Here are a few additional pictures of that long-awaited first day together (really it was a half day by the time the nine kids and I arrived from America). As Mr. Beaver said, there's no way to describe the warmth and sweetness that marked our first few hours together. Each child had their heart open and was ready to love and to be loved.
Actually, there was one exception--little 6-year-old Oksana. She was understandably overwhelmed. However, a gift from God was that there were no tears, no meltdown. She just wanted to be near her Papa. In the photo below, she had just sidled up to him in the midst of the controlled chaos in the room and slipped her hand into his as he made a phone call.
Although Oksana's favorite place was right near her Papa, she didn't refuse to interact with the rest of us. She just looked a bit cautious as she did. Here she is sitting in Jaynie's lap for the first time.
One of the evening's ice breakers was Tessa showing photos of her fiance, Aaron, to the crowd. Fifteen-year-old Daria was especially interested and wanted to see picture after picture after picture. With a divorce rate of eighty percent here in Russia, we hope to demonstrate to our new children, by God's grace, that marriages can endure and even grow stronger and sweeter with the years. (I love you more with every passing day, Mr. Beaver! Happy 27th anniversary next month!!!)
One final photo--in his most recent post, Mr. Beaver had a picture of Alexander drawing. The activity was initiated by his brand new sister, Tatiana. She loves to draw, and we quickly learned that Alexander must share this same love because his skill far exceeds what we'd expect for an 11-year-old.
Drawing is an activity that all of our children have spent time learning and perfecting during our extensive times of reading aloud as a family. Having our eyes opened to Alexander's interest was enough for Mr. Beaver and I to marvel at our great God for the umpteenth time over the years. Over and over as we've added nine older Russian children to our family, we've been amazed to see how often their interests match the interests that we've nurtured in our family. God has orchestrated the perfect fit repeatedly. What a great and kind God He is!
May God be glorified!