Time for more honesty…this is not all sweetness. The girls both had a rough day yesterday with bad attitudes and near meltdowns. The thing that mystifies me most about human beings is that we rarely deal with the real problem or issue, we generally over-exaggerate a trivial incident and look ridiculous. Remembering to look beyond the surface to see the real issue at hand is a continual challenge.
I promised to be transparent so here goes…they love their digital cameras we gave them last week. The problem is two of them love them too much. They constantly review and watch their videos in reverse, high speed, slow speed and any speed like a television. One of the introductory points in the presentation of the cameras was to take photos with them but leave the review button alone as it burns batteries exorbitantly and with five cameras we will need stock in Duracell. The temptation is too great and they are running through two AA batteries every 36-48 hours. We knew this was going to be an issue when we left home so we brought loads of rechargeable batteries and the charger. Problem is, the converter we brought to reduce the electrical current from 220 to 110 blew the second week we were here so all of our US appliances are useless.
Yesterday morning when one of the girls announced she needed new batteries..again…less than two days from the last set, we gave a fresh reminder to the whole crew about the overuse of the review button. This girl is a professional pouter. It is beyond amazing. And this sent her into the best performance yet. We were setting out on a sightseeing excursion so before we arrived at our first stop, we issued her a new set of batteries and a reminder that our batteries last 4-5 days and this cost is becoming exorbitant. She was able to hold that pout for hours, it was impressive.
We’ve been making an effort on table manners while it is just us and we’re still here on their turf. I hear the table manners of these children discussed often so it must be universal that orphanages don’t bother with them. I was shocked at how well they are trained to say thank you, please, be relatively kind, and respect their teachers yet the table manners are ignored. We had kept it fun and Alex will make anything funny so we introduced a little more each meal and most of them are taking it seriously and doing well. This same girl had a huge piece of potato stuffed verinicky and handling it poorly at the table in a restaurant. I quietly instructed her to cut it into bite size pieces and she looked at me for the first time since the pout began and in defiance stuffed the whole huge thing in her mouth. Her attitude has been concerning for quite some time but this was the proverbial icing on the cake. Her dad and our facilitator took her to another area of the restaurant and talked with her about her attitude. She shaped up some but still was on edge.
That night we returned home late and they were all exhausted. We were figuring out who was going to shower when and the other girl announced she was taking a shower. I told her she could take a shower in the mornings or night but this would be the fourth one in less than 40 hours and that was wasteful of water and would not be allowed at home thus we would not do it here. She too went into an angry tirade. She knows a little English so I sat down beside her and quietly explained that we do not waste water and the cost of it at home is prohibitive so this wastefulness was also unaffordable. She refused to look at me or to even try to be reasonable. I told her that if she was this upset over one shower a day she would never make it in America in a new family. I then instructed her to get some sleep and take her daily shower the following morning. A serious talk with these two ladies was definitely in order.
This morning brought the talk. We reviewed the tough times of the previous day and the shower abuser immediately apologized and promised to never do it again. The pouting, defiant one got defensive and decided she does not want to go home with us. If she is going to act like this every day that is probably a wise choice and best for all of us. Problem is, we cannot take the other two, if one stays here they all stay. That is tough when their brother is so excited and handled his apology and repentance so well last week and continues to be extremely compliant and happy.
We gave her time and she eventually rejoined the group but never approached us to apologize or retract her adamant statement that she wanted to stay here. Our US Embassy appointment is tomorrow morning at 10:30 am, if she is bailing out we need to know immediately. So, tonight at the last possible time before bedtime we called her in to talk and she now says she wants to go but her attitude and edgy spirit have not improved. It is obvious that she is struggling and likely only agreeing to go because of her brother and sister. It is obvious. We acknowledged this morning that this is hard, we know it is hard. And it is going to get harder when they step off that plane into an English speaking world. We also reminded them of “the talk” a few weeks ago and that we had talked about all of this then.
As soon as the morning “family council” meeting was adjourned the other two immediately said they wanted to learn English, NOW! There’s the spirit!! I’ll do another post on our English class today, it was great!! And they did great. It even pulled the pouter from her bed to join the fun with happy laughter.
So, we must admit that we finalize the last two days of this journey with fear and trembling. If these girls are melting down over two batteries, cutting a piece of soft pasta and being limited to one shower per day while we are still basically on their turf…whatever will they do when we are on our turf and they are struggling with the language and alienation that inevitably causes? It will be interesting to see where the pouter is tomorrow morning. Our prayer is that she takes this very seriously and makes a wise decision she can live with.
Newly adopted kids melting down in Kiev is nothing new…it is what last days blog posts are made of. And it seems to be no respecter of the age of the child. Many of them seem to have a difficult time in these last in-country days. We are trying to understand and empathize. Our very serious boy has talked a bit about it so that is helpful for us to understand what they are feeling. It is hard at 15 and 16 to leave all you’ve ever known, the country you are loyal to, and special friends who have shown the love to you that your family did not. Our prayer is that we will be understanding, and have wisdom and the peace that passes understanding.
We are working on flight options and will let you know as soon as we know what our itinerary will be. Thank you for journeying with us into this new season. We will try to be honest and share the good and bad. The good far outweighs the bad…the most wonderful thing is the sound of their joyful laughter. It is incredible and contagious. We double over laughing at them laughing and we have no idea what they are chattering in Russian that gets them so tickled. Mealtimes are a joy with them and it is awesome to hear one of them say, “we need to pray” as we are all being seated. We are overwhelmed at God’s goodness to us and pray most fervently that He will touch each of their hearts in a special way to draw them to Him in a love relationship beyond what they could imagine. He is the father they never knew and the only One that knows their true need and can fill it. Thank you for praying us through these 13+ weeks and for loving us so much. We are forever grateful.