I put together a slide show of some recent pictures of Valya. We have more pictures of Valya than of Sergey, because frankly, Sergey doesn't like to have his picture taken too much.
Valya has a distinctive little mole on her upper lip that will always be endeared to me. We had specifically petitioned for her and Sergey at our SDA appointment on Thanksgiving day, last Nov. 27. At the appointment, they showed us two data sheets of the kids that each had a little postage stamp sized picture in the corner. When the lady showed us Valya's, she asked, Is this her? Well, the picture was 7 years old, and the child in the picture had her head completely shaved. It did not look like the Valya we had seen in pictures, except... for that little mole. When I saw that I knew it was her!
The snowy pictures in the later slides were from last Saturday. Our balmy Spring weather has been replaced by snow, but it is beautiful. Now it is warming up again, and quickly disappearing. Valya loves snow and tells me about the way they used to play in it at her intyernat. How blessed we are to have a girl who loves snow, because we do get it here in the Winter. Next season, we'll go to our sledding hill, plus see if we can teach the kids to ski. You people in Colorado I hear you laughing... But we do have a little bit of skiing available in South Dakota! In those pictures she is wearing the coat that I bought her in Rozdilniya and gave to her the day that we took her from her orphanage. You'll see her wearing that coat in our pictures in Odessa and Kiev and the video along the Black Sea last February. But she doesn't wear it too much anymore because now she likes bright colors.
Her English is improving. It is good getting to know her a little more every day. She has a story to tell about her life and we are anxious to hear it. We are getting some of it in little pieces already and it is a sad one.
When you adopt kids there is a time of bonding. It is a two-way street. We often talk of how the kids are bonding with the family, but we also are bonding with them. I think, every day, our love grows stronger for these two gifts that God has given us.