At a Loss for Words
Yesterday we bought Igor a suitcase. He’s planning on packing half of the house in it. I have to go through it at night when he’s asleep on the 27th and make sure he didn’t take anything really important.
He got up at dawn this morning and had the entire suitcase packed with his clothes and toys. He’s counting down the days until his mom picks him up at the station.
He called his mom in Ukraine yesterday. He asks to call her multiple times a day.
She asks him if we have bought him a suitcase yet and what he’s bringing home in it. Then she tells him not to call her again until he’s back in Ukraine, and she says, “Goodbye son.”
Igor saw a bottle of wine yesterday. He told me in Ukraine when he goes to his mom’s house he and his brothers (who are 18 and in their 20’s, Igor is the youngest of six kids) drink these drinks. Then they laugh and smash all of the bottles outside on the ground and use the broken bottle necks to cut things.
Soooo big fun, Igor says.
I’m not sure how to respond.
Then he goes on to tell me the funnest game they play. He’s so dramatic in his description, acting out what they do and giggling hysterically.
They light piles of trash on fire, paper is best he says, and see who can jump over the biggest flaming mound without catching themselves on fire.
While they are drunk, I’m assuming.
Igor is eleven years old.
I decided to hope he was just making up these stories.
Then his teenage roommate who is fluent in English said that this is definitely true and not the first time Igor has talked about drinking with his brother.
HE’S ELEVEN YEARS OLD. He watches cartoons and is scared of the dark.
He’s only a baby.
The system in Ukraine has failed him. They took him into custody, where he lives at what is like a boarding school. But they let him return home to his mother for unsupervised weeks at a time where he obviously gets into all kinds of trouble.
His 18 year old brother is in jail, but he’s getting out in November. Igor idolizes him. He talks about his brother all the time. Somehow I do not think he is the best influence. His brother “graduated” from the boarding school/children’s home at sixteen just like Igor will in five years. Instead of going to a trade school or college he got into trouble and went to jail.
It makes me sick to think of Igor going to jail, but he has absolutely no critical thinking skills. Part of it is an eleven year old boy problem, and the other part is lack of good examples and lack of being taught what is good and right. He’s gullible and he’s impulsive, and he apparently already likes to drink.
I know this is not going to end well.
I’m trying to not think about it, because what else can I do?
Six more days he’s here, safe and not drunk or lighting himself on fire, or being abused, or any other horrible thing you can name.
Then it’s back to his real world, with only a suitcase full of clothes and the fleece batman blanket we made him for protection.
This is not the happy ending I was hoping for.
Despite everything, I’m having trouble letting go.