Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A wolf in sheep's clothing or the other way around!?!

 Still always happy! (well, not when I tell him no, which can be often)

 Just hanging out!
 This is my mom, daughter Tiffany and me!
 Andy and Vitaliy have the same birthday.  We had fifteen candles on Vitaliy's side and not enough on Andy's
 This is my Mother's Day picture.  We really need to have a family picture taken.
 We went to Hope of American.  Jenae was in it...see, she is the one wearing white!
 So, so, so very cute!
 So, so, so cute in a teenager sort of way!
 This was at the end of Hope of America.  I thought about leaving some kids home because Andy was working and I would be taking nine kids to a huge stadium for a long performance - you know what I am talking about - but hey, I have done harder things than this, it was a piece of cake!  (Jackson was a little tired here)

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but honestly, it doesn’t feel like it.  Time is going by faster than I can keep up with.  Let me try to catch up on things.

Sasha started school a couple weeks ago.  I was working with him at home and taking him to school for computer work on Imagine Learning, but could tell he really needed to go to school.  Seeing that he has no real formal education and his behavior can match that, I felt like I was sending him to the wolves or vice versa depending on how you look at it.  I felt like I was sending a kindergartner into fourth grade.  At the same time, I felt like I was sending a slightly wild child into a somewhat calm and organized classroom…and so it was!

It has turned out to be a great thing though.  I have been working with the teacher and principal to find the best ways to help him learn how to behave in school.  After two weeks, he is starting to come around.  The other kids really like him and he is somewhat of a celebrity at school.  Even I have increased in popularity with the kids.  For some reason when I walk around the school the kids seem to know that I am Sasha’s mom.  It’s fun.  Hopefully it is just as much fun for him.  He seems to enjoy school and loves to walk to school in the morning with the other kids. 

Vitaliy is really enjoying school and still comes home happy every day.  Now that the weather is mostly better all the kids play outside a lot and bike ride a lot.  That is a favorite pastime for sure. 

We are coming across interesting teaching moments and behavior that drives me crazy.  Our first big crisis was when we gave all the older boys yard work to do.  They all have their jobs.  Vitaliy was the first to point out to me (like it should be a surprise to me) that Sasha was not doing as much as he was doing.  Go figure…a ten-year-old’s work is easier than a 15-year-old?!  Well, he plopped himself down on the couch when he thought he was done and said that it wasn’t fair.  Well, by this time I had held back several annoying behavior traits and that was really the last straw.  Well, Vitaliy came face to face with the “Mom Finger” as I ‘passionately’ explained to him that he is not the parent and life is not fair.  There are ten-year-old chores and there are fifteen-year-old chores and he better knock it off and just go to work.  He pouted for most of the afternoon.  I did have a talk about an hour later with him that included that ‘love after discipline’ stuff but the pouting continued.  Ugh!!! I didn’t like it and I know he didn’t either.  I thought, okay here we go, here is all that stuff people talked about. 

About an hour or so later we were headed out on a family walk when he walked passed me and hesitated.  There was my in… I told him that he needed to be happy and that chores were a part of our lives and that I loved him.  He came over to me, gave me a kiss and told me that he loved me very much.  Whew, it was over. 

We have had other issues like, “he hit me first”.  Well, “it doesn’t matter who hit first, what matters is that you come to tell me, you don’t hit or kick him back”.  For some reason that is a new concept for a kid in any country. 

We are all learning.  Some of us are learning “rules of the house” and “rules on behavior” and believe it or not, gratitude (which honestly you would think would be easy for them but it is not).  Others of us are learning patience, tolerance and I have to throw in there – long suffering. 

Things really are going good though.  Vitaliy’s English is very good and it is fairly easy to have a conversation with him.  Sasha is learning English a little slower but he is learning it.  He is learning a lot of English by mimicking.  It is fun to hear the phrases that he loves to say, “Cali, Jackson – stop it” – things like that.  Sometimes it is an eye opener to me to hear what he says and then I think, “do I really sound like that?” 

They are slowly learning to do the simple things that we take for granted.  For example, change your socks every day, shower more than once a week, there is no need to keep food in my pocket, not everything belongs to me, everything I do is not a contest to see who can win (well, that haven’t really learned that one yet).

MOMENT OF THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS – There are a few (well it has been a few weeks):

1 – We had our first family night lesson on faith and it was mostly understood…that was cool.

2 – The phone rang and it was actually for Vitaliy, it was strange, but cool.

3 – I still get love, hugs and kisses every day, throughout the day, and lots of “I Love You’s”!

STRANGEST FOOD – (well, besides oatmeal and catsup) – Sasha made himself an American cheese sandwich with grape jam….and….came back for seconds.

The boys also went to the Father’s and Son’s campout and had a blast.  They did a Fear Factor activity and Vitaliy put three snakes down his shirt and did jumping jacks….he won!  The next thing was to eat this very, very salted fish.  Well, need I say more?  I saw what they ate in Ukraine and that was nothing.  They both ate it and Sasha actually really liked it!

Life is still good….busy…..very busy…..incredibly busy…..like I can get nothing accomplished busy… but it’s still good!!!!! 


  1. That is awesome. I totally relate on the pouting thing. I'm not a fan. She's been whining a lot too, but she knows what I mean when I stay, "stop whining." LOL What an adventure. :)

  2. Oh, I love your posts. Post lots while I'm gone so that I have something to read:). Lots of laughs. I love the 'mother finger' and how you described yourself as passionate. Cheese and grape jelly?!?! Oh my gag!! A phone call for Vitaliy?! He's growing up!! Good for you for having FHE and sticking to your guns. Wish so badly that we lived closer!!

  3. This is a great post. It sounds like you are going through the normal stuff. You can see how being in an orphanage makes their social and emotional age about 2-3 years behind their physical age. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job with them. I can't imagine juggling 2 new kids with your existing kids. You deserve an award!

  4. OHHHH you are making me relive that junk we had when we first got home. It will get better I promise. I learned a few things after the fact that help me to understand their behavior. It won't make it go away but it may help you not pull your hair out.
    1. The kids at our orphanage all did the same kind of work together. So everyone worked and got the same job. It is hard for them to understand why everyone isn't doing the same thing at the same time.
    2. People most likely told them that you were adopting them to work as slaves in your home. I know it is ridiculous that we would pay all that money to go to Ukraine for free workers. Wouldn't it be easier to hire workers? Anyway. They ignored this and all the other scary stuff they were told and so when they first are asked to work, they worry that all the stuff they were told may be coming true. When they can speak better English ask them about all the things they were told would happen to them in America. It is will be humerous (and sad) discussion.
    3. Pouting and whining was most likely their only way of getting attention wherever they have been previously. Try to explain that you ignore whining and pouting and respond to asking nicely and talking things out. They will eventually get the picture by watching others around them.

    Hang in there, this is the hard part. It will get better very soon (but it won't seem very soon while you are going through it :)
    Christy Hinkson