|Reading the Pop-Up book we got in Moscow|
Masha is just PRECIOUS, and even though she is back in the orphanage, her family is working hard now to get her home. Enough from me, here is Cindy in her own words about what it was like to host and orphan over the summer for 5 weeks:
After many discussions between me and Dmitry, we decided in January that we would take 2013 to think about the whole adoption thing. If we wanted to pursue it, we would start the process in 2014. It was definitely a great plan. Then, on February 9, Dmitry woke me up at 1:30am and said he had found our daughter. Just like that, our plan went out the window. Masha, we found out, was not available until 2014 for international adoption. Fortunately, she was a part of a hosting program that would allow her to visit America during the summer and again at Christmas. This presented us with an ideal situation. She could come out and spend time in our family and, ultimately, all of us could choose adoption.
When it was time, Dmitry, Luna, and I, as ready as we could be, headed up to LA and picked up our girl at the airport. We had followed her very long trip online and, once she arrived in America, through other hosting parents. We knew she was tired and nauseated. However, when she got off that plane, she still had smiles and hugs for us. Our hosting had begun.
|Instant big sister and little sister|
I often get asked how it went. I’m quick to say it was amazing because it just was. There were many times when I thought my heart would explode with all the emotion I was feeling. But, I think what surprised me most about our hosting experience was how natural it felt.
We quickly found a new normal and, in some ways, it felt as though Maria had always been a part of our family. We continued with our daily routine, we homeschooled, we walked the dog. Maria just fit seamlessly into our family. It was challenging, of course, but it was in the way that having two children is more difficult than just one. Dmitry and I found ourselves trying to divide everything equally so that Maria and Luna would not complain that the other got more. We talked a lot with both girls about sharing their things.
They would hug and tickle. Wherever one was, you would find the other. Maria was always looking back to make sure Luna hadn’t fallen behind. They were just so much like siblings already that the fighting/competing side had come out. We took that as an excellent sign. So, yes, it was unbelievable to give hugs and kisses to a child that you are unsure has ever had them, but at the same time, it never felt more natural.
Now that Maria is back in Ukraine, we continue back to our task of compiling our dossier. It is almost complete and will be sent off to Ukraine, hopefully, by the beginning of October. Our plan is to travel as soon as Maria hits the system next year. In the meantime, we wait for Christmas. She will be able to come back for two and a half weeks. A short visit, unfortunately, but we will make the most of it. We all miss her here. I feel her absence in everything. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t have my eyes fill with tears thinking of her. Luna has kicked up her imaginary friend play to compensate for Maria being gone. She tells me that she likes her imaginary friends, but they are not as good as having Maria here for real. As for Maria, we know that they are keeping her busy in the orphanage. She is from a very good orphanage and they have dance lessons and different activities to keep the children occupied. I hope that all our hugs, kisses, and I love yous are enough to sustain her until Christmas when she will come back for more. We cannot wait!