On August 13th we, Preston’s Dad and I, moved from our apartment in Izmail to the orphanage in Kiliya. At the same time Preston and all three boys started their journey back to the US. (They are back now and the travel went very well). The boys needed to get back for school and Preston for work. I still have 2 plus weeks left in Ukraine to get things finalized.
Though it was very hard to separate from the boys, I know God ordained this special time for Karis and I to be together. Being able to focus on just her is really great for our bonding. We are now spending every moment of our days together. It has been so great to experience her life in such an in depth way and to be there while she is experiencing new things, but still in the comfort of her little town. She took three, mile long walks to the market with us. The first day you could tell she was a little hesitant to leave the gate of the orphanage and really hesitant to turn down the second road headed away from the orphanage. Her hesitation greatly diminished on our second and third trips. Now, it seems like she is ready to go. Often times when we are out playing in the yard she will grab her bag, a grocery sack I had for the market that she now has all her worldly possessions in (2 dolls, a car, 2 coloring books, 2 brushes, a pencil box, and a photo book about our family and life in Birmingham…all things I have given here since our arrival) and head for the gate. I redirect her to the playground and tell her we are not leaving today. When we do leave on Tuesday, I think she will be ready.
We have quickly learned some of her favorite foods and some of her dislikes. When I asked early on what she ate, they said anything they give her. She does have a great appetite and often eats way too fast. We know she loves cucumbers, bread with mayonnaise, peaches, cheese, yogurt, rice, pasta, chicken, mushrooms and potatoes. We know she does not like grapes, crackers and tomatoes. Meal times with her are fun because I love to see her face light up when she is eating something delicious!
She is a very happy, fun-loving girl. She smiles all the time. Her smile will melt your heart. She loves brushing her dolls hair, looking through books, taking things in and out of their packaging, running, jumping, climbing, throwing the ball, and gathering leaves. She is so excited every day when I pull out a new outfit for her to wear. She loves to give hugs and kisses and I love to give them back to her. She is just a pure joy and I am so blessed to be able to be her Mommy.