Sunday, December 14, 2008

time for more

Ahhh . . . where were we? Yes, Tuesday's been described, so I can start with Wednesday, our last day in SPB.

The morning went smoothly. Nastja was awake when I got up, but still in bed. I had to wake the boys, so we could get down for breakfast before it was over. Breakfast was still unimpressive, but by now everyone knew which foods they liked/didn't like. Nastja continued to be a helper as far as the busboys/ladies were concerned . . .

Packing was a bit of a challenge, because I wanted everything to fit in (one) fewer suitcases so we had fewer bags to count and worry about (I put one suitcase inside the other). We had less stuff because of the gifts for the children's home. Luckily everything worked out. The only thing left behind was Stefan's hat (in the closet).

After we checked out, our agency's director took us, and Family N's dad to the police station to pick up the Russian passports and then to the Finnish consulate, where we were dropped off and the driver went back to the hotel for the rest of Family N. There was a HUGE lineup outside the consulate of Russians wanting to get Finnish visas, but we went past all them into a separate area. We had to sign some papers and then the lady went to make the passport (it's only valid for 7 days, but cost 5020 roubles). We had some time to talk with the director about Nastja and the whole process, and she gave us some documents in Russian. Some will be translated into Swedish for us, but some others are more personal (like the letter from great grandma saying she could not adopt Nastja) and she told us we could have them translated ourselves, if we wished too. She also told us that the driver Sergey had said he had never seen such well-behaved boys as ours. He said they were so quiet. That made my day. We had the passport in about 40 minutes and then we were driven to the train station.

We had to wait at the station almost 3 hours, and it wasn't very much fun. Let's just say the lady at the kiosk should have looked happier that we were spending so much money there . . . Nastja and I had a bit of an incident - she had a coin and was trying to put it into the cash machines. I was worried it was gonna get stuck and when I said njet, she just laughed and did it more. So, I took it away from her. Then she went and stood by the pole where our stuff was and pouted for quite some time with her head down. After about 10 minutes, Stefan said it would be okay and go talk to her, she would smile. She did NOT. When I tried to pick her up and hug her, she went all limp onto the floor. It was a horrible feeling. (I can write about this now, because things are really good between us. At the time, I was devastated.) So, Stefan had to console her, and the boys had to console me (I have such clever boys who knew what to say to make me feel better). Some time later, I got back in her good graces by waving some cash and pointing to the kiosk. I know that's not really good parenting, but she took my hand and happily came along, as well as started talking to me again.

The train ride home was not very eventful. Sofia sat with Stefan most of the time, and we had lots of things to keep them all busy. We ate dinner after the conductor checked our tickets. Stefan sat at the table with the kids while I ordered the food. As I stood there, looking out the window, I got weepy thinking about how Sofia was leaving her homeland and this beautiful city. (Cut me some slack, it was an emotional day.) She hardly ate any of her meatballs and mashed potatoes, but she drank all her milk.

We changed trains in Helsinki, and about an hour into the trip, the kids all fell asleep. I think I slept between 2 and three, but I was so nervous we would sleep past our stop - it stops for 1 minute at 4:24am.

We made it home, thinking we were all going to bed, but my brother had other plans and was standing in the hall when we came in. I have no words to decribe how surprised we were. He had brought buttermilk pancake mix, syrup and Tim Horton's coffee, so you can guess what I made for breakfast.

Sofia loved her room and the house. It was awesome to see the joy on her face. I think I already said in a previous post that it was enchanting to decorate the house for Christmas through her eyes.

As for the last 2 days, things are going really well. I phoned my Russian-speaking friend today and she talked to Sofia - everything is good!

She is starting to repeat more things ("Mama scared" - I said I was scared when she turned all the lights out) as well as the phrases from before. She is repeating lyrics from that d@#% Disney cassette and singing with it too. I must mention though, that the boys have been trying to hide it from her because they are DONE with it. Joel cried last night because he couldn't find a quiet place (today he was fine with her, after a good night's rest. Mattias was angry though that she was taking things out of his room).

She gives Stefan and me spontaneous hugs. I love it! She is eating well. She loves crisp bread, rice crispies, juice, rice (Christmas) porridge, baking, salads, vegetables, bananas, etc.

Last night we were at her cousin's 10th birthday party, so she got to meet all her cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. It went well. She was much quieter than at home, but she interacted with the kids on a limited basis. There were a few toys that she particularly liked, and had them in her pocket as we were leaving . . . . We explained they were Emelie's, and left them behind.

Today, Mattias was involved in a performance at the Lutheran church's Christmas party so we all went. Thankfully, when she saw we were all dressed up, she allowed me to suggest one of the outfits that was a little fancier (she's strictly been choosing her own outfits every day). She let me do her hair too, the way I wanted - she has been refusing braids since we got home. Then, this evening, we went back to cousin Emelie's so my brother could visit with them. Sofia played with those same toys, but made no attempt to take them home. Yay!

At the church hall, we were sitting with a couple we know. Kent had commented that he couldn't believe how comfortable she seemed with us. Right now things are going really well. Even though she's a Daddy's girl, she is calling me several times a day to help her with something, or to show me something. This morning, she came into my room and told me it was time to get up (Stefan had already let her get up). She pulled my blankets off . . . she wanted to show me the puzzle she was working on.

So, a couple more pictures . . .

Getting her nails done

Milk-drinking proof!


Andrea said...

Thanks for the next chapter! Sofia sounds like a realy character! I can only imagine the heart break you felt in the train station! Thankful that things are going better between the 2 of you. You must not take it personally, she's testing everything right now I'm sure! Your a great mom Barb! Wish I could have been there for breakfast with you all, just feels like last week we were.

luvin' life said...

Hang in there! The tests will continue, but the love and trust on both sides will grow and be ever more sincere.

The Holms

Denmark Road Trip

The outskirts of St. Pete

St. Petersburg

Saint Petersburg: Sankt-Peterburg, Russian pronunciation: is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (1914–1924) and Leningrad (1924–1991). Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on 27 May, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its foundation, Saint Petersburg was selected as the main motif in a recent Finnish commemorative coin, the €10 Mannerheim and Saint Petersburg commemorative coin, minted in 2003. The reverse of the coin features a view of Saint Petersburg, with the Peter and Paul Fortress and its three turrets. In the coin the words "St. Petersburg 1703-2003" can be seen.