was 18 months, she said very little. She had some words but not much. It was not until she was about 22 months that she took off. Not sure if it was becuase she had so many months of Chinese, but she eventually got it and thrived and now she wont stop talking– im sure much like Sara.

    One thing I have seen time and time again is that with early intervention children will catch up. Cognitivly normal children will most of the time catch up with speech therapy if started early. The goal is that they enter into kinder as speech appropriate children. I really think Reagan will get it and will eventually start talking up the storm, but I would not wait for that to happen. I would call Early Start ASAP and get her evaluated and get her into speech. I would hope they would start her 2 time as week and when she is 3 (if not caught up) get her into a preschool program. Both Mia and Finley are in a preschool program through our school district that is half speech delayed kids and half typical kids with no delays. The idea is that the typical children will positivly influence the delayed children. The classes are taught by special ed teachers and there is speech therapy all day. Even though Finley and Mia are not delayed, their speech is amazing. Finley has grown leaps and bounds. Check into you school district adn see if they have programs like that but start with early start as with her age that is where you will need to start.

    Good luck and early intervention is the key to sucess!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Catherine - I’ve learned over the short amount of time I’ve been a Mommy to trust my Mommy’s instincts. All may be well but it won’t hurt a bit to begin looking into things. Trust your heart Mommy. You’re awesome and you know what’s best for your sweet Reagan!ReplyCancel

  • Jonni - Hey Lisa. I think you are doing such a good thing by looking into things for Reagan. I am usre that she is progressing beautifully but if you have a nagging feeling, you should check it out. i agree with the others who talked about early intervention on these types of things. Sofia’s old Pediatrician made me wait and wait before we called to have Sofia tested by the speech therapist but luckily she finally got sick of hearing it from me and finally gave me the go ahead. She was not barely saying anything at age 2. I know the cleft attributed to it as well. We started Sofia in speech two mos. after her 2nd birthday and she just recently finished at 4.5 and it was a godsend for us. Of course Reagan may not even need speech but just in case she does you are a very proactive mommy who is doing the right thing by making sure she gets what she needs. Good for you. :) XOXOXOReplyCancel

  • Jonni - Oh my, I just read my comment and please excuse the bad grammar and mistakes. I was typing too darn fast (lol). :)ReplyCancel

  • Jonni - One more thing, after Sofia came home and needed speech, I automatically had Samantha tested as soon as we got home. She ended up not needing it but I wanted to be proactive about it just in case she did since I saw how much it helped Sofia.

    Hugs,
    JonniReplyCancel

  • Chic Homeschool Mama - Lisa- I would definitely encourage you to follow your gut. While I didn’t really experience the same sort of thing with my youngest (although she has her own issues from us doting on her in that same way) My nephew had a lot of these issues you are talking about. Because my brother was in the military- they spent a lot of time being shuffled between base doctors & they kept passing it off as nothing. Until he was 3 or 4 & they found someone that took their concerns seriously. They ended up with a lengthier battle because they waited so long to begin with. The good news is that with all the work they have done with him- he is a very good reader & does well in school. He’s still quiet but if you get him to want to open up- he does well with that now too.ReplyCancel

  • M3 - Shoot, I kinda think if there’s a test (or series of tests) that doesn’t hurt or scare your kiddo there is absolutely no reason to wait. If you’re looking at an invasive, painful procedure (like some of the GI tests we initially faced and turned down with our girls), then you wait.ReplyCancel

  • Jboo - Am sure you have received tons of good advice, but I’ll add my two cents. Go ahead and get her tested now — you’ll feel better. I could have written your words exactly as my girl was very very similar. Ear infections had impacted her hearing and tubes helped her, but eventually she was diagnosed with a hearing loss. Early intervention helped her and she is an incredible girl – as you know! Best of luck. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

    JanetReplyCancel

  • mebutler100@gmail.com - I went through the same thing with my younger daughter who was adopted at 18 mos. By the time she was two, she had very limited vocab alhtough she understood everything. Being a teacher, it concerned and bothered me. So I had her tested. They agreed she was behind in her expressive language. She did qualify for the Early On program in our state for the language skills. It didn’t take long for her to start speaking after that. She is 9 yrs. old know and speaks a mile a minute. She is getting speech to correct her pronunciation of the r sound. Otherwise all is well. If it is driving you crazy like it did me, get her tested now. Your local ISD should provide the services at no charge. Good Luck! Love following your posts by the way.
    Mary in MichiganReplyCancel

  • sweet momma luv u - Hi Lisa,

    It so hard to know what to do as you watch your baby grow. I would follow your instincts! Have her tested now. You can call your school district and have Early Intervention come out. They provide services for free.

    Our oldest has Autism.My doctor told me not to worry about her that she would catch up at her 12 month appt. when she was not walking or wanting to crawl alot. Needless to say I wish we would have listened to my gut instinct’s then. We ended up having private SLP and OT for yrs as well as receiving services in the school system.
    Big hugs!
    JodyReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - Hi Lisa,

    I have tears in my eyes as I’m reading this post because I can completely relate to exactly what you are going through. We brought our daughter Sophie home from China when she was 10 1/2 months ~ very close to Reagan’s age and I started to notice a speech delay right around the same time as you ~ a couple of months or so before her 2nd birthday. She was at a Dr’s appointment and I too let him know my concerns so we had her hearing tested by an audiologist ~ we had to go in a little sound booth together and it wasn’t scary at all. She tested perfectly fine. He advised me to have her soeech tested and she definitely qualified for speech therapy. I also have 2 older sons 14 & 10, so I too am familiar with normal speech progression and tried SO hard not to compare her and given the same thing ~ only hearing Mandarin for 10 months of her life. Anyway… Sophie is 2 1/2 and her speech is completely exploding! Our therapist comes to our house once a week and she adores “Miss Sue”!! The 3 of us “play” together for an hour and she doesn’t even know she’s having therapy!! Sometimes during our sessions I start to cry a little because I’m just so happy for her when she gets the words out!! Like Reagan, Sophie is extremely bright and it’s just a matter of her putting it all together. I remember my doctor saying that many children with a speech delay will either become very introverted or possibly become aggressive because they are so frustrated. When I heard that and followed that mama’s intuition I made the decision to have her tested. So sorry for the book ~ but this is something very close to me right now and I just wanted you to know it really works and it’s best to start early!!! I just love your blog and Reagan is a precious little angel!!
    All the best,
    KathrynReplyCancel

  • Cora - I am worried about C’s speech too she has plenty of words but if you don’t live in the family I doubt you can understand most of them.
    I would have Reagan evaluated it never hurts to have a professional opinion. We had C evaluated for eating skills and even though she didn’t need any intervention it made me feel 10 times better. And I truly believe the earlier you start with those things the better tools you give your child for the next step. Good Luck.
    Give Reagan a big hug from Chloe!ReplyCancel

  • Hoots Momma - Lisa, go with your gut. you’ll feel better knowing. what’s to lose by testing? Nada… I’ll be praying in Texas!!ReplyCancel

  • likeschocolate - It seems many have commented, but in my opinion Reagan is not out of the norm. We are a bi -lingual family and all of our children were almost 3 before they spoke, but when they finally spoke it was in full sentences. While Chinese is no longer spoken i would treat her like she is bi -lingual. I Aldo think her being the youngest really does have an effect. I would give it another 6 months.ReplyCancel

  • Kayce - This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel

  • Kayce - It never hurts to test and not only calm your momma heart but start on any intervention early if needed. My Jake didn’t start talking until 3 and a half. He had severe ear infections from infancy on. Tthe fluid buildup and scar tissue in his ears made sounds sound like he was under water. We had tubes put in and he woke up talking and hasn’t stopped since! But I remember being so worried and afraid.
    You are an amazing mommy and your gut is telling you something…follow it and know you’re in my prayers. Hugs to you and to Reagan!ReplyCancel

  • Sammons - I had the same gut feeling with Lexi! She was 19 months and very quiet. She could identify every color and shape and knew all the ballet positions haha but she was only saying a handful of words that would be understood by the average stranger. So I had her tested at 20 months. She did not qualify as having any speech delay and she was way above average cognitively and in receptive language. I still knew in my gut that her speech was of concern. We worked with her (also in a family where everyone dotes on her) and waited a little longer. Last month at 2yrs 5 months we tested again, this time with an slp in a private office, not early intervention and they found her to be ready for speech therapy! Nah! I so wish I had gone there first, she would have been 10 months in to therapy now but oh well, it is what it is. She loves her slp and we call it school. She is doing great but we have a long way to go. She talks a great deal but she leaves the endings off all her words!! Best of luck! MaryReplyCancel

  • Mimi - “I don’t want to jump the gun, but I can’t ignore the nagging feeling in my gut”
    Lisa, this says it all. You have to go with your mother instinct, in my opinion. Even though Reagan will speak fine eventually, you don’t want her to be delayed if you can help it.
    Gorgeous photos!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Our preemie daughter came home to us from Taiwan at 11 months, 8 months adjusted. She was a delayed walker because of poor core muscles and delayed with speech. I wish I would have had her evaluated soon after coming home rather than waiting and watching for so long. There’s a lot of help available with early intervention services until children turn three. I was amazed that with my income and insurance help, we qualified for only $15 copays for each session. After our daughter turned three, she wouldn’t have been low enough to qualify for help from the school system and we’d be paying for therapies out of our own pocket with our high deductible insurance. From a financial standpoint, I’d encourage any parent to get help right away and use what they need before age three. From a developmental standpoint, it doesn’t hurt to have your child evaluated. The therapists came to our house with two huge bags of toys and Hannah loved playing with them while she was being evaluated. Our speech therapy sessions were lots of fun, and our therapist showed us tools that worked for Hannah to encourage her to talk. Physical therapy wasn’t so much fun, as it pushed boundaries of what Hannah was comfortable with. She didn’t like things like sitting on top of an exercise ball and having to use her muscles to keep herself upright from falling over. When we bring home our #2, I plan to make a phone call in the first month after coming home for an evaluation, knowing it will be a month or two before an evaluation will be scheduled. That way if our child needs services, he or she can start getting them right away.ReplyCancel

  • Carolin - Lisa –

    As a voice of experience, listen to your heart. With Rebecca I knew something was wrong – couldn’t quite put my finger on it but I knew something was amiss. Yet her pediatrician told me not to worry. My husband told me not to worry. My mom told me to throw all my books away. No one would listen to me. Not that her issues are what you are experiencing w/ Reagan – but just encouraging you to listen to your gut feelings. I sooo wish I had mine. Thankfully after glasses and some OT Therapy Rebecca is coming along beautifully and is now where she needed to be a year ago.

    As far as the language, it seems like I remember reading that teaching them baby sign language actually helps with language development – not hinders it. We only had a handfull of signs we used with Emma but it sure made that first year easier.

    Our favorite one was her doing the sign for more and when she would get impatient she would do it very animated and fast. It wasn’t too long after learning that one that she added the word “moy” to it. Not exactly the right word but close enough for us. The other one she would do was for please and again, when aggravated with us – it was more of a fast slap down her chest. Hysterical!

    Prayers for you guys and know well that you will get the answers you need!ReplyCancel

  • tiarastantrums - I wanted to comment to tell you I used to live in China (we are American) and in the expat community – children not speaking around age 2 was very normal because of the language differences. (ayis speaking ONLY Mandarian to the children & parents ONLY speaking native languages). BUT – I have a son who didn’t speak at all by age 2, lots of pointing etc. We took him to ST for approx 1 yr and the miracles they work!

    GO – Get her evaluated – even if she only attends speech therapy 1 or 2 times a week – the therapists are you (you and your husband) with a wealth of information to help you in getting your little one to speak!!!

    Good Luck!ReplyCancel

  • Faith, Hope, and Love - I think you are doing the right thing. If its nothing to worry about…then at least you can put this to rest. And if it is…then its better to get her the help she needs sooner rather than later. As adoptive mothers…sometimes it is so difficult to discern what is “typical” and what is connected to earlier years that we sadly know nothing about. I hope you find the answers you are looking for …she’s a sweetie pie for sure!

    Love and blessings,
    RobinReplyCancel

  • Cindy - I agree w/ others, trust your mommy instincts!
    But I’ll share our experience w/ our 28 month old coming home, she is home a year now and talking in full sentences at age 3 but didn’t mutter much the first few months home at all. She was taking it all in and them boom, language explosion. Each child is different but early intervention cannot hurt at all! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Diana - Both of my boys were adopted from Korea and our youngest (he is now 13) was 14 months when we adopted him. Our dr. said we will give him till 2 then look into some type of speech..at his 2 year old check up he said lets give him a little longer..I honestly was not sure but thought “OK”..can I tell you by 2 1/2 I want to say can you just be quite for a few minutes. It was like someone flipped a switch and he has not “shut up” since:) I honestly think he was just taking it all in for the longest time and when he was ready..he talked and talked and talked:)
    We had a lady who lived up the street who had 2 kids who in her words “were brilliant” and she would walk them past and and we would be outside and she always ask me about his speech..I said the same thing EVERYTIME..one day she walked past and he stood up and looked at her and did the raspberry spitting mouth at her and I knew he would be ok as she was a pain and he knew it at 2:)ReplyCancel

  • Savvy - Lisa,
    This is my first visit to your blog and while I don’t know the full situation with Reagan I would like to offer some advice. My son Patrick is my adopted son, and my sisters biologically. Without going into detail he had a very rough start. He passed his 2 year milestone and didn’t speak. Every once in a while Mom or Dad but other than that, nothing. I tried everything and finally a routine that I was doing with one of the older children helped.

    I let him watch Savannah’s lessons on the StarFall.com website. Within a week he was already improving. Its a free site so you might give it a try and see how it works out? I’ve got my fingers crossed for you!ReplyCancel

  • Alyson and Ford - I would ditto the others who said trust your instincts and have her tested early (we had AA tested just three months after being home). No matter if there is a problem, they will learn very quickly when they are ready. Our AA was 24 months at adoption and did not make the break through in becoming a chatter box until 28 months later! They will be ready when they are ready, but having them tested will let you know where you are. Patience, love and lots of reading books to her will help her be ready to talk when she is ready.

    Alyzabeth’s MommyReplyCancel

  • Sharon Ankerich - I think knowing and getting help is way better than waiting and wondering. I am praying you get answers so you can feel peace and Reagan can move forward. I SO believe it has much to do with their first months of life. Sometimes a little intervention can go a long way!!! I SO agree with the last comment too~ read, read, read to her!!! Precious baby and I know she is right in the arms of love!!!
    Blessings and love!!!ReplyCancel

  • Terynn - I am a pediatric speech/language pathologist. I have been working exclusively with children, ages 0-5, for the past 15 (of my 26) years in practice.

    Call. Call now. Not because there is some dire delay, but because 1). You are concerned. 2). Early intervention WORKS and 3). It may take awhile to actually schedule the evaluation (depending on your state’s resources and whether you choose to work with and SLP privately or through the Early Access program.

    If the SLP suspects a problem, you two will develop a plan and will begin to address her needs. If she suspects NO problem, you will feel relief.

    Call, sweetie. Best wishes and prayers …ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Lisa,

    My Ellie was the same way. I had her evaluated and we did speech therapy for about a year. Her speech continued to get better, but only our family could understand her. When she entered kindergarten, the public school system helped work with her and today at age 7, she speaks perfectly! So, hang in there my friend. I’ve been there and it gets better, but definitely listen to your motherly intuition. I hope that helps! Lisa : )ReplyCancel

  • peace and fa - You’ve received some great advice here, but I just wanted to add my experience to the comments. We brought our daughter home at 10 months, NSN, she only weighed 15 pounds. She had been in foster care but did not roll over, however she did sit alone and her fine motor skills were good, but not gross motor. She never really crawled, but sort of scooted along with one leg out, then pulled up and finally walked. She too was delayed in her speech. She had therapy with Early Intervention and while I believe it helped some, I don’t think it made a huge difference in her eventual development. It just took time.

    I also had a friend whose birth child, youngest of 4, likewise didn’t say hardly a word until 24-26 months. I think that intervention is great and certainly can’t hurt, sometimes these kiddos just need love and time, along with intervention. I am happy to report that my daughter is starting kindegarten next month and is already reading at an above average level. She has been reading since she was about 4 and is reading at probably a 1st or 2nd grade level at 5 – I’m amazed. My intent is not to brag, but to encourage you not to worry. I worried alot a first and my husband was always so confident that there was nothing wrong and all would be fine. Also, I want to add that as a nurse and a mom, you know your child best and balance everything the “experts” say with your own instincts. Oh, I almost forgot, my daughter wasn’t fully potty trained until after 3 years old, but when she decided she was ready the whole process took a couple of days. Some kiddos are just late bloomers! Best to you and your beautiful family.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Lisa,

    I’m in the same boat. We adopted from China when our daughter was 13months. She is behind her peers in receptive and expressive language at 3.5 years old and I’m finding she gets very frustrated in not being able to express herself. The language delay concerns me. We did go through EI, although I was not impressed. Some therapists are good and some not so good. We’ve also done some speech through the school district. Again, not overly impressed with that either, although the teacher was very nice. Now she is eligibile for the 3 & 4 year program through our school district. I am not an advocate of preschool, but am feeling forced to enroll her this fall for the exposure to language from other kids. I worry about separation anxiety and her emotional needs. Are there any negatives to preschool?ReplyCancel

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