Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Interviews and Photographs

Drawing "Welcome Home" posters for the Volf family

I know, I know! I feel the seething wrath of those of you who are holding me to my promised weekly posting. I know I'm late but I've got a good excuse. I had to go out of town for work the first couple of days this week. Plus, a lot has happened and I've got a couple of credits coming to me for posting more than once last week, huh?

Since our last posts, we have had two interview sessions and a photographer at our house. Let me explain. Our hometown paper, The Times-Call, is doing a story on us and our adoption process. Maggie, the reporter, came one day to interview us all. The kids really enjoyed it. I don't remember the questions that were asked of the kids, but each got to say a little. Mom and Dad did most of the talking, though. On Saturday, Morgan the newspaper photographer came to our house and stayed three hours to catch us and the kids doing "what we do". The kids knew this was a big day and insisted on a morning shower. They wanted to wear their best clothes and do their hair to look their best for the camera, without any input from us! It was a cute gesture on their parts. I was worried that they would try and pose, look at the camera, or be shy with someone around snapping pictures. Morgan had a couple of cameras that are way cooler than ours, so I was concerned about that too. However, the kids acted natural and were themselves. I guess they are used to being photographed now. We went outside for a snowball fight and photo shoot, too.

Maggie is a new face, but Heidi and I know Morgan from the UOO camps she has photographed for the paper. Morgan sent Heidi some enlargements of this summer's camp and one of the photos of me and Zhenya was framed as my birthday gift. I will always treasure it and think of him. I trust in Maggie, Morgan and the paper to do a great story as they have done in the past. When the story comes out, I will be sure to link the article to our blog so that you may see it. I didn't get word of when it would be published, so hang tight!

Donna, our social worker came out Tuesday while I was gone for our first home visit interview. Again, the kids were fine with all the attention. Donna gave us rave reviews and big thumbs up on our success with the kids. She said that they have bonded with us and are doing great in the process of learning how to live in a happy and healthy family.

Donna agrees with our assessment of Julia and offered her input as to where we could go for needed services such as special education, Occupational Therapy for children, and Speech Therapy. These are all things Julia will need as she is quite behind in school. She needs help speaking correctly (Ukrainian & English), and she need OT help to ease her confusion if she is left or right-handed and some other basic movements. Julia needs special assistance with school and a traditional classroom setting is not ideal for her right now. We have another appointment soon with her teacher and a special education teacher to assess her situation. None of us thinks Julia is not capable, mentally. She just never received a good learning foundation to build upon and she needs help in reading, writing and mathematics. She was so sick for so long that she missed years of school. Julia had pneumonia when she was taken from her bio-parents home. There are signs too, that she was never nurtured as a baby and no one took the time to teach her simple life skills. We believe that our friends, the Spanish family she went to on hosting trips, potty trained her at the age of eight! I bet my sweetie is capable of great achievements once we help her master the basics!

Some great achievements for Julia this week were her touching and pinching at school. The teacher said Julia understood our talk with her through our translator (Lilya) and it has done wonders. She controls herself and knows that "touching is only for family", as we say. Julia also sailed through her dental appointment on Monday. She was supposed to have only one cavity filled and have the next one done a week later. Our dentist recognized that giving her two shots of Novocaine on two different sides of her mouth might be traumatic for her. We had two appointments. So, he started the one tooth and she was terrific! He told her that the other tooth just needed a little work and she let him finish it without more Novocaine, on the non-numb side of her mouth. I can't do that! He was in and out fast and she received two prizes for her superior performance!. We got to cancel next weeks appointment for her. So we have two out of three kid's dentals completed.

We start medicals and establishing pediatric care for them over the next couple of weeks. Everyone seems to be in excellent health now and Kolya has even grown an inch since he's been with us and eating! Julia's has gained a few pounds too and her face and body has filled out. Gone are the dark circles under her eyes. Nadia looks healthier too and is happy and doing quite well in school. All of the kids are talking in English as a choice sometimes and we get the occasional argument in English. Not long after her eighth day of intensive English, Nadia could speak, read, write and talk in English. She could do a little before, but she has exploded since being home. So has Kolya. All of the kids get to see Lilya once a week for an hour or two to reinforce their Ukrainian/Russian skills. I suppose they will keep their Spanish too as it is spoken in the hallways, playgrounds and at home when we can't get the message across. Their teachers use it with them too when needed. So, we have some tri-lingual kidos!

Also this week, we talked with our contact in Ukraine who is working Zina's registration. Things are happening and there are indications that Zina could be registered within a couple of months. I can't tell you much about it now, so I'll invoke the attorney-client privilege rule! Remember, once Zina is registered, we will have to wait one year for international adoption. Rimma was registered in October, so she will be eligible for us in October 2009. The plan is to get them both at the same time, so Rimma will need to wait until Zina's clock expires. Both girls know this and understand, they both want to come home together. Rimma will wait, she has already turned down two adoptions since her registration. Hmmnn, Spring to Summer of 2010 for adoption, Ukraine here we come again!

Now you are getting the picture of why we haven't posted this week. Stay tuned, things are getting interesting around here. I might have more to say this week, too. You never know!

~ Felix ~

About Us

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Longmont, Colorado, United States
Heidi loves to play sand volleyball, sail and garden. Felix loves to fly at the local aeroclub, sail and fish.