Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Swimmer Girl Turns 10!

March is birthday month in our house, and the problem is that I'm tired of birthdays by the end of the month.  Actually, I'm tired of holidays period.  They need to be spread out more.  Anyway, the end of March is my little Swimmer Girls birthday, so I must do a tribute to her as well before I can move on with any other blogging that might be swimming around in my mind.

Swimmer Girl was born in a small city in north west/central Ukraine.  I know the city fairly well because I was forced to stay in it for 3 weeks while waiting for a council to meet and tell us that we were allowed to apply for a court date in order to try to adopt her.  :)  

From the moment we met her, Swimmer Girl was outstanding.  She called me "Mama" from day one, and declared her love for both me and Rob, despite the fact that she found Rob's beard to be an unsightly disfigurement.  She really does love unconditionally.  At age three, she was speaking Ukrainian, understood Russian and started picking up English from us immediately.  This girl can talk.  I am convinced that if you dropped her anywhere in the world and left her stranded, she would be fluent in that language within months.  Now, that would happen not so much because she has a desire to communicate with others, but mostly because she's really nosey.  She would just have to know what other people are saying.  I'm convinced that her love of history, civics and government is based in her need to know other people's business.   

This is a child that, at age 4, asked me, "Mom, exactly how do you go about taking over a government?" And, at age 5 would routinely stop people and ask them, "Have you ever considered adoption?  My mom and dad adopted me from an orphanage.  I'm a great kid.  There are so many great kids like me.  Don't you want a great kid like me?"  And when she was about 7 told me, "It must be so hard to be a person with a disability.  I'm glad I don't have one!" 

Not only an athlete, Swimmer Girl loves to write and read.  She's currently working on a book called "Toucan's Song", and has written stories about Detective Dogs, Wolves and also a family living through the Great Depression.  

She'd probably rather eat worms than work on math.

Since swim season is over, she is currently trying to run a mile every day.  You just can't keep her down.

And, it's in part because of her beautiful little heart that our family is now sponsoring a little boy in Rwanda, through World Vision.  She has emptied her piggy bank to help send food to Ukrainians rallying in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution, to send Bibles to persecuted Christians in Asia,  and to feed hungry kids in Africa.  She looks forward to feeding the homeless people we see that wander about Colerain Avenue near our home. For the longest time, her dream was to train service dogs to take back to Ukraine and give to people with disabilities there. 

But the coolest thing about my Swimmer Girl is her undying belief that no matter what, God is good.  No matter what this child has faced, she has always pressed on with a joy and faith that just isn't shaken.  Not after abandonment, poverty, gaining an understanding of her disabilities and differences, and not even when she can just never place first in a heat at a swim meet.  She just keeps going and goes in joy.  

Happy Birthday to my beautiful little girl! 


ninedays said...

I loved reading this post. Yuri told someone I met at church who is trying to adopt (domestically) that they should get a special needs child, they are better. He said it with total confidence and this is to someone he doesn't really know. It is great to hear how well she is doing. We have our local neighborhood swim team gearing up in a couple weeks and Yuri is so excited to get back to it.
Mary Ann

David said...

Your writing is very inspiring. I look forward to reading your book.

Deb said...

Thanks David!