Renee's on a ton of mailing lists about adoption, Kazakhstan, older children, and I think even one on adopting left-handed brown boys. It's been a tremendous source of support (see next entry), and she's made some friendships that have really been a lifesaver. One of these new friends was traveling to adopt from our son's baby house in November and December. After we cursed her for going before us, we asked her if she could take a small package for us.
So we (meaning Renee) decided that we create a little photo album with pictures of us, our house, our pets, and included some of him. We also found him a small little stuffed goat. I wanted to include a letter telling him who we are and such, but here I was back to the language problem! So I did what any smart and lazy person would do. I Google'd it until I found MasterRussian.net. This is a fantastic site for learning Russian, but even better there's a forum where you can politely ask these Russian scholars to translate it for you! It was a little difficult for me to figure out how to print in out in Cyrillic characters, but we did it! Success! [Another great resource for language is a CD with phrases that an adoptive parent would find helpful... aptly named Adopting from Russia.]
So our friend took our little gifts over, and we had no idea how it would be received. Would they let him have it? Would someone understand that this was his new parents? When our friend got back, she let us know it was a big hit with our son. He thought it was fantastic, and he would run around the baby house showing the books to other kids, then laughing and running away when they wanted to see it. Even better, our friend was able to share some of her pictures with us. It was surreal us sitting snug in the old USA looking at our new son looking at a picture of his new parents. She was also able to tell us that he was doing well, was a bundle of energy, and looked to be "quite handsome."
I spend a lot of time wondering what he's thinking of. I know that all of the kids there want their "mama and papa." But what does that really mean to them? They know they should want it and they think it's a great idea, but they don't know what they really are. It's like me wanting... I can't even think of wanting such a fundamental thing without really knowing what "it" even is. But as another friend said to me, "Do we ever really know what we want?"