16 November 2010


In Lexi's mind,

  • Finland is where the waterpark with the snake slide is
  • Slovakia is where Hannah and her mama live and we went to Trampolino
  • Austria is where we had lunch at the zoo with Hannah and it was so cold she had to wear my poncho
  • Hungary is where we went swimming in the rain (actually, she forgets this was in Hungary sometimes and puts it in Slovakia--same trip, you see)
  • Frankfurt (because Germany is where Tyotya Kakleen lives, and we didn't see her on the Frankfurt trip) was where we ate hot dogs and bought her boots and sports shoes
  • and America and Russia are big blurs that need to be broken down in to cities or states to elicit an answer.
Give her a map and she's a whiz at naming who lives where.

France is easy. France is where Kristina lives.

We went to France solely to see Kristina. I think it was good for us to go--particularly for Kristina. Kristina has been home six months and Lexi has been home thirteen. I hoped that this was long enough for the visit not to be traumatic and soon enough that they'd still remember each, might even be able to summon up some Russian so they could talk to each other. I wanted them to see, to know, that they are both safe and happy in their families.

The slide show might make it look more idyllic than it was. It was fine. But, neither of the girls speaks Russian any more. Both girls are developmentally young from their years in the orphanage and don't really play with other children. They are still in that parallel play stage. And, I'm not sure that the survival-of-the-fittest atmosphere of the orphanage left them with many warm-fuzzy moments to recall.

But, they SAW each other. There were hugs and kisses when we left. Lexi told me this was her BEST friend.

I know we were good for Kristina. The change in a few days was marked.

I learned more about the orphanage from Kristina and her mom. It was not pleasant, but I was glad to know it. And, if I had any qualms about calling Lexi "Lexi", (I don't) they would have been quashed. She was called neither Sasha nor Shura in the orphanage. It made me mad all over again that they wouldn't tell me her name, even.

It was great to sit and talk and share with someone whose child is not only adopted, not only adopted from Russia, but adopted from the same orphanage. We could see many ways that the orphanage shaped them even though they are very different people with very different experiences of orphanage life.

This trip left me feeling humbled and grateful that the tenderhearted nature of my little girl was preserved through her time in the orphanage. I know, I saw, how she was just run over while she was there. How her sweet, tender spirit was protected is nothing short of a miracle. I know it made life harder for her in orphanage, and that both saddens and enrages me. But, for how it makes our lives now, I'm so grateful.

Thank you, God, for showing me how you cherished this little sparrow until I could come and cherish her, too; that no one and nothing--neither height nor depth nor principalities, things present nor things to come...nor years in a Russian orphanage--was allowed to take that away how wonderfully she was knit together. (I know those verses are only semi-quoted and all mixed together. But, it's how my heart sings this song.)

So, it was good. We have new friends with whom we'll stay in touch. We have a link to her life before. We have someone who can help to fill in the blanks. And that is a precious gift that I'm able to give my daughter.


Melissa said...

Wow. I have nothing else to say, except that I love this post. What a precious thing for the girls to see each other again. And the montage (and of course your words) made me cry.

nicole said...

That is wonderful i was worried when lexi was worried krystina wasnt in a good home and when she comforted her by telling her that youd make her a nice dress etc..she sure is a world traveler now and looks so happy..big huggs from canada..

kristin said...

Wow, I love the fact that she got to see her friend and the pictures are great. I'm glad you and Lexi had this! She is a world traveler!

Conethia and Jim Bob said...

Do you realize all the amazing memories that you two are creating for one another?!! Blessings to you all!

Lindsay said...

I'm so happy that you found Kristina and she and Lexi were able to spend time together. The photographs are wonderful.

Hannah has also just told me that you do her hair better than I do (I still can't manage that French plait!)

Love the song - the translation of the lyrics definitely brought a lump to my throat.

Best wishes to you both.

3 going on 4... said...

The most beautiful post I have ever read. Our son was adopted from Russia at the tender age of
2, and even at that young age, we saw what orphanage living does to a child. Despite the reality of it all, his little spirit was still inside... just as it was when he was fearfully and wonderfully made. It simply took time to uncover it.
You are so right. God indeed does miracles in the lives of our kids... His protection is very real, just as Exodus 23:20 states. Praise the Lord that Lexi is right where God planned for her to be!

Rachael said...

This post made my heart happy - that God had you in mind for this little soul, even while you struggled with what seemed like a million road-blocks to get to her, that you found Kristina - that she is happy and safe too. Love it. =)

JennStar said...

These verses knitted together still speak truth!! ;o)

june said...

So, so happy for the both of you that you made that connection. T's similar connections are invaluable.

Debbie said...

What a blessing!!

Anonymous said...

such a blessing. such a SERIES of blessings. amazing that Lexi's tender heart was preserved. and she is so lucky that she ended up with a mama who gets how important it is for her to stay connected with Kristina. you are such an awesome mom.

Matt and Carla Morgan said...

Chills. You have such a sweet soul, Kate. It doesn't surprise me that God led you to Lexi's.

Trekking to Cleveland Friday. I'll tell A that you said hi!


Tina in CT said...

Wonderful that you found Lexi's friend from her former life and that they will be able to keep the connection as they grow. It must be really good for you to also have her parents as friends as you share so much.

Beautiful pictures and area.

Tammy said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. What wonderful memories for Lexi, even if she's doesn't interact with Kristina as other kids her age do. She knows what her feelings tell her and that is that her best friend is safe and loved. I don't think it a more precious gift you parents could have given your children.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

I love that you were able to find Kristina and take Lexi to visit her! I am sure it gave her memories to cherish for life. It also is probably helpful to have extra orphanage info to help Lexi process her time there.
Lexi looks just fantastic. The pic of you two together- I was surprised at how tall she has gotten by the comparison with you.
You are a great mom!

Jennifer said...

What a beautiful trip on so many levels! I am so proud of you for allowing beach sand in your life!

Lindy said...

I'm happy that you got to see Kristina and found out more about the group home. I am completely puzzled as to why the orphanage staff would not tell you what name they used for Lexi! Very strange.

Annie said...

That is just SO lovely. Anastasia just met a boy she knew from her orphanage at the Russian festival... Now they are an "item" as we would have said.

All my kids remember their orphanage life fondly, believe it or not. The exception was Sergei's first orphanage, which was not in Ivanovo region. Sometimes I honestly feel that I almost have orphanage-happiness as a standard I need to live up to.

"This tea is not as good as what we had at the Detski Dom." "In the Detski Dom we celebrated girls day and boys day." The big one was the day I discovered that the boys had not only SEEN the ocean - they'd vacationed on the Black Sea.

So, my "treats" of a day on Lake Michigan were pretty lame by comparison.

And - look! One big plus of living in Russia are all the great places you get to visit!!! Can't get anywhere from here. Our big vacation this year was southern Indiana.