Tuesday, February 26, 2008


When I post my "pages" directly from the scrapblog site, they show that they are posted by "Mamaaidan".

Here is why I adopted this "nickname" some time ago. We have friends from Burundi. One interesting thing they shared with me is that there, once you have a child you are then called "Papa" or "Mama" followed by your oldest child's name. Hence, I am "Mamaaidan".

I just loved that. What a recognition of the fact that when we have children - we are not the same people that we were before!

Aidan's Page

Monday, February 25, 2008


After years, literally, of thinking about, dreaming about, wondering about Sergei's sister, Nadia.....we finally got the report.
Curiously, the 23rd of the month has always been an important date for us. Sergei was adopted on May 23, Zhen on April 23. Sergei, Zhen and Anastasia were were all baptized on the 23rd of one month or another. Well, we were told on the 19th to expect our report the next day. It didn't come and didn't come. Then the thought came to me - we'll get it on the 23rd - and, surely enough, we did.
And there were surprises! Nadia is married. She has a little girl. This is a photo of Nadia and her sweet little Yulia.
Somehow I expected - what? Less? More? Some days I would imagine that she had fallen into some sinful way of life. Other days I would think that, brilliant as Sergei is, she was like him and through some miracle, at the university. Actually, she is married to a man she loves; he supports the family and, unusual for Russia, I gather, she is an "at home" mother. It sounds as though she puts a lot of effort into her little girl.
To my relief, she told the searcher that neither she nor her husband drink; since her father and mother were both alcoholics, she wanted to avoid it altogether. They live in a very remote "settlement" in Rostov Region. I gather they are very poor. The searcher did not provide photos of the house, to my disappointment, but those of Nadia, Yulia and Viktor (her husband) seem to indicate that there is nearly no furniture - only a plain table, and a couple of chairs. The searcher pointed out how poor the family is, but also that the house is spotless.
The biggest "surprise" I guess is that since she is married and a mother, herself - so very "grown up" (unlike Lydia who is so close to her in age) - I cannot feel "motherly" toward her as I expected to, and wanted to. I am surprised, I suppose, that I cannot start petitioning all sorts of government agencies to bring her to the United States. But she is firmly bound to home and family. I am relieved she seems to be a good person, a moral person (she is still quite close to their godmother, she mentioned) and well.
I am surprised that such "grandmotherly" feelings regarding Yulia are bubbling up. I can't wait to send some pretty little dresses and shoes, some board books and cuddly stuffed animals. My actual grandchild - Calvin, dear, beloved and adorable as he is - in a dismaying way, doesn't "need" anything from me. He is surrounded by loads of cossetting relatives who pour gifts on him and leave little part for me to play - particularly from a distance. Certainly his need for clothes, books, toys are met and surpassed. But Yulia clearly lives with nearly nothing and I can't wait to make life a little better for her and her mom.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Anne- 966 Rostov also success Report tomorrow.

Here is the e-mail I got today from our search agency. Can you imagine how I feel? I am just shaking, almost. Sergei's sister. I cannot wait to tell him.

In a skewed way it is like adopting again. She will be family now.....like it or not!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Maxim was quite excited about the dance at another Catholic parish. I was driving him over there and he was telling me about it. After I expressed some concern over his description of the last dance at that parish (questionable song choices for a Catholic school), he hastened to assure me that this was going to be a very nice dance. "Mrs. Kitching! They are going to have confessions!".

"Confessions??" I responded, a little confused. My first thought was to wonder what sort of dance they would be having that required going to confession afterwards! Then, of course I got a grip on myself, and suggested that Confessions were probably going to be going on at the church that evening.... No! Maxim insisted that Confession was a feature of the dance.

He got out his flier to make his point - I read, "Concessions will be available." He read it again, too, and realized that the word was not quite what he thought...but still looked confused.

"Maxim, do you know what "concessions" are? No. So I explained, but stuck in my head is the vision of a Catholic School dance so rowdy that Sacramental Absolution would be a necessary follow-up!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008



Russians, originally uploaded by mamaaidan.

I'm posting these directly from flickr, and they come up differently, obviously. If you click on them, they open up so the side isn't cut off.

Nastya's Page

Russians, originally uploaded by mamaaidan.

I'll (hopefully) make a copy of this for her grandmother, too.

Zhenya's Page

Russians, originally uploaded by mamaaidan.

This one just makes me happy to look at.


As you see below I was not exactly fasting from the COMPUTER yesterday. Actually, the woman who coordinated our adoptions is going to Russia next week, and asked for a photo and info about each of our kids which she can share with all and sundry in Ivanovo.

Can I simply send a photo and info? NO! Not when I can spend so many hours coming up with a photo-montage! Anyway, they were fun. I'm sort of sorry about the way they post on the blog, as there is no "photoshow"....just the one page for each child. Just click "full page" and you'll see Sergei's in all it's glory. I can already see improvements, of course, and just last night took a much nicer photo of him.....but....

Now I have to figure out how to get these printed. Keep your fingers crossed as I rely on a flash drive and Kinkos.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


A couple of years ago, when we adopted Nastya, we had the fun of a day at Gorky Park. This is Craig, thoroughly enjoying himself there. It was warm and bright and we had our new little daughter. No real worries. Springtime.
I got the software for my new camera today, so was trying to put some photos in my computer, and I ran across this one.
To put things in perspective - it is cold here. It is something like 3 degrees. Cold wind. The porch creeks oddly when I step on it. The snow crunches strangely underfoot. The house is not as "tight" as one might wish, and near the walls it is unpleasantly chill. The dishes are cold when I take them from the cupboard.
I'd love to be in Gorky Park in May without a care in the world!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


The above is our "case number". "Hope" is what we search for. Actually, who we search for. This week - actually tonight while we sleep - the search begins for Nadezhda (hope, in Russian), Sergei's sister. I am so excited. I hope she will be glad to hear from us.....or, am I jumping the gun, so to speak? I should just hope we find her, and that the hint another searcher gave us that she is studying at an institute in her home town of Belaya Kalitva, in Rostov Region, is accurate.

She should have just turned 22. She is almost the age of Sergei's adopted sister, Lydia. And, curiously, we came so close to naming Lydia "Nadia". Our oldest son is Aidan, and while my mind does not usually work this way, someone made him a little mobile with the letters of his name: A I D A N. And, every so often they would float around so that you saw them backwards: N A D I A. I was rather charmed by that, and love Russian names....but then the thought struck me - Aidan is adorable, wonderful, perfect in every way! I certainly don't want his sister to be the opposite of that! And with that thought, any idea of calling our daughter "Nadia" was dropped. But it is a beautiful name - Hope. And perhaps Aidan will get a "sister", Nadia, after all.

I hope she is well. I hope she had only the best and most loving influences in her life..... I hope she has been able to use her potential. Sergei is so intelligent and has such a beautiful, calm, loving disposition.....it seems quite likely to me that Nadia would be the same. Despite the trauma, despite the loss she has experienced.

I feel so guilty, in a way. When we adopted Sergei four years ago, I heard about this sister....and lay in bed nights praying for her, anguishing for her, worrying about her. But Sergei was at a boarding school in Ivanovo. So far from his - and her - birthplace of Belaya Kalitva. Our contacts had no association with Rostov Region. No one suggested contacting her, finding her, adopting her. I wish they had. Having discovered Anastasia's family, and adopting her brother Ilya, I see it is not impossible. Friends have adopted girls of 16 and 17. We might have done it. I hope she didn't think of that herself, daydream about it. I hope she will forgive us for forgetting her all these years.

Quite a powerful thing I've set in place. We may talk to her on the phone this week! We may never know where she is. All I can do now is pray. And hope.


Lent started on Wednesday. I decided that since giving up meat is no penance for me and I needed some additional abstinance to mark Fridays. So I decided to abstain from blogging. So last week I made the little sacrifice not to write my blog, or look at anyone else's, on Ash Wednesday and Friday.

Ironically, I thought, I didn't go to blogville on Thursday and Saturday either. Turns out I was just being too busy! I was responsible for two big events at church this week, including a four-hour Confirmation retreat last night, and that took my time and energy....that and basketball games.
I almost thought that might be God telling me that I'd be better off to give up blogging as my every-day-of-Lent sacrifice!

Saturday, February 2, 2008


I was tagged in one of my new favorite blogs, "The Peter's Peapod", to share seven random facts about me. Since I did that (and one better!) in the "Eight Random Facts" that I posted previously....I will, instead, respond to the excellent query in Cris' blog. She asks "What lifts your spirits?" In the spirit of the tag, I'll list 8 things.

1. A clean house does wonders. Finishing any cleaning job - a clean cabinet, or closet or refrigerator really lifts my spirits.
2. Irish dance.
3. Embroidering....
4. Reading a Barbara Pym book.
5. Walking in the rain.
6. Being out somewhere - for example, in a big city or out on a country road - all by myself - where no one would be able to find me. For some reason, when only God knows where I am it is oddly exhilerating.
7. The Iowa countryside lifts my spirits.
8. Antique shops, too.

I'll tag Karen, Rachel and Kate with that "revised" version - what lifts your spirits? But, I'd love to hear from anyone!

Friday, February 1, 2008


Lydia in the "Salon"

Lydia suddenly decided she needed an adventure. So, a couple of weeks ago we renewed her membership in "aupair connect". Within a few days she was offered a job by a family in Spain. She is taking care of two children; her job is primarily speaking English to them, so they become fluent. The family lives just outside of Madrid. The father is in some sort of high-tech finance, and the mother is a jewelry designer and artists' representative.

I can't help but think that in addition to the novelty of living in a foreign country there will also be the novelty of living within a different income class. In addition to the house in Madrid, they also have a house on the Costa Brava. The summer home is, I hear, ancient and picturesque and frequently used as a setting for films. The Madrid house isn't half bad either from the photos I've seen! I didn't feel quite right posting a photo of someone else's house, however beautiful and unlike my own, but it seemed possible with Lydia as the focal point, particularly if it were blurry. I asked her where she was in this photo, and she said "the salon" which I found rather charming, in and of itself.

They noted after she had been there a week or so that she appeared to be "losing volume". I suppose there must be something to the "Mediteranian diet". She tells me there is a lot of fish, but has not given too many other details apart from the recipe for her favorite dish so far - tortilla de potato (or something like that). I plan to try it tonight.

They must have asked what her favorite food was because she described a taco to them, and they made her one. She was quite delighted at first to see - a tortilla! and ground beef! However at that point her expectations parted company with the reality. The "taco" was then topped with roasted garlic, rice, and ketchup! She has asked me to send her a care package with taco seasoning, among other things.