Adopting Grace

The journey to bring our little girl home

Browsing Posts tagged church

Learning

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One week ago today Leeza was still in the orphanage…today she was in church, swaying to the music and holding her hands in the air like Mr. John who was leading worship this morning. I’ve cried grateful tears the first Sunday we’ve brought each of our kids to church and today was no different.

It’ll be a while before we find our new normal, but we’re already making some progress. Last night Leeza still woke up in the middle of the night screaming, but she FELL BACK TO SLEEP!! That is major progress! Philip and I were able to take shifts sleeping on the floor beside her and she was able to drift back to sleep each time she woke. I’ve been taking her over to the clock when it’s time to get to show her the ‘7’ so she can learn when it’s ok to get up. I can’t tell if she’s learning that number or if she just knows she can get up when I walk to the clock, but today she smiled and I could tell she understood. We tried laying on the floor by her bed for nap too and it’s the first day she hasn’t screamed through the whole thing. She even stayed in bed so we were able to get a little rest as well.

We’re learning what she likes to eat (eggs, bread, bananas, yogurt and milk) and what she doesn’t (chocolate chips, meat, cheese, fresh vegetables). We’ve noticed that anything that requires much chewing is confusing and when we thought about what she used to eat that made sense. Her diet consisted of cookies dipped in tea, oatmeal, soup and bread. We’re learning the quirks of clothing a child with SB…shirts with small head holes are horrible, pants that don’t fit her waist well fall down when she scoots around, thin tights can’t handle the beating she gives them and some shoes simply won’t fit on her little feet. We’re learning to find humor in having to put a child back in bed literally a hundred times before she stays and having her correct our clumsy Russian. I’m learning that despite her age, she’s a great deal like having another 10-month old in the house because she wants to get into EVERYTHING (but she can get into so much more than Kasia)! There’s a lot of growth going on right now and most of it is fun to watch. She’s fascinated with the kitchen and what I’m doing in there and loves taking baths with her siblings. Going somewhere in the car is fun and so far she’s enjoyed everywhere we’ve gone except the doctor’s office (can’t really blame her there).

We even tried Sunday school and church this morning and she did fantastic! She so badly wanted to style one little girls’ beautiful white-blond hair and likes another girls’ jacket so much she wouldn’t stop petting it (we have to work on the ‘personal space thing’), but the other kids were so kind and all wanted to sit beside her. She had no idea what we were all saying, but she did all the hand motions with her teacher and followed along during snack and craft time (I stayed with her and will be a helper in her class this year). She and Josiah sat quietly during most of the sermon with Philip and we left a little early to avoid the crowd at the end, which had scared her between Sunday school and the service. As we get ready to start our first full week with her home we’re encouraged that she’s adapting so well and that our other kids are working so hard to show her love and patience. It should be an interesting week and we’re certainly appreciative of all your continued prayers!

Sunday

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We had just come out of the orphanage here and were getting ready to go play on the playground. Much like her sisters and brother, Grace loves balloons so we brought a new one today.

We got to go to church this morning with Forrest and his family. Their church is in a Chinese restaurant that they rent from 10-12 on Sundays, but the restaurant isn’t actually closed so people would randomly walk in and order stuff. It started smelling really good and by the end of service and I was getting hungry! There was a girl there who translated for us so we could understand what the ‘preacher’ was saying. They take turns doing sermons and today’s main sermon was given by a young man (maybe late 20’s) who is a welder and they’ve been teaching him how to teach the Bible. He did a very good job and taught on Joshua 1:8. It was a very good reminder to stay close to God always, but especially now when we know so much is out of our hands and we need His blessing to be successful in the jobs He’s given us. As we sang songs, several of which we could recognize as Russian versions of American praise/hymn songs, it made me think about when the Bible says every tongue, tribe and nation will one day praise God. It was difficult to sing English words as they were all singing Russian ones, but we could listen and it was neat.

Forrest helped us walk over to the orphanage today and it was a longer walk than we expected. It took about an hour, but we had a chance to just talk with him and ask him tons of questions we’ve been coming up with. He helped translate with Grace a bit and helped explain that the pictures we were showing her are of her new home. I don’t think she really understands, but we’ll keep telling her and hopefully it will help the transition. We also got our first picture with all 3 of us since Forrest was there to help.

This is for Josiah. Here is the large plane that is in the middle of the park. You couldn't go it, but it was fun to walk around.

We braved a ‘martooshka’ on the way home. I know that can’t possibly be spelled correctly, but that’s what it sounds like. It’s their version of a city bus. We still haven’t found one that will take us the whole route, but it helped some and it was better than walking through one of the neighborhoods again, which is a little rough and isn’t really a place you want to be later in the day. We picked up some ice cream on the way home out of curiosity…it comes in a tube kind of like ground beef at home and we’ve been told it has a different consistency here. We’re looking forward to a quiet evening of eating it, watching a movie and just relaxing.

By the way, we shot a couple videos recently…one of our apartment here and one just for the kiddos at home. We miss you guys and love you SO much!

Exploring

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We had a free day today since all gov’t offices are closed until tomorrow so we’ve spent the day exploring the city. There’s no way I could include everything we saw, but it’s been a great day. We made ourselves get up this morning at a reasonable time and found out jet lag feels a lot like having a newborn…we’ve felt like that for most of the past 4 years so that was no biggie. :) We were a little late for church services and I still hadn’t found a head covering so I couldn’t go in anyway (they’re all Orthodox Christian over here) so we headed out to see some of the larger, historical churches and the palace. We came across the ‘monkey fountain’ several other families have written about recently. They monkey did try to talk us into a photo, but we knew to be very clear about saying ‘NO’ so he left us alone quickly. To his credit, he spoke some of the best English we heard all day.

And we managed to get a picture without him trying to jump in…

And then spent forever trying to find the palace, which we finally found…only to realize it’s been under reconstruction since 2004 and doesn’t look like it’ll be finished anytime soon. I’m sure it was very pretty at one time.

After a bit more looking we found the churches…and at least 5 wedding parties. There’s one behind us.

And the beautiful church. We got to watch a baby dedication inside and tried to figure out who all the saints were that people were praying too.

Later we found the ‘souvenir street,’ which I believe is somewhere close to where our SDA appointment will be tomorrow. I absolutely loved one style of shirt that unfortunately turned out to be one of the most expensive things on the street. Alas, it shall have to stay there, but we had a great time looking.I have no idea how these women walk on this road in high heels!

And at the top of the hill is St. Michael’s Church.

After much looking (we were working with poorly drawn maps in different languages…it was challenging) we also found St. Sophia’s Church.

On our way back to the apartment we went back by the monkey fountain and they were having a concert. We went back to the same Ukrainian restaurant for dinner and tried a few new items and noticed that the lady who yelled at us yesterday looked much happier today (probably because we weren’t in her line!). After dinner we again walked forever trying to find a spot with wifi and finally found a coffee shop (one the 3 words I can now read in Russian!). We didn’t want to spend much so I picked the least expensive thing on the menu, which happened to be ginger juice. I thought I would be brave and try something new. I should have paid attention to the waitress’ expression when I ordered. I only got a tiny bit in my mouth and I’ve spent the last 10 minutes coughing so hard she brought me some water! Next time I’ll spring for something a little more expensive. :)

Plodding Along

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Not much has happened this week, and yet we’ve stayed amazingly busy! I had to call someone from the Department of Homeland Defense to tell them we’d done our prints early or they would have waited to process them until our original date. We have no way of knowing how long it will take them to process them, but hopefully it will be quicker than the original date. There were 17 other families in the system ahead of us so it may take a few weeks. continue reading…