Help outfit Michael, Sarah, and John

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Update on things here in Ukraine

Things are going quite well here in Ukraine. Today is Nov 4th - which means we're on day 4 of the 10 day waiting period. I've been to visit Kristina 3x since Tyler left for the US. I have taken the advice about having more calm visits with Kristina - and I think it's helping! We mainly read books, sing, and play on the piano. There are times when I can tell she needs to get some energy out and she runs around the room, but when she's ready we do more calm activities.

It's crazy to think that we will have two children at the age of 4. They are less than a month different in age. I don't know about anyone else, but I was hoping to adopt children in different ages so it wouldn't SCREAM adoption. I have no problem with adoption - I'm doing it and I think it's great - but in the future whenever anyone asks me the ages of my children, it will be 6, 4, and 4. And they'll say: "Oh, twins." And I'll say: "No, adopted." Anyone know what I'm talking about?

I'm staying with Mama Bigoon and it's been grand so far. Staying with her is very eye-opening about how some of the more poor Ukrainians live. She has running water - but it's very expensive to use water - so they have to conserve it. My showers consist of me filling up a pitcher of water and pouring it over my head in a bathtub. Oh, and they only have cold water. After Mama Bigoon bought the house, they found out that there isn't a septic pipe. At all. So, their toilet isn't hooked up to anything. Galia (Mama Bigoon's daughter who speaks some English) explained to me that there is just a pit below the house that collects their sewage and that once in a while it overflows and they have to clean it up. GAG. Septic pipes are just one of the many things I am grateful to have in my home. I'm not sure how it all works, but after you use the toilet - you pour water down into the toilet bowl and that somehow forces the contents down out of the toilet...I'm guessing down into that pit beneath the house. Wow.

They don't have beds - just two old mattresses on the floor. Many of the walls aren't enclosed with dry wall and you can see the bricks. Some of the floor isn't quite level and I feel like there isn't much beneath it when I walk around. Despite everything that most people would say they are "lacking" in material needs/wants - they are so happy. They are very content to be together. It makes me realize how caught up I get in things back home. I'm always thinking about ways to redecorate my home and make it more attractive. This family doesn't have a kitchen table - and didn't even have a couch before yesterday. Since I don't have to stay in a hotel and pay money towards that these 10 days, we (Tyler & I) decided to apply that money towards a couch for Mama Bigoon. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to give something to someone who really needs it. She was SO surprised when the couch arrived yesterday afternoon. Her expression was priceless. Those are the moments that I live for - helping others. She is such a kind person - opening up her home to me and to many others. Every monday she has FHE in her home and invites the missionaries and any other members to come. It feels great to bless the life of someone who blesses others so freely.


Leah said...

I can't wait for you to get the kids home! I'm sure you feel the same. ;-) About their ages...I raised a blended family, with 4 boys aged within 3 years of each other. When we got married they were 6, 5, 4, 4, with the youngest two just a few weeks apart. Whenever people would ask their ages, the come back with the "Oh, twins?" line, I'd just reply with "No, not twins." and leave it at that. If they were RUDE, they'd ask more questions. There was one time this woman continued on. "Oh, are they all yours?" "Yes, they're all mine." "But they're not twins?" "No, they're not twins." I wanted her to get the hint that she was being very rude, but clearly she wasn't getting it, and I was getting irritated. AND AND AND I don't like to talk about my kids in FRONT of them! Finally I turned and asked her, "I'll tell you my life story, if you tell me yours." Not one of my prouder moments, but man, I don't get why people feel they have the right to ask personal questions of a total stranger. My daughter has Down Syndrome, and people always look at ME and ask, "How old is she?" I always turn to Angela and say, "Angela, this man you don't know asked how old you are." I do this for a reason, because Angela's answer is always, "I'm 12, how old are YOU?" and it never fails it's someone who doesn't like to give their age, but Angela doesn't let them off the hook that easy, and I politely (with a smile and chuckle) remind them that if they ask a question they have to be prepared to answer the same question themselves.

Shelley said...

We get the "twins?" thing all the time. Sometimes just because people look at them and see Down syndrome and think they must be twins(even though they look nothing alike!) and other times it's because they ask their age.
It's gotten so bad that now if people ask my Zoie how old her brothers are(they always think she's older...she's not), my darling 3 year old will reply, "They're 5 years old but they are not twins!". When people say "twins?" to me, I always reply with "Nope, they're a month apart." Some people are too shocked to ask more, others say thinkgs like "How'd you manage that?" or "It must have been a long labor". At first, it really bothered me to say "No, they're adopted." But, then I realized that it's my open invitation to share the blessing of adoption with total strangers and it *is* part of our testimony. So, now, I say "We CHOSE them and we're so very blessed that they're ours." We usually get the whole "You must be special people" or "How wonderful that you saved those children" Now that, I always correct. WE are the lucky ones, the ones who have been blessed. And, in many ways, they have done more for us that we did for them...they have opened our eyes and our hearts to so much more than we ever imagined. I've been able to share the love of God so much more because complete strangers are nosey. You gotta look at it positively :)

Courtney said...

You can always say "Yes, they joined our family at exactly the same time!" ;) You will have virtual twins (and that is a recognized term in adoption-lingo) so I think if you aren't feeling like sharing your life's details when someone asks if they're twins, just say yes! :)

Diana said...

They are twins - virtual twins, so there is nothing wrong with answering "Yes!" and leaving it at that.

What a wonderful blessing for you to be able to #1) stay with a member and have regular contact like that and #2) be able to do something so fun as to purchase a couch for her. I can only imagine the expression on her face!!! I hope you got a photo!

Conethia and Jim Bob said...

That is wonderful that you are able to stay with Mama Bigoon and save yourself some expense on the hotel. That would help out so many people if they were able to stay with a local that they trusted. It was extrememly generous of you to give her the couch. I can't imagine how thankful she was! What a boost for moral, it always make you feel wonderful to do something for someone who truely appreciates and needs it.

Melisa said...

I get asked if my boys are twins a lot. I guess it has a different feel with the adoption aspect though.

You are just so thoughtful, Jill. It sounds so like you guys to donate a couch to a family. I sure admire you.

Sarah C said...

I am glad you found someone to stay with. You are so nice to buy them a couch. You are always looking for ways to bless other people. She is so sweet to let you stay there. I am glad things are going great with your children. We can't wait to see you soon!