We have recently had a breakthrough with Alik that I think signals that he is reaching a more comfortable and trusting place in his relationship with us. If you have been following my blog a while you will remember that our relationship with Alik got off to a rocky start. I wrote about it some in my blog, but I hope to write about the depth of that rocky beginning at some point. For now, you will just have to take my word for it that it was rough. Alik and I did not really begin to form much of a positive relationship until right before I busted him out of the orphanage for good. Our relationship really started to grow starting the day I got him out of the orphanage forever. Gotcha Day.
A few hours in to his first day of freedom was the first time Alik ever gave me a spontaneous hug of his own free will. It was at that moment that I knew everything was going to be ok and in time Alik would bond with, trust, and even grow to love me and the rest of his new family. I had no idea how quickly that bonding and love part would start. The moment we arrived home for the very first time Alik started to truly amaze me. Of all three of my newly adopted children I thought that he was going to be the toughest egg to crack. He did excellent though! So much better than I could have ever hoped or dreamed. He immediately bonded with Ray. Bonds with other family members were soon to follow. His english progressed at a more rapid pace than I would have guess possible.
Now, Alik speaks almost all english. His grammer is on about a 2.5 year old level("Me like that!", etc.), he is learning so quickly. Once he gained enough knowledge that we could talk with him in more detail, we started asking him, out of pure curiosity, what various things were called in Russian. At first, he just played dumb. He would look at my blankly like he didn't understand what I was saying. I thought that he did, but I just let it go. Several days later I asked him what something else was. Again, blank stare. I had a feeling that he understood me though, so I asked again.
He looked at me flatly and said, "I don't know."
So I asked him, "You don't know, or you don't want to tell me?"
He just shrugged his shoulders. I have been worried about the kids losing their language. I've heard that it can happen very quickly, so I wondered if maybe that was the case and just left it at that.
Several days later the scene repeated itself. This time I asked him something that I knew he should be able to remember. "I don't know" was the only response I was getting from him. So I asked if he didn't remember. He nodded and said that he didn't remember. So, once again, I just left it at that.
About 2 weeks ago he was looking at a book. It was a Curious George book about season. Alik just loves anything to do with monkeys, especially Curious George. In the book there was a rainbow and he asked me what it was called. I told him it was a rainbow, and he repeated it in his near perfect southern drawl english. I thought I'd give it one last shot so I asked him what it was called when he was at his groupa in Ukraine. He just stared at me. I figured that either he didn't know, or just wasn't going to tell me. So I went about my business, figuring that he was never going to tell me anything in Russian that I didn't already know.
That's when I heard him mutter something. I looked over at him and he was looking at me tenatively.
"What?", I said.
"Raduga", he said quietly.
"Yeah, Raduga", he said pointing to the rainbow.
"Raduga is rainbow?" , I pratically yelled in my excitement!
And that is where it started with him sharing things from his old life. Over the last few weeks he has told us what kinds of foods he ate, what kind of games he played, and other various things about his life in Ukraine. I now realize that it took time for him to feel safe enough to share that part of his life with us. Every few days he will randomly come up and share something from his past life. A candy he ate at groupa and what it is called was his fun fact for today. Whenever he shares something new he is all smiles. Today I was sitting back just marveling at how far he has come.
Alik is definitely a raduga in my life.