Exactly five years ago, we were in Ukraine, three weeks into our five-week adventure for Masha’s adoption. For the next few weeks, I’m posting excerpts and a photo or two from each day. Sometimes funny, and sometimes proof of how naive we were, I hope you’ll enjoy our little trip down memory lane…
“We will go to the sea,” proclaimed Kseniya. So we went to the sea. This time, we found a spot a little futher down the beach, away from the seaport and nearer to the giant, blow-up water slide. We are learning that while there aren’t a lot of different places one can go in this town, all of them are equipped with rides of some sort. And all of them cost a grivna or two or three to ride. And, of course, children are addicted to them.
Once we arrived at the beach, we found an open spot under a big willow tree and laid out our blankets. The girls swam for a while, and then Masha returned to me and said “I want hungry.” The effort to use English was well appreciated, and I gave her an apple, which disappeared very quickly. The girls settled in on the beach blanket, and Lisa pulled out some really cool dry-erase flash cards. Khrystyna and Amina jumped right in, but Masha was pretty resistant, mumbling “I don’t know” to pretty much each letter, until we asked Kseniya to explain that this was important. After that, she only missed a couple! We know that she is smart, and we suspect that our biggest challenge with her will be motivation.
After we dropped her off, we went into town, did a bit more shopping, and hit Papa Karlo’s for a beer and some online time before heading home. It’s really sort of surprising how much we’re able to do on our own now…my studies are paying off a little, and people are very patient and kind! It takes a lot more energy than expected to do basic things like shop for a watch or pick up groceries, but with the right attitude and expectations, we’re making progress.
The trip is certainly increasing my understanding of what Masha will be going through once we’re back home—some of the frustrations and challenges she’ll face, and how much it takes to do the basics. I certainly will be more sensitive to “overdoing” it and to her need for quiet activities to recharge. Today, I’m really struck by the magnitude of the changes that will come for both Masha and for us!