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Hannah Jeske

ENG1303
Ramona Czer
January 8, 2017

When I was adopted in 2000, my conception of the English language was fairly mature for a two-year-
old. My dad used to sit me down at the kitchen table. Hannah, you cant bother me now because Im
working. Heres some crayons and some paper, markers- Do you need anything else? Ill be right
downstairs if you need me. I would sit there and draw. My most well-known work of art was a page
covered in small markered drawings of brightly colored foods. A blurry, red dot with a brown stick
protruding from the top, labeled apoo. Nearby was a scrawl of a tan blur spotted with dark brown
triangles- this one labeled cck. Obviously, I was a Picasso in the making. My abstract apples and
cookies proved my future life as an artist would be successful (not really). My perfect spelling foretold
my future side job- an English teacher, of course.
Mock me as you wish, but for a two-year-old, spelling apple like apoo was not a major problem. I
had been in Korea for the first nine months of my life. Not long enough to develop any verbal Korean,
my time there ended, and I was sent to the States. I could have been a California girl if the foster family
there would have adopted me. Medical complications with the dad of that family put a halt to that. I did,
however, learn English first from them, and, for that, I can be grateful.
Learning a language is no small feat. I take it for granted that I learned at such a young age. Many
adoptees struggle with social skills and verbal communication in general. I was one of the lucky ones I
think. I should thank God every day that that family in California took the time to teach this girl who
wasnt their daughter her ABCs.
Once I was out of California, I traveled with my present day parents to Omaha, NE. Language in the
Midwest is different from that on the west coast. For one, Midwesterners are much more laid back in our
speech. None of that Hollywood hypocrisy. Still, my environment wasnt the only factor of the language
level Im at now. Its the old nature versus nurture concept. My family has always been very big into
verbal communication. My dad, a pastor, taught me at an early age when to say him and I and when to
say him and me. He still corrects me to this day sometimes! Two out of the three of my older brothers
were major thespians. My third brother wants to be a writer. There was no escaping the English
language for me even if I wanted to. Never the parents to dumb down the conversation level for me, I
either had to learn the words or just be happy in my ignorance. I just couldnt pick the latter.
My adoption story marks the beginning of many things for me. The language barrier was just one
barrier that I had to learn to cross throughout that portion of my life. Had I not came to the United States,
I might be writing a paper in Hangul right about now. Its amazing how one decision (in my case, my
parents' decision to adopt me and all the adults involved in getting me to the States), can affect a
multitude of aspects of my life. Every life is full of blessings. I always feel like mine was the most
miraculous; even though its a nave thought to this that mine is the most anything, but Id like to
express my thanks to God now.