Thursday, March 31, 2011

Meeting Maxim and Roman

31 March 2011

Today totally did not play out like I have been imagining in my mind for months now.  I guess I somehow pictured (lights, camera, action...)  the boys running up to us, throwing their arms around us and saying "Mama and Papa I love you!!!!"  (cut. cut. cut) Um. Not even close. I've heard people are most disappointed when they have dramatized preconceived ideas in their minds.  This was definitely the case for me. 

Once we arrived at the orphanage the caregiver went to get the boys from class.  We were standing at the foot of the stairs.  When the boys came around the corner, Roman's face immediately lit up.  He recognized us from the photos we had sent to him.  Maxim had no emotion.  He just walked up to Tim and gave him a forced obligatory manly handshake and walked away with his head down. 

The caregiver lead us to a private room to chat with the case worker, our facilitator and the boys.  Roman kept looking back at us as he walked and was smiling.  He was blinking like "is this a dream or is this for real?"

The case work sat the boys down and told them we were there to adopt them, but we were not going to force them to be adopted if they did not want to be adopted and she told them some other legal mumble jumble.  Maxim stated right away with his arms crossed "I'm not going anywhere with them. I am fine here with all my friends." Then he started to cry.  Once he cried, Roman's smile was replaced with tears also.

(Sigh) We're hoping for a better day tomorrow.  They say this is normal for boys his age.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our First Overnight Trainride

30 Mar 2011

The bus station was hectic to say the least.  I should not have worn my heels that day!  We forgot to eat something before we boarded.  I guess we figured since it was an overnight ride (like the airline services) we would be fed dinner on board.  This was not the case!  The train was very hot and the cabins were even more stuffy.  It is hard to sleep because the train stops every so often to let passangers off at their stops and all the lights come on and there is a lot of commotion with people getting off the train. 

Our cabin consisted of an older lady, her daughter and her baby son.  The baby son fussed the whole night long.  The older lady snored really, really loud.  And the young mother kept turning on the cabin lights to nurse her fussy son. 
We finally arrived at our station in Melitopol at 5:30 am and were greeted by our jolly cab driver who had a little bit too much caffeine! :)  We were tired and hungry.  There was no time to be tired or eat though!  We were about to meet Maxim and Roman!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The SDA Appointment

28 March 2011

10:00am The State Department of Adoption meeting was supposed to take 15 minutes.  However, they could not find the boys' sister Anna.  She was listed as living at the same orphanage as the boys in the database.  However, he has not lived there for at least 3 years.  It ended up taking an hour and 15 minutes and they finally decided they would just write the referral for 2 boys-Maxim and Roman! 

The SDA office was very small, and old and it was like walking down a dark alley and into a side door.  It is not at all what I expected, but we were so happy to receive the referral for the boys pretty quickly. 

When we arrived there was a lot of Russian speaking clearly about us, but we have no idea what they were saying.  The lady read to us in Russian about the boys, their parents, and why they are orphans.  Konstantine, our facilitator translated very little for us.  One more thing about the SDA office...The database is not what you would picture as a database on a computer.  This was more like a binder with plastic cover sheets with a very old photo stapled to the front.

After the meeting we walked what seemed to me 20 miles in high heels with Roman, our translator.  Tim says we only walked 2 miles, but I beg to differ.  Our translator is very nice and we really like him.

In the evening Tim walked to the underground mall.  It is a lot like an American mall only people speak Russian and you pay for things in Grievna and not American dollars.  The bathrooms are just porcelain holes on the floor. :) We got some souvenirs for the girlies today as well and then went back to the apartment and called the girls via Skype.

First Impressions

28 March 2011

First impressions of the people--the children all chatter a million words a minute.  There seem to be a lot of single moms.  The children are bundled head to toe with winter boots, snow pants, hats and coats!  It's almost 50 degrees and I'm not sure how they stand to be so bundled.  I know my Florida-blooded babies would NOT have had anything to do with all that outerwear!

All the women are super skinny and wear black and nothing but high heels, mostly black high heel boots. 

The men??  Well, most of them are very handsome and they all carry purses. ;) Think what you will of them, I'm not here to judge.  I am actually surprised at how well everyone dresses.  I had heard this is a 3rd world country and I expected...I don't know old, outdated clothing??...The people are dressed more in typical European fashion.

Every last person smokes, and did I mention they all speak Russian? Very, very fast Russian? 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The City

27 March 2011

Our luggage arrived!!  Let me back up for a minute...

Everything at the airport went so smoothly.  Last week Larissa (our adoption agent) told us to make sure at the Kiev airport to get in the blue & white "non-visa" passport control line.  They asked us a few questions like "Why are you coming to Ukraine?" and "Where will you be staying?"  Larissa warned us that they were gov't officials and you would NOT receive a smile, but they would appear to be very stern.  She wasn't kidding!  I saw in the distance my suitcase coming across the belt, so I darted off for it!  Tim was still in line being questioned, but he's a grown man and can fend for himself.... haha  I got my suitcase, even if I did leave my husband in the dust.

After we claimed our luggage, Larissa had told us to get in the "green" line to the customs claims area.  This man was VERY stern.  I thought sure he was going to deport us.  He also asked us pointed questions, and looked at us like we were guilty of something illegal.. but then he stamped it and signed it and told us to "exit to the city." Alright then!

Right outside the doors was Andre, our driver, holding a sign with our name on it.  He grabbed my luggage and walked very fast...I was out of breath by the time we reached the car....He drove like a lunatic and there were no seat belts in the car.  It looked like we were going to have several head on collisions, thank goodness we all survived. But he was very nice and spoke very good English. 

Our apartment is in a great spot downtown.  It is very close to everything.  I cannot wait to get out and explore.  I'm anxious to get some pictures of the amazing architecture.

We were very relieved when he said we could rest for today and would not have to meet with Konstantine, our facilitator until tomorrow.  We were also very hungry----but tired outweighed hunger.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Fear of the Unknown

26 Mar 2011

Many people have different phobias.  Some are afraid of heights.  Others are afraid of public speaking.  I am most afraid of the unknown.  Yet here I am in the midst of a huge unknown called International Adoption.  We have no idea what to expect.  We don't know if our luggage will arrive (we will switch planes and carriers 3 times).  We don't know if we will find our driver in the midst of the mob of the Int'l Airport. We don't know if we are going to have a tough time in customs and we cannot speak the language. We have no idea if the State Department of Adoption will even find the boys we have “pre-selected” in the large database. We don't know when we'll meet the boys or how they will react.  We have no idea if we will even like the boys.  We have no idea how God will work out the situation with their older sister that we just found out must approve of the adoption because of her age.  We have no idea if we’ll like the food, whether it will make us sick.  We have no idea how long the process will take in the country.  We have absolutely no idea what to expect. 

One thing I know for sure is that God is faithful.  We are certain He has led us to adopt and He will see us through it all!  It is so comforting to know that He will work out all the unknowns in His perfect timing!

Thanks so much for your prayers and support.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, My Sweet Kylie!

A few weeks ago I had been crying and feeling sorry for myself.  Sometimes though I am always surrounded by people I still feel so lonely.  I think it's the culture we live in.  We have so many gadgets and unlimited technology at our fingertips, yet we are so disconnected from relationships with one another. 

Without seeing me cry or even knowing what was going on in my heart or mind, Kylie walked up to me and gave me the sweetest hug and kiss and said, "Mommy, I love you and I'll be your special friend today." How does a child so small know just what someone else needs?  In her entire life (even when she is downright mad at us), she has never once rejected a hug or kiss we've offered her.  She is the child that regularly leaves love notes for me to read.  If I am feeling ugly, or having a bad hair day without even knowing I feel that way she will compliment what I am wearing or my hair.  In her young life she has been so gifted with amazing compassion.  I honestly have never ever met a human being who cares and loves as deeply as my Kylie.

Happy 8th Birthday, My Sweet Kylie!!!!!  We love you so much.  I hope you enjoyed your party at the Health Plex with your friends!  It was extra special to have in attendance Tim's grandparents down from NY, Tim's Mom (a.k.a. MeMe) from MD, my sister and her family from SC, along with my parents and Kylie's friends.  It was a really fun day of swimming in the middle of winter and the Health Plex was reasonable in price.  It was extra treat for me to not have to clean up afterwards! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We Got Our Travel Date

16 March 2011
We got our travel date today! I received the following email from Larissa: Congratulations! The invitation is issued, you need to be in Ukraine on March 29 at 10 a.m.!!!  You need to arrive to Ukraine on at least March 28.  We are leaving March 26th to make sure we are there in enough time to recover from Jet Lag and any unforeseen complication with possible delayed flights.
I cannot believe the time to travel is almost here!

Monday, March 7, 2011


7 March 2011
When I asked the girls if they were jealous of all the attention & stuff our boy/s are getting Katie replied, "No Mommy. We have been able to enjoy you and Daddy our whole lives. We are excited our boy/s are getting nice things and coming in our family." Kylie and Haley both knodded in agreement.  I'm so thankful for my girls' loving spirit about this whole adoption.  They are amazing children!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Our Adoption Shower

6 March 2011

Tonight we were blessed with an abundance of gifts and gift cards at the Adoption Shower.  Our friends Dan and Jamie Rix clearly have a passion for adoption along with their team of Kim and Tim Baugus and many others whose names slip my mind. 

We are humbled at the generosity of many of our friends who came out to support the adoption.  I can't wait to show our son/s what people have done for them.  Thank you so much to all of those who brought food, gifts or came our our very special shower!  Your kindness will never be forgotten.