River of Thoughts

Christine Royse Niles — Changing the world one word at a time

Adopting Lena

I walked through the shadow of the mountain of snow. Yacinavata.  (Bless you) No, that was’t a sneeze.  But still, I’d take all the blessings I could get.  We were trapped in this small town in southeastern Ukraine, known only for being a transportation crossroads of sorts…and our only hope to get to Lena. *** Rewind a few days.  After fifteen months of homestudy and paperwork and waiting a lot, we finally left the ground.  Our appointment with the Ukrainian State Department of Adoption was a day before Lena’s 14th birthday, and we couldn’t wait to be there to celebrate […]

Hosting Lena

In 2006, we met Masha In 2007, while we were adopting Masha, we met Lena. A little backstory…. During the time when be were adopting Masha, the crazy idea that we might actually want TWO kids crossed our minds.  We realized that God had better plans for us than we did, and we also realized that immigration officials weren’t likely to be all “Oh, well GOD told you to take home an extra kid.  Sure, let’s just rubber-stamp your paperwork and you’ll be on your way.”  Anyone who’s adopted or knows anyone who’s adopted knows it’s not that simple at […]

Happy Birthday, Lena

To all you future parents…If you gain the ability to influence your child’s birthday in any way, for heaven’s sake, don’t make it in December! Exactly two years ago, we sat in a small office in Kyiv, Ukraine, asking permission to adopt Lena. Today, she turns Sweet 16. So much has changed in two years Two years ago, she barely spoke any English Last year, she passed the state standardized testing with no help. This year, she read Romeo and Juliet…and understood it. Today (halfway through her Freshman year), she has a B average with no accommodations. Lena is amazing. […]

Time Flies

I have heard it said that time moves faster with each year… Age 4: Crammed in the backseat of a light blue Volkswagon Beetle with my three closest carpool-mates, looking at my friend’s 7-year-old sister with awe, I think “I will never be that old.” Age 14: Three years still seems a long way off, but now my thoughts are filled with “I can’t wait for graduation!” Age 24: The years begin to flow together, but I still think I have a whole life ahead of me. “Maybe in three years I’ll think about settling down and building a family…” […]

Family of Four

Day “I don’t know” through Day “I’ve lost count” – Sunday, 10 January, 2010 through Saturday 16 January, 2010 If I’m being honest, I have to say that the second trip was rough. Seriously hard. After a week of “regular life” which included blowing nearly half of my working hours fighting with payroll over the paycheck they failed to issue while I was on leave, I boarded a 7:30 AM flight to JFK, with a 10-hour layover and then a 10-hour direct flight to Kyiv on Aerosvit Ukrainian Airlines. I truly believe I was the only person on that airplane […]