Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 3 as a Family (11/18/10) - (Part 1)

Mr. Beaver:

Flashback! This post goes back to our time in Russia. Already the memories of our time together there have begun to fade, so we're going to try to capture the rest of our days in Moscow together while we still can.

Our third day as a family in Moscow was just as full as the rest. The 'events' of the day really fell into two camps: (1) the growth of relationships and knowledge of our new children, and (2) the day's activities. Obviously, the former was the real focus; the latter was merely a vehicle for the relationship building. Part 1 of the retelling of our wonderful "Red Square Day" will primarily recount the relationship progress we saw.

We started to get to know each other more fully, building new family relationships which is both fun and faith-stretching. It is a truly wondrous experience to uncover those special character traits that make each of our new children who they are. And we have to keep reminding ourselves that they are also uncovering our character traits at the same time. We pray that they would see Christ in us as they get to know us better. Anything else would dishonor our Lord and obstruct their view of His glory. Please join us in praying that our 'natural' selves would be mostly subdued under the dominion of grace throughout this process.

This day, as we toured her country's most famous sights, we saw in 15-year-old Daria twinges of sadness as she began to really grasp the imminent change she would face leaving the country of her birth.

St. Basil's Cathedral at one end of Red Square

The Resurrection Gates at the other end of Red Square
Daria had started to realize the magnitude of leaving behind her country and culture. However, while we saw moments of sadness, we also were privileged to witness her joy at the prospect of having the family she had never had before. We've probably mentioned it before, but Daria was an only child before joining our family. She'd never had a even a single sibling. What a change--sisters who desperately want to be your friends, and brothers, growing into men, who feel a desire to be your friend and help your dad in protecting you!

We were especially graified to see the blossoming of Daria's friendships with Tessa and Lissie because the three of them were due to be roommates when we reached American soil in just a few days.

Daria and Tessa

Lissie and Daria

This day we also started to see Daria's strong sense of humor emerge across the language barrier.

In this photo, Daria had instructed Tessa to pretend they were Russian fashion models. She and her sisters had caught a bit of a fashion show on the TV in their flat the night before and had apparently erupted into the giggles over how the women strutted down the runway with such severe countenances.

Here Tessa failed in her effort to imitate a smile-less Russian fashion diva given her new sister's antics.

This day we also experienced the disappointment you might expect when we had to say 'no' for the first time to one of Daria's requests (more about this later). Nevertheless, it was a blessed day of getting to know our new 15-year-old daughter. We thank God for Daria and for the opportunity to live the gospel before her. Please pray that we would honor our Lord in all our interactions with her.

Alexander continued to emerge as the 'funny-man' and family entertainer. He is very, very smart and has an infectious grin with a sense of humor that transcends the language barrier. He has a magnetic personality and is a real hit with both brothers and sisters alike. Like all of us, he also has character traits of the 'natural' man that will need training, as he has a tendency to be quite certain of himself, even when wrong. All-in-all we're so blessed to have Alexander as our new son.

Oksana remained very much a Daddy's-girl through the family's first couple of days together. Our relationship had a head start due to our extra time together before the rest of the family arrived.

On this third day we started trying to wean Oksana from complete dependence on me. We hoped that she would begin to build relationships with the rest of the family. We encouraged her to let others show her physical affection. Thankfully, she was quite open to our desire for her to spend time with other family members.

Oksana and Lissie

Speedy and Oksana

Princess Bink and Oksana
Oksana needed and will continue to need lots of hugs and attention, which is understandable given her background, but she has been generally cooperative with whatever we ask of her. And she has been a real trooper! I think we must have walked about 25 miles with her in Moscow, and she never once complained about it! She has already demonstrated that she is bright, and, with the healing of the Great Physician that we have witnessed repeatedly in our previous adoptions, we expect she will be able to catch up on any developmental deficiencies that have resulted from the severe neglect she experienced early in her life.

As we said, this first post about Day 3 as a family focuses primarily on our interactions with each other. Part 2 will focus more on the amazing sights we were blessed to see.


Andrew said...

I'm glad to see that you're all bonding together nicely. I love the pics.

MacMeister said...

Great pictures! :-)