Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Friday, August 31, 2012

Goodbye, I love you.

We had five weeks with Vitaliy.  I never thought that in five weeks we would all fall in love.  The day we had to put him back on a plane to Ukraine was really hard.  We drove to Dulles airport where Papa & the kids said goodbye.

Paka Papa.
I cried all the way down the escalators to security, but pulled it together for our flight to JFK.  Vitaliy seemed REALLY nervous about flying and he didn't want to look out of the window.  It was a repeat of flying up to JFK with Wesley.  Every button got pushed, every switch got flipped, and that was before we took off...  the entire flight up, Vitaliy wanted me to hug him. 
He was pretty excited about looking out of the window and getting a coca-cola.  Yeah, he went all summer without having a soda so he got that American experience on his last day.

All of the kids who flew into JFK together were flying back out so he got to meet up with his friends who also got to spend summer in America.

Saying goodbye was not easy.  I was trying so hard to swallow the huge lump in my throat and keep the tears from spilling out of my eyes.  I knew he missed his brothers all summer and he was going back to see them, but MY heart hurt. 
I barely got out, "Paka, Ya tehbah loobloo."
(Goodbye, I love you.)

He didn't cry.  He just kept waving at me.
Standing in line looking around.
The kids seemed so small back in their little group.  The host parents stood around pretending not to cry while the kids went through departures.  Someone asked me if I was ok.
Vitaliy kept waving at me.
and waving.
and waving.
His face just ripped my heart out.  Yes, he was going back to his brothers, but he was leaving a family who loved him.  He was going back to a place where no one loves him and he has to share everything.  Nothing is his.  No one tells him he's special or praises him when he learns something new.  No one tells him they love him as they tuck him in at night.  He is part of a sibling group of 4 boys.  No one in Ukraine wants to adopt boys, let alone 4.  They are destined to spend their life growing up in an orphanage surrounded by other kids who are unlucky enough to have the same fate, and then on this VERY day a few years from now they "graduate" from their orphanage with the clothes on their back.  They'll be sent out into a society that views them as second class and within a year the chances of them turning to drugs and crime is 80%.  Why?  Because no one cares, so why should they?
Looking at that face in line made up my mind.  He's coming back.  I can't have THAT look being the last time I ever see his face.  Its the same look as in his passport photo.  Resigned to the fact that he is being sent back.  That just rips my heart out.  He is USED TO no one caring.

I care.

If you feel led to help us re-host Vitaliy (and a brother if we can swing it) then please donate.

Because I want to see THIS face.

and maybe one of those too??
Its $2700 to host a child.
Its $5400 to host two.

It is worth every penny.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The first few weeks of hosting

I remember picking up Vitaliy at JFK like it was yesterday.  I was nervous.  He was older than the child (his younger brother) we had originally hoped to host.  I was afraid we'd have issues with an "older boy," but I figured it was only 5 weeks and then he'd go back to Ukraine.

Wes and I flew up the night before and stayed in a hotel near the airport.  We arrived at the airport 4 hours before the kids' plane arrived so we had LOTS and LOTS of time to stand around and get nervous.

 When the kids and their chaperone finally walked out and I saw Vitaliy just standing there, so small and nervous I think my heart just went "kahplop."

Something like, "Hello, I love you."  

He was so skinny, tired, pale, and nervous.  I knelt down in front of him and asked "Vitaliy?"  He said "da" and kind of gave me a half smile.  Things moved so quickly once the kids arrived.  I had a flight to catch so I told the chaperone we were leaving and she said something in Ukrainian to Vitaliy.  He nodded and took my hand as we went up the escalator.  When we got on the air train to our terminal, I heard some quiet sniffles.  As I looked into his insanely blue eyes brimming with tears I felt so sorry for him.  I tried to hug him but he was so stiff and trying so hard not to cry.  I had been afraid he might be wild and crazy, trying to run away from me but he just stayed next to me sniffling all the way to our gate.  Break.my.heart. 

He did happily pick out some chips, like another Ukie I know!

Then he fell asleep on the floor. 
I stared at him for hours while we waited for our flight...

We did all kinds of fun things this summer.  He was really wild at first (back flips in the hot tub are not ok!) and needed some redirecting and rule enforcement, but the boy has so much potential.

He loves animals and they love him.
Some even look like him!
 He was so darn brave at the dentist.  He needed 4 teeth pulled immediately and 8 more filled.  Not.one.tear. 

Once those horribly rotten teeth were out of his mouth, he was actually able to eat without being in constant pain.  We won't discuss how many thousands of dollars of work he had done because that's not important.  

What's important is that our Sunday School class generously donated enough money to send him back to Ukraine able to eat and not in danger of having an abscess.  Every child should be able to happily eat. (even if its smoked fish on rye bread with ketchup)

He got a haircut at the Barber Shop.

Handsome boy!

He cleaned like a Merry Maid.  I am so not kidding. 

We went bowling.  He LOVED it.  Can you tell?

He so wanted to be loved.  He copied everything my husband did. 
Boys need Papas.

He just loved playing outside.  "Silly" was a word he learned pretty quickly.

Cucumber fresh from the garden.  Nom Nom

Kapitahn Amerika!

Jumping in the pool to Papa.  
He would ask to jump, but never seemed to get that RUNNING was not ok...

He loved riding a bike.  We got him a "new" one off Craigslist so he & Wes could ride together. Vitaliy was hell on wheels, quite literally.  He rode like a bat out of you know where, and more than once wiped out in the yard or driveway.  Tough little nut.  
He could be such a roughneck, but he would spend 30 minutes at time in 90 degree heat pushing Mariah around in this broken power wheels truck. 

How can a mama not love a boy who vandalizes the local park landscaping to bring her flowers?  Sweet boy, I wasn't quite ready for you to melt my heart so.

In my next post I'll cover the end of summer hosting.  I'm not quite ready to re-live that yet.  
It was so.very.hard.
I didn't expect to shed so many tears over a child I just met 5 weeks ago.  
I thought I'd just give him a summer in America and send him back.  
I very well may have sent back a piece of my heart.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Photos of Summer Hosting

Vitaliy goes back to Ukraine next week.  This is our summer in photos.  I made him this photo book to take back to Ukraine with him and show his brothers :) 
 I am gonna MISS this kid like crazy!!

Mariah News

Hosting is going wonderful!  I'm so sorry I haven't updated my blog, but we've been SO busy (and the kids got Chicken Pox) and having so much fun that I just haven't had time. 

I have a few minutes to do a Mariah update so I thought I'd just post that :)

1) I think its a good thing that I've had to scold Mariah and send her back outside to find where she left her walker several times this week because that means she has walked off and left it!

2) She has a loose tooth!  She is THRILLED beyond words.  You just don't know how long she's waited for her teeth to fall out.

3)She built a gun out of blocks today.  This is huge considering a year ago she couldn't even snap 2 of them together, and today she built a recognizable weapon. 

4)Her hair is finally shiny and soft!  I no longer have to blow it dry to prevent the crunchy rats nest each night.  Getting rid of Giardia seemed to make an instant different in her hair and skin.

5)She slept till 10am this morning.  She has never.ever. done that.  We used to have sleeping issues that resulted in toileting issues (or toileting issues that resulted in sleeping issues), but she was just sleeping and sleeping like a baby this morning!  She's slept in quite a few mornings this summer come to think of it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pics of our trip to NY

Yes, its been a long time since I updated my blog.  Sorry... having 4 kids seemed to just zap my "free" time.  So, this picture is of Wesley and I on a plane getting ready to fly up to JFK.  This would be right before he FREAKED out, slammed the window cover shut and declared that he did NOT want to go up in the air.  Umm... I thought he knew airplanes went in the air.  Then he crawled across my lap and claimed MY seat because he did not want to set near the window.  30 minutes into our 50 minute flight, he decided that he DID want to sit near the window so we seat swapped yet again.

After having culture shock at how large JFK was and learning how to use the Air Train to get to the location of my hotel shuttle and then waaaaaaiting for a reaaaaally long time for it to arrive we finally got to our hotel.  This is how they parked the cars.  I thought we were next to an autobody shop.  Nope.

Wes & I entertained ourselves by taking photos with my phone.  He found this SO hysterical that I had to quit because he was losing his mind.

After spending some time at Dulles with Wesley, boarding a plane, flying, landing, negotiating JFK, the Air Train, the hotel shuttle, the hotel, dinner, and bedtime; well lets just say I was realizing that in the morning I'd have to do it with TWO of them.  I guess I had my "oh geez what am I doing moment" halfway into the trip.

 Here is Mr. Wes holding our welcome sign.  He was all about holding that sign for at least 5 whole minutes.  Then it actually got dropped and left at a food booth that had chocolate donuts.  Thankfully, someone picked it up and put it on the counter for me to frantically grab 20 minutes later.

What's this?  Oh you know... just some thunderheads building into MASSIVE SEVERE thunderstorms that will strike exactly at the time our flight departs, but who needs to know that now.

Here's Vitaliy a few minutes after I got him at international arrivals.  He held it together until we got on the Air Train to our terminal and then he started crying.  I cannot imagine how scary it is to come to a different country all by yourself.  I was scared to death when we landed in Ukraine and I was a 25 year old adult with my husband my side.

Fortunately once we got to our terminal, I pulled out lots of crafts.  They were a lifesaver cause as it turns out.... we didn't get to leave for a loooooonnnnnngggggg time.
Yay!  Legos are fun! 
Yep, that is our terminal seemingly being struck with lightening.  It went on like this for hours.  We were supposed to depart at 4:35pm.  Ya, that didn't happen.
Vitaliy had been traveling by train from his orphanage for 7 hours.  Then by plane to Moscow for another couple of hours.  Then a non-stop flight from Moscow to JFK.  He was so done. 
 Once he went to sleep around 5pm, he never really woke up.  I carried him onto our plane at 9:45pm and off of it at Dulles around 11pm and into our van.  He never really woke up until the next morning around 11am when I woke him.

I have lots more photos!  We are having a really fun time with Vitaliy but I am not used to 4 kids, and three of them are super energetic little boys so I have been occupied.  I promise to try to update with all the fun we've been having. 

Next up: Dental Fun.  
*yes, I am being sarcastic.  It was not fun at all.

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We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson