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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Can you believe it?

I've posted on here 2 days in a row! Woo-hoo! Here is today's proud sponsor of this post: I am grateful for the production of Pringles in Ukraine. Expensive as they are (16 gryvnia each - about $3.20 per can) they are so worth the money. And they are portable! This brings me to the point that there aren't any fast food places in Ukraine - no drive-thrus, just sit down restaurants. I'll bet that if I opened a Sonic here, it'd be successful. Not to mention, it would make me happy. I enjoy Ukrainian food, but it doesn't like me - so I'm always on the hunt for anything "normal". It's funny, because, I don't ever buy pringles in the states - but it doesn't cause me to be in the bathroom all day like other authentic foods here. *sigh* On the topic of restrooms - I've noticed that most public restrooms have no toilet paper, but at the orphanage they have complementary pieces of magazine paper to use. Nice. And they don't flush that paper down the toilet - they throw the used paper into a trashcan next to the toilet. Now there's some air freshner that I could live without.

Things with Kristina are going really well. She hasn't pulled my hair or slapped me in 2 days now. I'm trying to speak more English with her now. Don't misunderstand - I don't speak Russian, I just want to say "Yes" instead of "Da" and "No" instead of "Nyet"...you get the idea. If I could go back in time, I would have taken a quarter of Russian before coming here. I feel like I missed an opportunity to learn a foreign language because I wasn't more prepared. What an opportunity this would have been to learn Russian - being here for a whole month! It's a strange thing - speaking English to a girl who is fluent in Russian.

We played outside this morning and there were other children from the orphanage outside as well. One girl has pronounced FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) and was very sweet and ran right up to me and wanted to snuggle with me. I think a misconception that I had about orphanages before I came to Ukraine was that I assumed all children in the orphanage were available for adoption. In fact, many are not available. Some are there because the family cannot afford to care for them. Some are there and receive visits from grandparents or other family members. All of the children call the caretakers "Mama". And when the children see me, they call me "Mama" as well. I wish I could "Mama" for all of them. They are such precious children.

One thing I have noticed is that most rooms where the "groupas" are have televisions and dvd players - but when I pass by the tv, it has adult music videos on with shady outfits and not children-appropriate lyrics. I wonder if it would be possible to donate Russian educational dvds for children. They might as well be learning while they are there, right? Any thoughts/ideas on this? And on the subject of learning - how did you teach your Russian-speaking children to learn English?

13 comments:

Mindy said...

I found this website: http://www.adoptedfromrussia.com/russianfilmsforchildren.html

It seems to have some interesting info on Russian dvds for children.

It's great to see that things are going well while you guys are in the Ukraine. Your children are beautiful and I can't wait to watch them grow. Thank you for sharing their journey with us!

MamaPoRuski said...

I also noticed the TV was more for the staff than the kids, although I wished I had caught on tape the boys in my son's groupa all stopping to sing a particular pop song when it came on the TV...I uploaded to the RR yahoo group the "Russian Talk" PDF file, if you can down load it it has phoenetic translations for common child talk, such as "time to eat", "please brush your teeth" etc. Also have a link on my blog to the website for it...We found it invaluable those first couple of weeks!

Courtney said...

Our boys watched Russian cartoons in their groupas--and I found it interesting that they turned the captioning on so the words were at the bottom. That's actually a great way to help pre-readers. They had specific times during the day that they watched TV, otherwise it was off.

Courtney said...

I forgot to answer your question! We have flash cards and we used those a lot. Also just general reading stories, but more like baby books since they needed to build vocabulary. They will pick up English very fast. It's harder with two since they can continue talking to each other in Russian, so we ended up enrolling them in preschool so that they would be immersed in English.

Carina said...

I don't have any advice, because obviously I have not adopted a child from anywhere. I just wanted to say that your description of Ukraine reminds me a lot of Brazil--the lack of fast-food restaurants, the possible intestinal torture invoked by the food (though I did get used to it), the throwing away of toilet paper/magazines/whatever was available in the trash can instead of the toilet...ah, memories!

I'm glad you're focusing on using more English in your time with the kids. I'm sure it will be much easier for them to pick it up once their in the States! =D

Dirk and Trish said...

I know it doesn't go w/ your actual question, but sign language could be great. L. is quite verbal, but we watch Signing Time for fun and it's amazing what she picks up on. I think you mentioned signing a little, but I wonder if it might be a good bridge between language, and could be great for Keith. I'm so excited things are going well. Yay for coming home soon with a bigger family!!!

mixednutsblog said...

I got a new book last night that focuses specifically on trafficking in the former Soviet countries. It has already talked quite a bit about orphanages in the Ukraine (did you know that Ukraine is one of the biggies for trafficking?). It has really been interesting and sad, especially with you there right now. Your kids are really fortunate.

Sarah C said...

I am glad things are going well. We are still thinking of you and praying for you. Best wishes.

Melisa said...

Take them signing time. :)

schoolmother said...

I am enjoying your blog. I'm glad court went well and that you found Pringles. Even though I didn't deal with tummy upset there was still something very comforting about finding something familiar. Our son is picking up English just by being around it all the time.
Joy,RR

Joseph and Kamber said...

You will be surprised how quickly the English is coming. Especially once Kristina starts playing with Anna. I loved watching my boys play, one speaking English and the other Russia. We brought our kids home in April and by August Daniel was completely fluent. Safe travels.

Staci and Damon said...

The Pringles are a God-send in Ukraine - at least they were for me!! I absolutely loved the bacon-flavored ones. I just found some bacon flavored here in the US as well! I haven't been able to catch up entirly on your adoption journey, but it sounds like it is going well!
Staci

shannon said...

Hey Jill--
It was good to see Tyler and Anna together at church yesterday--Anna was so happy to have her Daddy back!
One thing I thought I'd mention about teaching your non-english speakers to speak English is to just speak English. Sing, read, play, and take them places where others speak English. These are all things you already do or will be doing anyway. It will come easier once they are immersed. When we were in the Spanish branch in DC, and doing all the other things I mentioned, our kids picked up a lot of Spanish. You will be amazed at their ability to adapt. Good luck!