I am spending the evening pouring over photographs, trying to determine which ones best depict our life. We have been told by our agency that we may send a photo album over to be given to "T" a few weeks before we travel, so I am beginning to work on it. This is proving harder than I first thought. I keep trying to put myself in his small shoes, imagining what it would be like to have someone sit down with me and tell me that my life is totally going to change, that I am moving to a new place far, far away, and then be handed a book with photos of the people who I am being told are my new family. It must be an almost surreal experience for a child, one which the enormity might not be easily grasped. I wonder what he will think as he thumbs through the pages seeing our faces and his new home. What curiousity he will likely feel! I also wonder if for him it will be similar to what we experienced the first time we saw his little face staring back at us from a computer screen. Will he stare at each face trying to learn what he can from a mere photo? Will he try and picture himself in our home? What will he feel about it all...fear, anxiousness, excitement? Will he see kindness in the faces staring back at him? Even with a photo album there will be so many other blanks to fill in, so much that he will not know about us, so many unanswered questions.
I have already bought the album and a few things to place on the pages a'la scrapbook style. I am planning on labeling the photos in Russian for him, so he and his caretakers can read it together. That will be a challenge itself,as writing those Cyrillic characters is not easy! No doubt, this will be the most important album I ever make, and I want it to be perfect. I remember taking along a small baby teething album when we adopted Matthew and Josh with pictures of us in it. Josh still carries his around to this day!
Today I also started making flashcards of the Cyrillic alphabet and some Russian phrases I want to memorize...you know, the important ones like "I love you", "You are so handsome" and most importantly "Do you have to use the toilet?"...hahahaha! I previously taught myself the alphabet when we traveled for Matthew but have since forgotten it so I am relearning it. I found that regardless of whether I truly knew Russian or not, just knowing the alphabet and being able to pronounce the names of stores and streets was helpful, and kept me from feeling completely helpless. I have a CD and small handbook titled "Russian Phrases for Children" which has been an excellent resource for us, and we are beginning to get serious about working with it. It contains phrases specific to adoptive families and is well done. The pocket sized handbook has phrases written in English, Russian and phonetically in English. If we can learn 30 or 40 key phrases we will be in good shape I think. If you are interested, you can find this product at: http://internet.cybermesa.com/~fdd/ru_main_new.html
So, the preparations begin in earnest now. In some ways it still doesn't feel "real", but I know it will creep up faster than we can ever anticipate so I'd better get going!