Monday, October 12, 2009

From Russia with Love

We had a heart-warming visit this morning with our friend T and her 2-year-old son Nate. They just met a couple of months ago when T went to Russia to adopt him as a single mother. It was a match made in heaven; his name in Hebrew actually means “gift from God.” She confessed it was in a Hebrew class she was teaching us, when she was going over all the many words that end in -el (meaning God) – think about it: Ezekiel, Daniel, Nathaniel, etc. – that she came up with his name.

But she kept the whole thing a closely guarded secret, probably for fear that something would go wrong, until she arrived back home with Nate. It was a day when her life forever changed, as is always the case upon the arrival of a first child.

But this one couldn’t be contained in an infant seat. In fact he was instantly scaling the furniture, trying to figure out how things worked, learning words and spitting them back as quickly as T could teach them to him. He remembers everyone’s name, knows all his body parts, deftly handles a cup, and creates a hat out of most any container.

The only story T knows about young Nate: He was left on the door of the orphanage the day he was born. One can only imagine the circumstances that would compel a new mother to abandon such a beautiful, perfect baby. And there he lived waiting for the day when T would walk through the door and take him home halfway around the world.

She actually made 2 trips to Russia. The first to meet an older child who it turns out had already been adopted. So instead she met Nate, who was then called Igor. She left a book with pictures, including hers. Upon her return a couple of months later, the minute he saw her he ran into her arms. And the rest is history.

We took them a bag of our favorite children’s books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar with a little stuffed caterpillar, The Giving Tree, and Where the Wild Things Are. Actually Nate reminds me very much of Max in the last book.

Young Nate was happy to take the bag of books out of my hand. But then he spent the rest of our visit currying David’s favor, perhaps being intrigued by his beard. In between bringing David things, he would run back to the bathroom and try to make something else disappear down the toilet – his current fascination.

I was absolutely exhausted after watching him in perpetual motion for 45 minutes. At one point he was jumping from one chair into his mother’s lap as she sat in a nearby chair. He seems to be unscathed for all his daring behavior.

It was obvious that T had found true happiness with the emergence of Nate in her life. She seems to have the patience of Job as she goes from a lifetime of independent living to carrying for a very active toddler.

As we left I offered to be an emergency babysitter, but wondered if I was seriously up to the task. In our next encounter, we will introduce Nate to Jake. Stay tuned!


Blogger Angela said...

A lovely, lovely story! Children are the best! Congratulations to his arrival in T´s and your world. I am hoping to hear more.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Ha! Isn't it funny how all kids are so fascinated with toilets??

Thank goodness she changed his name!

3:35 PM  

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