We have been home with Zoya for 5 MONTHS today! I seriously cannot believe it's only been 5 months. Someone needs to convince me that she has not been a part of our family forever! What did I do before her? (other than sleep more hehe) So many people have commented to me after watching the adoption montage that she does not even resemble the child from our metcha day photos. She sure does not! When I watch the videos from our time in Ukraine I can see pieces of the girl I know today, but mostly I see an entirely different child. I've said it a million times, but it hurts to think that she'd probably look exactly like the child from the Ukraine photos had she not come to be our daughter. It always makes me think of all the children left behind and how they are trapped inside their own bodies like Zoya was....just waiting for some love to fill them up and bring out the child they were born to be. This thought comes to me at least once a day. I think had we NOT listened to God's call we'd never know that we left OUR daughter in Ukraine. We'd be going through our days not often thinking of her or even knowing she existed. It is such a good lesson in faith. I simply cannot imagine life without Zoya. In fact its hard to remember life without her. When this thought pops into my head it usually happens when I see Zoya just being herself and being soooooo happy. Her squinty eyed toothy grin just melts my heart every last time I see it. I don't know if that thought (of imagining what her life would be like for her had we not adopted her) will ever stop, in a way I hope it doesn't. Each time I have that thought, I am overcome with gratitude to God and thank Him over and over for giving us this blessing and for leading us down a road we'd never have gone down otherwise.
I spent some time tonight looking back at old videos we took of Zoya in Ukraine. I wouldn't even believe the transformation myself had I not seen it with my own eyes. Even after living it, it is almost impossible to fathom what has happened here. Redemption. Amazing Grace. A lost broken forgotten child that nobody cared about. She not only found her place in this world, but is setting it on fire!
I thought I'd share a video from Ukraine and take a walk down memory lane, and then share a few from recently so you can see with your own eyes the transformation that has occured. And all the glory be to God!
As you can see in this video Zoya had no idea what to do with toys. She used to just bang everything. With the baby einstein music toy we worked for weeks in Ukraine to get her to push the button to make it play music. She understood the concept after a while but had no strength to push the button. When I watch this video and then the others I uploaded, I just don't believe it.
Here is a video of Zoya doing some of her flashcards. When she is focused she can chose the right one every time. I made her some more flashcards after she did so well with these ones. You can see her doing some of the signs. For some reason she signs fish by flicking her thumb back and forth and she puts it by her head every time lol. At the end you can see her eyes get oh so big when I mention ELMO. She loves that fuzzy red guy. She gets soooooo excited when I tell her she can watch Elmo!
This video "Zoya wants help" makes me laugh. We tried really hard to teach her the ASL sign for help but she couldn't get it, so you can see how she signs help here (raising her hand and flapping it wildly). You can see her thining, "OK LADY JUST HELP ME!" I wonder what she's really saying :)
And here is Zoya playing peek a boo. Her new favorite game. She thinks when she covers up her eyes that we can't see or find her! You can see her sign "please eat" before she points to the pizza at the end. You can also see the pink bowl that is EMPTY which was her "real" dinner before I caved in and gave her some pizza (after all this was the day she had her knee surgery...tee hee).