Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Saying Our Goodbyes...For Now

We left the digital camera over night with the kids after showing them how to work the photo and video options.  Ruslan was so diligent about recording the room he and all the other boys sleep in, their sitting room, the views out the windows, paintings on the walls that he likes and this...his self-portrait!  I am so glad to have views of their "inner sanctum" recorded, because it will help them make connections with their past that will otherwise be forgotten. 
Picture of Nastia taken by a friend last night.  They were quite the silly girls and took many funny pictures of themselves together.  The friend managed to get the video option going and recorded Nastia running from the camera, but in the process recorded their living space.  It was dark so I'm not sure how well it will come across visually, but it's better than nothing!

We found out, to our great dismay, that Nastia never did receive her birthday present from us.  It included all kinds of wonderful pictures and cards from cousins and grandparentsand soon-to-be siblings as well as a little cross-stitched spray of pink flowers that I did for her on the way home on the train last visit.  I even did her name in Russian in pink back-stitch.
So sad to learn she didn't receive it.  We went to a book store and found flash cards and curriculum for learning english
as russian children and also picked up markers, drawing paper and a coloring book.  Her eyes lit up and she said, "Oh,
hoh!" which means, "Oh, WOW!" (and is her favorite exclamation)when she saw these treasures.  She went right to work with her characteristic focus.
Here are the proud ship builders and puzzle men extraordinaire!  So glad we got the sails on the ship done
before we had to leave.  It looks quite spectacular in person!
Nastia and I took a walk around outside, reviewing our russian and english vocabulary.  She stopped to smell the
flowers and was willing to pose when I said, "Oh, kra-see-vuh!"which means, "Oh, beautiful!"  Once around the grounds was enough for her with her non-russian speaking companion.  We then joined the boys who were in playing War with cards.  She watched for a while, helped Ruslan with stacking his cards as they came in from his winnings and then caught the fire herself.  We played several times even though the boys were burned out and went outside to play soccer.  After a while, she decided it would be more fun to join them...
...and here we are!  Ruslan is quite a goalie and got Dad sweating pretty hard!  We cheered them on and took video.  Then, Nastia took a turn trying to score against Ruslan, but never succeeded. 
At one point, she said to the boys, "Watch out for the flowers!" as the ball flew this way and that.  Marsh said, "Oh, she'll fit right in at home!"
Nastia hung on the goal posts and Ruslan said she was a "monkey" english!
Cooling off after the soccer game and saying our goodbyes.
We took some great pictures yesterday that, after a night with kids having the camera in their possession, had to be re-created.  This was one of them. 
Just after this, we went inside and explained that Nastia's papers were signed (big smiles from her with that news) and we took out my handy calendar again to show them approximately when we think we'll come back.  We showed them a few cute pictures of Lucy and James at Pop and Nana's house (play house included, which I don't think Nastia fully understood but seemed excited about) and left them with smiles on their faces and WAY too many chips in their tummies. (We have also explained that we don't eat that stuff at home very often, but this is an exceptional situation!)
Then it was time for good bye...for now.

Just as a final note...we spent a lot of time today on english, using our flash cards and introducing the books that we will take home for them to work in.  We explained that the language will come more easily once they are home. 

While we played Uno and War, we all said the number and/or color on the card we were putting down so we could review those basic words.  It was neat to see how quickly Nastia was beginning to recall the numbers with the repetition whereas at the beginning, she was having to count up to get to the number she needed.

We have read scriptures together each day, too, and I am amazed at Ruslan's ability to read english.  I couldn't hope to dream of doing the equivalent in russian!

Yesterday, Ruslan's aunt was at the orphanage.  Just as we were leaving, the director introduced Ruslan to her and asked if he remembered her.  He didn't seem to and Marsh asked him quietly about it on our way out.  He responded, "I don't know her.  Like she [the director] said, I guess I was young."  Well, a relative just showing up out of the blue is a bit unnerving to say the least.

Today we learned that she was there about her own children who had been removed from her custody.  It just happened to be that we were there, in that room with Ruslan and Nastia at that moment.  Apparently, her husband (Ruslan's mom's brother) was an alcholic and abusive, causing the children to be removed from their home.  What we like about this is that there may be some information she can share with us as a relative.  There is absolutely no concern that she has come for our children.

LAST BIT...get this!
We just learned this evening that we DO need to return to the orphanage region to sign papers in front of a notary. 

It is Wednesday evening.  Tomorrow, we will leave at 4am to drive to the train station 2 hours away to catch an "express" train that will land us in Kiev at 1pm.  Our SDA appointment is at 3pm.  We will stay the night in Kiev, pick up the referral in the afternoon, hop another overnight train to our region and sign papers Saturday morning.  We will get to spend a couple of bonus hours with the kids, then take another overnight train back to Kiev and hop a plane home at 2 pm.

I don't know how much real "hopping" there will be after doing all that, but it's nice to use the word anyway. :)


  1. Another round of amazing events in the saga of the adoption. Thank you for doing this as we all are living it with you just a bit and can better appreciate the journey.
    Love you all very much, Grandma Jane

  2. Oh my goodness! I am tired just reading about your trip! Hang in there.

  3. That's a lot o train - but worth it!