Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Another day of play and an English lesson

Yesterday's visit with the kids was another great one.  Uno hasn't gotten too old yet so we played a couple rounds as well as Old Maid, which was a new game to both of them.  Some more arm wrestling took place in addition to "helicopter."  Adam may need to start training for an Ironman to keep up with this boy!  He loves it.  I'm always a little concerned when, by the end of our time together, Max is sweating and the caregiver who comes to get us from our room walks in.  But so far I don't believe he's been in trouble for being too active.  I imagine they wonder what in the world we do in this small space, but so far it's been received with smiles and, yesterday, even a laugh.

Happy sweaty boy.


Thankfully, while Max is very active he does enjoy calmer activities...like working on his English.  I may not be able to do pick him up and spin him around like Dad, but I can certainly sit and help him practice writing important English phrases. We worked on writing the alphabet and then moved on to some names and phrases such as "America," "Arizona," and "I love basketball."  I am definitely impressed by the kids' English abilities.  I was surprised by Kate's English when she came to stay with us, but I do believe that knowing they are coming to America has given them a bit more motivation to take learning English that much more seriously.  For these two, it's not just about learning another language either.  There's a whole new alphabet involved.  It's one thing to learn English as a second language when your native language shares the same alphabet, like Spanish.  It's a whole other ball game to change from a Cyrillic alphabet to the English alphabet.

Starting with the alphabet.

On to his second page.
 I thought it would be fun to make a calendar of sorts so that he has something to visually show him things he has to look forward to through the year.  I wrote out the months of the year and then he filled in the special events and holidays.  I'm fairly certain the his favorite thing to write was, "Go America," which we believe will happen sometime during the month of April.  And probably his second favorite, "Go school," for the month of August.  I truly didn't think kids ever got that excited to start school, but let me tell you, this boy is beyond thrilled.  His face lit up when I told him he would start school in August.  What?!?!?!

Finished work for the day.

I really felt like creating something tangible to remind Max that he has much to look forward to increased his hope.  We also wrote out a few paragraphs that we had a wonderful friend (Thank you, Alex!) translate for us to show both the kids yesterday.  We explained to them that we are waiting to get a court date at which time we will officially become their parents, that after court Mom and Dad will both return to America and that 10 days after court Mom will come back and take them out of the orphanage.  Then, the three of us will travel to Kyiv and wait on their new passports, etc. before flying home to America for good.  It's hard enough sometimes being on our side of this adoption, with so much unknown and not always the greatest understanding of the process so I can only imagine what it's like for them being nearly completely in the dark.  They probably wonder why in the world now that we are here that we just keep coming to the orphanage daily for weeks on end rather than just busting them out of there.  So, while still somewhat vague, our explanation to them did seem to resonate and make sense.

Kate was not feeling great today.  In fact, she entered the room wearing a surgical mask.  I understand the importance of that when she's with the other kids, but having two little ones back home we're quite accustomed to a runny nose and cough so had no problem telling her she didn't need to wear it around us.  Of course, we made sure she had it as 6:30 approached and the caregiver would come to escort us out of the orphanage.  Though not a great picture, I managed to capture a precious moment between Dad and daughter as she rested her head on Dad's shoulder while playing a game.

Dad: comforter and protector
Yesterday we also heard from one of our facilitators that we will travel back to Kyiv tomorrow for our second SDA appointment, this one for Max.  After that appointment, paperwork will be prepared and ready for pickup on Friday.  At that point, we will return to Cherkasy and the paperwork will continue beginning with Max writing his petition agreeing that he wants us to adopt him.  Now, this is all best case scenario and we continue to recognize that most everything is out of our control so at any point during this process something could not go according to "plan" and we will not be surprised.  But we are hopeful and prayerful that things will continue to move along as they have till this point.

~~~

We would like to ask that you would pray for all the adoptive families in Ukraine right now, and most especially for those in process of adopting from Crimea.  Crimea is the semi-autonomous region south of Ukraine that up until a few days was technically part of this country.  Now, after a questionable vote it will become part of Russia.  As you may know, Putin signed an anti-US adoption law into effect back in December of 2012.  So, it sounds like the orphans in Crimea, who had Ukrainian citizenship are now losing that citizenship to Russia.  What does that mean for families adopting from Crimea?  It means things are looking bleak and that it appears these adoptions will be prevented.  And what does that mean for these lives, many of whom already know the families who have come/are coming for them?  It means loss...as if they haven't already had enough of that in their lives.

So while things for us appear to be going smoothly, for other families things have turned devastating.  My heart hurts for these families and at times I feel wrong being so joyful, enjoying our process so much.  Please remember these families, and especially these orphans, in your prayers.  Pray that truth would ultimately prevail.

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