At seven this morning, the six of us gathered around the phone and dialed a cell phone in Ukraine. It was the first time I have heard that scratchy Russian accent in eight months. She laughed when I told her "I love you" in Russian. She said she missed us and she loved us. I wish there could have been some way to record the conversation just so I could hear her voice again whenever I needed to.
She asked to speak to "father", such a formal name! When I handed the phone to Robert, you could hear her squeal "Papa!" from the other side of the room. She spoke with Hannah and the boys briefly and then the phone returned to me. We each wished her a happy birthday and she communicated as best she could in her limited English. She has lost much of her communicative English. She learned so quickly the first time, I'm sure it will come back as quickly.
We arranged for one of the workers in Ukraine to take Kristina and five of her friends out of the orphanage to celebrate. Birthdays are not typically observed in the orphanages for obvious reasons. I received an e-mail with the details of her party this evening. A car was hired and the children went to a Chuck E. Cheese style restaurant where they ate pizza and cake and played games to their hearts' content. We were told that the children had a wonderful time. I know it eased the hurt of being apart on such a special day. At least it did for us . . .