As 2013 Ends…
2013 is almost over.
This year has brought about big changes. New baby! New home!
This time last year we didn’t know if Henry was a boy or a girl. We had just met Igor. We had no idea we’d actually be able to move. I had no idea that I would be living on the perfect piece of land.
What will next year bring? I have no idea. Hopefully good things.
With Igor, well….we’re all in. We want to adopt him.
I have no clue how we will afford it. More fundraising, I guess. If it’s meant to be, it will work out somehow.
But we have to figure out his status first. I need to know what’s going on with his relatives. We need to be sure he even wants us to adopt him. He’s almost 10 years old, so he will have to write a letter to the Ukrainian judge saying that he wants us to adopt him and why.
There’s a chance he may never be back on the adoption registry. It’s so hard knowing that you can’t control these things. We just have to…wait.
One statistic says that 50% of Eastern European orphans die before their 20th birthdays. How horrible is that?
It’s not going to be easy to adopt a 10-11 year old boy who has been raised in an orphanage. He doesn’t know things that our children have learned from birth, like the way a family works. In the orphanage they have to compete for everything. Your stuff gets stolen from you, always. If you want something you steal it from someone else. You get attention by being the most affectionate, the loudest, etc. There is no asking for help, you do it yourself, you get it for yourself or go without.
The kids there are rough–they play hard, fight hard. The boys live in a rough and tumble pack where no one can be weak.
That’s one reason why hosting is so great. The kids get a chance to see what a family looks like. Otherwise they may grow up never knowing. They won’t know how to have their own families if they’ve never seen warmth and love, or even lived anywhere outside of an institutional setting. Hosting also gives them a chance to get away from the competitive pack of kids and receive individual attention. For some of them it’s the first time they’ve ever been kissed goodnight.
Igor is afraid to sleep deeply. He resists sleep. He goes to bed very late and wakes very early. This is a common issue for kids from tough places. They don’t feel safe enough to sleep because their things may be stolen, or worse they could be molested by another child or a worker in the dark. They just can’t ever let their guard down and relax.
All that aside, Igor is awesome.
I wish there were more people clambering over these kids, wanting to help them and love on them. There are so many kids. So many awesome kids who literally want nothing other than love from someone they can trust.
It’s not always easy, but it’s oh so worth it.
I feel like this is what it means to really live. To love, to suck the marrow out of life. To use every moment digging in deep. Go big or go home.
Not existing in a world of video games, going to work, buying nice things, going on vacations, and spending our time making our own happy Pinterest worthy life. Those things all feel so superficial when you face the harsh reality of these gorgeous children who have nothing. No permanent belongings, no consistent caregivers, and uncertain futures.
Igor is just a regular little boy with hopes, fears, likes, dislikes, and dreams. Orphans are no longer this sad idea far away from my reality.
Igor asked to go see a movie with glasses, meaning a 3D movie. This time last year he had never been to the movies before and he had never tasted popcorn! He loves the movies now. We went to see Frozen in 3D. After the movie Igor insisted on holding open the theater door for everyone exiting behind us. Tyler told him to hurry up and come on, and Igor said, “Wait! It eeez nice, dis!” So he held the door open until the last person left the theatre. People thanked him and he just beamed at them.
Every time Henry cries Igor says, “Mom! Get you baby!” Then if I don’t or can’t get Henry, Igor will bring him to me while rocking and shushing him. Igor has figured out what things make Henry laugh and he tries to make Henry giggle all the time. The other day Ada pretended to shoot Henry with a nerf gun and Igor told her off in Ukrainian.
Probably the funniest thing that has happened in the past few days: Igor was talking to Henry and Henry started babbling back. Suddenly Igor cracked up laughing and ran to tell me something I couldn’t understand. Apparently one of Henry’s babbles made Igor think Henry said something in Ukrainian, and whatever Henry said washilarious to Igor. Hopefully Henry wasn’t cursing.
I have videos of the kids all playing together and giggling. I can’t get them to upload with my crappy internet. I’ll have to go to my parents’ house and upload them soon so I can share them.
We went to Monkey Joe’s the other day. It’s like a bounce house sort of place. Igor loves running, jumping, and sliding until he is drenched in sweat. At one point I kept hearing the workers blow their warning whistle. I was sitting in a chair on the side with Henry. After about the fifth time in a row of hearing the whistle being blown I got up to make sure it wasn’t one of my three kids. Turns out it was Igor. He was wrestling with a group of Mexican boys in one of the bouncy things. Hardcore Ukrainian orphanage style wrestling. He was having a blast, so were the Mexican boys. But here’s the funny part: The Mexican boys didn’t seem to speak English, and Igor didn’t understand the English from the worker telling them that wrestling was against the rules. So the worker lady kept reprimanding them and not understanding why she was getting blank stares, then they would go right back to wrestling again.
Google Translate is the best thing ever. All I have to do is type something in English then it pops up in big letters on my phone in Ukrainian for Igor to read.
His English is getting really good though–he’s understanding a lot of things! I’m so proud of him. He’s a really smart boy. I love his accent and the way he confuses pronouns. It’s unbearably adorable. He always says, “My is…” Like, “My is bat-room, don’t come in!” “We will outside go, yes?”
Last year he spoke no English at all! Only Ukrainian and Russian. This year I’ve hardly had to use any Russian. Ukrainian is still mostly a mystery to me, but for some reason I don’t find Russian as hard. Igor prefers Ukrainian, but understands Russian and sometimes mixes in Russian words to his Ukrainian speech. The region he’s from speaks mainly Ukrainian. (Other parts of the country speak mostly Russian.)
If/when we adopt and have to spend time in Ukraine I will definitely be learning to speak quite a bit more Russian and Ukrainian first. I can read the alphabet, which is a huge asset, especially because I’m a visual learner.
It’s hard to describe how we feel about this kid. It doesn’t feel like we’re babysitting him. It’s just like he’s ours and that’s that.
Too bad it’s not that simple.