Today our Vladik is 17 years old. SEVENTEEN! What in the world?
He has grown so much in every way over this past year. Soon we’ll celebrate 2 years home for our boy and I’m amazed at what a different person he has become.
He is daring and funny and creative and talkative.
If anyone in our family loses anything or is looking for any item they know they just need to go ask Vlad. He knows where everything is.
Vladik speaks more Ukrainian than English these days. He is fluent in both, can understand and speak both, but his go-to language for speaking is Ukrainian. I’m sure our home sounds funny to outsiders. The rest of us speak English at home, but then Vladik is always inserting his funny version of “Ukrainienglish”. I don’t even notice it anymore and we can understand everything he says, so it’s no problem for us. It’s only really a problem when he is speaking to anyone outside of our family that hasn’t spent much time with him. Then our family becomes translators. I can say “Speak English” or “Speak Ukrainian” (depending on the audience) a million times over, but Vladik is going to say what he wants to say, how he wants to say it. He’s stubborn like that. 😉
His favorite foods have stayed the same since Day 1. His birthday food requests were “kasha” for breakfast (Cream of Wheat) and borscht with mashed potatoes for dinner. Some things never change. Hehe.
Speaking of food, in true teenage boy form, he is going to eat us out of house and home. Vladik eats more than any other person in our family- by far. He is a bottomless pit. BOTTOMLESS.
He was sure that when he turned 17 he would be able to drive a car. Sorry bud. Not happening.
Moving to the village has been the best thing ever for Vladik. He’ll spend hours outside building things with spare wood he finds around the property. He loves to ride his bike up and down our road, giving rides to the little neighbors.
Emotionally he is growing and changing as well. We have a ways to go there, and will probably always be working toward healing, but he is coming along bit by bit. Vladik is starting to exert more of his will, arguing a bit and back-talking a little, but those are good things! Annoying in the moment, yes (grrrr), but actually good. He isn’t so super eager to please out of fear or insecurity. He knows his place in our family and isn’t afraid to speak up. Those are big changes.
Vladik is so loved by our community here. It blesses our hearts. Our church family adores him. The neighbor kids in the village accepted him from the moment we moved in. We’ll have a party for him on Saturday and his guest list is super long. He knows he’s a popular dude.
Overall Vladik is happy and thriving. He fits perfectly into our family and we love him dearly. His journey, our journey has not been easy. We have many hard times and parenting Vladik takes a ton of effort. But, in general, he has transitioned into life in our family better than we ever could have imagined. He is just so smart and wonderful. I can’t even imagine him still living at Romaniv. It’s absurd! His life is so full!
I can’t wait to give the same opportunity to many of his friends who were left behind. I can’t wait to share blogs about their birthdays and Gotcha Day anniversaries. Soon, soon, soon. 🙂
But today we celebrate our boy and the wonderful gift that he is to us.
We love you Vladislav Christopher. Happy Birthday!!