‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Questions Answered

Our girl D loves loves loves walking the dogs. It's our twice daily ritual and she gets very excited about it every time. She is so proud to hold the leash, and takes her job very seriously.

I'm just going to cut & paste the answers to our recent update to the host agency below. It is a weekly requirement, and I'm so glad it is. It gives me the chance to reflect on what we're all learning on this adventure. Here are the questions and my answers, followed by the answers to a few questions that readers posted recently. 

Hosting Update on D

Please describe how your host child reacted to you upon arrival.
Scared and a bit sad, but it sure dissipated quickly!

Please describe how your host child's personality has evolved or come out over the past week.
D is quite dramatic and intense. Luckily, this is exactly what I expected, given the info NHFC gave about her. She is incredibly intelligent, creative, imaginative, stubborn, independent, super loving, and has a VERY positive outlook on life.

Briefly describe the host child's interaction with family. Who is the child most comfortable with and who does the child not seem comfortable with at this time?
D acclimated to us very quickly. She was very scared at first and attached to my daughter initially since she speaks fluent Russian and mine is less perfect. She was sad for the 20 minute ride home fom the airport and clung to her new baby doll. However, once home, she came to life. She wanted to see and do everything. She is equally affectionate with both my daughter and me, and ADORES all the animals. She has been very shy meeting new people and clings to us for the first 15-20 minutes, and then starts to warm up to others. She is drawn more easily to people like herself - outgoing and animated. She is VERY talkative...as in non-stop! I could write a book about her already - she is a sweet sweet girl with alot to say!

Briefly describe the host child's interaction with people who are not family members.
As mentioned above...it takes her a bit of time to warm up to others. When a few people have stopped by unannounced, D goes to hold my hand or Nastia's hand and gets very quiet. But if someone stays around for more than 20 minutes, she starts to open up.

What has been the most challenging part of the visit so far?
D is very stubborn and likes to get her own way. Luckily, I parent a daughter who is cut from the same cloth! D also sleeps very little, but I'm guessing that will even out as the week proceeds.

Mark any behaviors you have noted.
(I marked Hyperactive...though this is likely just her excitement at the new experience.)

If you marked any behaviors above, how were these problems addressed or handled?
D is high energy and needs/wants to be engaged and busy at all times. We are slowly teaching her about 'rest time' and that each day has a 'busy' part AND a 'quiet' part. She is adapting. D is also incredibly strong-willed, but also responds very well to direction. I do not need to ask her more than 2-3 times to change her behavior even in the worst cases. She WANTS to please and is VERY intelligent. She can get a bit whiny, but some of this is obvious regressive behavior because she wants to be 'babied' a bit. She is just a wonderful little girl, so full of life and SO positive. 

Briefly describe any health concerns or problems you have dealt with or realized this week. How did you handle this if needed?
Came with a cold & cough..sniffles, lots of nose-blowing, but otherwise incredibly healthy and full of energy. We are feeding her an incredibly healthy diet  -- all organic fruits, veggies and meats, along with organic children's vitamins, so I'm sure the cold will resolve itself soon. She has QUITE the appetite and loves to try EVERYTHING! she has not been picky about food at all.

Briefly describe things your host child likes (routines, activities, interactions, things)
Where do I begin? D ADORES pretend play. It is definitely her favorite activity. She wants to play doctor/hospital nearly every day, where my daughter and I are the patients. She tells me I have been 'poisoned' and she must bring me back to life. I am treated to band-aid care and tic-tac medicine, and temp is taken every 3 minutes..lol. Loves playing that she is a baby, and loves pretending to be an adult 'at the office' where she fills out forms, staples and tapes things, types on the computer, etc..all while wearing high heels. Also LOVES swimming, and cooking and, well, just about EVERYTHING except television (thanks be to God!) and sleeping. Also adores the animals and has lengthy conversations with them.

Briefly describe anything your host child dislikes or is afraid of:
Not much! Doesn't like bedtime...but loves the rituals leading up to it: bath, teeth brushing, story time, prayers, etc. She is fearless, so I'll be surprised to see if there is anything she is afraid of as the month progresses.

Briefly describe a favorite moment or realization between your family and your host child.
Watching D and my daughter walk hand in hand in the woods, up to the pond near our house. They just adore one another and it almost makes me cry to see the enjoyment they get out of one another. A match made in heaven, truly. Also LOVE all the funny things she says. I'm fortunate to understand Russian, so she has us both cracking up at least once an hour!

And finally, to answer a few of your questions:

Ashley asked 'Is the doctor's appointment part of the hosting experience? (ie: are the kiddos here partially for medical care?)And on the fun side of things...Tell us more about the D/Nastia connection!

Yes, we are required to partner with a local dentist and eyecare specialist to secure appointments for our host children. These may be the only dentist and eye care appts they have ever had. Our dentist is AMAZING and was DELIGHTED to see D at no cost. And our local Lenscrafters is doing the same thing.

The children are also covered by medical insurance while they are with us, through the hosting organization.  As for Nastia and D, they have a mutual adoration for one another that just delights me. It's been difficult for Nastia to adjust to the demands of a young child, but she is doing really well, and really hopes D will be her 'real sister' some day.

Annie asked  'Our parish sponsored four little boys. One is a little guy that I fell in love with. His name is Davids; he is from Latvia. Is there any way could communicate with the family who is hosting him? Do you have an e-mail list or anything? Do you speak Russian? It sounds like you do - how did you learn it? It was my original major in college (that and Theatre - we have that in common - in fact I acted Shakespeare professionally for a number of years).

 I love hearing of families and churches that sponsor some of these kids -- there is such a huge need! I'll try to locate the family who is hosting him. At the very least I can try to get an update on how he is doing! And yes, I speak Russian. not fluently, but good enough for D to understand me, and I her. I learned some before I adopted Nastia so I could communicate with her, but most of it was learned from 6 trips to Russia, and being forced to learn it or suffer not knowing what my girls were saying to one another! Next to immersion, I think Rosetta Stone is the best program for language learning. I use Rosetta, too, to get more fluent. I'm so happy to know a fellow Shakespeare lover! Where did you perform? Who did you play? so exciting!


  1. Hi! WE are hosting a Davids from latvia!!! I am not sure if this is the same one, but I have LOTS of pics on my blog of him so your commenter can look and see and if they want to communicate I am more than willing! I am also highly trying to advocate for a family for him as he is just wonderful! He is 15 and once he turns 16 is labelled unadoptable! :(

  2. Thank you for answering my question <3

  3. I acted in the Oregon and Colorado Shakespeare Festivals, as well as other touring an regional theatre. My favorite roles were Hermia, Hero and Viola. Shakespeare Quarterly wrote that I was better in that role than Vanessa Redgrave who played it the same year. That was a long time ago, but she was really a bit aged for the role... STILL...I want that on my gravestone.

    Reading your review of the week....I just kept wondering about Davids. He looks like such a darling.

    I hear your relishing Dasha's energy. I always feel like the hand of God is in these pairings. He knew I could NEVER cope with that level of energy. My kids are pretty low-key. Happily!

  4. Lisa, I just checked out your blog and I don't think it is the same Davids. The one I'm thinking of looked so much like our oldest adopted son.... I think this Davids when to Georgia, now that I went back and looked on the photo listing. Yours is a sweetie, too. I hope you find a family for him.


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