Our Girls… Five Years Later
It was around this time, five years ago, that Benedetto and I found ourselves in a remote region of southern Russia, adopting two sisters. The weather was hotter than hot in a land with seemingly no air conditioning. Before my husband arrived, I remember sitting in a tiny square near the orphanage, a quilt placed on the park bench under a big tree. There, my daughters-to-be and I forged a friendship on visiting days.
So much has changed since then. They met the boys, their brothers-to-be on Skype, along with the dogs, Misha and Grisha. By the time we got home, most everything seemed familiar.
Sashenka was eight-and-a-half and almost failing the first grade. Mashenka was eleven and finishing second. Neither girl had ever been to school before the orphanage. We faced deficits before we’d even gotten out of the starting gate.
One had 21 cavities and a head full of lice that we would not discover until months later. Plus, her sister displayed plenty of her own problems.
Now, five years later, they are happy and assimilated 90% of the time. Doing well in school, their Russian is not shabby, either. They are bright, and polite, and “with the program”.
I took the girls out to a Chinese restaurant the other day for a luncheon buffet. Trying their first sushi by their own choice, I laughed when both took a bit of who-knows-what and recoiled. What a contrast with long ago. One of their first Mama-cooked-meals happened in our apartment in Moscow when I made pelmeni and peas… and even the peas were too exotic for Sashenka who had little experience with vegetables.
Today, I pulled out their Russian passports, soon expiring: a sullen face, and a fearful face. Those were their “happy” looks five years ago.
They’ve come a long, long way.
—————Tags: adoptive parenting blog, challenges that older adoptees face, five-year progress report on adopted children, good reports of international adoption, Mashenka and Sashenka, Russian adoptees five years later