Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Challenging Hearts


Today's plans went bust, and it went along with my initially sour mood. Last night was awful, almost no sleep whatsoever. Man, I am tired of being tired! The wind was so awful last night that the boys got scared and all came into my room at midnight and slept on the floor and in the bed. It makes a howling sound around the apartment building that raises and lowers in pitch so dramatically that I'll admit it bothered even me. We read "Farmer Boy" in the dark by flashlight until everyone agreed it was time to try and sleep a little. Joshie sat up in bed some time around 2:00 AM and said clearly "Mommy, I wuhly want to go home!" then laid back down and was quickly fast asleep again. At that moment I totally agreed with him. I was up 2 more times last night and if a bottle of Nyquil had been close by I would have guzzled the whole thing in an effort to fall asleep.

Today we were supposed to go to a puppet show or kid's show of some sort. When I asked Irina about it this morning I wanted to know if it was appropriate for older kids or if it was geared towards the younger set. She made a call and determined it was for younger kids, so we decided not to go and instead took the girls out to the Doner Cafe for a meal and some play time since we were pulling them out of school at mealtime.

We had a nice visit, the kids played, I teased the girls some and they learned English phrases for "I am lost" and "I have to go to the bathroom"...or at least partially. It was a long phrase, so we talked about other possibilities and let's just say the talk went downhill from there with giggles. Olesya once again picked up my camera and went around shooting pictures of everything in sight. I asked her if she would like to take a class in photography and her face lit up! She might just end up being my photo buddy, what an unexpected treat that would be! I then asked if she would like to take our smaller digital camera and take lots of pictures at the orphanage to remember it by. and she nodded vigorously and promised to be very careful with it. It should be fun to see what she comes up with!

The kids continue to get along splendidly, they really are doing so well together and the boys were quite disappointed when we couldn't see the girls yesterday. Here are some photos from today, many taken by Olesya herself!

Kenny and I...there is finally someone on the other end of the camera to get some photos of me with the kids!! Dominick is not good at thinking to grab it, and I have never been fond of having my picture taken (OK, despise it is more like it) but do realize the kids need to have pictures with me in them once in awhile to prove my existence.

Here's another she took that doesn't make me gag.

I took this one of Irina, I think she is such a beautiful person, inside and out, and it has been wonderful to work with someone so sweet here. We have been very fortunate.

Playing on the play set

Turnabout's fair play, I had to get one of her!

Mom with Angela and Matthew...it is hard for me to believe I have two 11 year olds, a 1o year old, a 9 year old and a 7 year old!!! Staggering and so close in age with the top 3!! 8-9 months between each of them!

We must be nuts.

But you all already knew that.


We ended the day by meeting the Oborn's and the Yager's at the Skiff Hotel, where the Yager's kindly set us up to Skype with Dominick. I loved seeing the joy of the boys as they saw their Daddy and asked him to walk them back with the camera to see their room! Hahaha! So he carried the computer down our hallway back home and showed them each their beds and stuffed animals waiting for them. They love Dominick so much!!!

I learned something very interesting today, and that is that someone who works in adoptions here whom I met very briefly has been quite curious about our family, particularly the mixing of races with our children. In fact, it sounds as if they are actually pretty fascinated by it. The concept of adopting both Kazakh/Kyrgyz and Russian children never entered our mind as being anything at all to be looked at as unusual here. Sure, we talked with the boys about their feelings should others assume the girls were our bio children but we didn't give it much thought after that. Then the issues came up in court with a Kazakh judge, now with this individual who is Russian. It seems that here, it is a far, far bigger deal than it is for us and it is not understood at all.

I may have the opportunity to be placed in a position to visit with this person sometime in the next week or so. I would love nothing more than for God to use our family as a way of touching someone's heart about race relations here. I had asked God before we left to use us all in any way possible while we were here, and this certainly was not anything that ever entered my mind. But if that is what God wants, then if seeing 5 little faces of differing colors playing together and loving one another with their caucasian parents can have an impact or make someone think twice about outdated notions, then let the stares continue. Maybe we are making an impact in ways we will never know about. I know the heads are really whipping around when we are out with all 5 kids and now I know why...I just though it was more of the same old thing. Seems we are challenging ideas of race and adoption here all over the place without saying a word or even having been aware of it, but by simply being a family. We may not be able to do much, but that we are good at. Please, pray for God to use us in this area, to show those whose hearts are hardened by those whose skin is a different color than theirs...white OR brown...that love surpasses all...that love wins.

Somehow, without trying, that seems to be the theme of this trip.

Maybe it is the theme of our lives.

7 comments:

Christina said...

I know that God is using our family daily as we are just being family. We don't go "un-noticed" anywhere. I am used to it now, and I only notice when the kids are NOT with me. I feel "invisible" when I go without my kiddos to the store... Although I had a lady stop me at a restaurant on Saturday saying she was adopted and raised in an inter racial family... and she said that as an adult she couldn't be more happy or well adjusted. She said that she always loved her parents growing up, and now as an adult she feels that she was so LUCKY to have her parents. She said that her parents over and over said to others that they were the ones being blessed, not the kids. I know we both feel that way too... that we are the blessed moms... Isn't it like God to use us just being us... perhaps another reason for our journeys.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wonderful pictures you and Oleysa took. It is delightful to see you. Glad you were able to get over your reluctance. Years ago when we were considering interracial adoption, I met a woman with two Asian children and two Caucasian children. I asked if she minded my asking a few questions. Briefly, here is what I learned. Her biological children were in senior high when she discovered that she was preganant--with twins. She and her husband decided that if they were going to raise children again, they might as well do it in a big way. She had seen abandoned children on the streets of Hong Kong so they applied for children from somewhere in Asia. (I have forgotten where.) When I asked about dating (this being 40 years ago), she shrugged and said that they would face that if and when it became a problem. Then she laughed and said that they could wait until after high school to date, and she would send them to the University of Hawaii then (that being a place one might expect--at that time--interracial dating). I wish I could meet that family again, see where they are, but with the humor and love they had I am sure that they raised strong and loving children; just as I see you doing now.

Love,
Lael

Anonymous said...

Joy,
You are so beautiful! I am happy to see photos of you. Perhaps it is part of God's plan to have Oleysa take pictures so we can all see more of YOU! The blog looks more complete with you in it!
I think it's just wonderful that "O" is able to take pictures at the orphanage to bring to America with her. These will be precious memories. Good thinking, mom! Maybe "A" would like to take some photos of her own, too.

Heather said...

Cindy, I loved seeing the pic of Olyssa, you, and Matthew. I noticed her hands intertwined w/ yours. How precious! Frame it! Wonderful memory I'm sure!

Tammy said...

LOL, last night the title of my blog post was "Sick And Tired Of Being Sick And Tired". I may not be as out of sorts as you are but I certainly understand the notion!!

My transracial adoption has touched more people than I even realized. When I informed my family I would be adopted and I didn't care what race my child was, my grandparents told me flat they would not accept a black child in the family. Fast forward only a year later and they are absolutely and whole-heartedly in love with Zachary. Someone of another race is not just someone "out there", they are now a part of the family and I know my grandparents can't think of having anyone else but him. It amazes me how one little baby can do what how many generations have been unable to do and that's change someone's core beliefs about the value of people. I even had one adoptive parent tell me that after seeing Zachary, she would be ok adopting an African American baby.

I could go on and on and those are only the ones I know about. There are so many others who are so taken with him, I feel certain they don't see his skin color but see who he is inside. And to think that only 50 years ago, Zachary wouldn't have been able to vote and he would have had to sit in a different part of the restaurant. We as a society have a long, long way to go but it seems to me that this is how we make true process - one child at a time.

Trey said...

We are praying for all of you and will pray for those with hardened hearts to be touched by the love you demonstrate. We found when we were in Kazakhstan that it seemed some Kazakh people thought that Americans or any "foreign" people adopting Kazakh children was a wonderful thing, and some thought it was a travesty. We actually met the Minister of Education when we were in Astana because a family we were traveling with were one of the early families to adopt in Kazakhstan (in 1993), and their daughter had traveled back with them to adopt another girl. The Minister of Education and others on his staff wanted to interview her about her feelings of being Kazakh and American. I remember one women really cornered this 10-year-old child and asked if she considered herself American or Kazakh, and she responded with a strong "both!". So proud of all of you for being a shining example of a family built by love. You guys rock!

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