A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn. ~Author Unknown
Well, I like that quote!
Many people over the last 4 years have kindly commented on our family as if we were super heroes – having been dealt major blows but always getting back up. Well, I can assure you that we are not super heroes – we have just accepted the cards that we’ve been dealt and have decided that what we have is important enough to keep trying. We have “made the turn.” Some days these bends in the road are a little easier to navigate than others and recently it has felt like a hairpin… in the midst of winter… with a lot of snow and black ice on the road… and maybe a fallen branch or two… (you get the idea)
And so… this “superhero” has spent a good deal of time, sometimes teary-eyed and full of self-pity, wondering why, along the way, we got these bullseyes on our backs and when they are going to fall off – if ever. And then, when things are quiet, I find myself looking at these two kids from halfway around the world and realize that there is absolutely no way that I will ever be able to put my head around their reality and I wonder what it would be like to have gotten off to such a crappy start, so early in life. And then, the phone rings or someone needs something and my own reality sets back in.
So, as you probably can tell, this has been a very bumpy ride. Things continue to go so well with Aleksei – not perfect, but what we expected. Mariya, on the other hand, is in need of something greater than just a good family. She continues to regularly exhibit great rage and it is clear that the trauma runs very deep. Thankfully, we had one of the Ukrainian flight chaperones, Helen, here for just under a week and our neighbor, Victor, who is Russian has made himself available and has spent some time talking with her. The stories that she has shared which likely move in and out of reality… are sad, at the very least. But, it has been helpful to have someone around to put out the flame before it becomes an inferno – or, to cool the post-inferno heat. I am very grateful to everyone who has reached out and offered their help – the physical proximity of Victor and Helen has put them at the top of the list. We also continue to skype with Dima (from the orphanage) when needed.
So, we have 7 days left of this hosting program and, as my Grandfather would have said… we’ve gotten a cheap lesson. We’ve discovered how “big” this whole idea is… we’ve felt the possible ramifications of a permanent decision… we’ve experienced the language barrier… we’ve experienced the language barrier with siblings… and, we’ve gotten a taste of a spectrum of emotionally damaged children. All in just 3 fun-filled weeks!
So where does this leave us? Well, for starters we’re going to try to have a pleasant last week. Yes… we are still trying. We are scheduled to go to Hershey Park this weekend with another host family from Maryland which hopefully will be fun. And then next week, we will pack these two kids up and put them on a plane bound for home. This will be very difficult on many fronts but especially for Rachel with regard to Aleksei, which whom, she has grown very attached. But just to clarify, they were always scheduled to return to Ukraine after the hosting period and the concept of adoption is never discussed unless the family chooses to address it while they are here. In fact, they are not available for adoption until later this fall. So, sending them home is not like kicking them out.
And then, after the kids leave, Bob, Rachel and I are going to go out for dinner and talk… and talk… and talk some more about the good, the bad and the ugly.
And from this conversation, we will determine our direction. We are likely still on the same journey, perhaps just a different path.
So stay tuned for continuing adventures… they never seem to be far away.