I have my hands full with one more tonight and a slumber party for 2, so I hope you won't mind the brief update. Sleep was a lost commodity last night and doesn't promise to be much better tonight! It was nearly 6am before I was able to drift off and I was awaken at 9 am by a text message from my facilitator this morning. Due to a number of factors, I decided to check Kristina out of the orphanage today. Natasha and I caught the bus from the apartment at a busy time. We claimed the last two seats as the aisle became standing room only for the passengers climbing on after us. We were about to pull out when an old woman squeezed through the closing door. I doubted she could reach the overhead bar to keep herself steady, so I offered her my seat. M.C. Hammer crooned "Can't Touch This" through the bus speaker system as the vehicle lurched into traffic. I stumbled backwards into the gentleman attempting to balance behind me and thought ironically that the song didn't apply to me.
At the orphanage I sat down with the social worker who looked at me and said, "You are ready to go home, yes?" I wondered if it was that obvious. Vladik ran to fetch Kristina eating in the cafeteria. No one anticipated her leaving today and there was a scurry of activity in the playroom. I could tell that Kristina's caregivers weren't prepared for this moment. She grabbed her jacket and hurriedly pulled on her shoes as the two women spoke words of advice to her. I told Kristina to let them know that this wasn't goodbye. We would come back later in the week for a going away party. I tried to keep things upbeat as Natasha indicated that the taxi would be there any minute. Sergi and Greshia offered to pull her suitcases outside. I paused to embrace Seryozha, kissed him on the forehead, and knew I needed to walk away soon. Quick hugs all around and we were out the door. It was the best thing for all of us.
Back at the apartment, I opened the two suitcases to find one empty and the other with a few books and photos. The only clothes she had were the ones on her back. She played on the computer for awhile and we called Robert so she could say hello. She decided on pizza for dinner and we walked through the steady rain down to Pan Pizza. It was difficult for me to keep a straight face as her line of questioning picked up from where we had left off last time. Serious as can be, she asked, "Mama, who is going to teach me to kiss?" I raised my eyebrows and she went on to explain. "What happen when I am at marriage and my husband wants to kiss me? I do not know how. And he will say, "did not your mother teach you?'" I couldn't stop myself from laughing at that one. I assured her that we would cross that bridge when we got to it (and that bridge is far, far away!). We stopped at the store on the way back to buy a toothbrush. Back at the apartment, she asked to shower and I provided her with the pajamas and underwear I brought from the states. She asked if I could wash her clothes so they would be clean for tomorrow. While she was showering I laid out the handful of outfits I brought with me.
Now she is organizing the bathroom and dusting our tiny studio apartment as she explains why she loves High School Musical so much (namely Zach Efron). We brought dessert back with us and will settle down to cheesecake and tiramasu as soon as I can get her to sit still. I am taking Robert's advice and trying to enjoy our time together here in her hometown. I am laughing more today and thankful for this precious child God has brought into our lives.