Brian’s 12th Birthday

We had a brief birthday celebration for Brian at the orphanage today.  We had peeked at the cakes at our favorite market in Novosilky on Saturday, but they only had one.  They had a whole new selection today and Brian was pleased to choose a very beautiful and tasty cake for 30+ grivna.  That’s less than 5 bucks!  We found some candles at the market too.

Ilya and his wonderful friend, Sasha, joined us for Brian’s “party.”  We all sang happy birthday to him and then he blew out his candles.  Twelve candles creates a good bit of smoke!  We enjoyed some cake and then a couple lively rounds of Uno or “Odean” as we played it.  The first time around, it came down to a duel between Ilya and Sasha after everyone else was out.  The second game narrowed down to Dad and Ilya and it was so good and playful and bond-forming to laugh and play together.

We went outside to play after that and everyone had a good time.  It was another beautiful day in Ukraine!  The trees are budding and things are really starting to look springy around here.  Ilya spent a lot of time playing with and loving on the “orphanage dog” Jessie.  I’m guessing that he was thinking about how much he will miss her.

Before we had to leave, I wanted to talk with Ilya a bit about what is coming next.  I wanted him to understand what will happen on Wednesday for court and so on.  He isn’t given much information and we want him to know what’s happening and not spring anything on him.  We only got so far in our conversation and decided we needed some help with translation.  So we headed up to Natasha’s office (the social worker) for some help.  We sat down and talked about how we will all get to the court building on Wednesday.  It sounds like we will need to ride out to the orphanage on the metro and the bus so that we can all ride together to court from there.  That will make it a rather early morning for us – oy!  I was so thankful to hear that our court appointment was at 11:00, but we will need to leave home before 9:00 to get out to COCH by 10:00 to take off from there.  As we discussed the logistics of the day and then also asked him how he was feeling and if he feels ready, I could see the peace in his face that he has in his heart and he said that he is not worried at all.  Only God can give us this kind of peace and I was so thankful again for all the prayers lifted on our behalf and God’s answer being revealed in the face of our precious son.  He is ready for this.  We asked him if he has any questions about anything and he said no.  Let’s make it official!

Ilya has never asked us for anything.  Not when he stayed with us, never during any of the phone calls we made over all those months, not one thing.  I asked him today before we left “Can I bring something for you tomorrow?”  He initially said no.  I pressed him a little and said “Are you sure?”  He changed his mind and said “Yes.”  I said “What would you like me to bring?”  He answered “suckers” in Russian, but I didn’t get it.  Our clever boy found a stem and a round object of some sort and made a picture on the sidewalk for me of what he wanted!  I said “Oh!  You can have that right now!”  I had forgotten that we had brought our big bag of Dum-Dum suckers along.  I told him to grab a big handful of them and we found a small bag to put them in.  Then I asked again what I could bring “zahvtra.”  He agreed to have me bring gum for him.  Consider it done!  This is important to me because he is allowing us to provide something for him.  And that is part of a parent-child relationship.  These kids have all become too independent and self-reliant too early in life.  They’ve learned that they can’t rely on adults and that adults hurt them or leave them.  They learn how to take care of themselves.  So the fact that Ilya was allowing me to bring something special for him was very significant.  I’m glad that he hasn’t seen us as a vending machine either all these months, because it would have been hard to sort out what that’s all about.  But because he’s never asked for anything, I thought this was great.  On Saturday, he asked me to take a photo of him and a worker at COCH who is special to him.  Interestingly enough, she has been one of my favorites too.  I felt so privileged to take a photo of my son that was important to him.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dave Ritzman
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 10:10:52

    Happy birthday, Brian! Hello Boehrs! We miss you and our visits with our children at the orphanage. Thank you for including Sasha in your visits and Brian’s BD. I was jealous…that cake looked awesome.

    Colder, cloudier in the Twin Cities with rain turning to a few inches of snow forecasted later afternoon. Happy Spring…MN-style.

    We’re excited for your court date. We just spoke with Sasha. He enjoys being around you guys as well as the Moores. I asked him if Iilya was a little scared about court (as Sasha was). He said “yes.” I then asked him to talk with Iilya that that’s OK and tell him how court goes and assure him it’ll be alright. He said”OK.”

    Great insight on the “asking for stuff” as a significant step in the relationship…well analyzed and stated. It really reinforced being aware of the needs of the kids even…the ones we already have. God Bless the Boehrs!


  2. The McEacherns
    Apr 19, 2011 @ 13:14:53

    Way to find a yummy cake! A lot of the cakes here look good but end up being dry and kind of flavorless. Happy Birthday, Brian!


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