Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 15.3--Passing Time in Kyiv

We slept in until 9am...I don't know how that happened, but we were all sure glad it did!
After breakfast, I took the kids to the open market.  I knew it would be an eye-opener for Chris and Patty to be in that kind of environment...and that Nastia, who used all her spending money already...would have a reality check.

I'll comment here on spending money before going on.  I decided to give both kids some spending money to avoid some situations I was concerned about.  I bought them wallets to keep it organized and gave them to the kids the morning we left for Kyiv.  See, at our house, the kids have their own money and that is the only way they are going to get gum, juice, toys or anything that is not in the "need" category.  We take care of the needs until they have the ability and age to do that themselves with a job of some kind.  Until then, if they want something beyond those needs, it is up to them to save and plan and spend accordingly.  Often, they learn by spending too much up front and wishing they had been more careful...which is exactly what we want them to learn.

Since I knew our kids would be taking money with which to buy souvenirs, I had to think through the possible scenarios.  First, Ruslan and Nastia would come with nothing and it wasn't good for them to be so different from Chris and Patty.  However, I wasn't going to be okay with buying anything and everything they may want, but I wasn't going to be okay saying no to it all, either...really, the same issue we have at home.  So, the only solution I could see was to give them power over their own choices.  We believe that children learn best when given opportunities to choose so they just got initiated into the Morford family by learning the hard way. 

Maybe it seems unfair to give a kid from an orphanage some money and put her through this "lesson" right away, but the dynamics of the situation here required it.  I would either be saying no all the time or I would be saying yes...which would be against our family ways and would cause pain later on once we're home.  We had already had the discussion with them about how we work this at home and I told them myself during our waiting period that they would be getting some spending money to buy things for themselves that would remind them of Ukraine.

I really felt strongly that we needed to start right away with things as they are and will be, rather than giving them a false impression and creating bad habits that would be more painful to break than the pain of reality up front.  Life is already changing dramatically for them, might as well have it all out.

Ruslan has bought himself Sprite...once.  These are smart kids and I think Nastia will learn from this experience exactly what I hoped she would.  It just may have come a little harder and a little faster than I imagined.

Patty found a cute hat for Lucy.

The boys were thrilled to find Ukrainian soccer uniforms...shorts included...for $15.  Crazy.  They haven't taken them off a matter of fact, they are sleeping in them right now.

Everyone shows off what was purchased at the open market today.  Ruslan and Nastia needed church shoes so I decided to give the open market a try.  We found these shoes used, but they are in great shape.  I dickered down on both pairs with different sales people.  For Nastia's, the guy wanted the equivalent of $10 for them, but I told him used shoes go for $5-$7 in the US at the most.  He didn't like that I was dickering but I had a take it or leave it attitude so I won.

Ruslan's are Adidas sport shoes that will work perfectly for church.  They were originally 50 UK pounds which is almost $100.  I dickered down from their asking price and got them for $10.  Yay me!

We visited our sweet friends, Irina and Gallina, at their stitchery shop.  Gallina's face just lit up as she realized we were there with the kids...just as we promised.  It's been a month since we were here.  I so wished Marsh was here to help me communicate with them, but I videoed them instead and let them talk to him that way.  Ruslan did a really good job translating for me. 

Look at these sweet ladies!  We promised to come back tomorrow.  They gave us a box of chocolates as a gift and then didn't want us to pay for the things we found in the store...little ribbon roses.  Irina (left) gave Nastia a string of pink beads as a gift.

We later had the pleasure of meeting up with our friends from Kharkov, who are here for a business conference.  We met them at the metro stop and brought them home for dinner.  The girls set the table beautifully and made everything, including the food, look as lovely as possible.  We had the chocolates for dessert and had to scoop them out of their little spots with spoons because it was so hot in the apartment even having them in the fridge for an hour did nothing to solidify them!

This is our "living room".  Each couch you see here (and the chair I was standing next to as I took the picture) opens out into a bed.  This is where all the kids sleep at night.

Saying goodbye to Natasha and Olieg on the metro.  I was sad to realize that this may be the last time I see them again in this life.  They are special, special people.  Their apartment in Kharkov may be small, but their mansion on high is HUGE.

This was a good, good day.  Better than yesterday. 

Ya know, we built a little farm so our kids could learn to work.  They go out and work every single day and I thought I had a testimony of the importance of that kind of lifestyle, but today I think I really gained it.  The difference in my girls today, because they were out doing things for others and helping prepare dinner and host guests, was remarkable.  No child should be left to just do "whatever".  Structure, goals, responsibilities, service are all so important to not only their daily happiness, but their character.

During the dinner, the kids were all actively helping, contributing, working and offering more help.  They loved working together, serving our friends and making something grand out of what little there is here.

Later, while I was on the phone with our facilitator, then Zoya, the missionaries, then the facilitator again, Nastia did all the dishes and straightened up the kitchen.  It was incredible.  I knew she was capable of that, but her initiative was amazing.

Tonight, I was reading in the bedroom (the book is I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris...this is my plug for the book...everyone should read it!) while the kids watched their Friday Night movie..."Despicable Me" which is really funny in any language, apparently...and both Ruslan and Nastia came in at different times asking for something like juice or a snack.  I made them practice asking in English, but there they were in their pajamas, asking for stuff and getting things taken care of for themselves just like any of our kids do and suddenly I felt a shift in the comfort level of our "home".  It was one of those moments that you know you'll always know those kind?

I had to smile to myself and reflect on the power of it.  I could feel the change in everything, as if someone flipped a switch.  I don't know if it was the dinner, the work or the time we've had together, but they suddenly belonged in a way they hadn't before.  Perhaps I was feeling what they were feeling.  Maybe there was something going on beyond the veil that we couldn't see.  Whatever it was, it was tangible.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing--wonderful--I am in awe!
    Glad that your every moment is a teaching moment!