Wednesday, March 11, 2009


We have 29 Blogger followers and about a million lurkers. Thanks for sticking with us waiting for an update from me. It is Mar. 10 today. March 15 will mark one month home as a new family. What fun it has been to have our new kids here.

As you can imagine, this has been a time of firsts for our Ukies, both little (the first experience with an electric can opener) and big (school!).

We arrived in Mitchell Sunday evening, Feb. 15. The next day, we gave the kids haircuts. Sergey was in desperate need of one, and Valya had been indicating since before I took her from her orphanage that she had been wanting to cut it shorter (using charades, snipping with her fingers like scissors). The day I took Sergey out of his orphanage, we walked about a mile in Odessa looking for a barber that could take us in immediately, without luck.

A friend of ours from Rapid City, who by a fortunate coincidence, was in the area and was able to meet us at the airport, is a hair stylist and she stopped in to do the cuts. She is also the one who gave Mark his first haircut when he was a baby.

They did the haircuts while I was at work. After work, Valya would run and hide from me and wouldn't let me see her hair. The reason was because she knew that I preferred it long. Before, when she would show that she wanted it cut, I would say, "no, no, it's beautiful!" Eventually, I was able to grab her and bearhug her and tell her that her new hair was beautiful, too.

She loves her short hair. When she sees pictures of herself with long hair, she says, Bad. Actually, almost all pictures of herself she thinks are bad. I try to tell her often that she is beautiful, maybe it will help. When I tell her she is beautiful, she usually says No! One time she even pretended to punch her face or cut herself with scissors to prove that she is not beautiful. Something in her past has given her a poor selfimage, I do not know what yet.

Cindie gave Mark his first haircut at 12 mo., in Sept. 1995. Valya was also 1 year old, and Sergey would be born a month from then. The seeds of a new family were being put into place on the other side of the world.

This is the only picture we have of Valya getting her hair cut now. She deleted all of the other pictures off of the camera before I could get them uploaded to the computer, including one with a big pile of hair on the floor. She is like that - she will quietly delete pictures off of the camera that she doesn't like, so now I am very careful with the camera and make sure she doesn't delete pictures from it. Sergey has also been known to do that. In Odessa, more than once he deleted some pictures I had taken at Orphanage #4 without permission or telling me he did it. It was only when I'd get back to the apartment that I would notice they were gone.

Sergey would have been just happy if we didn't cut his hair. He wanted it longer. Actually he looks pretty good with longer hair. We will have to experiment with it after school gets out.

After picture with Sparkle!


Anonymous said...

Hey Pretre family so good to see the smiling faces of those beautiful kids. Sergey is missed at #4 and Dasha says hello! Thanks for the comments we've needed them.

Diana said...

Good to hear the updates. Even if they're few and far between, I love hearing post-adoption updates. Oh yah, the adoption trip is definately an adventure, but the real journey begins AFTER you get home.

I'm glad to see you're still posting AND keeping it real. Too many people either quit blogging all together after they get home or they only write about the pretty, happy stuff - thus giving PAP's the impression that this is an easy journey.

Best wishes on your adjustment process. You are wise not to force the sharing of issues with your daughter, but do be on the lookout for signs of possible PTSD. Her new haircut looks great by the way!

Kevin & Pam said...

Your kids look like they are adjusting well! Welcome back. I haven't been blogging as much so it was good to get caught up.

Olya said...

I have been shecking your blog every day. Thanks for updating! Hope Valya will get a better self image now that she knows she is loved :)

Diana said...

You've been nominated for The Lemonade Award over on my blog (link is in my profile). Come on over to claim it!

Ashley said...

She is such a beautiful girl and I just wish she could see it. I love her haircut and I am so happy that she loves it, too. :) I also love long hair, but this cut looks good on her. She needed this to feel better about herself.

Please tell Sergey hello from me and tell him that I miss him. Maybe he and Grisha can talk on the phone when we get back from Ukraine.