An American Girl
I can’t believe it’s been a year since we lasted posted on the blog. Our family is doing very well. As you can imagine, a lot has happened in the last year. Dasha is doing great, we are truly blessed. Dasha started the 2007 school year in first grade. She was considered an English as a second language student. By the end of the year she was reading above average for her grade lever. Let that sink in…She was ahead of American born kids in reading and language skills in less than 2 years of being here. She’s now in the second grade, loves to read and loves school. I think there’s some comfort in school for her. In Kazakhstan, school was very important to the orphans and the kids were expected to study 2 hours each day after school. They wore uniforms and it was very strict. Dasha responds well to structure, especially in school. Last spring she played girls softball. She did very well, she is very good athlete and picked up the game very quickly. I was fortunate enough to coach both her and Jacob in a summer recreational baseball league. We were the Angel’s, and boy did we have fun. Dasha would dig in at the plate with her pink batting helmet, if she could wear pink everyday that would be just fine by her. The other teams thought, this girl can’t hit, but they were wrong. Dasha and Jacob both are great hitters, so they both went deep on quite a few at bats. By the end of the season, the teams began to back up when the pink helmet got to the plate. She was also a great infielder and threw out a lot of runners. In softball her nickname on her jersey was KGB, the kids didn’t understand it, but most of the parents did.
We are big Angel’s fans, and were able to go to quite few games this year thanks to Rick and Pam getting season tickets. The kids loved to go. Of course there’s a price as the kids mastered the concession stands. Jacob would argue every pitch that didn’t go the Angel’s way, and Dasha would cheer for her favorite player, Vladdy (Vlad Guerrero).
This year Dasha has decided to try ballet. I don’t know much about ballet, so I can’t coach that team or group or company or whatever ballet thingy….you get the idea. So I’ll have to watch from the stands or audience…I need to read about ballet. We just celebrated Dasha’s 8th birthday, which also happens to be the day she became our daughter, October 2nd. What a great day for us. Two years ago on that day, I sat in a court room in Kazakhstan and had no idea what was said, nor do I know if what I said was really translated, I just know I was told her new name was Dasha Katherine Werkmeister and she was our daughter and that was fine by me.
At her birthday, Dasha was so grateful for each gift she receives. I’m so used to the other kids getting so much, but Dasha is genuinely grateful for everything that she gets.
Dasha is now a huge Hanna Montana fan, or as she says in her cute accent, “da Hanna Montana.” Her Uncle Jim gave her an iPod for her birthday and she has yet to put it down. Of course we loaded in with da Hanna Montana and she is very happy.
Jacob is doing great. He’s just finishing his first year of Pop Warner football, and has become quite a baseball and football player. I’ve been coaching or assistant coaching his teams. Funny, I never really played these sports, so I have to read books to know what I’m doing…pretty sad. Jacob is having fun, and so am I. I don’t know who has more fun, me or the kids. Kim has referred to my coaching as my midlife crisis. I’m just happy I’m able to share in these experiences with the kids.
I was also fortunate enough to coach Mitchell’s flag football team in the spring and we had a great time with that. Amber is continuing to play the violin and play softball. Amber would not let me coach her team, and made it clear I could not embarrass her. Both Mitchell and Amber are in honors courses in Junior High and doing great.
Kim is going to try and become a stay at home mom this next year. I think it will be great for us. She is currently working as a Director at Irvine Medical Center. Her hospital will shut down next year, so we decided to see how the stay at home mom thing goes.
I'm working at Allergan Pharmaceutical company and really enjoying it. Kim is mad that I can't get her free Botox, but that's another story for another time. I just spent 2 weeks in India and was reminded how blessed we are to live in the U.S. So much poverty, so many kids without hope. I think that's what inspired to write today.
There’s so many tales to tell, we’ll try and update more often. A few great memories and a few sad ones, but we are a happy family. Dasha is now an American, she is now a Werkmeister and is just another one of our great kids. I couldn’t ask for a better result. We (the kids and I) say our prayers every night, and her prayers are so honest and genuine, I often wonder what would have happened to this little girl, but it’s difficult as I think of the great kids we met back in Taraz at her orphanage. It’s a bit overwhelming to think of their future. I still pray for them. Kim is planning to really get involved with our orphan ministry at church. I suspect there will be quite a bit more here in the coming years.
Finally, I’ll share a funny story to give you an idea of how far Dasha has come along in the past 2 years. The whole family sat and watched the Olympics opening ceremony. It was a grand event and as the athletes carried out their countries flags. the Kazakhstan team came out, Kim said to Dasha, “look honey, there’s Kazakhstan’s team…” Dasha didn’t blink, she simply replied, “Mommy, I’m not from Kazakhstan anymore, I’m from America.” And true to her word, she cheered for Michael Phelps and all of the American athletes.