Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Bitterness in Bittersweet

It's Tuesday. That means my daughter has been in my care for two weeks. What a difference two weeks makes! 
In my last blog, I told you what we did that first night in the apartment after arriving at 7 pm. I didn't have the pictures available at the time, so I'm going to re-cap with photos here. However, the real purpose of this blog is to tell you why I think it took Polina 3 hours to go to sleep after such a long day with no nap. 

Taking a picture in my "little sister" shirt before my bath. My mommy chose this shirt for me to wear on "Gotcha Day" because it is representative of me being in a family - an orphan no more!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the bathtub, even though I don't like water in my ears! I haven't had a real bath since the baby house...over a year ago. 
Check out my super-awesome blanket from Russian friends! It is sooooooo soft!

Mommy's first chance to do my hair. She never realized just how long it was. I'm not a real big fan of having my hair done, but we are getting better at it!

All done and looking pretty!

I was quite captivated by the lights and traffic from the window of our apartment. My mommy writes about this below. 
Okay, in bed. Look at those eyes...curious...what's going to happen next?
Mommy read me a book called "I'll Love You Forever." I listened intently to the first half, and then I started counting the rest of the pages to see how much we had left. The second night, I sat and listened to the whole thing.

And here is the bitter hidden in the sweet...

I thought after such a long, exciting day with no nap and a nice warm bath, my little princessa dotchka would fall asleep quickly with her mommy laying by her side. Not so. If you scroll up to that picture of Polina sitting in the window, you will see a seemingly happy little girl. What you don't see is what is going on in that amazing little mind of hers. On the way to Moscow from Dmitrov, Polina asked several times who would stay with her in Moscow, if she would be by herself, etc. We of course reassured her that she would be with us. She also told me what was my worst nightmare - some of the caregivers had told her that we weren't coming to get her and she wasn't going to get to go to America. One of the older boys at the orphanage had told her that her mom and dad weren't coming because she was a (bad name). I just told her that they were wrong, that we had come for her and we were going to take her to America in a few days. I really didn't think she had a concept of America other than it meant she would live with us in a house, but I have realized since then that she does in fact have the concept that it is a totally different place. All of what I just told you was in the presence of interpreters who told us what she said and translated our response to her. But when we got to the flat, we were on our own...no more translator.

I took a video of her in that windowsill...and it wasn't until 3 days later that I found out what she said in the video. 

My precious baby girl said, "I bet I'm not going to America, I bet I'm only going to the hospital." 

After nearly 6 years of being an orphan, and being told by her caregivers and other kids that she wasn't going to go to America, our reassurance in the car just wasn't enough. What else was she supposed to think? The only time she had been outside the baby house or orphanage was to go to the hospital. The hospital is in Moscow, and there's a pretty good chance she saw the same sights and sounds from her hospital window. And so, in addition to the excitement of the day was the many questions going on in this little girl's mind. Questions no little girl every, anywhere should have to worry about. And so, it took her 3+ hours to finally fall asleep. And when she did, it was the most precious sight...

She was mine and no one was ever going to take her from me!


  1. Wow...what a beautiful, heart wrenching story. God bless you for fighting so hard to bring your princess home.

  2. Hi Kendra. Eversince I've started reading your blog, I was so hoping you'd be together. I'm so happy for Polina and all of you now! She's your dochka :-)
    Sasha, Moscow

  3. Kendra,

    I have a fundraising idea I'd like to share with you. Could you please email me at mlee@coupaide.com?


    Matthew Lee

  4. I hope Sweet Polina is settling in at home in Arkansas. It had to be very difficult for you to come to understand what she said while looking out the window. She's had to be a bundle of nerves, excitement, fear, uncertainty, and love since leaving the orphanage. She's a lovely child and she and your family are equally blessed to have been put into each others lives. I so look forward to the opportunity to continue following your blog for even just a brief glance into your blessed growing family. Thank you for sharing these experiences with us.

  5. I'm a former Russian and I have a first hand knowledge of Russian institutions for children. Thank you for saving Polina.

  6. I would like to thank you for keeping this blog. I come here to find inspiration. I first heard of you from the story on ABC news. I find you Kendra to have a very strong person to go thru all to this to adopt someone from so far away. I like seeing the images and videos of 2 cultures helping each other. Polina seems like such a special girl to go thru all of this. Someday I wish to see a Russian orphanage in person.

  7. Dear Kendra,
    I cried when I read your posts about getting Polina. At the same time, I'm very happy for you that you finally reunited with your daughter! She is such a sweet innocent girl who deserves a great life.
    God bless you and Polina!
    I wish she has a smooth transition into your family. Please keep us posted.

  8. Sweet girl!! So glad she is safe in your arms!