1:27 PM

#15 - COMPLETE!! Mon, April 20, 2009


We are back home in NY since Thursday - boy are we glad!!!
Things were nice in Kiev with the YWAM missionaries, and got Stas' visa at the Embassy - everything went well.
Stas cried a bit when we were on the 6-hour train ride to Kiev, he started missing some people at the orphanage. His caregiver - but mostly, for some reason, a cleaning lady. He had her picture and cried over it, so she must have been nice to him. The tranlator and I distracted him after a bit and he was fine.
But when we got to the YWAM boat to sleep at 11pm, I came out of the bathroom and he was crying in bed over the cleaning lady - but I just rubbed his arm and said "I know, it's okay" and he went to sleep. He was quite active at night for the nights we slept there - he was dreaming a lot and sitting up and moving - not good dreams I think.
Stas really enjoyed being in Kiev and met a new friend, Daniel, the son of our missionary friends - he is also 11. They hit it off and had a great time.
So when we left the airport, he was sad about Daniel too. He cried a little when we took off.
Then he was excited and we had a 9.5 hour flight from Kiev to NY.
Stas was very excited to get to NY and to get going to see Daddy.
There was a huge crowd for immigrations, backed up in the halls of the arrival gates. Wow.
It wasn't too awful when we were able to get to the U.S. side - we had a big yellow envelope to give them for Stas and they processed it and in a month we'll receive a letter of citizenship.

We found our bags and took off to see Michael - he was waiting and Stas jumped in his arms. He was talking to Michael a mile a minute and in the car having show and tell. We were both happy to be in America!!!
We drove home and Michael had balloons tied to the mailbox - "Welcome Home", "We love you" and "It's a Boy"!!!
Stas was anxious to see Peace, the cat, and then see his room which we painted. He was excited about it and unpacked immediately!!
It was a beautiful day and after a while, Michael took Stas to see his Ukraine friends Arthur and Sasha at the park and Stas brought them candy, he was really excited to see them.
I rested and Michael and Stas spent the rest of the day together, went to the grocery store and such and worked on Stas' room. We all went to bed early, maybe 8 or 9pm!

Michael had a flight the next morning for 2 days, so Stas and Debbie did some organizing and went big food shopping and errands, and had a visit to the park again to see the boys and had pizza at their house - fun, fun for Stas.
Stas has said in english "I love America", "I love mom, I love daddy" - so he is very happy.
He is learning english fast and has decided he wants to so he can understand his friends when they can't find their russian words. SO he's been doing Rosetta Stone on the computer.
Stas got to see daddy land and help him with the airplane - OF COURSE HE WANTS TO BE A PILOT.
We took Sasha with us yesterday to the airport to see Michael take off and they enjoyed the airport. Then the boys spent the rest of the day together and Stas passed out on the floor at 9pm.

I will have to post some pictures shortly!!!


7:51 AM

#14 - Easter Sunday, April 12th


Can't believe I am writing that it's the last day, wow, it's finally here.
Today was a nice sunny day, but not Easter Sunday here - next week.
I took Stas and a girl named Luba to town, we walked and they had ice cream. I had the two tiny cups of machine coffee. I gave them some money to shop. They ate the imitation crab and some cheese. We looked around. I bought some hot dog sausages for the dogs around here for a treat.
We took our time walking back to the orphanage and sat outside there a bit.
We walked to the guesthouse and Stas played a computer game while I packed a bit. (Packed!!)
In the morning, the translator will come and we'll go get the court decree, documents from the orphanage, and go to Kharkov to get Stas' passport - and then get on the evening train to Kiev!!
Stas is excited about going, but we still need to say a final goodbye to his caregiver.
I have his suitcase and clothes ready, and I will finish packing tonight! YAY!
We will be staying at the YWAM missionary facility which is very comfortable, clean and just a nice place to be in Kiev, and everyone speaks english there. And maybe I can get a decent cup of coffee!
This may be the last post until I can get to a computer. We have tickets to NY for Thursday!

8:01 AM

#13 Sat., April 11, 2009

Saturday in Novo

Well, another day - went to the orphanage to pick up Stas, but ended up sitting in his classroom watching cartoons, he said to wait for some reason.
We finally went out and another girl, Luba, wanted to come with us to town, but still we had to wait for something and I couldn't figure out what. There was some grass on fire, so the kids all went over to try to stomp it out and bring water, kind of futile. They burn dead grass and brush here in the spring, and kids end up playing with the fire.
So then Stas was ready to go, but it was too late - we had to go have tea at his caregiver's house. We had tea and cake and communicated on the computer with the translator program. Wow, I am tired of trying to communicate!
Stas was sad about saying goodbye to Lyudmilla and cried, so we left and said we would see her tomorrow, which we will. It will be sad for him to say goodbye, but then he'll be excited to be on our way.
It is a nice day today, we are about to have dinner. We did not get to go to the town today, and Stas and I both like to go to stores, so we will go tomorrow. Not anything to buy, just something to do.
It is NOT Easter here tomorrow, it is next Sunday.
I am amazed how frazzled I feel these last days....I'm sure it would be worse to be in China though!
One more day!!

8:49 AM

#12 Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday in Novo Vodologa

Well, today I had to encourage myself to get up, and get through another day. Walked to the orphanage at 2pm and was able to speak to Alexander, the social worker, he's been gone and is now back. He's the only one who speaks english!
Not sure how we've gotten by this whole time with just words and gestures, but it's nice to speak to someone in english. He's a very nice person.
Stas and I walked to Olgas and called a taxi to go to town today, I needed to buy minutes for my cell phone and Stas was my interpretor! He did a great job asking for what I needed and the lady put the minutes on my phone. I got coffee in the machine for my treat, and Stas got ice cream.
Stas told the taxi driver everything and told me how much - he did a great job!
We had dinner and now it's time to go back to the orphanage in 30 min.
Made it through another day!
Stas tells me every day "I love you" in english - things are great.
So two more days until Monday - tomorrow we are having some tea at Stas' caregivers house, Lyudmilla. It will be sad when he has to tell her goodbye.

7:01 AM

#11 Thursday, April 9, 2009

Waiting, Waiting.....

Today is a hard day for me for some reason, I am struggling to stay positive.
I don't know why it is so difficult to wait, but I have been here a while now and it's hard to be away from familiar surroundings. I feel like I'm stuck in purgatory or something.
I am tired of having nothing to do, hearing Russian, seeing so many stray dogs roaming around, the poverty of life here......Please, PLEASE be grateful for what you have in America.

Today I took Stas and Natasha to town again, we walked, it is sunny and nice today. We had a purpose today - the social worker asked if we could buy some computer paper. Sure, no problem.
We went to the store that had paper, closed. We asked around if someone knew where to get computer paper, they looked at us like we were strange.
We went back to the store where we have been every day where we bought the soccer balls - yes! they had computer paper. She gave me one package - I asked for more. She got a box of paper and was getting another package out, and I said stop, I want the whole box.
So we took it and I told the kids we would take a taxi back to the orphanage. We sat outside and had something to snack on, more ice cream - and I got a coffee from a machine, woo-hoo. You can't get a decent cup of coffee here!!! Everything is instant! The machine one was better than instant, so I had two tiny cups. I felt a little better.
We took the taxi back and brought the paper to Nickolai, the social worker, he was astounded!
He was so grateful for the load of paper, we had bought him two ink cartridges last week for the computer - he is so happy.

It is now 5pm and we will eat dinner soon - Olga makes wonderful food. Stas is watching a cartoon on t.v. I will need to watch a station in English later so I can hear some English and find out what is going on in the world, I have no idea!
I am running out of books to read - I brought 6 books, and I am on the last! I just read Slumdog Millionaire and it was very interesting, must see the movie now.
We are waiting until Monday - that should be the day we can get the court decree and passport and go to Kiev.

7:35 AM

#10 Tuesday, April 8th, 2009

Back in Novo Vodologa

So I have been waiting the 10 day waiting period out in Novo Vodologa - it was great to go to Kiev for a few days, nice to be in civilization and with friends. I was feeling terrible, sore throat and such, so I slept Sat/Sun at the YWAM boat after Michael left Sat. morning, and just rested and felt much better.
It takes some stamina to be here, with the traveling and change in time/food/surroundings, waiting for court and documents, etc - it's a little stressful! It gets to you after a while.
I took the train back to Kharkov by myself at 6am on Monday and had our familiar taxi driver there pick me up and take me back to Novo Vodologa, and then I walked to the orphanage to get Stas for the day at 3pm. I was soooo tired.
We have walked to town two days in a row with another girl, Natasha, who is being adopted by a friend in Missouri - she is a sweet girl, 12, who speaks english pretty well. It has been nice to have her along, her and Stas chat while we are walking and she translates for me!
We buy ice cream and they love to buy the imitation crab sticks, and we get chips and drinks and hang around town a bit. I bought them each a soccer ball for their classes, theirs are broken. There is not much available in this tiny town, it was exciting to buy pump soap for the sink, woo-hoo!
Yesterday was such a nice, warm and sunny day - today was a little cool and windy. We hurried back to the orphanage and Natasha went back and Stas and I went to the guesthouse.
We will eat dinner soon and I will walk Stas back tonight at 7:30.
The ten day waiting period will be up on Saturday, but we will have to get the court decree on Monday and probably leave here Monday evening to go to Kiev. We have to pick up Stas' passport in Kharkov also. When we get to Kiev, we will go to the U.S. consulate on Tuesday and get the visa on Wednesday - and we could possibly fly to NY that evening, or Thursday morning.
Wow, that will be exciting!
So for now, we are waiting, I can check email so that helps.
Will update again - nothing much to write about right now! More to come....

5:36 AM

#9 - I'm Home! (This is Mike)

Nope - Debbie is still in Ukraine, but we're making great progress. I went to the US Consolate on Friday the 3rd of April and signed the last of the documents that needed my signature. Debbie and I spent Friday looking around Kiev with Oles and Nadya, the wonderful Ukranian missionaries that have helped us so much. Kiev was beautiful on Friday, a nice warm Spring day. Kiev was surprisingly pretty - especially on a nice day! 

Saturday I caught an easy non-stop flight from Kiev to JFK. Debbie, of course, is jealous that I'm back. This morning, she caught an express train from Kiev back to Kharkov and then had a driver take her back to Novo-Vodologa to see Stas.

Our waiting period began on our court date last wednesday and ends on Saturday the 11th of April. Debbie will pick up Stas and take him from the orphanage permanently on that day. We just learned a few days ago that he can't take anything from the orphanage (clothing, etc), so Debbie has been doing a little shopping (she never minds that!) to get the clothes that he will need for traveling back to the United States.  

Then Deb will have just a couple of days of chores at the Embassy in Kiev and will probably return to the US with Stas on about the 15th of April. 



The YWAM (Youth With A Mission) boat we stayed at in Kiev
A Russian McDonald's in Kiev - they got mad at me for taking this picture! Wierd. 
St. Andrews church in Kiev - almost totally destroyed during the USSR, now fully restored
Debbie shopping at a flea market in Kiev with Nadya
Other kids from the Orphanage who REALLY want to be adopted - so so sad.
Helping Stas Keep up on math skills on www.ixl.com
Hanging out in Kiev with Oles and Nadya