Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 3, Morning Visit

Remember this picture on the left? It is the initial picture of Alina that grabbed our hearts. Our instincts told us to look deeper than what was on the surface. And we are so grateful for that moment of insight, that moment where our experience with Bridget intersected with love and hope for a little girl we did not know. Our hearts must have known her, as we were firm in our commitment to bring her home from the minute we set eyes on her.

Nowhere does this picture say that this little girl is clever (as her Russian-speaking caregiver said to us today in her best English), or determined, or strong, or sweet. Nowhere does it say that she is full of potential. She looks blank here.

And yes, she will blossom even more with the love of a family. But we are learning that if you could look below the surface of the photo on the left, you would she that she has been given opportunity here, and she's been cared for with good intention. Now that we are here with her in person, we can begin to see the whole picture. The picture below is the beginning of the story of her life outside the orphanage. The bleak, expressionless part of her life is fading away as her new life with a family begins.

We are grateful that someone picked up on Alina's value and potential. We do not know how she came to live with typical children, but we are grateful. She has been given a chance to grow and develop alongside children who unknowingly encourage her to reach higher and go farther than she would if she had been underestimated from the start.

We realize that Alina's situation might not be the norm, and while we are relieved that this is her reality, we are sad for all of the children who are not encouraged, who have less of a chance to reach their full potential...especially the ones without families coming for them.

Switching Gears...

This morning's visit was awesome! Alina (wearing the same green dress, new tights--red with ducks) came out ready to have her picture taken for her passport :). We were asked to play with her for a few minutes in the area by the lockers and wait for the photographer. A few of her caregivers speak a tiny bit of English--enough that, combined with gestures, we are able to understand (fairly) clearly what is being said to us. The staff are all very patient with us, and with Alina. They have allowed us to do most everything we have asked. We are keeping our requests simple and within reason, but they have indulged us when we have asked to take her to the music room, or to go outside, etc.).

Here is video of Alina eating lunch. The woman who was helping her to eat was really good with Alina--you can see in the video. We are so thankful to have been able to sit with Alina while she ate to see that her caregivers have been helping her and encouraging her, even though she needs extra assistance with eating. We know that it takes time and focus when both of those things can be in short supply with such a large group of children to watch over and care for.

We were able to take Alina outside for a walk, which she liked very much. She was getting tired, so Chris snuggled her in and she fell asleep in his arms. It was precious. When we took her back inside, she found the sunglasses I had set down by my bag. Hmmm. Another child who loves sunglasses, purses, bracelets and such. Maybe Bridget and Alina are genetically connected after all...

More soon...



  2. oh, i can see a trend here...i'm thinking there may be many fashion shows in alina and bridget's future! such fashionistas!
    love it love it love it!
    more happy tears...must get myself cleaned up...i'm at work crying again...i'm sure my coworkers think i've lost my mind--i'm sooo happy but crying every day!!
    give alina a hug from me, k?

  3. I'm so glad you are having such a positive experience there!
    And you're lucky to be able to visit her twice a day and see her eat and interact!!
    We didn't see any of that in a month and a half.
    I am truly amazed and overjoyed at how 'healthy' she looks, in every way. It just goes to show everyone that they shouldn't go only by the picture when they're looking at these children.
    There is so much more to the story behind the picture :)

    Ok, so what about Alexander!???????

  4. Oh Lisa!!! You sweet baby Alina is so precious! Love the video of her eating! She's doing really well and she's not going to miss a bite!!! :)! Love her already!

  5. I agree with Julia! I too am glad you listened to the nudging of the Holy Spirit and looked at Alina with God's eyes instead of the world's. What a blessing she will be to your family and to people who get to know her!

    LOVE the eating video!!!


  6. The previous comment was a repeat :)...I accidentally published it a second time!

  7. Praise God for being specific!!!!!! I love it! And I love miss Alina! :)

  8. What a doll! God Bless You for saving this little one. LOVE the shades... Cool Breeze! (You know the cell phone is next!!)

  9. Love the video! She is adorable!

  10. Oh, she is soooo adorable! You are so blessed to have found this little treasure!

  11. More video please! We love seeing her "in action." I can't wait for Alina and Bridget find all your high heels to go with the sunglasses and jewelry... :) Rachel and I want a front row seat to their first fashion show! Hugs!!!!

  12. My name is Alina too-as a 3 yr I had wondered about the fact,that I did not even had a patron saint,I realized nobody was born a saint,but we are all called to be saints-in 1999 I wrote the the Holy Father JPII,sending him a picture of a rose that bloomed from a totally dead bush,like a root of Jesse ,as a topographical map of Poland on 06-16-1999,the day he celebrated open air Mass in Wadowice,city of his birth-he proclaimed Padre Pio Saint on JUNE 16-Alina's namesday,having beatified/proclaiming him blessed/ May 2-my granddaughter's Monika Marie's birthday.Alina-means beautiful,waiting for her prince,from german Adeline-noble of character.I lived up to it,she was born with it-count your blessings,don't forget to celebrate her namesday,in Poland we consider name that God called us by more important than birthday,alina grace