Thursday, May 23, 2013

Triumphs and Activities

Recent Triumphs:
  • During the past several weeks, we've had a few conversations about Ukraine vs. America, but this week Ruslana noted a very important difference.  She's always said that she likes America best, but its normally for superficial reasons like the weather.  A few days ago she told Mark that she likes America best because in Ukraine there is no family--no mama or papa.  We appreciated hearing these heart-felt words!
  • As I was driving Ruslana to the dentist (which involved two fillings and a tooth extraction...ouch), she saw a billboard with a photo of a baby.  She pointed to it and said baby (although it sounds much more like "Bambi" when she says it, haha) then touched my stomach.  Unprompted, she said "I love my baby brother."  I was really happy seeing her excitement and love for her unborn brother.  I'm also glad that she knows that she is just as much our daughter as he is our son. 
  • Since we arrived home, I've made an effort to tell Ruslana how beautiful she is.  She would mainly respond with "no, mama."  Slowly, "no" progressed to a shoulder shrug.  It makes me sad thinking that no one ever told her these words or affirmed how beautiful she is--inside and out.  Recently, however, I got "yes, mama."  Hopefully she's starting to realize just how special she is! 
  • Over the past month, hearing a police siren would get Ruslana extremely upset.  She would run away, beg to go home, and be on the verge of tears.  It's disconcerting to think about the reason behind her fear of the police.  Every time she's heard a siren I tell her that the police in America are good and that they are going to help someone.  Just this past week, we heard a siren and, while she wasn't comfortable, she seemed much more relaxed. I hope that, with our help, she continues to overcome her fear of the police and appreciate them for all the great work they do.
Recent Activities: 
  • This, along with handstand attempts, has become a common occurrence around our house:
So, we decided to take the hint and sign her up for gymnastics this summer.  She starts in just a few weeks once school gets out.  Her little Eastern European body seems perfect for it and I wouldn't be surprised if she becomes a little olympian!  Along with gymnastics, we've also signed her up for summer swimming lessons.  
  • Mark's parents watched Ruslana on Saturday which allowed us to go see a movie.  They had a great time playing Chutes and Ladders, Uncle Wiggly, and watching some of Alice in Wonderland.  We are so thankful to have our parents close and involved in Ruslana's life. 

  • She's been rocking a computer typing program I downloaded.  She's up to a whopping 12 words per minute! :) 
  • Ruslana got to meet my Aunt Diane, Uncle Tres, and cousins Hilary and Victoria. Victoria was adopted from Russia when she was 10 and Ruslana reminds me so much of her.  Here's a group photo which also includes my grandparents: 

  • We started a chore chart this week and it's been a great motivating tool for Ruslana. If she does all of her chores all week, she gets a set amount of money.  But, for every item she doesn't do, she gets 25 cents taken away.  One of the to-do items is "obey" and I'm happy to report that so far she's on a roll! 
As time goes on, the transition is getting easier for all of us. We still have our moments, but Ruslana genuinely seems happy to be in our family and it is a joy for us to be her parents.  She's constantly laughing and enjoying her new life.  We are so thankful for our wonderful blessing! 


14 comments:

  1. Love reading the update!

    So, my parents had a similar system in place when we were little -- we got five cents for each job and then 10 cents taken for anything not finished. One day, my mom notices that my sister has crossed off everything on the list except piano practice. When Lauren was questioned, she shrugged and said, "I'd rather pay you ten cents."

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    1. ha! Lauren sounds like me. I told my mom that doing chores wasn't worth the money!

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  2. Wow! How exciting! Thanks for sharing all this. By the way, 5th grade typing standard is 20 wpm and most of my 3rd graders are under 10 wpm, so 12 is great! Go, Ruslana, Go! :)

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    1. Sweet! Looks like we have a typing prodigy on our hands??

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  3. Wow! Ruslana is doing amazing! She has such joy in her smile, I love it!!!

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  4. Boy does this update hit home! Glad to see things are moving in a healthy and hopeful direction. It really is amazing the progress and adjustments these kids make in adapting to a new family, new country, new culture, new language, etc. As always, love reading your blog and seeing photos of your wonderful family.

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    1. Thanks, Elliott! We love reading about Cava's progress too!

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  5. What a great update! Love that she's "getting" family! And expressing love (and excitement for) the baby and coming to believe things you're telling her, like that she's beautiful. What great steps!

    With your little chore system, and a boy coming along, you might need to some day include what my parents did: charging for bodily function noises at inappropriate times/places (particularly the table - ha ha!)

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    1. haha! That sounds like a great money maker for us!

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  6. love reading all the positive developments, especially the compliments! I think its hard even for grown women to graciously accept them sometimes to hear shes gone from no to yes when complimented is awesome :)

    fear of police- perhaps if you have any fire, ambulance, police friends she could casually meet them? maybe out of uniform first then in uniform, get to know the person behind the uniform. or a fire house tour?

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  7. Loved the update! It was great seeing you all today. Ruslana looked wonderful and SO happy. :-) We love our niece and the boys love their cousin!

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  8. She is seriously SO adorable! So glad to hear things are going well! Love all the way from Uganda! xxx

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