Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Good Bye for Now

The last two days have been a lot of fun.

We had a great day yesterday with our little guy.  We were excited because we found out we get to leave Thursday for our first break.  The inspector and director really seem to love our family.  They hug and kiss us upon greeting and leaving like we are family.  It is SO neat to see how God answered that prayer on our hearts.  It really does make a huge difference in Ukraine adoptions if a director and inspector like you. I don't know what we did for them to like us, but they do. 


It's funny because Tim usually leaves his face scruffy and shaves maybe once a week.  He said with the director kissing his cheeks he better shave because his face was really prickly so he got up early and shaved his face.  Yesterday morning he said to the director, "I want you to know that I got up early and shaved just for you because I know my cheeks are rough and I want to leave a good impression on my new son's director."  This director is in her late 60s and just thinks he's the cutest/funniest thing ever.  She answered, "Thank you for shaving today and I now will forgive you for the last 3 days of rough cheeks." This director is usually stern, but with us she is very fun-loving.


Edik picked his name yesterday. He will be called "Matthew" Edward.


We had a whole lot of paperwork yesterday and today and whole lot of running around.  We had fun playing ball with Edik yesterday and building Lego robots.  He is an absolute JOY! 


Today he signed his letter of consent for the adoption.  He was able to write it within 5 minutes and his handwriting is VERY neat! It is such a relief to have this part of the trip finished.  For me, it is usually the most stressful because there are so many unknowns regarding meeting a new child and working with an inspector and director.  This went SO smooth.  Your prayers have been very evident, my dear friends and family.  Please keep them coming!


After he wrote his consent we were able to get some pictures outside by the Dnieper River before we had to leave.  It was finally a beautiful day today so we could be outside.  It has rained the majority of the time we have been here.  Yesterday it even snowed a little.


It was a sad good bye, but we are SO glad everything has gone so smoothly.  Edik is a smart boy and he understands that we are only leaving for a little time.  We told him that we will miss him while we are gone and gave him a gift and photo of our family.  He said he will miss us too.  He had a very sad face, but he still was smiling as we left. He waved to us until we were out of his sight.  (Sniffle).


This afternoon we went to the Embassy to file our I-600 (Visa for child).  God worked out that detail as well because our I-600A form is set to expire on 1/8/14.  However, we found out we were able to file the I-600 today and it is good for a YEAR.  Phew!  That saved us a hassle and a whole lot of money. 


Keep praying God moves the miracles so we can maybe bring him home by Christmas.  I'm glad today is only a good bye for now.  In a month or so he will be home forever.  :)



Monday, November 25, 2013

Mama and Papa

Today was our favorite day with Edik so far.  When we first arrived Edik was on his way to class, but he spotted us and it caught him off guard that we were there at his school so early in the morning.   He made a surprised sound like “Oh!” and gave us both big hugs.  He walked with us to the director’s office.  When we got there we had our translator tell him that we missed seeing him yesterday.   He was quick to say, “I missed you both yesterday too.”  I was very excited that the director gave us 2 pictures of him that were in his file.  Pictures are like treasures to me.  I almost broke down crying because not many orphan children have any pictures of them when they are younger. 
The director served us tea, chocolate and cookies.  It was such a treat because I was starving.  This was our first meeting with the inspector (case worker) and it went very well.  We now have both the director and inspector on board for the adoption—what an answer to prayer that is! 
Later we had a chance to go upstairs to the recreation room alone with Edik while our facilitator worked on paperwork with the director.  Tim and Edik built a Lego Car together.  I enjoyed watching and taking pictures.  Then they played together with some toys we bought him.  He really came out of his shell and laughed a lot while we played.  He laughed hysterically at Tim trying to duck and dodge the toy they were throwing back and forth.  I was able to get him on video laughing.  He has an “all-boy” quality that is so much fun.  Tim and Edik would throw the toy as hard as they could at each other and then the toy would ricochet off each other.  Hitting each other in the back of the heads or bottoms apparently is hysterical to this little guy.  They would drop kick it, throw it behind their backs and do all kinds of tricks with it.

We got to have lunch again today with Edik.  We had yummy potato soup and a plate of mashed potatoes with meat over the top.  During lunch the facilitator asked Edik if he’d rather call us “Tim and Carinda” or “Mama and Papa.” He eagerly said, “Mama and Papa.” We told him we like that as well.  So that is what he calls us now (gives me goose bumps!) She asked him if he wants to be adopted and he timidly nodded and smiled.   She asked what his favorite part of today was and he said he enjoyed playing with the Legos and toys in the recreation room. 

We love him to pieces already.  He is a precious boy and SO VERY CUTE!!  We are ready to bring him home.   We wish with all our hearts we could take him home now so he could be home for Christmas.  However, it will likely not be until mid-January before we get home with him.  This region is very difficult with paperwork and it’s hard to get a court date.  Please keep praying.  It would be so special to at least get him home before Ukrainian Christmas which is January 7th, but will take a miracle!  God is able!  We are so very thankful that God has led us to Edik and that he calls us “Mama and Papa.”

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. (Psalm 100:4)


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Second Visit :)


Today we first met his director.  We were a little nervous about the visit because we were told she was very stern.  I felt she was warm and loving from the moment we arrived. The director told us some things about E’s history.  He has a living father, but his father has never visited him since he arrived at the orphanage.  His grandmother is too old and never visits him either.  The sentences “He has no one” and “His dad does not want him” kind of jabbed me in the heart.  Tim piped up, “Well this dad wants him a lot!” The director went on and on about what a wonderful boy he is.  She said he loves sports, he is very smart, he works hard, he loves to help, he is in charge sometimes of cleaning (leadership) teams, has good reputation with teachers, keeps his bedroom area spotless, likes to keep himself neat, hair combed nicely and clean clothing (we also witnessed that he wipes his mouth as he eats and washes his hands before he eats).  She said that she has been there 34 years and she can predict the ones with wonderful potential with 99% accuracy and she thinks he has GREAT potential. She very much hopes he will say yes to our family because she likes our family very much.  She said she wishes every single one of the children in her orphanage could have a family. 


She had a little table set up in her office in the morning when we first arrived where we drank tea and had cookies and chocolate.  Tim doesn't like tea but he drank it anyway and smiled the whole time. haha 


 E gave us a tour of his orphanage. He carries on a wonderful conversation.  There is a statue outside his bedroom window and Tim asked him if he knew what it was.  He ended up giving us a brief history lesson about whoever that man was on the statue that protected the territory.  He's VERY bright, polite and a born leader.  I can't believe that I am absolutely smitten by him.  When he hugs me, he holds me tightly.  It is so sweet.  His hug for Tim is swift and manly, but me, he hugs tenderly and holds the hug for a few moments...And his blue eyes and long eye lashes...he is going to attract too many girls!  ;)

(Below picture...E standing beside his bed and window.  He keeps his area very neat! The next photo is Tim giving E a motorcycle Pez candy dispenser.)

We stayed and watched a show that the different classes videotaped with different skits.  E was in the 5th grade class's show.  He acted out something and clearly has a sense of humor. 


Then the assistant director had us attend a private lunch before the other children came in.  We had some delicious borsht and potatoes with chicken and gravy (?) on top.   It is nice to know that he has been fed well for the 2 years he's been at the orphanage.  There were fresh tomatoes from their "kitchen garden" (E told us he helped plant and pick them) and bread along with more tea.  E ate every last bite, wiped his mouth, carried on conversation politely, then took our dishes when we were finished and wiped the table off and then used a rag to clean it.  He looked like a little waiter at a very fancy restaurant.   (The below picture he is politely offering that we sit before he does.  You can also see their entire dining room and how each table has a vase and flowers.  It was SO clean.)



While we had our tour of the orphanage E eagerly ran ahead and opened all the doors for the ladies and held them as we walked through.


Anyway, it was a wonderful visit.  Since tomorrow is Sunday we are not going to the orphanage.  The director asked us not to come because E is in charge of some cleaning team and she needs his help.  I guess on Monday some inspector is coming to check for cleanliness.  I'm not sure what they need to clean because the place is immaculate. 


As we left, he hugged us, and then ran upstairs as fast as he could.  He knocked on the window above us and waved and smiled.  He watched us leave.  (You can see him peaking out the arched window above the door in this below picture).


On the way home we stopped at a shop and finally found an umbrella.  Our driver also drove us to a huge mall with a toy store so we could buy him a few toys.  We really like our driver Vitaliy.  He's definitely one of our favorite drivers of all of our trips to Ukraine.


We are going to miss visiting E, but glad for a day off tomorrow because it is tiresome getting up so early and going out there. This is Ukraine and somehow 50 kilometers (31 miles) takes 3 hours to drive ONE WAY LOL (I'm not really exaggerating either). 


Friday, November 22, 2013

First Visit with a Boy Named E

"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him...And let us return to the Lord. We lift up our heart and hands toward God in heaven" Lamentations 3:25, 40, 41.

.....continued post from yesterday.....

When we woke up this morning we were thinking we would pick up our referral letter at 5pm then knew we would probably have to wait until Monday to meet our boy who we will call “E.”  However, we got a surprise phone call saying that a taxi was meeting us right after our letter pick-up at TWO o’clock (earlier than 5pm!!).


It is pouring down rain here (and has been for 3 days).  We have no umbrella (and can't find a store that sells one), but I don't care because we got to meet E!!!!


He is a very sharp young boy.  He has dark hair and BLUE eyes.  He is smart, respectful and has a sense of humor.  He also told us that he loves to play sports.  When we first met him he gave us both polite handshakes.  15 minutes later he offered Tim a sweet hug and turned to give me a hug as well and held me for a few moments.  When Tim told him "We are glad we got to meet you today and spend time with you," he answered, "I'm happy I got to meet you both as well."


He very much wants to be adopted and seemed to really like us as well.  He's a very open boy as far as open to hearing about us and answering questions.  He doesn't seem very shy, but he's not outgoing either.  We really, really like him and hope things move forward well with him.  Please keep praying for God's hand in this.


Judging by the picture we took with him today, his height is shorter than Kylie, so he's probably about the same height as Andrew.  E is 11 years old, Andrew just turned 12.  Andrew's about 65 pounds fully dressed.  I'd guess E is about 75 pounds at the same height.  Andrew has a lot of catching up to do with weight because he was so malnourished for so long.  This orphanage DEFINITELY cares for the children better than poor little Andrew's orphanage did.


E’s director could not be there this evening because we got there after she left, but she sent the assistant director to supervise the visit.  The assistant director was a very friendly, bubbly “babushka”-type.  5 minutes after we pulled away from the orphanage, the director called our facilitator to ask how Tim & I liked "her boy" and then she went on and on about how a family would be lucky to have him. She bragged about him some more about what a great boy he is...almost like she was promoting him and definitely seemed on board for the adoption--such an answer to prayer.


The whole first meeting was all of 20 minutes because it's later in the evening here in Kiev and E was heading to his dinner, but still this is Day 1 or our 10-day required "bonding period" that is required.  That means we are 3 days ahead of our expected Monday first meeting.  We get to see him tomorrow at 11am for a bit longer and meet the director. 


Tim and I walked away from our first meeting very pleased with how the visit went.



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Katie's Craft Fair (s)

A couple of months ago we were driving to Harris Teeter and I noticed a sign on a local church about a craft fair and there being table slots available.  I mentioned it to Katie and asked if she wanted to buy a table and she was all over that!  She loves to sew, knit, crochet, make rubber band jewelry and work with duct tape.  She thought it’d be neat to make some money for her “hobby.” So she made a goal for herself and got to work.  In one month’s time, she made 30 scarves, several duct tape wallets, 2 purses out of (soda) pop tabs and all kinds of creations.

October 24th was her first craft fair.  She wanted me to take her, (Dad stayed home and moved furniture around) so on a Saturday I got up around 6am to load the car, drove over to the church and got her all set up.  The craft fair was from 8am-4pm (ugh).  As I had figured, most of the other table vendors were older ladies or men.  So they were tickled to have a little 12-year-old participating in the craft fair.  Most 12-year-olds are all into their friends, iphones, music groups, shopping, boys and things like that.  Our Katie is very engaging to adults, creative and wise beyond her years.  I’ll keep her!

It was funny because one old lady asked her how long it took her to make a duct tape wallet.  Katie answered, “Oh, it takes me about 20 or 30 minutes depending on the style I’m making.” The lady was shocked she could do it that quickly.  Then she asked, “How long does it take you to knit a scarf?  20 or 30 minutes?” Katie laughed, “No ma’am.  It takes me about 2 hours per scarf.” The lady looked over at me over the top of her glasses and said, “You are a blessed mother.  Your daughter is extraordinary for being so young.”

She ended up breaking even on what she spent on supplies on her first craft fair.   The following weekend she was invited to participate in another craft fair.  It was at her second craft fair that she actually made a profit.  I was so proud of her for making a goal, sticking to it and following through.  Before she even made any money she had determined how she was going to use her money:  First she wanted to tithe, then put half of her profit into her savings account and with the rest she wanted to buy herself rollerblades.  As her mom, I was hoping she would reach her goals and not be disappointed if she walked away only making a few dollars.  She was determined and very hopeful, so I was thrilled when she did so well.    

It was a really good learning experience for her.  She learned how hard it is to earn money.  She learned how to budget and come up with the materials first, how to take a risk that potentially nothing would sell, how to patiently wait to make a profit, how to show good customer service and how blessed she is for the talents God has given her. It was also good for her to hear the praise from all the customers regarding her work.  She is convinced Tim and I only tell her that her stuff is good because we have to because it’s what parents have to do.  It was a really neat experience to watch and as her mama I couldn’t be more proud.