Today we are celebrating Rimma's first Christmas home with our family! We owe our thanks to God for bringing her home.
In case you don't have a free week or two to read our blog from start to finish, here's the Cliff Notes version of our story of how Rimma joined our family. We met Rimma during the first UOO camp in December 2007. She, four other children and one 100% non-English speaking caretaker stayed in our house for one life changing week. Felix and I were enchanted with Rimma by the time we arrived home from the airport that first night.
When we inquired about Rimma, her chaperons told us that she was not registered and was not available for adoption. They told us, "Choose another child - there are so many." Really? It it was too late - we were goners. I called our stateside adoption helper for advice. She told me, "Don't do it. It will take a very long time, cost a lot of money, and it will break your heart." Well, we didn't listen to her, either.
Fast forward 2.5 years. RimmaRichelleRoge came home forever on March 3rd this year. She turned 14 in September and attends 8th grade with Nadia.
Rimma's personality is exactly what we observed during that short time together in 2007. She is spunky and incredibly full of life. She either likes it or she doesn't, and there is absolutely no hiding her emotion. You always know what she's thinking. And her smile and laugh are contagious. Rimma is persuasive and openly affectionate, and this combination makes it very difficult to tell her no.
At home Rimma is affectionately known as "Hollywood." It took several months for her to accept her nickname, but it stuck. Rimma brought fashion, style, makeup, jewelry, hair drying and straightening to a new level in the Roge household. This has it's pros and cons. On one hand we have had to have more than a few discussions about beauty on the inside. The good news is that Rimma shares a room with Julia and she's done a great job helping Julia with self-awareness, grooming and cleanliness.
At school Rimma has proven herself as a great student with a tendency toward over-achieving. Being immersed in English for the first few months of school exhausted her. Each day I came home from work to find her napping in bed! Then, during the fall semester, she asked to be excused from the dinner table to get back to her homework...almost every day. Rimma's progress with English and her other core classes is incredibly strong. Her determination is so strong that we've encouraged her to back off and not take it all too seriously.
One thing that Rimma has taught me is to slow down and be present (and to sometimes be flexible on quiet time rules). Despite being fourteen years old, she missed out on being in a family for half of her young life. She needs nurturing and a lot of time with mom and dad because she's only been home for nine months. I feel overwhelming love and very privileged when I spend this time with Rimma.
We have been incredibly blessed to have Rimma as our daughter. She is a true joy in our lives.