My sweetie and I were able to get away for some much needed alone time last weekend while Yarik got to hang with Babushka. We went dipnetting in Kenai and Kasilof. The fish weren't running very strong so we only came home with five. It was wonderful to have some time together without kids though. We've been married for one year two weeks ago:-). The prosecutor tried to use that against us in court in Ukraine. Silly prosecutor. Marriage to my sweetie is wonderful. Parenthood is hard, but marriage is pretty darn easy so far.
That's my sweetie in the blue hoodie out there in the water. I was taking a break to warm up. Even with chest waders on it gets numbingly cold in that water.
Yarik was very impressed with the fish we brought home. Will even let him help fillet them. Next time we will bring him with us. He will have a blast.
This is an older picture, but this kid loves to ride his bike. So much so that he wore his training wheels out in a month. That stubbornness of his that keeps him tantruming for hours sometimes has also given him the determination to keep practicing and practicing on his bike. He broke one of the training wheels the morning that we left for Kenai. Dedushka (Grandpa) took the rest of the training wheel apparatus off while we were gone and we came home to our boy riding his bike without them:-)
Brett has a family!!! Aaaand his adoption costs have been raised:-D. http://piecingourpuzzletogether.blogspot.com/?m=1
Here is his awesome family's blog. They are traveling in just a couple of weeks! I am so excited for him, he is such a special kid. Thank you to everyone that helped make this possible with your shares and donations.
Yarik celebrated his first American Independence Day. He has no idea yet that it's even a holiday. Some things are just beyond explaining at this point. But he enjoyed swimming in the creek and barbecuing at Grandma and Grandpa's and watching Papa set off firecrackers.
We are seeing more and more progress with his behavior. The busier I can keep him the less chance there is for negative behavior and tantrums. But sometimes a Mama just needs to stop, and be still and quiet for a little while. Unfortunately Yarik is not at the point where he understands that other people have needs too. And so we struggle onward. But as things improve it gives me hope that it will continue to improve even more.
Yarik started swimming lessons this week. And I had maybe my first occasion to be proud of my son. He was scared, but having his very game nine year old cousin beside him helped bolster his courage and within minutes he was smiling. He doesn't understand most of what the instructor says but he follows along with what the other kids are doing. During the second lesson the instructor had the kids put on life jackets, jump into the deep end, and float. Now Yarik has worn a life jacket before, but he didn't understand that it would keep him from sinking. He was so scared standing on the edge while the other kids jumped in. With the instructors encouragement he crawled in. And floated. Slightly panicking, until his cousin swam over and grabbed onto him. She pushed and pulled him around the deep end with the other kids. From time to time he would call out "Mom!", and I would wave. And I was a proud Mama. He conquered his fear and learned to trust in the life jacket. I was also proud and thankful for his cousin. It helps to have a familiar face along when you are doing something scary with a bunch of strangers.
No pool pictures yet but here are some pictures of creek fun on the fourth. Also, one of our neighbors had a new baby;-). Isn't it cute? It's all leg.
There are three children currently available for adoption from our son's babyhouse that are listed on Reece's Rainbow. I've posted about two of them already. Emery and Bonn still wait for families, but the third boy, Brett, is even more in need than they are. I meant to do a post just for him alone. But then we finished our adoption and life became EXTREMELY chaotic with a little boy that seems to prefer chaos in his world and will manufacture it out of nothing. But someone else didn't forget about Brett and has been tirelessly advocating for him. She has been fundraising for his adoption and it has gone from $7500 to over $9,000! A Little Lemonade: A Heroic Act:<-------------------<<<<
There is a family adopting another boy from Brett's country. They are interested in adding Brett to their adoption if the funds are available. This may be his last chance for a family. Brett will turn seven sometime this year, the age when children are considered for transfer to an older children's facility. Now if Brett had no special needs he would go to an older children's boarding school, but Brett has Cerebral Palsy. Even though he is smart and determined and able to accomplish so much he will be sent to an institution for children with mental and physical special needs. I have heard bad things about the institution in his region. Because Brett cannot walk independently he will probably wind up in a laying down room. He will lay in a bed all day, every day. The progress he has gained will be lost and he will lose his hard earned ability to get around with a walker. His institutional behaviors will become more extreme and his chances at adoption and rehabilitation will fade away.
I know this boy. His smile radiates. He works so hard to accomplish what other children do so effortlessly. For a month we visited our son in the orphanage everyday. We saw Brett several times every week. There where a couple of nannies that truly seemed to care about him. One of them would patiently work with him outside, practicing walking up and down the sidewalk with his walker. As the the other children streamed past in the hallways she stayed with him as he inched along slowly. One day during a children's performance another nanny helped him dance along with the music. His laughter and delight was priceless.
Unfortunately not all the nannies are so caring and patient. The last day we saw him, the day before we busted our son out of the orphanage for good, Brett was outside with his groupa. The other children were younger but all had the ability to run and walk independently. A little girl tripped and fell on the pavement. She began crying
and turned to the nanny for comfort, only to receive a stern reprimand
for getting dirty.
When it was time for the children to go in she started herding them along, but Brett with his walker was slow. I watched her carelessly pull his walker down off the curb, with Brett holding on for dear life, the tops of his poor little feet dragged over the rough cement. He cried out in pain. She couldn't care less. I was appalled and frozen in shock. It was over before I could register what just happened. He seemed used to such treatment. I didn't know what to do. There were several other adults all around but no one did anything. I felt like I had to comfort him in some way, to let him know that he was worthy of being loved, but I had no way of communicating with him and time was running short. I didn't know what to say and knew he wouldn't understand anyway. But I had been so impressed with his strength of spirit and with his determination to keep striving, I said the first thing that popped into my head "You. Are. Awesome!". I smiled at him and he smiled back tentatively. And then he began inching his way towards the steps to go inside.
A different nanny began helping him up the steps. One of the kind nannies. She patiently stood behind him in case he fell while he pulled himself slowly up the steps by holding onto the railing. At this point my son began taking pictures with his Papa's phone. My husband tried to stop him but I said "no no, let him take pictures of Brett!" The nannies probably would not have allowed us to do it but they just smiled tolerantly as Yarik click click clicked away. We should have set him loose with the camera ages ago to get more pictures of the other kids. Here is one of the pictures that my son took of Brett. That is the kind nanny in the brown coat behind him. She worked in my son's groupa and was the one that helped him change out of his orphanage clothes into his brand new outfit on the day we took him out of the orphanage for good.
Brett needs about $5,000 more donated to his grant fund in order to cover the expenses of his adoption. And it needs to come soon. The family that would like to add him to their adoption is expecting travel dates any time now. That means in a matter of weeks they could be in country. I don't know of any other families interested in adopting Brett that actually have the ability to do so. And I can't think of a more perfect family. They are already experienced adoptive parents and even have experience with Cerebral Palsy. Please consider donating $5 or $10 to Brett's adoption grant. It's even tax deductible:-D. I know not everyone has the money to spare right now but could you at least share the need?
Brett will never know that he is worthy of love and family until he finally has a family of his own. Please help bring Brett home.
Yarik has been home for six weeks now and out of the orphanage for two months. His behavior has been very hard to deal with. There have been many good times but also tantrums that last for hours. He has been showing a lot of oppositional and defiant behavior and negative attention seeking. For the first month home I was dealing with tantrums and very bad behavior daily. He would, and still does, scream and fake cry for hours during these tantrums. It has wrung every ounce of patience out of me on a daily basis. In the last couple of weeks things have improved a bit. We are now averaging about one tantrum free day a week. It has been hard to find the time to blog because he demands so much of my attention every waking hour. We know that there is a wonderful little boy inside and we get glimpses of him from time to time. Yarik loves to be a helper and when he is not driving me crazy he can be a great help. He loves to go out on the boat and loves to fish. My parents bought him his first bike and he absolutely loves it. He is learning English fast and understands more than he can speak. He loves playing with his cousins and going out in the car to run errands. He has had several medical appointments and has more to go but is really quite healthy. I have started doing some Pre-K workbooks with him and he is whizzing through them. I have no doubt that he will catch up to his same age peers by the end of next school year.
We've been home now for two and a half weeks and out of the orphanage for four and a half weeks. We were stuck in country for a week and a half after pick up day because of holidays. The honeymoon period lasted for about two days and then our son turned into a demon child. It's been very very hard ever since. We are surviving so far and that's about all I have to say about that.