Welcome to double digits, kid!
You’re ten. I have a ten year old.
Yeesh - that got here fast.
And you're ten. Just like that.
Recently the winter Olympics wrapped up and because it was held in Sochi, Russia a day’s drive from where you were born in Volgograd, Russia, I’ve given more thought to our time in that part of that world, the experience of first meeting you and doing our best to get to know your mother country. (Not that our best was particularly good. We tried an authentic Russia breakfast once, and then it was back to the restaurant that catered to Americans every single morning after that. Because gelatin fish squares. No.)
One year later in February 2006 and fattened up just right!
You don’t ask a lot of questions about adoption, Russia, or any of that. You don’t appear to think much about it all, but you are happy to share that you were adopted and from Russia - it’s your go-to “fun fact about Kaden.”
We “match,” so we don’t get the comments from strangers I know that other, conspicuous, adoptive families experience. But I still remember in our home study the case worker pointing this out to us, reminding us that your cultural heritage would be especially easy for us to let slip away. It’s not that we let it slip away but more that we never knew what to hold on to. Certainly not breakfast fish squares. You have our pictures and our stories. You see the ornament and the nativity we bought during our time there and a few other things. We have a Russian fairy tale books that we used to read, but I doubt you remember Baba Yaga anymore.
2007 shortly after turning 3 - it doesn't get much cuter.
When you are older I hope we will go back to Russia and re-learn your country together, but the relationship between your birth country and your home country is tenuous. Russia no longer even allows Americans to adopt Russian children. As I write, Russia is invading the Ukraine and America is planning its sanctions. Maybe by the time you’re a teenager, ready for such a trip, Russia won’t issue Americans tourist visas. Who knows.
But none of that means anything to you, newly ten.
What matters is that you got a new bike for your birthday. What matters is that Dad is taking you and some friends to Plant Air Sports for your celebration. What matters is that we got your current event homework done before Dad and I skip town for a few days so Oma doesn’t have to deal with it.
What matters is that you were baptized at the beginning of this year because your place in God’s kingdom matters when you earthly nationality does not.
2008, age 4 - Don't mind me, just a tiny American enjoying my icecream in a Berlin cafe.
Your favorite songs right now are Beneath the Waters a Hillsong praise song and Cant’ Hold Us by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis which I personally think speaks to what a good mom I am - diversifying your musical palate as I have.
You love legos and The Lego Movie still in theaters. You also love basketball and horseback riding. We’ve switched out baseball for Tae Kwon Do and you don’t seem to care either way.
At the moment, we’re caught up in On the Edge of Dark Sea of Darkness a book by Andrew Peterson I’ve been reading to you and Blue for almost a month. This morning you were excited to learn that Peet had talons under those socks, talons he unleashed on some now-dead fangs.
2009 - At your 5th birthday party - ready to fly like Daddy.
Your brain is more engaged than ever in the stories I’m introducing to you. One morning earlier this week a bird on a nearby power line had much to say as we loaded in the van, and you commented that you wished Dr. Doolittle were there to translate. Because dropping a literary reference (awhile back we read the Classic Starts version of this story) is way cooler than simply saying, I wish we could understand that bird, you made your English major mama proud. And our recent read-through of Little Pilgrim’s Progress played a big part in your understanding of faith as a journey and helped clear up that your choice to be on the journey is separate from ours, influencing your decision to be baptized.
All of that to say, I’m pretty sure you have a lot more going for you than I did when I was ten.
Happy, happy birthday.
And a few more pics because obviously a post called ten about you turning ten needs ten pics!
2010 - Age 6, Showing off some very important work at the end of your kindergarten year.
2011 - 7 and such the good, big brother.
2012 - 8 and very smiley.
2013 - almost 9 and very diorama prepared