Two years ago this Little Sprite came home with me!
After a nine-hour flight, back of the plane, in the VERY middle of the row
we touched down at JFK.
Did I mention that my Little Sprite didn’t sleep at all?
Did I mentioned that I had Little Sprite on one side of me
and a very talkative non-English-speaking Greek woman on the other side of me?
Did I mention that Little Sprite watched “Up” for nine solid hours?
Did I mention that I’m very thankful for both “Up” and headphones?
Ridiculously happy to see the rest of my family, I couldn’t get to them fast enough.
Okay, so Little Sprite wasn’t quite as excited.
But, after nine sleepless hours at the back of the plane, middle row, watching “Up,”
she did manage to fall asleep right as we were landing.
You are right if you are thinking that it must have been interesting getting through customs.
So, on Thursday, I said, “Katya, what are you NOT going to do tomorrow?”
“I don’t know, Mom. What?”
“You are NOT going to ride on a plane for nine hours across the ocean.”
Happy Dance, Hallelujah Chorus, and “Woo-Hoos!” broke out all around. 🙂
So, how’s her English?
Two years out, Katya’s English is amazing. There is still a trace of an accent, but there is nothing, and I mean nothing that she is incapable of communicating. Occasionally I realize there are still gaps. This week, while working on a math lesson on perimeter and area, the instruction was to run your finger around the perimeter of the paper. No problem. But the next instruction was to run the palm of your hand over the surface of the paper. She dug in her heels. “This is too hard.” After going ’round and ’round about perimeter and area, I finally realized that the problem was not with these terms, but with “palm.” She didn’t know what the “palm of her hand” was.
How’s she doing in school?
Fabulously. We’re part of a Classical Conversations group in our new community. At home and at CC, Katya is learning so much – states and capitals, skip counting, Latin vocabulary, human anatomy, U.S history, English grammar … Her favorite history fact which she sings with great vigor is this one:
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii,
causing the U.S. to join the Allies in World War II.
If you find this slightly disturbing, that’s okay. I do too.
Every Friday the kids do presentations, sort of a show-and-tell, for their class. Several weeks ago Katya brought in a photo album I gave to her when we were in the midst of adoption and told the story of her adoption. I wish I had it on video. Priceless!
Does she see herself as any different from the rest of the kids?
During the first summer following her adoption, the kids and I ran into an acquaintance who wasn’t aware of our adoption. I briefly shared the story. He had spent considerable time in Eastern Europe and was excited, curious, and affirming. As we walked away, Katya said with bit more accent than she has now, “Mama, I don’t wants to be your daughter from Ukraine. I just wants to be your daughter.”
It’s a bit of a conundrum at times because people are curious and I LOVE to share our story, but my first priority is being sure that Katya views herself not as our “daughter from Ukraine,” but simply as our “daughter.”
For the most part, I do think she views herself as just one of the Finley Kids. Occasionally, when she’s in a bad spot, she goes to this place of doubt. Bill and I are praying for the Lord to completely heal this up, and doing our part to verbally affirm what is reality.
How does she view her adoption?
Last week we gathered with our church to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. We had a blast shopping, packing, wrapping, and praying for the kids who would get the boxes.
Back at the house that evening, we were hanging out in the den and I asked her if she ever got a box like that in Ukraine. She said that she didn’t, only the box I had sent her during the summer before we came to Odessa with the rest of her brothers and sisters. She talked a bit about Polina, and that Polina never got any boxes or presents like she had gotten from us. We talked about Polina and that unless certain papers are signed, Polina can never be hosted, and never be adopted.
Then she quietly said, “I am lucky.”
I held my breath and asked, “Why?”
Raising her head, she looked me squarely in the eye, “Because I got adopted.”
“Katya, I’m the lucky one. I got you as my daughter.”
This wasn’t the time to correct theology, to talk about being “blessed” versus being “lucky,” it was just a time to celebrate.
Got-ya Katya! And I’m so glad!