Friday, November 28, 2008

Moving Day!!!

Old style water heater - notice the flame!Our lovely kitchen

The room we used as a living room

The scary bathroom - watch out for the water, there is no conisistent temperature. You will burn or freeze!
We got a call from our facilitator about 15 minutes ago telling us that we get to move today!! We have been staying in an old Soviet Style apartment and it has been less than stellar accomodations. I took some pictures but again - no USB port. Just use your imagination. High ceilings. Little to no bug control. Plaster walls. It's warm enough but very loud. To get hot water in the shower you have to turn on the kitchen sink as well as the tub and then turn the flame over the sink up so that there is enough pressure to send hot water to the shower. You have about 3 minutes before the hot water becomes scalding water. We have not figured out the trick to this yet so we just take very fast showers. Our new apartment is a renovated one. I'm interested to see what "renovated" entails. The price is right though. We are paying 150 greevna a night which today is about $22. (The exchage rate is about 7:1 today! Bad for Ukrainians, good for Americans.) After moving we will continue the paperwork process. Our court date is scheduled for Wed. Dec 3 at 2:30. We have a lot to get done before then and many medical documents to gather for the youngest boy. Keep praying for us. God is working so clearly in this situation. The early court date is a real blessing and we are pleased that so many doors are opening!!! We miss our family and friends. If you see my kids please hug on them for Mom and Dad!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving in Ukraine

We are beginning to find our way around and found not one but 2 internet cafes. This one doesn't have a USB port for me to post pictures but the other one is closed today so... no pictures today. I'm not going to post any pictures of the kids until after our court appointment. That's right I said "kids". At our SDA appointment we were given a referral for a second little boy. He is almost 5 years old and has some special needs that we will be helping him with. Mentally he is above his age but he will need some physical therapy and such to help with his movement. After court I will be able to give more specifics. We haven't gotten to spend much time with him yet. Hopefully today we can play with him for awhile while our facilitator is finishing up some paperwork for us. We will spend today continuing the paperwork process. The past two days have been spent running from place to place getting the necessary documents together and shuttling them back and forth. Our translator appears to be very efficient and is hoping that we will know our court date by Friday. Yesterday was a beautiful day. It was in the mid-60's and sunny. A little windy but I wasn't complaining. We got to play outside with the 8 year old boy for over an hour. He LOVES soccer and enjoys scoring on Eric and I. He's hilarious and loves teasing us. I think he's going to be a great fit in our family. I'll post more as I have a chance. Enjoy Thanksgiving. Eat plenty of turkey for us!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

In the region

Jenia (a friend and translator) had the exciting job of escorting Eric and I to the region and getting us started on this wacky journey. The train was SO hot!! This was our train compartment. 4 bunks and we bought all 4 so we wouldn't have to share with someone we didn't know. The luggage was stowed below the seats eventually.) We made Eric sleep on the lower bunk so that if someone broke in he could protect the defenseless women!

We traveled by train all night to arrive in Sevastopal. We got in at around 6:30 am, went to the apartment and then started the paperwork process. Got to meet the child and had fun for a few minutes with him. Hopefully there is an internet cafe that we will be able to find. I'm on a borrowed computer right now and really need to hurry but wanted to update you all on the latest. With luck I'll be able to let you know more details soon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Down Day

Sorry about the sideways pics. I can't get them to stay turned and I can't read the instructions - they are in Russian. Eric's suggestion is to just turn your head!

This is our apartment buildint in Kiev.

This is Eric's favorite feature of the apartment. He says he's installing one in our house!
This is the pull-out sofa that doesn't go back in.
Our teen tiny kitchen. Notice the laundry hanging behind the bar area.
Eric and Kathy in front of one of the many statues. This is Kiev's founding family. There were 3 brothers and a sister. The oldest brother was named Kyiv.

Today we have basically taken it easy. I didn't get out of bed until 11 am. and my early rising husband slept until nearly 9 am!!!! I guess traveling caught up with us. We will be leaving on the train for Sevistopal tomorrow evening so we re-packed this afternoon and got our fill of BBC. We have 4 stations in English - CNN, BBC, BBC Prime and VH1. I'm thankful we have even one. The quiet would drive me nuts. Plus it's just nice to hear our own language once in a while - even if it is the "queen's english". We were afraid last night was going to be a long night - when we got back to the apartment we realized the building had no power. It gets dark around 4:30 here so we had several hours to wait out until bed time. Luckily the power kicked on a little after 6:00 and we were able to enjoy the rest of the evening (watching BBC of course!) We're planning on grabbing some McDonald's and heading back to the apartment. It's snowing today and has been for awhile so everything is soggy. Sounds like a good day for a nap!!

Oh - if you want to hear an extreme adoption story check out this blog journeytokyiv.spaces.live.com We met this couple while we were waiting for our SDA appointment. Neat people!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What an adventure!

Well, we are officially in Ukraine. We got here on Wednesday afternoon (about 7:30 am) at home. The flight itself was uneventful but awful. The international part of our flight flew us from Chicago to Dusseldorf. Eric and I were in the two middle seats in the middle section of the plane. The movies were boring and it was a choppy flight so it made for a very long night. We made it through Passport control and customs without incident and Jenia (one of our facilitators and an all around nice girl) was there to meet us shortly after we cleared all of that. She took us to the apartment that we would be staying in for our time in Kiev. It is a nice apartment. We were sharing it until today with another couple so that helped with expenses. It has all the ammenities that we were looking for after traveling - a bed, plenty of hot water, and heat! The fact that it is clean and pretty is a definite bonus. We are staying about a 15 minute walk from Kiev's version of the "magnificent mile" and they have a few restaurants here with english menus which is a definite plus. We had our appointment at the SDA today. They had all the paperwork ready for us and we will hopefully be headed down to Sevestopal to start the paperwork process on Sunday. It is an 18 hour train ride to get there. I was nervous about the appointment. I wasn't sure what to expect. The SDA official that we had was efficient and was ready to send us on our way about 15 minutes after we had entered her office. Normally they allow one hour for these appointments. Today however was a special day. They had scheduled the whole day with Americans seeking to adopt "known" children and so they had only allowed 30 minutes per family. It was nice to see some other Americans and be able to speak without translators. After our appointment we were taken back to our apartment. The other couple staying with us left this afternoon to visit some missionary friends so Eric and I are alone in Ukraine for the first time. Mr. Stir-Crazy (that would be Eric) lasted about 25 minutes in the apartment before we headed out in search of the internet cafe. (For those of you who will be here soon - go to TGI Fridays and take a left. At the corner go in that building and go upstairs. The person at the desk will give you a computer number and you pay when you leave. I'll let you know rates later - not sure what they are yet!!)
Emotionally we are doing okay. It's hard being away from the kids and it's hard not knowing what is going to happen next. We know in our hearts that God is in control of this situation but sometimes it's hard to keep that in my head. I'm trying my best to remember that all of this will be in His timing and that I can trust in Him to lead us all the way.
In other news, we talked to the kids last night and Michael says he is feeling great! Thank goodness! I think that's all I've got for now. If you have specific questions that I haven't answered feel free to email me and I'll try to reply at some point. I didn't bring my USB cord with me today so I can't post any pics but I don't really have any anyway so you're not missing anything.