Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our Last Saturday

I'm jumping up and down.

Two reasons----

1.) Officially today our 10th day is up! And this is the last Saturday we are spending in Ukraine!

2.) We are at an Internet Cafe walking distance from our apartment! Woooo-hooo!

Julia and I both have computers for the next hour and a half--- so now I can tell you all about the last few days. Alex is getting more and more used to us and seems sad every time our visit is over. He is for the most part a very happy and outgoing little boy---- but there is a mischievous side to him that I will have to keep an eye on. I think he has just been couped up for way too long and is ready to explore the world around him. The other day I tore off a dead branch with dry leaves and crumbled it up in front of him. Then I let him do it. He loved it! We also got to let him play in the sand with all the other children--- something he is not allowed to do all the time-- and he loved that too! I can only imagine how he is going to react to the world outside the orphanage fence--- we keep counting down the days for him till he gets to ride the big train to Kiev.

The day we played in the sand with all the kids is a day I kick myself for not bringing the video camera. We had a blast! I pretended to make food and then had the kids serve it to me.

"Ya nee hachoo kasha-malasha!" I said making the yuckiest face--- and breakthrough! All the caretakers started laughing and it seemed like Julia and I made it into their club. After that we were offered some of their black, unsalted sunflower seeds. It was a neat feeling of acceptance.

I pretended to eat the kasha (sand) as the kids saw me throw down the spoonfuls-- this had all of them laughing. Soon after, the kids were playing with each other---- Alex and Leeza were the cutest together.... both laughing up a storm!

Quite a few times Julia and I have timed our arrival to be just as the kids are coming outside to play. The caretakers have to call all the kids back as they come running up to us yelling Mama.
I have given up correcting them to call me Choit-cha which means Aunt after learning that they have eighteen different caretakers whom they all call Mama. I wish they could all have Mamas-- all of them need one and deserve one.

As Julia and I have learned what the kids do day and day out--- we have decided to do something different for the kids when we take Alex. Instead of the traditional cake, fruit, and juice, we went and bought all of the kids little toy phones. We went to the same lady where Julia bought her siblings a few souvenirs and she remembered us. Instead of twelve grivna per phone, she told us they were only eight grivna, but when we told her we wanted to buy 7 of them, she sold them to us for six grivna each. Knowing what a great deal she was giving us-- we gave her a fifty grivna bill and told her to keep the change. It was a win-win for all of us! We will probably still do something else but we are not sure yet. We are giving the caretakers the dishcloths that Julia handmade, filled with candy and tied together. Hopefully they will like them.
Going back a few days-- one evening when the Penman's were still here we went to Premier for dinner-- a very affordable and good place to eat in Kramatorsk. I felt a little adventurous and ordered a pork, cabbage, and kiwi salad.
It was so yummy! Julia played it safe and ordered boring mashed potatoes and rice with cooked veggies. I also ordered chicken with spinach and cheese. It was just nice getting out and not having to do the dishes afterwards. Our whole meal with two cokes each was only seventy-one grivna equivalent to about nine American dollars.

The other night, Julia and I had a Racko tournament and made a little bet to make it interesting. If she won, I had to take her to the pastry shop and let her pick out anything. If I won, she had to go to Premier with me and have a bowl of Borscht.

Guess who won??

Since it rained last night we couldn't go-- so today after our afternoon visit with Alex we are going to Premier!
Here is a place where I think handicapped people live. What a nice ramp for wheelchairs.
We played outside with all of the kids again.
The caretakers even allowed Alex to get out and play with us.


Mummy McTavish said...

It's so exciting to me that you'll be home soon!!!! I can't imagine how you are feeling!!!

Missy said...

Wonderful update! So glad it's almost over for you! Glad Alexey seems to be bonding - I'm sure once you get home and can parent him freely how you want, he'll do GREAT!! Sounds like a very smart kid!! Hang in there! Hugs for Julia!

Stephanie said...

We will probably be crossing each other in the sky somewhere on the 7th. We leave on the 6th and won't arrive in ET until the 8th.

Praying for you, Julia and Alex as you make the trip home!

MoonDog said...

aug 4 is my birthday! What a great gift that would be to know that Alexey is FINALLY with his forever family! sounds like you two are making the best of it and having some fun over there. cant wait to see you guys home and see lots of pictures!

Cammie Heflin said...

Yeah! So glad that you will be home this week!

Charissa said...

What a blessing it is to get to hang out with your daughter during this waiting period. She sounds like a delightful girl!

Kathy C. said...

Woo hoo! Almost there.

Kevin and Pam said...

I hated not hearing your daily post for a few days! Glad things are coming along and you get to come home soon. I am sure Alex is just going to thrive like little Dennis did!

Chris said...

So glad to hear from you again and see that all is moving along so well!

*~Sarah Lynn~* said...

I'm so excited for you! Have enjoyed reading all your trip updates with Alex. He's such a sweet boy! Congrats again!

Michelle said...

wow - reading that the kids all call their caretakers "mama" suddenly explains why the kids have such a hard time understanding that their REAL mama's are there to stay! i know a big part of it is that they don't understand the concept because it hasn't been shown to them... but if adoptive parents walk in and tell the kids to call them "mama" they are effectively telling them "call me caretaker" in the kid's eyes. interesting. sad.

thanks for the update!

and good for you, getting something for the kids left behind. i'm sure they will remember your kindness for a very long time.

- michelle

Milena said...

Wonderful to read an update again! I'm so happy that the bond with Alex is growing, and also that you had a break-through with the caretakers!

Shea said...

I agree with you about Alex being couped up. Every single person who met Oskar, and it was several, said how quiet he was, didn't talk, etc, etc. His caregiver recently emailed me and told me that since Oskar was moved to this new groupa(in DEC) he started talking, wanting to explore things, excited about stuff, etc. This new groupa goes on field trips and Oskar gets to go in the van to pick the other kids up from therapy. He has really turned into a different child from what they tell me. I think Alex is just testing his limits like any kid would do when a whole new world is opened for them. I am so glad you will be home soon. I can't wait to see how he does in your home and with all his siblings. I bet he will be so much fun. I just love a child with a little spunk. Sometimes they seem to be the hardest, but when you break through to them, it feels soooo rewarding, at least that's how it is for me.

Laura said...

Wow...what a wonderful adventure you and Julia are having together. May the 7th arrive FAST for you guys so the Reed family can be together soon!


Annie said...

You make me laugh. Every child in an orphanage in Ukraine and Russia call their caregivers "mama" and you're going to correct that habit!

I hated it at first, but then decided it was OK. And, after all - since when did you behave for an Auntie the way you behave for a mama? And, unlike the US "care" insitutions, be it foster care, group homes, or even childcares, the caregivers in orphanages are usually there for their career. I know sixteen and seventeen year old girls who were raised from babyhood by the same ladies and are always planning some little surprise to send these ladies who are so dear to them. Every so often I get a call, "Mrs. Kitching do you know anyone who is going to Russia; I made something for my mamas." It was things like this that transformed my thinking; I am just glad that they had people who loved them when they needed it, and trained them up to be good girls with a moral sense.

Too bad you and Julia didn't tie.