Wednesday, August 6, 2014

In the car

   My best conversations with people always happen in the car. With everyone; my best friend after a girls night, my husband while the kids are napping in their car seats, my 3 year old daughter when my 5 year old gives her the opportunity to get a word in, and even my mother in law. 
In cars, walls come down, and honesty prevails.  The car can be moving or parked. It doesn't matter. It's just something about being confined into a small space without the distractions of life. 
  Last night, I left Adam and took the kiddos on a 2 hour car ride to Los Angeles to stay at my parents house for the night. Alex and Yana both had a vision screening. Dr. Miller from Eye Care Medical Associates in San Pedro has known my family for a very long time (actually my Aunt worked for him for years) and was happy to see the kiddos for free.  Such a blessing.

I was happy to hear Yana has 20/20 vision, although she was disappointed she would not be getting glasses. 

Unfortunately, this was not the case for Alex. Although he has good vision in one eye, he had travmy or trauma, in the other. He has complained that he sees a black spot and things are blurry in that eye. "Travmy," he explains pointing to his eye.
Dr. Miller informed me that there is no treatment that will correct the condition. Although, Alex has an idea! He will just take out his eye and pop in a good one. Done. And. Done. 
I calmly explained, "I don't think that will work, sweetie." He insisted it would, so I just left it at that.  

    Instead, I took him to Costco to pick out a pair of cool glasses. We walked over to the wall of glasses and mirrors. He picked up a pair with all black frames. He asked me "mirror?" and I step out of the way so he could check himself out. 
 "I want. Cool."
Well, that was easy...I would have been there for an hour trying to find the perfect pair. Sometimes boys are so awesome.  

We paid for the glasses, as Yana huffed and puffed and whined in the background, "Eye's bad, no good. Glasses. I want..." 

And we went on our merry way. 

Through this hosting experience, there has been ups and downs. 

We jumped in feet first,  we are now parents to teenagers. Teenagers! And to top it off, these teenagers get to do whatever they want usually. 

"I do what I want in Ukraine." 

They usually do not have a lame mom and dad to tell them to wear their helmets, or that they are going back to the dentist. That it is rude and we do not blow bubbles in our drink, or that we all help clean the house. Oh, and we do not throw french fries up in the air at a nice sit down restaurant and try to catch them with our mouth. 

America no fun! 

I have told Adam so many times during this adventure that we are such a dud family!!!

Sometimes I tell him sarcastically, like when Alex wanted to drive the car. 

And sometimes in reality because they ask for things we do not feel they need, and we want to teach them the importance of working hard and earning things. Dud!
 It would be way cooler of us just to buy them everything they ask for, like a new watch because Yana jumped in the pool again with it on and it finally stopped working.

But through it all, we have totally fell in love with these big pains. We are so in love! I thought we were bringing them here to America to help them. 
(And I hope we have). 

Playing dress up with her 5 year old host sister!

But they have helped us too. 

They have opened my eyes to so much more. Because of them, I see my life as not my own, but one for the Lord. I know he is working through me and so many other people along the way. This experience is so much bigger than little ol' me and I am grateful for it all. 

Grateful for the ups and the downs.

I am dreading the day when I have to say goodbye to these kids, it saddens and sickens me that the date is vastly approaching. 
How has it already been six weeks?


I picked Alex up from a friends house on Monday afternoon and met Adam at a restaurant. (We had a gift card from Adam's birthday back in May.)

After dinner, we gave Adam hugs and said goodbye since we were off to LA and he was going to enjoy the quiet sounds of an empty house for a full 24 hours. 

Before we left the parking lot, Lily started crying in her car seat. "What's wrong Bear?" I asked.

"I miss daddy." She was sobbing, you know the kinda of crying when you can't even get the words out. I got out of the car, walked around the back, slid open the side door then got her out of her carseat.  
Yana asked, "Why she cry?" in English. Alex said something back to her in Ukrainian and they both just watched as I consoled her.  Lily calmed down, so I handed her the kiki (special blanket) and started to head north.

Lily's crying must have made Alex think, 

"I want family." 

He said this to me around the city of San Clemente. About 25 minutes into a car ride where only music played in the background.

Oh God, give me the words....

"Alex, family means rules and do what you want in Ukraine." 

He replied in a firm louder tone, but his voice cracked in the middle of it. 

"Because, because...because I in CHILDREN'S HOME."

He then turned his body away from me toward the passenger side window. 

I grabbed his hand and he did not pull away as I thought he would.

I said, "We love you Alex."

The car was again silent.

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