Love and Grief

We had our first visit with Juri today.  I have spent the last few hours trying to decide how I want to describe everything we saw and experienced.  There is so much that it is totally overwhelming.  After lots of Facebooking with fellow adoptive parents about all of the things we saw, we are feeling a bit better, but we do want to be honest about what is going on.

Adoption always comes from loss, it’s hard, and we are very much grieving for Juri and the things he has lost.  He has had so much hurt and neglect in his short life, it is difficult to even imagine what he might be going through.  We would really love your prayers for peace and wisdom on our part and for healing for our son’s heart, mind and body.

Juri is much much more delayed than we were prepared for.  Skills that we know he had previously are gone and he seems to have regressed substantially.  This is very common in the orphanages here for various reasons.  But the good news is that he should regain those lost skills fairly quickly once he comes home.

But now that that is all out of the way, let’s get to the fun part!!  Juri is a sweet, lovely, fun boy.  We absolutely adore him.  He is much taller than we thought he would be!  We know that they have not told him yet why we are here, but I think he is figuring it out on his own.  He almost immediately started calling Jake “papa” and not long after started using “mama” for me.

The little bit of Russian we have has been super helpful.  I used several of the phrases I knew, and although we couldn’t understand each other completely I do think it helped with bonding.  I am going to learn a couple more phrases for our visit tomorrow that I wish I had had today.  “I don’t understand” being one of them!  He was very talkative with us and just seemed tickled to have someone’s attention.

We just listened most of the time, and when he wanted something he was pretty good at pointing.  I don’t think he gets to play in the dirt often (like at all!)  We did a lot of playing in the sand boxes and he kept looking at the sand on his hands, trying to rub it off and giggling about it.  I would help him clean off his hands which would make him laugh more and then he would point to his clothes and his wheelchair for me to wipe those off too.  It was lots of fun!

Whenever he would ask for something I would hand it to him and then say in a repeat-after-me tone of voice “Spasibo” and he was hesitant at first, but then would always repeat it to say thank-you to whoever handed him the toy or cookie.  Which, by the way, he loves cookies!  The nannies said he loves food and will eat anything and everything.

After his third cookie I said “Nyet” no more cookies!  But Evie kept handing them to him, so he started asking her!  After that it became a game, he would try to get Evie’s attention for cookies and I would say “nyet, nyet, nyet” with a big smile and he would try to convince me in Russian.  I think he thought his sweetness would change my mind!  He seemed very taken with Evangeline and Stephen and was really listening when we told him their names, though he didn’t repeat them.  We did get him to say a few English words like sand and car.

We had a whole hour with him to ourselves with no translator, which was intimidating but lots of fun and it turned out very well I think.  We can’t share any pictures yet, hopefully soon!  For now here’s a picture of the sign outside his orphanage which means “Welcome!”


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