Wednesday, December 22, 2010

End of the Year escapades

First I want to post this link to the Angel tree page of Reece's Rainbow. I am beginning to really feel the need to advocate for Kathleen in region 27. She is so cute! And man, those baby blues are gonna be dangerous:) Please take a moment if you can and contribute even a few dollars to help her grant raise to the 500.00 mark. I know from experience that without these grants it is difficult to get these children home and out of an orphanage. Kathleen is in danger of being transferred to an ugly place in a few short months and this simply cannot happen. Children deserve better in life. The Angel tree will only be up for a few more days so time is important.

And the difference a family can make is astronomical in the scope of things....just take a look at Ms. Marina!
She has really bonded into this family very well. We have a few orphanage things to work through, such as spitting when angry and showing off our back side (with our without a covering!) and she is very stubborn which is okay in the grand scheme of life. But hey, that is amazing that these are our only known battles! She loves Evan, and manages to get in equal time at the table to be funny. Dinner time is usually a riot for some reason, though I do not think it is linked to the food...we do spend lots of time in the kitchen so maybe they are just giddy and proud of their creations. Yeah, that's a stretch in my book, too. All I know is that it seems like she has been her for a lot longer than 3 1/2 weeks. We seem to belong together in a way that is hard to describe. She has taken up residence in a house that she has helped make a home. Ok let's try again. She could have made this home nothing more than a house, but she has added to it in a way that is deeply and intensely laced with love and affection and laughter. Not every "orphan" gets out that happy and well balanced. It is a joy that is hard to describe. I might add that Santa told me the other day as Marina would not get off his lap, " Usually ya can't get em up on my knee! this one is going to be hard to get off:)" Yeah, that's how it is with her. She goes the extra mile to appreciate her situation. And she kisses your hand or pats your cheek to make sure you appreciate it too. Evan has done a 180* show on his emotions almost overnight. They play chase through the house and the other day when she got put in time out for spitting, it was Evan that was there in less than a minute asking if she could come out. He remembers to get things for her if he gets one for him. He did tell her she was just weird at the table the other night when she was telling him the absolute longest story in russian, so I can safely say that all is well here. We are getting really excited about Christmas. Gifts are semi wrapped. I hit black friday because I was still on eastern europe time zone or we would not be having what we are I think, but really the gifts are only a way of saying we love each other and it is signifying the true gift of Love and Hope. If we only had each other we would be way more than fine. In the long run none of the "stuff" really matters anyway. I am grateful for friends and family, and do not take these things for granted, or at least I am trying hard not to. It is hard to tell people how really much they mean, and I wish there was an easy way to tell folks what's in our hearts. I wish there was a way to keep it there up front all year long but it's hard to be human some days.

Well Marina found one small lollipop and is set for yet another bath and another half a load of laundry. Wow, I hope the well does not go dry! Stay well and safe and thank you for taking time to see our photos. She really is a miracle that she is here. Ukraine is set to vote soon to put a halt on international adoptions so I will come full circle here and ask that if you have the time and or financial capacity, please lets make it a project to get Kathleen a home next. Time is critical for several reasons. A 35.00 donation will net you a really sweet ornament with her little face on it. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Good the Bad and the Ugly...

Where to start? How about just going in order...first the Good. Marina is doing very very well adjusting and loving and being funny. Today she was very busy in the kitchen as Tully and I watched church on tv, until I finally got up to check on her. She had found my muffin tin and broke up the extra waffle, filling the cups with the pieces, then emptied my salt shaker onto the top of them. How Yummy! I found it in the oven, baking...she watches everything and only needs to see it once to learn how to do something. I was not the one who turned on the oven either. Yesterday we got up early and went to the park to ride the train and enjoy a morning with other kids. It was beautiful outside, and a friend gave Marina a bag of really neat clothes, complete with a killer snow suit! Marina LOVED it the most and almost would not take it off once we returned from the park. I loved that she had it too, because she was the only kid out of several hundred that had on a fuscia snow suit:) Easy to spot! Again the kids had a great time and enjoyed the wide open space (as if our 3 acres is not enough). The favorite thing to do IN the house is to sit on the corner cabinet and help me cook, and that is both Evan and Marina. IF Marina would just stop resetting the auto start time on the coffee pot I might have a better chance at getting in front of the day. Hey shifting gears here, I got the best phone call the other day, and ended up getting a job at USAir here in Greenville Spartanburg. I am so excited to get that job you have NO IDEA~! Since we have gotten home, there has been very little work available through the holidays. I do not start until January 10th as it takes about a month for FAA clearances and safety classes OH HA! I only THOUGHT I was finished being back ground checked! The work is part time flex shift so I am really happy about that too. I won't get rich but we will be able to do some traveling to various places for as long as i work there. It will be a fun summer I think. Tully has filled out several applications but again, this is not the time of year to start something as most folks are in year end mode.

On to the Bad...Marina has absolutely no intention of doing anything that is not already on her list. She is as bull headed as any child I have ever encountered. Sometimes she gets in trouble and chooses to spit in retaliation. Then go rubber and then turns to molten lead, actually resembling liquid mercury. She is heavy and fluid and cannot be gotten off the ground. So we have some things to work through ab out anger management. This does not happen often but she really does not listen particularly well if she does not feel like it. On the other hand, she understands nearly every thing we tell her. Sometimes I forget she speaks Russian. The other day after she got out of the bath I told her we needed to go dry her hair. She ran to the bathroom and got the hairdryer out of the drawer. That sort of stuff is spooky because I hardly ever dry her hair so she had not heard that before. The other thing she does that I could do without is her tattling. Then I remember she speaks Russian. Poor Evan cannot blink without Marina suggesting we spank him and he has learned that sticking his tongue out can be tattled about faster than he can get it back in his mouth. I still don't know why she calls him Dasita but that is what it has been since she met him...and that is about as far from the word Evan you can get. Marina does not sleep in one place through the night, and usually comes in search of me. She usually also needs every light on in every bedroom that she encounters, which is disturbing at 4 am to say the least. She will start with Evan's room or maybe the couch, and may use her room, but needs me by the middle of the morning hours. She does snuggle right back to sleep but I never do. I am hanging on by my fingernails by then trying not to fall off the bed that everyone is in. Reminds me of the little book The Napping House where the bed breaks from too many folks napping on it. Really it is a matter of time...

Now on to the Uglys. Evan is having a hard time with Marina being here. That is the truth. He likes her and loves her but often says he prayed and prayed for her but she is different than he thought she was going to be like. I asked him what that meant, and he says it is "Just too hard" and not much else will come out about it. They are at each other often and want to blame everything on each other. I know it will level off but I feel bad for both of them. I might feel a little bad for Tully and I too...loads of referee work to be done here. When I look at her, I can hardly believe she is finally here...then I wander to where she would be if she were not here, and it really upsets me that we were not only the choice, but the back up plan as well...what if we had not come? She is so smart and funny and "electric" I can hardly bare the thought of that light nearly being extinguished, which is exactly what would have happened. So not too much is ugly since this will level off in time as we all find our places in the universe we share. It's the "in the meantime"part that gets a little mundane to say the least. I thought about leaving this out but it is the truth and anyone thinking of adoption should know that adjustments are difficult for family changes. It is also very very worth it and I would do this again in a heart beat. I believe Tully and Evan would too, Tully is grateful she is here and Evan has times of happiness too that are different than being an only child. There is much to celebrate this Christmas and we are grateful for the life that has been added to our family. The photos are just some various home life shots...Evan was a sheep in the nativity scene at the school musical, and of course Marina was proud! It was a cute production and very well done. It is getting hard to finish anymore of this post as Marina and Evan need to get in the bed soon, and Scooby Do is on as LOUD as I can hardly stand! Thanks for visiting, We ask for prayers to include those children left behind with no family this Christmas season, and especially for those who are on the transfer list. It is almost too much to bear remembering their faces and knowing that some of them will not make it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Crazy Days are here again....

Ok how it got to be more than a week since the last post, I do not know. We survived the flight, arriving in time to basically pull up a chair and stuff our little faces at my sister's house, and life on our hamster wheel began again. Yesterday was Evan's first day back to school and he was a nervous wreck for some reason. As he walked in the door his friends all jumped up and mobbed him with hugs and back pats. Nerves appeased and he settled into a nice short day at school since he sabotaged the day by leaving his lunch box at home...(stinker!). Marina went with us for a variety of reasons, of course to show her off and to show her that kids do go to school here. I needed an interpreter to explain that we were not taking her to a different orphanage, as she saw the guard, sweet Mr. Bob, open the door for us and she bolted back out to the parking lot. It took a while but she came back in and hid behind me the rest of our short stay. Today was a completely different story. She slung on Evan's back pack and hopped in the car. I am always happy to see anyone in the car on time so we were happy all the way to school...and through the door, and to the class where we drop Evan off...and then it got both interesting and ugly....she was furious that we did not let her stay!! I took her straight to the park despite it was 35* outside...and we played and got dirty and then went to Barnes and Noble for a cookie at starbucks. Heck everything else was closed! I was on a mission to find a magazine we have around here called upstate parents but could only find November issues. It has a monthly list of everything a kid could do and I thought it would be a good place to start for finding fun stuff. i have also written to several very competent folks in the community to find out what I need to go ahead and get her into school. She will not be able to go to Evan's school because i doubt they are set up for Marina and also could not possibly afford it unless they both went half days. Anyhow once again Marina is on her own game plan and taking the lead in surprising me. We went to dinner at the Country Club for family spaghetti night last night and she was amazing. For one she was absolutely precious in her little gymboree dress from Shelly Burman, and for two, she was incredibly well behaved! She even asked for help every single time she wanted to drink out of her "pedastal water glass"! She was totally happy to see her cousin Laurel and hugged her a zillion times. Laurel will be three in January and every time she sees me if Marina is not with me Laurel laments..."Where's Rina!" They will be fun friends as both love to play babies, though in vastly different ways:) (Marina spends great quantities of time bawling them out and smacking them with belts or spatulas and putting them to bed.)

Evan and Marina have their differences but both love the other greatly. Marina dresses in Evan's clothes when he is gone to school and when Marina was mad and laying on the couch with her back to everyone, it was Evan who was petting her and loving on her. She is easy to put to bed as she loves to be read to, but she does not stay where she starts out. She often takes to the couch with her little blanket and pillow, but last night made her way to my room. She is like wrestling a ferret to get her to stop moving around, and I will chase her back to the couch if she comes in again. 4 am was just too early to deal with anyone who was not sick or bawling! Speaking of sick, of course she has had a cough and a runny nose since we got home and is now on a z-pack so hope that will knock it out for her at least for a while. I took her to the doctor the other day and she had the same reaction as she did with Mr. Bob--run for the door! So we did nothing other than visit and weigh her in at 46 pounds and get a sticker. Since my dad is the doctor it is important she not associate bad things with family.
the only other things to report include that Marina is the cleanest child in the USA as she takes several baths a day. She has figured out how to set the water temp and turn on the tub and is in it before you can realize she is not still beating the babies in her room! Tully set up a second swing out on the playground and that has been a good thing too. I guess in this post what the bottom line is, is that she is about as normal as they come. She runs, and jumps and falls down and does everything Evan does, half a second behind him. She inadvertently strangles the cats because they are too heavy but they keep forgetting and keep coming back for more abuse since she is the only one who will let them in. She is an easy easy child to transition into our family and I feel like we will face very little issues from her past. I still feel like the last place she lived before here was instrumental in her success at being this beautiful child. They gave her levels of confidence and self reliance that I personally would not mind having! We have taught her only one thing since she has been here and that is to blow her nose. I just wish she would now tell me she was going to blow so I could go get a kleenex! She is no longer afraid of dogs, and spends alot of time fussing poor kiki out russian style. We still have to figure out how to get her to let us brush her teeth, but I imagine that in the rear section of her mouth they probably hurt. She has at least 8 cavities that I can see. Will deal with the dentist after all her papers are processed at immigration. Maybe she will learn some English by then and can really tell some one how she feels haha!
One last thing on being fearless. We went to the mall the other night to see Santa but ended up finding the set up for that human bungee jumping thing where kids get strapped in and can jump with those rubber cables enabling them to nearly touch the ceiling. Of course it is Evan's favorite thing in the world...and Marina is half a second behind him in needing to jump as well. I relented and sure as the moon, the girl who is going to help from Russia and as bilingual as they come. The look on Marina's face was awesome! Sort of like we are holding out on her with speech but this girl forgot and spoke Russian to her! Anyhow that little Marina jumped and jumped so high! She fears nothing that I can find...and truly I am not looking very hard.
The newspaper did a wonderful story on our adoption and I will post the link separate as I do not want to risk losing this lengthy post about life that is as normal as they come. Tully is struggling to find work and I have several options for merchandising that came in this week. But we feel that we as always will find a way to make ends meet. And we struggled occasionally before she came so yes, life is normal. Except that we have girl clothes in the laundry again. And russian speaking sunshine streaking through the house. thanks for keeping up with us.