Laying the Groundwork

In one of the first posts I said that this would serve as our record of how God is working and become our altar of remembrances so we never forget what He does in our lives.  This may be one of those posts that pertains more to us but I’m recording it here and you are welcome to read the account.

Tuesday night when we got home, it was a bit crazy.  More than I expected but likely pretty serene compared to what could have been with four curious teens who have likely heard no telling what about American homes and what adoptive parents may do to children.  Let’s not go there, I’ve heard the stories and just pray our kids did not have those fears to deal with.  But, with the anxiety I saw in them on the flight home I suspect there was definitely some uncertainty.  So, exploration of the house with us guiding the tour was first on the list after they got the suitcases in and we showed them their bedrooms.

We didn’t get into a talk with rules that night as two of them were very tired and went to bed before nine.  We wrote out a list of things we needed to tell them and when we awoke to find the door to the garage that I had closed securely and locked standing ajar along with the door to the basement we knew there had been night exploration and we had to lay out some rules and quick.  So, what follows is our notes we used for this talk yesterday.  I just want to remember what we’ve told them and what was important that first day and be able to toss this paper 🙂

Today’s Plan:

Morning:  Yard Work with Dad/ Mom and Grandmommy go over business stuff

Afternoon:  Mowing the Lawn and Servicing the lawn mower with Dad/ Mom and Alex errands and shoe shopping

Our house is in process of remodeling, we have been working through it for years and when the SDA appointment date came we had two weeks to plan the trip, tie up life for months away and go.  We had to walk away as it was.  Thus, boxes, furniture stored in two rooms, your rooms incomplete, etc.  We will continue to work on it together and finish it like the two rooms that are completed.

We will work on clothes and shoes for everyone all week.  There are many here to try on and we will shop for the remaining needed items.  First will be shoes for Alex today because his are totally gone and the rest of you have good tennis shoes.

Some Rules of our Home:  (Note:  Not all of these are problems we are trying to be very intentional with parenting and anticipate issues before they occur)

You are welcome to go outside to play but tell Mom or Dad if you go out.  Stay inside the fence and keep balls and frisbees inside as well.

No going to the basement or garage without permission.  Both are used primarily for storage right now.  The  laundry is in the basement and we will work with that as needed.

When you wake up in the morning, make up your bed, dress and then leave your bedroom door open the remainder of the day unless you are changing clothes.

Do not go in Mom and Dad or each other’s rooms without Mom or Dad’s permission. (Note to the rest of you, we have an unrelated 15 year old boy in this mix so we are going to be over dramatic on separation of the boys and girls to avoid all potential issues)

When you leave a room, turn the lights off, unless another is still in the room using it.

Buttons and Switches abound…they are for you to use but not to play with.  No extra pushing and if you push a switch and nothing seems to happen, turn it back off.  Every switch turns something on, it may be in the attic or outside, and could be on for months before someone discovers it.  If you turn it on, turn it off.

Food and Juice – take only what you can consume in that setting.  Pour more if needed but we do not have room in the refrigerator for 6 half consumed glasses of juice and 6 plates of unconsumed food for later.  Take a little and then more if needed.

You are always welcome to fruit in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator.  Any other food, please ask before consuming as it may be planned to be used for a meal.  You are welcome to other foods, just ask before eating anything but fruit.

Night is for sleep.  Please eat when you need before bed and do not come to the kitchen in the night.  Our floors creak and the noise in the kitchen awakens the whole house.  (In the hotel in DC one fine tuned the habit of passing on dinner and then eating alone in the night at least once and awakening us all , so we had to ban night eating.)

Pick up nothing in the house and take it to your room.  If it is yours it will be given to you.

TP – we talked about this at DCU but still have excessive use and placement in the trash can.  Remember: 3 squares, if more is needed, 3 more.  Place in toilet and flush.

We all speak to each other in soft, gentle voices and are kind to each other.  No hitting or kicking ever anywhere.  No running in the house.  Be careful as you round corners to avoid damaging the walls and please do not place your hands on or lean on walls.  We are painting and will never get it finished if we get it dirty and break the drywall off faster than we can paint!!  🙂  Live gently in the house and take care of it, it is alot of work, as you will soon see, and very expensive to do home repairs and takes away from our fun time.

We are in search of bicycles and hope to get them secured soon so we can ride together in the neighborhood and park  🙂

Any questions?  None…


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3 Responses to Laying the Groundwork

  1. Sally Healy says:

    Well, I’m glad to know that kids from E. Europe all come with the same stuff, regardless of age! After eating in a restaurant once I had to inform the staff that there was an emergency need to clean out the little garbage can due to an abundance of TP and a very foul smell.

    We also had to set the rule in place about looking into every drawer and closet in the house (or grandma’s house or aunt’s house) because not all belonged to them. 🙂

    Boundries are an issue! After group living, having and respecting one’s personal space, or that of another, is a whole new world.

    Our 3 original children didn’t have an issue with hitting/kicking, but after the day Noah disappeared from view and was found behind a chair when julia shoved him, well it fast became a rule! (Noah was okay…)

    And one you didn’t indicate and maybe you don’t need to: DO NOT change the radio station back after I have changed it from an inappropriate station.

    The first few days/weeks/months are sure something!

    • Us says:

      Interesting thing on the personal space…that is a huge cultural difference in the two countries and not exclusive to institutionalized children. We were forewarned of this and it was confirmed on our twice daily excursions on the trolley and marshupka buses in Makeevka. These folks still live communally. Our English speaking one was astounded that we would buy all four tickets in two train compartments for privacy. 🙂 The third class trains have no doors on the compartments…ah hem…definitely out of the comfort zone of this American.

      We try to be proactive in teaching them about things that are different before we enter a new situation so we are teaching a behavior before we have to correct it. Much more pleasant and helpful to prevent embarrassment for them but one we didn’t think about was sharing the hotel pool. Americans have an understood rule that when a group of people or family are clustered in a swimming pool that is their territory and reserved space, our Ukies were clueless and if something was interesting in that area of the pool they were in the middle of it. Ah hem again…so we had to explain about personal space there. The glorious thing is that they so want to know and do this right. The one nearly always asks if he did anything wrong…it is great because he is so open to learn and know and do this well and truly wants to know. And then he tells the others what to and not to do. He is never defensive, just amazed at all the differences in the two cultures. Our experience is so different than anyone who only takes one and has the full language barrier. This precious boy with a huge heart having the drive to learn English long before he ever knew us has been one of God’s incredible blessings to us in this. Those of you who are recently home, if you need a translator between 9 and 9 EST you are welcome to call us and we’d be delighted to help. Email us at and we’ll share our phone number. Serious offer…we’ve been blessed and we’d love to share the blessing! He’s a gracious, gentle, very kind boy who will translate objectively for you and be glad to help.

  2. Michelle Mullins says:

    Thanks for listing all your rules. I am hoping to leave Ukraine in one week with our newly adopted 11 yr old daughter and I have already been putting a list together in my mind. You had a couple that I had not thought about.

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