Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bobbypins Were Just the Beginning

From Mrs. Beaver:

Every once in a while there is a tell-tale sign that a great many females live in our home. We got one of those today.

Our dryer had been taking WAY too long to keep up with the laundry around here so I gave in and called a repair man.

I wasn't surprised that he found mounds of lint clogging the system. However, as you can see in the photo, he also found enough bobby pins for the up-dos for an large wedding party! I think this revelation probably left Joe and Speedy that much more thankful that we also just added one more boy to the mix with this adoption! For a long time on Sunday mornings, they have voiced their concern that their lives will be shortened as a result of all the hair spray they're forced to inhale living with so many females (and that was before we just added two more!)

While the repair man was revealing why our dryer was ailing, I heard the kind of squeal from the kitchen that sends a mother running.

As a flood of water began to make it's way under the appliances, Princess Bink said plaintively, "I just wanted to mop the floor for you, but I knocked the bucket over."

I quickly assured Princess Bink that it was okay, and then I began requesting that kids run to get beach towels. However, there was a problem. The only two children nearby were Daria and Alexander. Not only did they not have the slightest idea what I wanted because of the little English they know, they don't know me well enough yet to recognize my "This is URGENT!" voice.

Daria who had begun creating Russian culinary masterpieces for dinner even before we had lunch cleaned up, just went on with her efforts without even noticing that Noah should be called in.

I raised the volume a bit and several of my English-speaking children came running with beach towels. Since they speak more Russian than I do, they were able to explain to their new siblings the need for help and soon everyone was swabbing the deck.

Meanwhile, the dryer repair man was now standing in the kitchen watching all this go on while waiting for payment and my signature on numerous documents. After all the loud chaos he experienced, I'm certain that at this very moment he's at home relishing the the peace and quiet there.

Now you might think this would be enough adventure for one afternoon, but...NO! Soon after this, Tatiana walked around the corner, and our seven-month-old puppy, Sunshine, was standing in CENTER of our exceptionally large dining room table licking the as-yet uncleaned crumbs from lunch. Now I have no photo of this event because Sunshine clearly knew she was doing wrong and exited the table in record time.

Now, I like dogs, but I also love a clean house. Thus, I have to echo Lucy in Charles Schultz's cartoons, "Argh--DOG GERMS!!!"

We're, of course, left with a puzzle. If Sunshine has figured out how to scale the table once, she'll surely do it again. How on earth do we stop her?

Again, you might think this was enough for one day, but Sunshine had one more memory to add to November 30, and that was a deposit in MY closet.

Whether we add children or pets to the family, our children have a saying they feel strongly about, "We adopt for life." Today it's a good thing that this is the family's maxim.

Sunshine, you're here to stay--despite your daring antics.

This morning the first thing I saw after reading my Bible was an email from a friend who has become dear to me through two years of both our family's children competing in Bible Bee Nationals. In words that couldn't have been more perfect, she gently reminded me that each time a family adds a member (or in our case, members) the"rich, precious life experience of welcoming the new family member" should cause other things to pale in comparision. Her words brought back how quickly in our past two adoptions the initial and wonderfully unusual stage of being a two-language family with children to whom everything is new passes. Her wise words helped me to laugh at the afternoon's events and even stop to take photos.

Thanks, Laura! Your email was a God-send! I treasure your friendship, and I thank God for you!

Our Adoption: Two More Haircuts

Mrs. Beaver:

As I mentioned in a recent post, getting the first haircut is an important tradition in our three adoptions of older Russian children. While we were able to get Daria's last Wednesday, our steep, and at the time icy, hill prevented the two other newbies from being brought to those of us who were already in town.

So this morning, we headed off for those important trims. Both children were wonderfully cooperative despite noticable nervousness.

After getting just the ends of the long hair (which we've all fallen in love with) trimmed, Katie gave her a special reverse French braid to hold back the top.

Meanwhile, Alexander's thick hair was making a pile on the floor around his chair.

The whole event was a great success, and now, without the hair dangling in front of Alexander's eyes, we can even tell what color they are!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Adoption: Day One of "Real Life" Survived!

My Friends,

Thank you so very much for your prayers. There were definitely some trying moments during this first day with Mr. Beaver's full-time return to work and the departure of my wonderful mother-in-law, Jane, and her sister, Jean. But, we made it through the day, and, really, with God's sufficient grace we made it through this first day well.

As the day progressed, I kept saying to myself the same thing I did in the Russian courtroom last month, "Jesus is in this room with me. I'm not alone." I felt His presence and help so powerfully as I faced the adversarial judge who could have denied our petition to adopt. I'm not sure I've ever felt so fearless. So today the same thought, "I'm not alone. Jesus is in this home with us" brought strength and comfort. I had the help of that the same rescuing Saviour was in this tough situation also.

One of the sweetest moments of the day was when my dear friend, Heather, (Room for More) stopped by. She and her husband, Russ, are waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting...) to adopt a 2-5 year old little girl from Ethiopia. Heather brought giant muffins and an offer to clean toilets or to help me with whatever I needed. Now that's friendship! Her help with our mounds of laundry and subsequent prayer over me really lifted me up mid day.

As I look back on  the day I can also see several lessons I learned that I think will help tomorrow go more a bit more smoothly. Throughout the day, I had the long-distance support of my WONDERFUL husband. Mr. Beaver must have called or texted a dozen times to make sure we were doing okay.

Again, thank you for your prayers. The Lord used your cries on our behalf in very tangible ways. If you wouldn't mind, we'd be grateful for continued prayers, especially that I would be a Christ-like mother no matter the circumstances.

May God be Glorified,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Trying to Trust

My Friends,

Tomorrow is a daunting day for me. Mr. Beaver returns to work fulltime (he worked partial days this past week). My mother-in-law and her sister fly back to Denver. My college students must buckel down on their school work after our trip to Russia and with finals coming. In other words my greatest supporters of help won't be available.

I hate to admit it since I know so much scripture that commands against it, but I feel anxious. We will return to our homeschooling tomorrow which I know from our previous adoptions gives a sense of routine and security to everyone. But I still feel anxious.

Daria is so very easy, obedient and flexible. She is a pure delight. She has a great sense of humor that keeps us laughing even through the barrier of two different languages. Alexander and Oksansa, on the other hand, are both adorable each in their own way and have been really well behaved considering all the changes in their lives. However, they don't seem to yet get the concept that we get to direct how the day goes rather than them doing so. They tire of activities easily (who can blame them when everthing is in another language?). At this early stage they need a great deal of attention.

I write all this to ask you to pray for this brand new mother of twelve. I know God will see me through, but right now I'm scared.

To God be the Glory,

Our Adoption: Another Favorite Photo from Moscow

Mrs. Beaver:

While you wait for a full post, here's another photo that has captured our hearts.

We have no doubt that this was Oksana's first time to be on the 24th floor of any building. The tallest building in the village in which her orphanage was housed was about four stories. What a contemplative look as she sips water. Oh to know what was going on in her precious little mind! Absolutely EVERYTHING had suddenly changed in her life.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our Adoption: A Great, Big God

We're both working on lengthy posts with more of our story, but for now I want to share just one favorite picture from one of our walks on the streets of Moscow.

I think this photo says so much about our God. He can do all things, and He does all things well. Who would believe these sisters had only known one another for three days? Only God could create the bond this picture exemplifies!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our Adoption: Shoes and Haircuts

With this being our third adoption of older children, certain traditions have developed. One of these traditions is to buy shoes and get haircuts within the first couple of days of their arrival at home.

When we've picked up the children from their orphanages each time, we're expected to bring all the clothing they will need, including shoes. What they've been wearing remains at the orphanage. We usually fare pretty well with guessing at their clothing sizes but not so well at guessing what their shoe sizes are. Plus, once their in America there's always the need for more than the one pair of shoes (church shoes, tennis shoes, snow boots, etc).

Since all nine of the adoptees have come from orphanages, they have tended to have what we've come to call "orphanage haircuts"--uneven, short, choppy and lacking style. This adoption seems to be the exception. These three kids were just in need of a trim.

So, on Day 2 at home, we were off on a double mission. Grandma and Aunt Jean, as well as some of the older kids came along.

We decided to give Target a try hoping to accomplish all the shoe purchases in one location. It doesn't hurt to dream. Does it?

Lissie trying to learn what Oksana's shoe size is.

Cassansra fitting Oksana for church shoes.

Throughout it all, Oksana was wonderfully cooperative. This was a gift from God; in her rural village in Russia, she'd most likely never been in a store the magnitude of a Target. The experience could have sent her into overload. Instead, she was happy and seemed grateful for each pair of shoes we picked out for her.

We left Target with Alexander and Oksana all set for shoes. Daria had a new pair of black pumps for church, but she lacked snow boots and her dream--black fashion boots with heals. We headed home to drop off the succesful shoe shoppers and to get refreshed by lunch.

Then a smaller group of us went out again--on the great boot hunt. Daria had informed us while we were still in Russia that she dreamed of owning boots with heels. We understood where the strong urge came from. With the severe cold in Russia, the women wear boots exclusively for months, and they're intended to make a real fashion statement, at least for the young girls. While we want to be careful about feeding our new daughter's lust for the world (James 4:4). But, at the same time, we know she'll get extensive use of the boots here in the upper mid west also.

Yesterday Daria used "Ringlish" to help us understand that she definitely didn't want the 5 inch heels that come to a pin point, but that she dreamed of the height of heels her mom gave up considering years ago. Nothing "sensible"!

We'd been to two stores, in addition to Target, and we'd found the snow boots. Then we walked by a small shoe store in the mall that I'd never even noticed. Mixed amongst athletic shoes were several pair of black boots. Daria tried on one pair with just the right size of heels. After trying them on and serious consideration as she paced up and down the  small store, Daria was ready to declare that they were THE boots! Just like Alexander and Oksana, she was very grateful. I was the recipient of a number of hugs and kisses and verbal acknowledgement of her gratitude. No jaded teenage attitude here!

After boot shopping, we were to meet John with the two younger ones to get the kids their first American haircuts. Unfortunately, while we were out shopping it had started to get icy so John and the little ones didn't venture out. But since we were already out, we decided to go ahead with Daria's haircut. As you can see by the pictures below, Daria got the royal treatment, including hair straigthening. This is Daria's favorite look, which mystifies Mr. Beaver as he sees his daughters first straighten and then curl their hair on Sunday mornings.

We did a lot of laughing throughout the afternoon. So in the end, we took home shoes, boots, styled hair and memories to last a lifetime.

Bonding with My Children

From Mrs. Beaver:

As Mr. Beaver and I start down this path of parenting twelve children, we have been doing quite a bit of praying and conversing about how to carry out our roles in the most God-honoring and effective way.

Again, this morning during my Bible time, I saw something in the Puritan prayer book titled The Valley of Vision that caught my attention, but in order for that to make sense to my readers I need to share some thoughts from a favorite book called Gospel-Powered Parenting by William Farley.
"The gospel makes parents humble. We see ourselves most perfectly at the foot of the cross. Jesus died in our place. He took what we deserve. What do we deserve? We are cosmic traitors who deserve to be slowly tortured to death, naked, while a crowd stands around mocking, jeering, and laughing. Then in the climax of the scene, God the Father rejects us forever. But Christians never get what they deserve. We get what Christ deserves at his expense. This is the very clear message of the cross. All humility begins with this truth.
"The gospel opens my eyes to who I really am--'wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked' (Rev. 3:17). 'Biblical humility,' notes G. A. Pritchard, 'is not some self-induced groveling or hang-dog attitude. Biblical humility is seeing ourselves as we are. Humility is a response to beholding the holiness of God.'"...
"Growing humility opens our eyes to our sin. It makes us tender and gracious discipliners of our children....
"True humility flows out of a heart broken for its sins and failings." (pgs. 118-120)
Remembering that I had read this section in Farley's book in the past and with the discussions Mr. Beaver and I have been having about parenting, this is what caught my eye in The Valley of Vision:

"Thou Great I AM,
I thank thee for any sign of penitence;
   give me more of it;
My sins are black and deep,
   and rise from a stony, proud,
      self-righteous heart;
Help me to confess them with mourning, regret,
with no pretence to merit or excuse" (pgs. 238-239)

This is MY prayer. I want to be broken-hearted and contrite when I sin. I want humility to grow in me. I want God-given humility to make me a God-glorifying blessing to my children.

Farley makes one more statement that I must keep in mind. It's only a few words, but their implication is powerful and far reaching.
"Humble parents attract their children's favor." (pg. 120)
In the adoption community, we talk all the time about "bonding" and also the failure of some adopted children to bond to their adoptive parents. Couldn't the word "bonding" also be called "gaining our children's favor"?

I, of course, desperately want my new children to bond to me. In order for their adoptions ultimately  to succeed, they must bond to me; I must have their favor. Therefore, remembering the cross, recognizing and being deeply sad about my own sin are key. As humility grows in me, my children's attraction to me--and my values as a Christian--will also grow.

(One last, short side note--all of this applies to teenagers also. I am the mother of seven teenagers so all of this is a critical learning for multiple reasons for me!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Surprises Already this Morning!

Mrs. Beaver:

As many of us were bustling around the kitchen getting our breakfast, I turned towards the refrigerator and saw an unusual sight. Little Oksana had gotten a small head of Romaine lettuce out of the fridge and was nibbling away at it with the refrigerator door still hanging open. An unusual breakfast! (Tina, I think she's a girl after your own heart!:) )

I wish I'd had my camera at that very moment, but I at least caught these photos once we sat her down at the table. She's told Speedy her favorite animal is the cow so I think she's eyeing the bovines on the farm behind us.

Oksana are the whole lettuce head and part of a second one. Joe's comment about his little sister's choice of lettuce and water for breakfast was, "Sounds like prison food to me!"

My second surprise of the morning came when I pulled Daria aside to explain that I'd scheduled haircuts for the three new kids this afternoon. I had Lissie with me to interpret, but there was no need. Daria understood my combination of English, a few words of Russian and pointing perfectly. "Ringlish" has truly begun in our home. (And will continue until the kids are fluent.)

The real surprise came when Daria happily accepted the news that she was going to get her hair cut. I had expected a very unhappy teen. Instead, she grinned, thanked me with a hug and then bounced out of the room while I stood with my mouth draped open. God is so good!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Few Photos of our First Full Day at Home

Mrs. Beaver:

When you add three children to a family in one go, getting through even the first full day at home is a reason to celebrate. God's grace followed us through the day, and we had a good initial 24 hours.

Again, we'll go back to the recounting of our days in Russia, but here are photos from our first day at home. I wish I had more, but somehow everyone just seems to be everywhere when 14 of you share the same house!

We normally eat breakfast together, but since we have a house full of folks recovering from international travel and three children adjusting to EVERYTHING being new, we rose at various times and each ate separately.

Thus, our first meal eaten together was lunch. To help our new children adjust, we tried to create a meal similar to one of the delicious feasts we ate in the home in which we stayed during our court trip about three weeks ago. Although the imitation lacked Luda's brilliant touch, Daria said in was tasty. This is a high complement from her because thus far she hasn't enjoyed American food.

Here and just below, Alexander and Oksana are sitting down for that first meal together in our dining room (where we always have to eat becasue of the size of our tribe.)

After lunch our dear, dear friends, Gary and Amanda, and their daughter, Katherine, needed to head back to Minnesota. They'd arrived two days before we got home to reopen the house. They picked up Mr. Beaver's Mom, Jane, (right) and Aunt Jean from the airport, who'd traveled from Colorado for our homecoming.

They also ran errands for us like a grocery run (a BIG job when buying for 14) and picking up our dogs from the kennel (a BIG job anytime, with our two dogs). This fervent love (1 Peter 1:22) took a great deal of pressure off our return. Before they left today, Amanda helped us all unpack since we're still in the jetlag fog that makes decisions difficult. Meanwhile Gary took Speedy to the orthopedic surgeon to get his cast removed after breaking his thumb about three weeks ago.

Amanda and Gary are on the right in the back row, and Katherine in the right front row.

Gary and Amanda's 15-year-old, Katherine, (right)
 and our 15-year-old, Daria
All of this would count as a remarkable amount of help from friends who truly understand the strain of international adoption. But Gary and Amanda's assistance went way beyond this. Before they came they prepared and froze nine meals for us, and every one of them had to be doubled to feed us. That's eighteen 9x13 pans. What friendship! What generosity! From our past adoption experiences, we know this to be a sweet gift becasue it takes weeks to get back into a meal planning and grocery shopping routine. Food prep at first is HARD.

Our stress- relieving freezer as we adjust
During meal clean up today, little Oksana showed she was willing to help, too--after a little coaching from Tatiana. (She tends to skip adding soap to the water.)

We began short stints of homeschooling with the new kiddos today.

Jaynie helping Alexander with his English

We had a truly satisifing first day. And now we can say the exact challenges of the first day will never exist again! May God be praised!

Much Needed Reminders

Mrs. Beaver:

Jetlag woke 6-year-old Oksana, who slept in our room last night, about 4:30. Thankfully, she did eventually go back to sleep (something that never happened yesterday when she woke at 3:00 something in our hotel room.

I didn't return to sleep, however. After I heard that parent-pleasing sound of the deep breathing that indicates sleep. I snuck into my bathroom to get refreshed through reading God's word. I started, as I usually do, by reading one of the prayers in The Valley of Vision, a collection penned by the Puritans. (HIGHLY recommended! Available at Grace and Truth Books)

As I face my first full day of parenting all 12 children at home, I was encouraged and strengthened by these phrases from the prayer on page 234:

O God Most High, Most Glorious,

"Thy great power knows no bound
   thy goodness no stint...

"The Lord God omnipotent reigneth...

"Revive deep spirituality in my heart...

"Let me live near to the great Shepherd,
   hear his voice, know its tones, follow its calls....

"Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill...
   sin makes me forget thee....

"Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut at their roots;
Grant me to know that I truly live only
   when I live to thee,
that all else is trifling.
Thy presence alone can make me holy, devout,
   strong and happy.
Abide in me gracious God."


We'll return, as we're able, to our day-by-day recounting of the wonderful family-melding adventure God gave us in Russia, but a more current update is that we arrived home last night with no travel hitches (Thank you, Lord!). A cheering, banner-waving crowd greeted us--which meant the world to us! (pictures to come)

For families who adopt internationally, the arrival at the home airport is HUGE. It marks the end of months, sometimes well over a year, of pouring your heart and soul, time and money into following what you strongly believe is God's will for your lives.

It also marks the BEGINNING. From this point forward, the child (or children) become the complete responsibility of the family. That can be scary and overwhelming considering the magnitude of the task of intergrating someone new into a family and doing it in a way that makes Christ winsome and attractive. The goal is, of course, that some day the child (or children) will belong to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Having a crowd of people at the airport that cares about you and your new children is a great encouragement that you're not launching into this tremendous undertaking alone.

Our deepest thanks to those of you who sacrifced your time and rejoiced with us at the airport! You just wouldn't believe how much that fervent love (1 Peter 1:22) meant to us. What a gift! (And if you would please, pray for us. We know from having adopted multiple older children twice in the past, the full adjustment takes about two years.)

We also know that many who wanted to be at the airport simply could not. Your presence was also felt and much appreciated. We want to acknowledge all the support and prayer cover we have received from you already over the past several months. Your continuing support (both physical, emotional and spiritual) will be so important to helping our kids see Christ in our church body, and in building an openness to His salvation.

Deeply grateful to God for the tremendous support system He's given us, both near and far,

Mr. and Mrs. Beaver

Monday, November 22, 2010

Our Second Day as a Family - Day 7 in Moscow (11/17/10)

Mrs. Beaver:

Our first full day together was magical, truly a gift from the Lord.

This was the view I awoke to in my 24th floor apartment. Wow!

Truly a massive city! From our earlier posts, you'll recognize the tall building topped
with spires on the left as being one of the seven Stalin built during 1950s Soviet times.

We started our morning with a "snack" of yogurt (delicious in Russia--slightly sweeter than in America), in each of our five flats. We had to rent this many flats because each one slept only two or three. We still can't believe we're a family of 14!

We then gathered in my flat, which had the largest "family" room, to read the Bible, an important tradition in our family. At home in the mornings we read a Psalm and the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month.

Gathering to read the Bible together first thing in the morning
On this first morning as a family we started with Psalm 1. Mr. Beaver read a verse and then Daria read the same verse in Russian from our parallel Bible. Her Russian is simply melodic.

We then read the chaper of Proverbs 17. Again, our tradition is to go around the circle and have each person read a verse - this keeps everyone thinking and involved throughout. When we've had a new reader thoughout the years, I have read one word and had them repeat that word, repeating the process until we've finished the verse. We did the same thing in this new situation. When we reached Alexander he followed along beautifully and even jumped in with the word "is" on his own, a surprise to us becasue we didn't know he knew how to read any English. When we reached Daria, she surprised us by being able to read every word on her own, although we can tell she's learned to read letter by letter because she pronounced "knowledge" with the "k." We know she doesn't understand all that she reads, but what a wonderful head start that she can sound out English words!

The next step on the agenda was some sister attention for Daria. She has wavy hair, but apparently prefers to straighten it. Tessa and Lissie obliged.

After the coifing was finished we headed across the street for a more complete breakfast at Dunkin Donuts (see Mr. Beaver's earlier post). Again we saw the grace of God because not only were there enough chairs for us, but also we had smiling gracious servers who were patient with Mr. Beaver's rough attempts at Russian.

Our next stop was an enormous store somewhat similar to Barnes and Noble. The children's book section was extensive and truly one of the most beautiful chdilren's books stores I've ever seen. My heart filled with joy becasue ever since we adopted Jaynie, Cassandra and Speedy nine years ago I've longed to own more Russian picture books. I  have to admit I'm as dangerous in a Russian book store as I am in an American book store. We ended up with MANY books, including some classics like Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol! The illustrations in the books were beautiful. Overall, the books seemed more innocent and pure than are now found in the childrens' section of American bookstores and libraries. As is common in Russian stores photos were now allowed.

As we stepped out of the store, Lissie was surprised to be hugged from behind in this strange city. It turns out it was wonderful Marina, our adoption facilitator. She had realized from a difference that the large group HAD to be our family and she was delighted to see us. We were equally delighted to see her. After introductions and many hugs (after all, 14 hugs is a lot!), Mr. Beaver and Marina exchanged some adoption paperwork relating to the last step in Russia--registering with the Russian consulate. (In our other Russian adoptions this took place in America.)

I caught these photos as the rest of us waited on the wide sidewalk.

Again and again, we've seen a precious look pass over Daria's face that just seems to say, "I have a FAMILY!"

Next, we asked Marina the location of an unusual grocery story that is housed in a mansion that is a couple of hundred years old. The trip coordinator from our January visit to Moscow to meet orphans raves about this beautiful place so we really wanted to see it. Marina's response was, "Pash lee! (Let's go!) I'll show you." We were flabergasted! To have the opportunity to spend time with this woman we have come to deeply repect and love was an unexpected treat. We are especially amazed by her heart for orphans because over the last 15 years she has facilitated about 700 adoptions.

So off we went on the long walk. As we walked, we got to see interesting architecture. Here the old stands alongside the new. Russia also tends to be a contrast in colors. There's a lot of gray, punctuated by strong color.

Here Mr. Beaver, Tatiana and Oksana cross one of the many major intersections on our journey. Behind them is a monument to the poet Pushkin and his wife.

I'm not sure any of our children noticed the length of the walk because if ever there was a Pied Piper, it's Marina. She kept the kids laughing and chatting throughout the trek.

Finally we reached our destination--the former mansion turned grocery store. We were duly awed! There are no grocery stores like this in Sioux City!

We got a kick out of this case that said "Business Lunch."

I was surprised, there were no prohibitions on taking photos as there often are in Russia even in everyday stores. That is until I took this picture of the seafood. Then a security guard appeared out of nowhere and motioned that it .was okay to take pictures of the architecture but not the food.

It wasn't long before we departed. The store isn't large; there was a lunchtime business crowd and we're a HUGE group. I'm so glad we got the chance to see this beautiful store. I think I'd have a different outlook on grocery shopping if I got to shop there all the time! Do you think Wal-Mart might consider a interior design change?!?

After we left the mansion, Marina wanted to take us to a pizza place about half a block away in an old building. Apparently even the pizza parlor had retained the architechtural beauty. She was so disappointed when we arrived and the whole building was shrouded in scafolding and netting for renovation. No more pizza parlor!

We tried two more restaurants before finally ending up at --you guessed it: McDonalds.

This McDonalds is chic and probably 10 times the size of a normal McDonalds in America. As usual here, however, it was very, very busy even though by now it was about 3 p.m. We had the gift of a mercy from God again. He made a way where there seemed to be no way. Seats opened up and they were even together. In addition, the restaurant's hostess (again--different from America) was happy and kind. She had a hand held and took our complex order so Mr. Beaver never had to stand in line.

While we waited, Marina told us that this was Russia's first McDonald's. When the restaurant first opened, the line was out the door, and the wait was FOUR hours long!

Jaynie traipsed through Moscow in this
very Russian looking hat she
purchased in America.

We finished the day by watching the cartoon movie "Bolt" in Russian in one of our flats. Mr. Beaver had purchased this at that amazing bookstore we visited earlier in the day. He wanted the nine children we've been parenting to experience what it's like to try to watch a movie in a different language.

All day we had sweet interactions with one another as love and trust is growing between us. Praise be to our great God.