|Nastia with her Aunt 'M' last week.|
|Tilly being shy about a photo.|
Tilly is also thriving - REALLY thriving. She loves third grade, loves her teacher, loves her new school friends, loves our morning routine and our chatty walk to school each morning. She joined the local soccer team and is learning so much. The assistant coach nicknamed her 'Speedy' the other day, and she was absolutely glowing to hear that. She is very fast! She has also (joy oh joy!) discovered a love of reading, and I have to work hard to keep myself from buying her every chapter book I have ever read as a child. Thank God we are broke from the adoption - we're learning to use the library instead of amazon! She is skyping with her sister every week or so, and her foster mom, too, when the timing works. She celebrated her 10th birthday with 8 little friends sleeping over a few weeks ago.
I am really, truly enjoying being her mom a great deal. Many of you might remember how difficult my first few years were with Nastia. Her PTSD, trauma history, RAD and autism made parenting her very challenging and I often felt incapable of being the best parent. I tried so hard, I gave it everything I had in me and more - but it was intensely scary and painful. Parenting Tilly is a very different experience. Though I wouldn't trade my experience with Nastia for a million dollars, I am very grateful that this second time around is a little more peaceful. It's just nice to be able to go out and do mother-daughter things so early on - I couldn't really do that with Nast, until she was much older.
As for me personally, my health is not ideal, but I'm learning ever-so-slowly to take better care of myself. I'm trying to make healthier choices more often (like one spoonful of nutella instead of, say, ten…) and I'm learning to slow down. I can no longer work at the pace I used to, but I'm finding ways to make adjustments, and I'm hoping to keep getting better at saying no to anything extra. That's the hardest part of all.
|Anya and Sasha|
Anya is sadly still struggling with depression, but I'm trying to be more in touch with her. Nastia is finding it hard to balance her worry for her sister with the demands of college, so she is backing off a bit, while I am trying to pick up the slack and be more attentive to Anya and Sasha online. I wish I stumbled upon some miracle way of getting her here, but it still proves impossible. I also just heard from some people who have been there/done that, that the average wait time for a sibling visa through the US lottery system is over 12 years. so I may be rethinking our plans. Instead of spending so much time and energy trying to get her here, I'm looking into finding a way to more effectively support her there. We still send her a monthly stipend to live on, and I'm trying to be more diligent about care packages. The last two never arrived to her, so I'm trying to find safer ways of getting things to her - I hear DHL is good. If you have ideas, let me know.
As to the orphanage kids that many of you still pray for - as always there is good news and bad news. Some of the girls that just aged out are already pregnant. Angelina just had a baby, and a few others are due soon. God help them. I'm still trying to keep some of the girls from falling through the cracks by keeping them connected to supporters here in the States. i still have six wonderful online friends sending monthly support to some of the girls there. A few others got tired of the lack of responses from the girls and just stopped sending money. I don't think everyone understands the feeling of hopelessness and self-loathing that accompanies post-orphanage life. two of the girls that stopped receiving support dropped out of school. (But don't worry, I've found someone over there to try and get them back on track.)
|Daniel won a boxing trophy.|
Daniel is doing as well as can be expected. We talk online maybe once a month and I have someone bring him $10 a month to buy extra food/treats for himself. He ages out of the orphanage next June. Alot of the kids are now able to access Russian facebook (vkontakte) and post me little messages asking if I have forgotten them, or why no one ever sends letters and socks, etc anymore. I sadly explain that the new director still won't allow it, but assure them they are not forgotten. That's about all I can tell you. Wish there were more...
I'll try to post more regularly, but I honestly am just really enjoying just living our lives right now. I'm sure when winter forces us inside more often, my posts will increase. Love to everyone reading this. Please comment with an update on yourself, if you have time. I'll leave you with my favorite photo of Sasha, whom I still have not met, outside of Skype. But she kisses me through the computer every time we skype, and when Anya asks her 'Where's Baba?" She claps and points at me. Nothing better than that.
|Sasha smiling at her visiting Aunt Nastia. August 2014.|