Lost in Translation

IMGP9007I can’t even begin to describe how fun it is to have someone in my home who speaks the language that I love so deeply. I am thoroughly enjoying speaking Russian again, though it is just rusty enough that I stumble over just about everything I say.

For example, yesterday I told “K” that I was a writer and pointed to my desk. “That’s where I sit and pee all day,” I said.

“I write” and “I pee” are veeeeeery similar in the Russian language, just FYI. Mix up the tenses and you have yourself a bit of an awkward sentence. Luckily, I caught myself and corrected the dialogue quickly, but not before she and I had a good laugh.

Communicating the very basic things has become the most humorous. How to use the shower, what to do with toilet paper (our countries deal with this issue differently), personal hygiene situations. These are all conversations that I have never had in Russian before! Heck, I haven’t had to have some of these awkward conversations in English with my own child – now I’m communicating them in Russian with a teenager who barely knows me.

Thank goodness she has a good sense of humor, and she is extremely laid back.

I caught a glimpse of a few of the emotional wounds she’s experienced yesterday, and once again, I wished my language were better. I know enough to hear the heartache, but not enough to hold onto it. There is time, though. Time for her to develop a greater sense of trust. Time for me to listen more. Time for us to work together to place a balm on these emotional wounds.

We went to Super Target yesterday. Everyone should experience Super Target with a seventeen year old who’s never seen a supermarket in her life. She was silent, wide-eyed, and completely overwhelmed. I had her try on shoes, and she looked at all the selections, then looked at me completely flabbergasted.

Ah, Target – The International Love Language of Females.

Today we’ll go clothes shopping. She needs shorts – you know…because it’s going to be 80 degrees in Florida this weekend. I also plan on introducing her to Chick-fil-A, because I believe she needs to experience the blessed chicken sandwich, hand breaded on a bun with two pickles and a dash of the Holy Spirit.



rainbowloomShe’s experienced the Rainbow Loom kit already, and our boys subjected her to The Wobble last night. It’s a dance. There are really no descriptions for it – you should just look it up.

Tonight we’re going to watch a movie. I’m not sure which one yet. I’m trying to decide what would be a good, introductory movie for someone with limited language. Elf? Too crazy, too soon? We’ll see…

This sweet girl doesn’t quite know what to do with herself here, yet. We’re going to change that, one ridiculous dance and movie at a time.



  1. Wow! If K is already letting down her guard for you, I can only imagine what the next five weeks will hold. Praying that the Lord would refresh your memory and give you the Russian words you need most. I’m certain that she already feels so loved, though, and that speaks volumes.

    “Elf” would be funny. Will Farrell is so expressive, and the movie is really cute. I think even if there are a lot of words she doesn’t know, it would still be amusing for her to watch. But that’s just me. πŸ™‚


    • We ended up going with Elf and she laughed heartily. I panicked a little when it started because I didn’t even think about the whole abandoned child in an orphanage looking for love from his dad thing. *cringe* It didn’t seem to bother her, though, and she laughed heartily throughout the movie. Score one for Will Ferrell. πŸ™‚

  2. Just thinking about all this makes my heart smile wide!

  3. Amen, “K” should experience chick-fil-a sooner rather than later! …a dash of Holy Spirit, I love it!

    • She loved it. Said it was “Ochen V’kusna.” Very good. πŸ™‚ She’s officially part American now…or at least southern American πŸ™‚

  4. What about the Tom Hanks movie with Wilson? The plane crashes (not ideal) but there’s not much talking in that. But a great movie. He experiences great hardship and ultimately wins!

  5. Let’s see. We’ve been praying faithfully for your Russian daughter for at least the last five years. K may not be your legal daughter, but she is the daughter of your heart for now and probably for ever. So we have been praying for HER for half a decade– one of the most emotionally significant chunks of time in her young life. Our big and magnificent God will shepherd each interaction you have with her this month. He has been bringing her here, for this time and in this place, so you can love her well. My prayers and hugs stretch across the miles. Keep the stories coming– we have waited a LONG time for these precious moments πŸ™‚

  6. candy martin says

    I remember watching you try to translate the meaning of the Lord’s supper to your chinese classmate when I visited you ink Kiev. The only language you had in common was Russian and you were both still learning the language. And he had never held a Bible nor visited a church. I sat there fascinated at your determination to translate something that is difficult in our own language. So happy K is here and we get to have a new granddaughter for a short time. Looking forward to Christmas with all of you. Just need to know how to say something more than, please, thank you, and dog!!!!

    • Haha! I forgot about that night with my friend “Cheechu.” He was such a sweet boy. πŸ™‚ It’s kind of funny watching me try to communicate with her. I’m tripping all over my words and I KNOW my grammar is terrible, but she’s very patient and we’re managing.

      And I have the Google Translate app on my phone. That helps too. πŸ™‚

  7. If you want to really make her wonder what is going on put on “Young Frankenstein” or maybe some old Charley Chaplin silent movies.