Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I have been a bad blogger lately. I finally have the laptop back at home though so at least I am able to blog now. I picked Phillip and Katya up from Dulles yesterday around 5pm. Their plane landed at 2:44pm and that is how long customs and immigration took them. Every other plane from Europe landed with theirs I think.

Long story short. We drove home, had dinner prepared by my cousin and his wife, then let the kids play a little and showed Katya the house before baths. After baths Katya let me put her jammies on and put her in the bed. She laid there and talked a while before going to sleep. She woke up around 1am and I rocked her a little bit and she went right back to sleep. Somewhere around 6 or so she woke up again and Phillip got her and put her in our bed. She fussed a while then threw up. Yuk. I'm not sure what was wrong but she was fine the rest of the day.

Naptime was awful. She screamed and cried and wouldn't let me rock her at first. She just saw the bed and I explained it was time for "speet" and she just got upset. I would appreciate some tips here because at first (since she wouldn't let me rock her) I just put her in her bed and let her scream a little while. Then I went in and rocked her to sleep. As soon as I put her down, she woke up and started screaming again. So I rocked her again. Same thing. Fast forward 2 hours later and none of my kids were asleep.

Finally she said she had to pee so I took her to the potty then brought her back to her bed. When I laid her down and tucked her in that time, she didn't fuss at all and went right to sleep. THEN I could get Wyatt to go to sleep.

Overall though, the kids have played happily with each other all day and our "Christmas Day" is tomorrow morning! I am so happy to have my hubby back. I missed that man!

Katya has a Dr. appointment on Tues. next week so we'll see what specialist they refer of to and what everyone recommends. She definitely will benefit from medical attention here in the U.S.

I will fill in what all went on in Kharkov at other time. When I have time!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

So I have been unable to post on my blog via the iPod. I am on the laptop at Phillip's parents'.

Phillip left Charlottesville Airport at 10:30am on Sunday and after traveling to Dulles, Munich, Kiev, and Kharkov, finally made it around 1am Tuesday morning, but he got right off the train and headed into a full day of paperowork with our translator that included a 2 1/2 hour car drive to Katya's hometown. He finally made it to an apartment to get some sleep on Tuesday night (Ukraine time - so early Wed. morning EST).

So right now they have everything taken care of except getting Katya's passport. They expect to pick that up on Monday, then get Katya and take the night train to Kiev. Phillip emailed the embassy on Friday about an appointment but hasn't heard back yet. We're hoping for a Tuesday appointment so they can pick up the visa on Wednesday and come home! We're going to have to change flight plans again though because right now their plane leaves Kiev on Wed. morning and unless the embassy pulls a miracle and does everything in one day, they can't leave till Wed. night. Oh well...

Last night I asked the boys if they wanted to put out cookies for Santa Clause. We aren't opening presents at our house till Daddy comes home so I wanted to do something fun for them. Wes was all into it and said we also needed a carrot for the reindeer. Wyatt carried the plate of cookies over and Wesley carried the milk cup. Wes asked if Santa would come in the fireplace. I said yes. He said well Mom there is fire there! He might get burned! I said Santa would be fine and he'd come down as soon as they went to sleep and leave a present. Wes then said "I'm gonna get in my bed now and NOT peek!" Wyatt looked at the fireplace, the cookies and milk, then climbed up on the love seat. I said, "What are you doing." He said, "My gonna wait for SannaClas. My want see him." Oh MY he was MAD at me for making him go to bed!!

The only way I got him to go to sleep was to let him sleep in the newly made Princess toddler bed...

We called Phillip on skype this morning from his parent's house so he could watch the boys open presents. They showed Daddy everything they got and ate donuts in front of him. I've promised a repeat of Christmas Day at our house once Daddy and Katya get home. Wesley is SO excited that we get to "Have Christmas Day AGAIN!" Our presents will remain under the tree until we're ALL home.

Its been really hard today to not have Phillip here. We could have waited till after Christmas to go get Katya but we really didn't want to do that. She's never had a family for Christmas and even if she doesn't really understand that Daddy was there with her today, we did. I miss him so much. We've never spent Christmas apart before, not even when we were dating.

I'll be really glad when he gets home :) We're gonna have a PARTY!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Daddy is coming!

Phillip flies out tomorrow morning to go finalize paperwork in Kharkov and get Katya. He has 3 flights totalling over 12 hours with two 6 hour layovers and then an 8 hour overnight train ride to get to her. Please be in prayer for him to have safe travels, and for me and the boys who will be spending Christmas without him. Also please pray for Katya who is going to have her world turned upside down when Daddy comes to get her and she will have to travel on the train and the same long flight to get home.

Phillip is taking the laptop with him (which is on its last leg) so I don't know if I can update the blog while he's gone but I might go borrow one at someone else's house. Or MAYBE I can get him to update the blog -- we'll see.

I have an iPod touch that my brother loaned me so we can skype with Phillip but other than that, we won't see him until he flies home on the 29th.

Please pray that all will go well with the paperwork for Katya. There are several things in Kharkov that have to be done that will take a few days and then they'll go to Kiev to get her visa at the embassy. It is the holiday season but we've been told they'll still process adoption visa's even the week of Christmas and New Years. IF by some miracle they get things finished up early, they will try to get an earlier flight home.

Hopefully we'll all be able to ring in the New Year as a family of 5 under ONE roof!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

4 Days

We're still a little jet lagged but I think maybe its not so bad coming home as going over. While in Ukraine we felt like we'd been gone forever, but once we got home it kind of felt like we'd never left except that we left colorful leaves on the trees and 65 degree temps to come to home no leaves on the trees and a windchill around 10 degrees.

It snowed Monday so Wesley's preschool was canceled but he still had his Christmas program that night which we were SO glad that we got to both be here in our little window of time and see him. Of course he sat on the steps and didn't sing, but watched everyone else. Oh well, he's only 4 and we were just happy he stayed on stage. He seems to be terrible shy in front of people.

Phillip leaves Sunday morning to fly out of Charlottesville and into Dulles then has about a 6 hour layover before he flies to Frankfurt then another long layover there before he gets into Kiev. Poor guy! He went back to work Monday and has already got 2 hours overtime. Of course we can use the money because he didn't get paid while we were in Ukraine and won't get paid while he's gone again to get Katya.

We came back to find the Christmas season in full swing but we're having a hard time getting into it. For one thing, we won't be together and another is that we've just spent a month in Ukraine in an orphanage and Christmas almost (to me anyways) seems like a frivalous spending spree and not the celebration of Christ's birth that it should be.

The kids are excited about Christmas and Katya. We're going to wait till Daddy and Katya get back to celebrate Christmas here at our house. The kids won't know the difference and that way Katya still gets to have her first Christmas with a family. Ukraine celebrates the New Year first, then they have Christmas then they celebrate their "Old New Year." We might just find ourselves celebrating all January long.

I've nearly washed all of our clothes and I've started getting Phillip's stuff ready to go back. I cried every day we were in Ukraine (not constantly of course!) because I missed the kids and I'm sure I'll probably cry every day while Phillip is gone until he gets back and we're ALL together as a family of 5. This whole process has turned me into an emotional sap lol.

Seriously though, the emotional toll of adopting is nothing to sneeze at. I've heard it said that adoption is not for the faint of heart. I don't really agree with that because I consider myself pretty faint of heart! Without God as my source of strength, calm, wisdom, and comfort, I would not have been able to take all the ups and downs of this process and keep going. I think this whole process made me realize in a new way how weak I really am and how big God is.

I read the book Crazy Love while we were in Ukraine and I love how it talks about Christians always wondering what "God's Will" is for their life. They spend so much time searching for "God's Will." If they could just figure out "God's Will" then they'd do it. Well the book goes on to say that we should be living "God's Will" in the NOW. What does God want us to do RIGHT NOW. We aren't supposed to figure out the "Master Plan" and then try to go do everything just right so we don't mess it up. No, God wants us to do what He would do RIGHT NOW.

That was such a source of comfort to me because we had to make so many snap decisions and I was left wondering "What if I just screwed up what God intended for us?" "What if that was the wrong decision?" "How do I know this is what we're supposed to do?" Basically the answer is that God walks with you and no matter what choice you make, if you are really seeking his will and trying to love and serve Him then you are living out His will for your life. There isn't some secret to finding God's Will. You just have to live in it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


We are finally HOME.

We found out after court on Thursday that we couldn't do any paperwork during the 10 day waiting period which will end on the 20th of Decemeber, so we decided to come home and wait it our here in the U.S. I signed over my POA to Phillip so only he will be returning to Ukraine to get Katya during the week of Christmas.

We went to the orphanage and told Katya goodbye on Thursday morning and left her almost all of the toys we bought her, some snacks, a picture book and we tried to explain that we wouldn't be back for a little while. We got one of her nannies to explain to her that her Papa would be back on the 21st to pick her up and take her home but at 4 I don't think she grasps the concept. We are hopeful that since her workers know when Phillip is coming back that they'll remind her of that when she asks for us. The inspector told the judge at court that Katya asks for us every day before we would come visit her so we know she will be looking for us.

I'm a little sad that we won't all be together for Christmas but I'm also so happy that Katya will have her Papa there with her for the first time in her life so she won't have to spend another Christmas alone and without a family. We will save our presents here for when Daddy and Katya return. We are thinking about just doing a New Year's/Merry Christmas Day but we'll probably just tear into everything as soon as they're home! Our translator said she was sorry that we would have to spend Christmas apart and said Phillip could come back after Christmas to finish the paperwork but we want this thing finalized and Katya home ASAP!

We also found out that the Ukrainian parliament is voting to close adoptions on Dec. 16th so we feel very fortunate that we got to court and were declared Katya's parents before that vote comes up!

Our trip home was very very long. We found out there were no train tickets left AT ALL for the 4pm train leaving Kharkov and going to Kiev so we had to pay an extra fee to get 3 tickets on a bus that someone else had already booked. Not sure how they even worked that but they said we could have them for an extra 100 grivnah and we said ok.

The bus wasn't bad. It had more leg room than an airplane but smelled worse. There was also a "flight attendent" that served drinks and snacks in route. The bus driver drove like everyone else in Ukraine only he was doing it in a huge 40 passenger German Engineered bus. Oh well... at least we were bigger than everything else on the road! Oh and it was snowing to beat the band when we left Kharkov so traffic was awful! After a few hours we stopped for bathroom breaks at another bus station. I had to pee so I hopped off the bus with our translator who then informed me that you had to pay 1 grivnah for the privaledge of using the toilets and instructed me to grab some toilet paper at the window as well.

Ahhh... and I thought I'd seen it all.

So I walked into the ladies room and was hit first by the stench. Ugh it rivaled the worst portapotty you've ever used. So I covered my nose and went to a stall and AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!


The toilet was level with the floor. Phillip didn't get this description so I'll explain in more detail. The toilet seat was completely level with the floor as in to use the toilet you'd have to either stand over it or squat or something... I dunno. I didn't find out how you'd use it because I turned around and ran out completely horrified that everyone else on the bus was using these toilets and that there was no handsoap at the sinks. I'm a bit of a germ freak and I had to practically bathe in hand sanitizer and then I purposefully inhaled the fumes through my nose to get rid of the smell. Wowzers.

6 hours later at the Kiev airport I finally got to pee in a REAL toilet.

About an hour after that, we started smelling something burning. The driver of the bus pulled over and we could see the brake roters glowing on the wet ground. Not cool. They told us that they were trying to repair the bus so after about 30 minutes of sitting and them doing something (and Phillip going nuts b/c he's a mechanic and was convinced that he knew what was wrong) we pulled out and despite still smelling the burning brakes, drove on.

We left Kharkov at 4pm and arrived at the Kiev aiport at 12:30am. Our flight left at 5:30am so we had to sit and kill 5 hours. We went through security at Kiev which wasn't bad and got on plane to Frankfurt.

Awful ear pain again for me when landing despite taking benedryl and zyrtec! Wel landed around 7am.

Customs in Frankfurt is the most thorough security anywhere. Thankfully we weren't one of the people who got special processing or pulled aside to be searched so we were happy!

We had a 6 hour layover in Frankfurt which was loooooooong but we dozed off a few times and had a snack at the snack bar and waited...

Our flight was supposed to board at 12:15pm but that was delayed because the cabin crew wasn't ready for passengers so we waited till about 1pm to board. Then, the captain made an annoucement that we had been waiting for passengers who never showed up so they had to remove their baggage.

Then he annouced that we had to wait for clearance for takeoff.

Around 2pm we finally took off. Yay! U.S. bound!

The flight was long, the food was good, we napped a tiny bit and one really cool thing on this plane was that we had our own personal touch screen tv to watch movies on, or listen to music. That really helped to pass the time!

After 9 hour flight at 38000 feet, once again, awful ear pain when landing then partial deafness for several hours lol

We picked up our luggage and went through U.S. customs in like 3 minutes. Sweet.

My Dad and step mom were waiting for us when we walked out of our gate. Our connecting flight to Charlottesville didn't leave till 10pm so my dad said he'd pick us up at Dulles which is only a 2 hour drive to where we live. We landed nearly an hour late around 5pm. Dad drove us home after stopping to get me a bottle of water and a bottle of tea which I drank in 10 minutes. I was SUPER thirsty!

We were home at 7pm and showered (for the first time since Thursday night Ukrainian time) and in the bed asleep by 9pm, an hour before our flight would have even left lol

We woke up wide awake at 5am and couldn't go back to sleep so got up and went to IHOP for breakfast (first American meal in a month) then went to Phillip's parent's to pick our kiddos up. Wes was standing at the door waiting for us and I picked him up to hug him and he just clung to me. Wes NEVER does that so I know he missed us! Wyatt was still sleeping so I went to his bed and rubbed his head till he woke up. He jumped up and hugged me and wouldn't let me go for about an hour. After he woke up good, he melted all up against me and hugged me with his little arms and said, "I like you!" We stayed for a little while and let the boys eat the candy we brought them and gave them each a set of Bricks (knock off legos) then the boys said they wanted to go home! NiNi and PaPa were heading to church anyways so we loaded up the boys (who jumped into their carseats voluntarily) and drove home. As we were going down the road Wes said, "I really missed you, mom." I missed you too buddy!

It is SO good to be home. Our shower is amazing and will never ever fuss that it is only a stall and not a full size. Our toilets are marvelous. Our sinks are splendid. My kitchen is WONDERFUL and I am in love with my microwave and garbage disposal all over again. My washer and dryer make me feel like I am a queen and I am blessed that I am able to wash a supersize load and then *angels singing here* put my clothes into a dryer to have them emerge soft, fragrant, and warm. I have a vaccuum cleaner that I LOVE LOVE LOVE to use and we are so blessed that we can drink our tap water without a second thought.

We take so much for granted here in the U.S. but we are SO incredibly blessed. Compared to most of the rest of the world we live in spendor. I certainly feel like I'm living in splendor now!

So, I need to call GE Money Bank and tell them how upset I am that even though I called them BEFORE we left for Ukraine and told them that I would be using the card in Europe and DID NOT want it put on hold; they put it on hold and declined our travel agency's charge for plane tickets.

The last seat on the plane, Katya and Phillip's return flight home and they declined the charge then called our HOME phone to ask about it 5 minutes after we walked in the door last night. Ya know the home we had to fly from EUROPE to get to return to? yeah... Fortunately our travel agent used the company credit card to pay for our tickets so now we have to wire him the money but Phillip got the seat on the plane. Ya know the LAST one! Golden Rule Travel Agency rocks. Who else would do that for you?

Seriously though I am outraged at the CC company. Old Navy Credit card through GE Money Bank. BAD BAD BAD. You are on my naughty list and I will close the account after complaining because I stressed over and over how important it was that the account NOT be put on hold. Now not only do I have the charge for a super expensive holiday flight, we have to pay to wire the money. URGH!

But now to end the world's longest blog post on a positive note...

Phillip goes back to work tomorrow. Wes goes to preschool and I will be taking him. That just thrills me. I get to take my kid to preschool again. Yay! I get to feed my kids breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and clean up after them. Yes I GET TO and I'm beyond thankful for it. I get to put them down for naps and bedtime and give them their baths and wash their clothes. Ahhh the joys of being a mommy! I love it and I missed it and I'll never take it for granted again!

We'll have the whole week together and then Phillip will fly out of Charlottesville again on Sunday morning. He has a super long flight plan with a lot of long layovers and then he'll get off the plane to get on an overnight train to Kharkov to start the paperwork for Katya's passport, tax ID number, birth certificate, and some other stuff. His estimated return date is Dec. 29th-30th. We'll spend Christmas apart but I will be here with the boys and he'll be with Katya. God willing we'll be all together to ring in the New Year as a family of 5

... after I pick him up from Dulles because once again the layover to fly to Charlottesville is like 6 hours. A stressed out 4 year old who just flew across the Atlantic waiting 6 hours in an airport - Hah.

We are SO blessed! Thanks everyone for your prayers and keep 'em coming!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Heading home

We had court today at 12pm. Well, it was scheduled for 12 but we had to wait for a little while cause they were running behind and the "persecutor" for our case hadn't shown up yet. "Persecutor" is what our translator calls the prosecutor in case you didn't get it yet. (haha)

Anyways we were asked a lot of questions by the judge like "What is your job?", "Does your family support your decision to adopt?", "Why do you want to adopt when you already have 2 kids?", "Describe your house." and stuff like that.

After about an hour of questions and the formality of reading the paperwork, we were told to go out and wait in the waiting room. Our translator took the orphanage inspector and vice director back to their offices and we waited. The judge was trying to find a way to waive the 10 day wait or at least let us start paperwork during the 10 days, but alas, it just wasn't possible. We found out a little later that even if he had done it for us, the orphanage director would not have honored his decision and would not have let us take K or begin paperwork to finalize things. Things are just different in Ukraine and you just have to accept that its not like the U.S.

Because we can't do any paperwork during the waiting period, we decided to fly back home and that Phillip will return on Dec. 20th to finalize paperwork and bring K home. We didn't want to go home and both leave our boys again so soon and its cheaper for one to fly over and back than two. I signed over my POA to him today so tomorrow after visiting K and saying goodbye, then buying some promised chocolate for our kiddos, we will take a 4pm train 8 hours to Kiev and go to the Boryspil airport and wait for oh about 4 hours to fly out of Kiev at 5am Saturday morning to arrive in Frankfurt at 7am and have a 6 hour layover and then a 9 hour flight to Dulles. We have a 6 hour layover in Dulles to catch a flight to Charlottesville but its a 20 minute flight and a 2 hour drive so my dad is gonna pick us up instead of us waiting all that time for a 10pm flight.

The judge didn't finish his decree today because he was busy trying to see if he could waive our 10 day wait so our translator will pick it up tomorrow, but we are officially the parents of Mariah Katarina Johnson :)

She is 4 years old and has cerebral palsy that affects mainly her legs. She has such spirit and determination in her and she reminds us alot of Wes. We are very optimistic about what the wonderful medical advances in the U.S. can do to help her. We came to meet her very anxiously because her file and picture at the SDA were not very compelling and in all of her 4 years listed with the SDA no one every went to visit her, but we talked it over and prayed about and decided that if this was the child that God intended for us that He would equip us to be her parents no.matter.what. So we went to see her.

We are so very glad we did!

Monday, December 6, 2010

We got a phone call...

So those infamous papers that were finally signed on Friday last week (due to everyone praying for us no doubt!) were submitted to the SDA today. It can take up to 5 business days to process these papers but we need them done no later than Wednesday so we can have court on Thursday as scheduled. We sent out prayer requests to our church, posted on facebook and this blog and that whole "Pray without ceasing" thing; I've been doing it.

So this morning we braved snowy sidewalks and super slick ice covered roads to walk to the orphanage and visit "K." We didn't fall down, but we had a few close calls! I don't see how all these women walk around in 4 inch pointy toe boots without missing a beat!

We had a good visit and since the cold wasn't ripping our face off today, we decided to walk around and explore a little bit. We walked to a 2nd Hand Store we had seen the day before but it didn't have much in it. We kept going and found 3 more 2nd Hand Stores further down the street that did have a few items that should fit "K." We've been trying to find her a pair of shoes or boots but new children's shoes are ridiculously expensive and we don't have her foot with us to make sure its the right size.

We also found another little coffee shop (they're everywhere) right next to one of the stores so we went in to get a cup of coffee and warm up. We got 2 Mochachinos and 2 little creampuff things for about $1.75.

We did go into a Children's store to price boots and some of them were 800 grivnas! So we bought 1 pair of tights to go under a little dress we found and decided to keep shopping for shoes until we find some for a little less!

In case anyone is wondering why we are looking for clothes for "K," the orphanage doesn't give us any clothes for her because she doesn't have any that are just hers. They are for all of the kids so we have to provide clothes the day we take her with us.

After walking around shopping for about an hour (mostly walking), we headed back to the apartment to make lunch and talk to the boys on skype. I miss those boys so much but they seem to be very happy with NiNi and PaPa so that makes me feel a little better (but not much). Wes was showing off a truck he built with Legos that a silly NiNi bought him after saying she wouldn't buy legos because they were too messy; and Wyatt was coloring with a purple marker. Eventually they got into a shoving match in front of the computer and Wyatt tried to shove Wesley off but couldn't so Wyatt tried to color Wesley's face with the marker to get even. And all of this is before Wes even went to preschool this morning.

Our apartment is boring. Our TV is in terrible shape so we can't even watch Russian television. Phillip has resorted to playing a John Deer game on the computer that he installed for Wesley and I have been playing too much "Super Mega Worm" on my brother's iPod touch. I read all of my books already... like 2 weeks ago already. So since its supposed to be a balmy 37 degrees tomorrow we are going in search of the worlds 3rd largest city block tomorrow. Its supposed to be close to our apartment.

Ah and the good news that I've saved for last: Our translator called this afternoon and said that our documents will be ready on Wednesday so we can have court on Thursday as scheduled. YAY!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Groundhog Day

I've heard other adoptive families say that staying in Ukraine turns into a scene from the movie Groundhog Day. Well its true. We wake up every day to the same bleary gray skies and make our trek to the orphanage. The sky looks the same all day long. I don't know how people here can stand to be without the sun but its driving me nuts! The sky looks the same at 8am as it does at 3pm and then it gets pitch black. We've had some snow, some extreme cold, and lots of drizzling rain but the sky looks the same all the time.

Oh and one thing I forgot to mention is that this apartment does not have a shower curtain. I'm not sure why not, but I cannot take a shower without making a huge mess!

We had a bit of an episode today. We'd been eyeing some meat at the grocery store that had different kinds of rubs or marinades on it. I was scared to try it considering we've not been so lucky with "mystery shopping." Today though we grabbed a pack of little steaks that had a green marinade on them. We weren't sure what kind of meat they were but it looked pretty good. When we opened them, they smelled good so we fried them in a pan and they tasted a lot like deer... or lamb. So we decided to pull the wrapping out and try to google the words to see what it was that we ate and THAT is when we noticed it. The expiration date of 11/12/2010. OMG we freaked out for a while thinking how sick we were going to get. We'd been so careful with expiration dates, HOW did we miss that?? Ahhhhhh!!!

and then...

a few hours later...

we remembered:

in Ukraine the dates aren't the same as in the U.S. 11/12/2010 means 12/11/2010. We know this but in the moment we forgot.

Ah well I guess we'll live another day. We never did find out what kind of meat it was though...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cloudy & Rainy with Meatballs

Food we bought at Billa
Our apartment stairwellYummy little cake @ the Coffee Shop

The weather here has been crazy. Wednesday and Thursday the high temps were 15 and 18. Friday it warmed up enough to snow a little bit and today it snowed this morning but warmed up and was pouring rain by 9am. The ground is still frozen though and the mud skim on top of it is like a sheet of ice. I almost wiped out jumping off the curb and into the crosswalk this morning.

We walk about a mile to the orphanage twice a day so the freezing cold was not fun! We aren't minding the warm up much at all but could do without the rain. The snow was pretty this morning before it melted.

We found fresh meatballs at the store yesterday and fried those for lunch today. We ate them with variniky and fried mushrooms and onions along with a pasta sauce we found that is actually very tasty. We finally lucked out with the "mystery shopping" and actually got not only pasta sauce, but a good tasting one! We've learned that just because it LOOKS like something back home, it probably is not and definitely won't taste like it... well with the exception of Ramen Noodles.

We bought some Stollen and have been eating that for breakfast or snacks. It was very expensive (50 grivnah -- about $6) so we expected it to be something super special but its pretty much raisin bread with a powdered sugar coating.

The best pastry we've had so far was a cream filled roll this morning at a little coffee shop that is on our way to the orphanage. We got 2 cups of coffee, 2 rolls, and a little chocolate cake for about $3. We saw more pastries we want to try and its a nice little spot for us to warm up going and coming. The lady who runs the place doesn't speak a lick of English though so we have to do a lot of pointing. Actually, no one here speaks much English. In Kiev it seemed that most stores had English on the menu and at least one person who spoke some English but here not so much!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mvi Brat!

We had two good visits with "Katoosha" today. Katoosha is a "tender diminuative" of her Ukrainian name and its what her caregivers call her most of the time. It took us forever to figure out what they were saying and why. We finally came back one day and googled the word on google translate for about a half hour before we figured it out.

K ate an entire bag of cherry preserve filled rolls yesterday. She ate over half in the morning and the rest of them in the afternoon. I think she liked them alot so we took chocolate filled rolls today and they're gone too! She wasn't crazy about the chicken broth I made her one day. She said "Ni soup" and gave it back...

They have chocolate eggs wrapped in foil with little toys inside of them here. They are called KinderSurprise Eggs and she loves them. One of her eggs had a pink dog with a cup of coffee and a cell phone. The other had a turtle. Evidentially there are series of toy collections that you can collect from these eggs. We are planning on bringing about 15 home with us for Wes, Wy, and "K."

She likes to look at pictures of Wes and Wy on Phillip's blackberry and we even have a few short videos of them doing stuff at home. She really likes to watch those too. We've been telling her that Wesley and Wyatt are her brothers. One of her caregivers went through the photo albums we brought, with K, and told her about each picture and that Wesley and Wyatt are her brothers and that we are her Mama and Papa and she is going home with us. We weren't sure she "got it" even though she repeated everything.

Today when she saw Wesley and Wyatt's picture on Phillip's blackberry she said "Mvi Brat!" (My brothers!) It was a really sweet moment.

She also love love loves to listen to "musica" on the blackberry. Its kind of ironic to hear Carrie Underwood singing, "Don't listen to them when they say you're just a fool to believe you can change the world" when you're in an orphanage in Ukraine looking at a 4 year old who's world is about to change. Hearing Casting Crowns singing "Oh that I would have the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat and then, into the crashing waves." really takes on a new meaning when you feel like you are IN the crashing waves!

But I've found that if you don't step out of that boat, you won't ever know what its like to walk on water.

So here are 2 pictures of "K" and her daddy or "Papa" as she calls him.

The papers were signed!

So after a discouraging day yesterday for both us, our translator, and the orphanage director of unsuccessfully trying to get our paperwork signed and the situation looking rather bleak, this morning we found out that it had been signed! WHoohoo!! We also have a court date for Thursday next week. The judge is according to our translator "A very good guy."

We are still doing a lot of paperwork. Some new requirements popped up and we have to prove that our little girl is a citizen of Ukraine. Yep you read that right. Our translator is doing that today.

We are trying to have the 10 day waiting period after court waived. Our little girl has a medical condition that may make this possible. The judge said that if it is legally possible, he will try to do it. So they are looking into that for us.

So prayer requests in order:

1) that the SDA will process our paperwork that has finally been signed SUPER SUPER quick. Normally this process takes 5 working days, but we only have 2 before we have to have them for court. So pray pray pray!

2) That the judge will be able to waive our waiting period after court. If he can't then we're going to try to take care of all paperwork necessary here in this region during the waiting period so we can go to Kiev on the 11th day. Some regions allow it, some don't. Our translator is checking into this as well for us.

Our translator works very hard for us and she has been away from her family for a long time too as they don't all live in Kiev. We miss our kids and she misses hers so it will be good for everyone for this process to move quicker than it has been.

We're off to find some pizza and get "K" some more KinderSurprise Eggs. We're ready to celebrate even the small victories!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Worth Reposting

I have seen this post a couple of times on other people's blogs before we left for Ukraine but tonight when I saw it again, somehow it meant more than before. The man who wrote this died in a car accident about 6 months later.

You can read their blog here: www.louxfamilyblog.com

Redemption by Derek Loux - Friday, December 12, 2008

"Renee’ and I are sitting in the office of a telephone company in Novograd Valenski, Ukraine, using wireless internet. We are in the middle of adopting three special needs boys from an orphanage here. Two of the boys have Down Syndrome. Roman is high functioning, energetic and happy. Dimitri has serious mental retardation, failure to thrive, and though he is five years old, he is the size of a 1 year old. He has sores on his face, a distinct smell of death on him, and yells out if we try to do anything with him other than hold him. Because he has less ability to respond and learn, he naturally gets less attention and care from the orphanage workers in this world of limited resources. The harsh reality of the “survival of the fittest” principle is a life and death struggle that this little boy is losing fast. Our third boy Sasha, is a brilliant six year old who has Spina Bifida (the condition our son Josiah died from in 1996). He is like a learning sponge that can’t get enough! He is happy and alert and thirsty for knowledge and experience. So with two of our boys, we get an immediate return on any investment we make. With Dimitri, there’s not much immediate gratification. In fact, it’s unknown when and if there will be a return at all. This is the kind of situation that makes the carnal, fallen, human reasoning think, “Why try? What’s the point? What will this produce? What good will this do? Why not select a boy who has more potential? This looks like a lost cause.Two days ago we drove for hours into the Ukrainian countryside to the village where Dimitri was born. We met with officials there and signed papers and answered their questions. We also went and saw Dimitri’s house. The day had been long, we were still recovering from jet lag, I was beginning to really miss my six daughters at home and all the familiar things our fragile human hearts entangle themselves with in feeble attempts to feel secure. Sitting in the dark on our very long drive back to Novograd that night, the Holy Spirit began to whisper to my heart, and new understanding about redemption began to take shape.I was thinking, “Man, adopting this little boy has been so much work. This is exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable … and it doesn’t feel very rewarding right now.” What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes? What if Dimitri doesn’t improve at all? What if we get “nothing” out of this? … Ahhh, there it was; that dark, fallen, unreedemed, selfish human love, rooted in the tree of the knowledge of “good and evil”. The love the Greeks called “erao” love. The love where we treat someone as precious and treasured for what we can get out of it. This is unlike “agapeo” love, the God kind of love that treats someone as treasured and precious for their good, not for my good. It’s when I love a person in order to meet their needs, having no expectation of them meeting any of my needs. At a whole new level, God is working His kind of love into my weak heart, and He’s using little Dimitri to do it.On the drive home that night, the Lord whispered in my ear, “This is Redemption. Derek, do you know how far I traveled to get you and bring you back? I had to be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick, damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can’t even really appreciate or comprehend it, just like Dimitri will never comprehend or fully appreciate what is about to happen to him … but … he will live in the fruit of it. As his Daddy, I will never expect him to understand all of this or even to thank me. I just want to watch him live in the benefits of my love and experience the joys of being an heir in my family. This is how our heavenly “Papa” feels towards us.Today, settle your busy heart down and rest in the benefits of redemption. Enjoy the fruits of His goodness, and stop trying to “pay Him back”. You’ll never get close you goofy little kid."

Please keep praying for our paperwork

Our translator called today and said she isn't sure if the papers will be signed today afterall. We were told Monday that they'd would DEFINITELY be signed by today. Well they haven't been yet and its 1pm here. We don't know what is REALLY holding them up. We've heard reasons and excuses but we just don't know the real reason.

We moved to an apartment within walking distance of the orphanage and a supermarket this afternoon. We found some online and were going to see those today but all of a sudden our translator and landlady had one available right where we needed it. Ta-da. Now we don't have to pay a driver twice a day.

Please keep us in your prayers for these papers to be signed! Its frustrating and we're trying to stay positive but its really really frustrating. God can handle this. He didn't call us here to just leave us when it got hard. Pray pray pray. We have until 6pm today for these papers to be signed. We're 7 hours ahead of EST. That means there are 5 hours left to pray for this to happen today so lets get to it!

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson