Sunday, June 10, 2012

A day of goodbyes....

Today we went to visit Anya's half sister Inna.  (same mother, different fathers).  Inna lives with her father and grandmother 55km from Kherson.  I hired a driver for the day to take us (Anya, Sasha and I) there, wait for us to visit and then bring us back.  We stopped at a market on the way there and purchased a stuffed teddy bear, a photo album for photos Anya wanted to give her, and a ball.


Before we went, Anya had mixed feelings about going, was unsure we would be welcome.... there is no phone to call and ask, but she knows the address, this is the home she lived in for 6 years.  Age 1-7.  So I persuaded her to go, even if it was a waste of time and money.  I wanted to see where she lived if nothing else.

When we arrived her sister came running out of the house, yelling "anna, anna"!  She was clearly happy to see her.  It was a sweet reunion.  They hugged and then entered the house, where grandma was wiping a tear away at the sight of Anya.  She hugged and kissed her.  We all entered the living room, where I was offered tea.  Anya told them about going to America and they were surprised to hear, but happy for her.  I won't go into details about the house, but lets just say the living conditions at the orphanage were optimal in comparison.  We went outside and played ball for a while, grandma sat under a tree in the shade and watched.  It was SO HOT!!! We asked the driver to take us to get ice-cream.  On the way there, Anya was showing Inna photo's and games on her phone, they were giggling like no two sisters should be deprived of.  I'm so glad we came!  We almost didn't.

I was happy to see where she lived and learn more about those 6 years of her life, but that leaves a lot more questions and especially as to what happened and where she lived from age 7-13 when she entered Kherson orphanage. I am looking forward to the time when we speak the same language and I can ask her these questions without having to use google translate.
Grandma is on the right, and her friend is on the left.  They both clearly cared very deeply for Anya. 

Anya (15) and Inna (11)

After we visited Inna, we returned to Kherson and had to rush around to get the supplies for her party, which was to be at 4pm.  Anya had asked me to bring candy from America for the party, so I had a large bag with a variety of candy (no chocolate due to the heat) to give out.  We stopped at the apartment to get the bag of candy and the bag of flip flops I had purchased for the boys in her group.  Then it was off to the grocery store to get the rest of the stuff.  We bought pop, apples, 2 cakes and plates, cups, straws, napkins and forks.  Then we met up with Nathan and Christina to share a cab to the orphanage.  Christina offered to be the paparazzi.
Anya expects Sasha to carry all of her things for her, bags, purse, sunglasses.....   The only exception to that rule, is if there are too many bags for Sasha to carry, she will carry them before she allows me to carry a bag. 

The party was okay, nothing too exciting!  Anya was less than thrilled to be there.  Before it even started she told me she wanted to leave.  Midway through the party, she asked again if she could go.  Her friends were enjoying the food, it was pretty quiet for a celebration though.  A few of the kids stood up and said a few words to Anya, I video'd a couple speeches.  (Josie if your reading this, Vitaly gave a speech, you will have to interpret for me.)  I tried to get Anya to say a few words but she would not.  She didn't even sit and eat cake!  I didn't look at it as being a bratty teen, I think she was just over the whole thing and ready to get out of there for good.  Plus I don't think she is close with any of those kids, it was more of a formally/expectation to give the party for her group.  Sasha was not allowed to stay for it.  Group only.
Setting up for the party

Anya is so thrilled, can you tell?

One of her friends giving a farewell toast

After the party we had about an hour to kill time before we would head to dinner with Nathan and Christina, who were also at the orphanage visiting Kolya.  Rather than head back right away, I figured we would wait for them.  Anya was not interested in waiting, so we took a cab back to the apartment and I took a nap while Anya and Sasha watched TV.

Sasha trying to entertain us while we waited to leave.  

Anya ready to GO!

Then for dinner we invited Sasha's sister to join us.  She lives here in Kherson.  Works at a bank.  She is 22 years old.  A very beautiful young girl.  Before long, Sasha was past his curfew of 7pm.  So the smart thinker he is, he had his sister call the school and tell them he was with her.  They said okay, but come back soon.  So we called a cab and he took off.
Natasha (Sasha's sister) with me and Anya

It was a busy day, but a good day!  Now Anya and I are relaxing in the apartment, trying to decide between having the windows shut with zero ventilation (no A/C) or the windows open with a breeze and mosquitoes coming in and biting us!  Tough call.  We go back and forth!

On the agenda for tomorrow:  Maybe meet with our facilitator..... still have yet to see her.  I would like to go to the school and get Anya's school records and other documents in her file in regards to her background.  And hopefully get an update on the passport status.

PS as I quickly scan this before publishing, I realize I blogged like I type into google translate.  Short choppy and to the point sentences.  I guess I've just gotten used to talking and typing that way!

PSS to the anonymous commenter on my last post.  No worries.... I will not tire of my daughter and change my mind.  She is as much my child to me as my 3 kids at home waiting for my return, and NOTHING will change that!  


Annie said...

I'm sort-of confused. So, Anya lived here when she was little, and shd had the same mother as Inna.... But, the man there is Inna's father? Does Inna's father live with his former wife's mother?

How did Anya end up leaving there? And with whom? I hope you get that story! I have to tell you, it's taken me YEARS to get a lot of my children's - but then, the one who knows is a BOY, and that makes a difference.

And, why didn't they have her come back and live with them? All of these stories are strange.... I guess the orphanages are sometimes like boarding schools - a way for the kids to get education. But, how can they go from that concept to allowing the kids to be adopted? This is the situation for my Ilya, so I'm befuddled. Once Ilya's older brothers aged out they went home again to live with grandma.

But, this is even more befuddling... I'm so glad you went! Just to see where my kids had grown up - how I'd love that!

Annie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie said...

It was just a duplicate post - and I only posted once....odd.

Lori said...

Annie, that is Anya's step fathers mother. Not Anya's biological grandma. I have no idea who her mother was with from age 7-13. See how many questions I have...

Tina in CT said...

First of all - That person that you mentioned from your last posting is really cruel to think that of you and Todd. Obviously she is not the type of person that you, your husband and your family are!!!! Now I've gotten that off my back.

I can imagine what you were feeling visiting Anya's sister at her home. I'm sure the step grandmother must be so happy to see that Anya is going to you and a new life in America. Hopefully she can keep some sort of relationship with her step sister through the mail.

I also agree with you that Anya didn't want to stay at the orphanage as she considers it behind her and is ready to go on to start her new life with your family. It was very nice of you to do that though.

Melt or get bitten???? Tough decision.

PrincessGreen17 said...

What a great visit with her sister! I can't believe someone said that, obviously they don't know your family. Or what you're going through to get her!

Allison L said...

Yay that you managed to see Anya's half-sister and it went well. :)

I imagine that she is ready to move on from her life in the Orphanage. I can't imagine she looks on the experience happily.

Jake and Judi said...

Lori: Awesome post. We are so happy for you guys!
Judi and I think about you guys daily. Make sure we stay in touch. Vova BTW is in heaven!

Key said...

very cute kids.
Dentist Reading

Johnny Wayne said...

Lovely child..

Like visiting your nice website.Keeping on your wonderful working.Always support you..
Blended Learning

spunkyamy said...

I'm really glad that you now have your daughter. I've really enjoyed reading about your adoption experience.

Amy in TN