Help outfit Michael, Sarah, and John

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Name time

We have officially named our two new children:

Keith Nikita


Kristina Louise

We are very excited about these new additions to our family! We are in Mariupol and staying in a nice place (despite cold showers). It's ironic that our first place, an apartment in Kiev, had internet connections in the actual apartment - but our adapter was broken. Now, our adapter is working and our hotel has wifi in the hotel - but their server is having problems. GREAT. It seems that we are meant to search out internet cafes to blog. It is difficult to upload pictures and videos in the cafes, so I do not know when there will be more pictures on here - even though my camera has many new ones to share!

Yesterday we met with Kristina (Irina) for the second time - the first time being when we visit a week ago and committed to adopting her. We are amazed at the amount of energy that she has, she is VERY spunky! Yesterday we couldn't seem to keep up with her - she was all over the place and began pulling our hair over and over. We were reluctant to discipline her the second time of seeing her, but even our translator was perturbed by her pulling her hair, as well, and proceeded to discipline her in Russian - which I'm sure is much more effective than our English! That was a bit unnerving and I felt overwhelmed by her behavior.

Last night, Tyler & I talked things over and expressed our concerns for Kristina. Throughout our conversation, we felt peaceful and know without any doubt that she is our daughter and that she has been prepared especially for our family. Today we visited her and took her outside to play. She was all smiles and very cheery. She didn't pull hair - but would slap our faces. After the first slap, Tyler held her for a time out away from the park. This seemed to work, as she didn't slap us for an hour or so after that. The first thing she told us today was "I'm going to America!" (in Russian)

We were THRILLED to see how quickly she is catching on to English and sign language. We've been saying the word "again" in English ("yishou" in Russian) and doing the sign for more at the same time. Within about 20 minutes of doing this, she did the sign immediately and even said the word "more" in English. It was very exciting to see! And this from a child they have labed as an "invalid". Yeah, right. She's a smart little girl!

After being outside we went into a room with a piano and I played and sang some primary songs. Tyler danced with her and snuggled with her - it was very sweet. I think all the playing outside helped wear her out for some downtime, which is what we were wanting. After about an hour and a half - she was over stimulated and started flailing (spelling?) around and so she went back to her room.

It's hard to see in the pictures, but Kristina has light brown hair that is curly with deep honey brown eyes. She is quite petite, wearing size 3T, and her feet are SO little! She has a fun smile and her whole face lights up whenever she sees us. She is calling Tyler "Dada" instead of "Papa" now and calling me "Mama", which is what I want to be called, anyhow.

We should have our court date scheduled for Oct 30th or Oct 31st. To be very frank, finances are difficult for us right now. We're not sure how we are going to make it to the end of this trip. It's very stressful for us. We have been told that at the court next week, the judge will decide if we should have a 10 day waiting period before we can take the children home OR he can decide to waive those 10 days. 10 days might not sound like much, but it will cost us $700 for me to be here for those 10 days, and that is just for the hotel costs. We have heard that this judge in Artemovsk is especially stubborn about waiving those 10 days. However, we are putting our faith in God that if it is His will - the judge will waive those 10 days and allow us to come home much sooner. Tyler & I are planning to fast for 24 hours before the court hearing and would invite all of you to join us in this fast. I will update you when I know the exact date of the court hearing. Prayers are invited and appreciated as we set out to do something that our translator says is 99% impossible. Stay tuned for our next update. (((HUGS)))

As for my health, I am doing better. I've had diarrhea the WHOLE time that we've been in Ukraine and then I was limiting my water intake for fear of using public restrooms = not a good combination. I became dehydrated! 2 days ago I was REALLY bad and spent the day in bed and drank 4 liters of water. My sweet husband took excellent care of me and rarely left my side. After some rest and LOTS of water, I felt much better, although a little weak. Today I am feeling better and drinking more water, despite my fear of the restrooms here. I still feel sick to my stomach, but after a week and a half of it - I'm just trying to live with it and hope it will be gone once I go back home. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts in my behalf.

Dear Anna,

We are missing you here in Ukraine! Do you like the name of your new sister? Kristina is such a pretty name, don't you think? We miss you SO much here. We miss your snuggles and huggie buggies! Hugs & Kisses!

Mama & Daddy


Michelle said...

I love their names and am so thankful things are going well with them.

As for you, not sure you can buy probiotics in Ukraine but they really do a job on slowing/easing diarrhea. Maybe as soon as you get home. Pray that you feel better!

Diana said...

Oh, I can relate to everything you wrote about your daughter, even down to the trepidation and peace part. I don't even know if I can put into words how deeply I can relate to this...except that the more time has past, the more I have started to realize in some small way why we felt such peace about it. My boys need what we can offer them. They need a complete understanding of the Atonement - which, as you already konw, is the ultimate source of healing. All I can say is that I know without question these boys were meant to be part of our family and the Lord has a very significant reason for them to be adopted...and to be taught the gospel. I don't know what that reason is yet, but I know th Lord does - and I know the adversary does too and he doesn't like it. The road is not always easy, but it is so worth it! The Light is more powerful than the dark. Hang onto that hope and peace that you've found. There may be more days to come when you're really going to need it.

You are most definately not alone in the journey and there is help available - especially once you get home. In the meantime, remember that your daughter is scared out of her brains and she has no idea what is about to happen to her. She has no idea how to live in a family and how families are supposed relate to each other. Watch closely - I bet you'll notice that all the kids are allowed to beat up on each other. They all hit and kick and bite and spit and pull each other's hair. It's how they survive living where they do. Also remember that you have no idea what she's really been told about about you or what will happen to her in America. Nor do you really know what she's already been through (survived) in her short little life. But do ask a LOT of questions about it...and then ask some more!

All that said, DO NOT be afraid to discipline her NOW. She needs those boundaries established right away - and she's looking for you to set them. It is actually scarier for her to NOT be disciplined that it is for her to have those boundaries put in place. She needs to know from the start that you can and will take care of her and protect her and that you'll love her no matter what. Let her know very clearly and consistantly (and you'll probably have to do it repeatedly) "Ouch. That hurts. Mama is not for hurting. Dada is not for hurting. Kristina Irina is not for hurting." And then provide an alternative for all that running or playing or just being still and removing some of that stimulation like you already did by taking her away from all the activity. That instinct will serve you well!

I could write tons more, but I'll save it for another day. I'm not sure how much you've read of our story yet - but there's plenty of time for that later. For now, just know that I'm a friend who's BTDT in so many ways!

Kathy C. said...

I like the name Kristina but I'd leave Irina as the middle names. Sounds nice and she'd keep her name. But I'm sure you have a reason for what you chose.

I hope you are feeling much better now. It's miserable to be sick away from home. I have been very fortunate on the trips to Haiti.

Melisa said...

Wow, sweets, you have a lot to process right now. I hope the Lord continues to bless you on this journey and you will recover quickly. Can't wait to hear more!

MamaPoRuski said...

We saved money by staying with two different Babushkas, they cooked and cleaned for us as well. We slept in the living room of one place, the other she gave us her bed and slept on the couch. We learned a lot about the Ukrainian culture and saved us LOTS of money ($30 a day vs. $70 daily) See if there are any orphanage workers that rent out their spaces to families. Just a thought! Also, perhaps there is a local body of believers that can help you locate a cheaper place. Hang in there! Praying for you, the kids, and your finances!

Lou said...

Congratulations guys, and hang in there from someone else who has also BTDT. I love the names! I am partial to Kristina's middle name!

Alice said...

I will pray for your court hearing, and for peace if you have to stay. Praying for wisdom in dealing with Kristina.

Kathey said...

Our prayers are with you. I'm also going to call some temples tomorrow and put your family on their prayer rolls.

Love, Kathey

Sarah C said...

I think both of the names are perfect. Anna and Kristina will have a blast together when you get back to Ohio. I am glad you are feeling better. I am sorry you got so sick. Good luck with the court date and getting ready to come home. We will be praying for you. I am sure everything will work out. Best wishes.

Carina said...

I love the names! They're perfect. I'm excited to hear about how these two children incorporate themselves into your family. Best wishes and let us know about the court date!

shannon said...

I was so touched to read how you've been able to take some 1 on 1 time and make it special with each of the kids. Their lives are going to change so much and I feel like they are so blessed to have it be in such a positive and loving way. Feel better soon! Thank goodness for steadfast and loving husbands!