River of Thoughts

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

Interview with Masha

Exactly five years ago, Masha left everything she knew to move halfway around the world with two strangers that smiled all the time (a sure sign of diminished intelligence…)  In honor of her anniversary, I have asked her to give us a little glimpse of what this was like for her… What was it like to leave Ukraine? It wasn’t that hard to leave i was actually very excited and yes i was kinda scared to leave my home and go to a different country but it was mostly a great experience. It was like half of me was happy […]

Five Weeks In Ukraine

Adopting Masha, in 500 words or less.  Hmm.  Do compound words count?  Uh oh.  I’m up to 19 already. Here we go…. We received our clearance to travel the day of my mother’s wake. We travelled on Mother’s Day. We survived jet lag with pharmaceutical help. We saw a monkey dressed like a child. We met with the Ukrainian State Department of Adoption (the official referral) on our 9th anniversary. We watched a Ukrainian dogfight. We boarded an overnight train to southern Ukraine. We were reunited with Masha! We learned to shower in a bathtub. We visited a beach adjacent […]

Eight Months

Winter is heaving-to. It has clearly decided that it’s not going anywhere, and in the meantime, it’s going to have a bit of fun with us. In typical Midwest fashion, we’ve experienced the battle between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico, throwing their separate weather patterns at us and laughing as they wreak havoc on our lives and plans. After a couple of 55-degree days a couple weeks ago, accompanied by flooding worthy of a live remote on Good Morning America, we are again looking at a blanket of fresh snow and sub-zero wind-chills. God has thumbed his nose at […]

Happy New Year!!

Snow is an overused metaphor, but as I watch the flakes dance to the ground on the first morning of 2008, I see a clean white palette. A year of possibilities, opportunities—life, just waiting to be written. As you can imagine, busyness got the better of us this fall. After meeting with the guidance counselor, Masha entered 6th grade on 16 August. Although she is slightly old for 6th grade, we hoped that easier, repeat content might give her the opportunity to focus on developing her English skills and acclimating to the American culture. Looking back, we definitely made the […]

Two Months

It’s days like this that make life worth living. This morning, as we ate breakfast and bid my father and step-mother goodbye, Maria announced that she would like to go to Extreme Park. We told her that it might be a little expensive to fly all the way to Ukraine to go to Extreme Park in her hometown, but that we could maybe go to Fun Spot in Angola if she wanted… School starts next week, so we were thinking about a last hurrah already. When she offered to pay for her own ticket out of her allowance, we realized […]