Friday, January 13, 2012

Week 1 Chronicles

Whew, today is the second time I’ve opened my laptop since we’ve been here (5 days)!  We’ve been busy, adjusting from jet lag (which is actually going well), and adjusting to a new temporary life in Ukraine.


I can guarantee you that our adjustment to Ukraine has gone extremely well thanks to the gracious hospitality of Tara and Jonathon Airhart in Kiev.  Tara is a blog reader who lives in Kiev with her hubby and new baby.  She offered her home and help to us, and it has been key in our adjustment.  If every family could be blessed with American hospitality, local knowledge, and personal tour guides, as well as home-cooked breakfasts and wonderful restaurant experiences, well, international adoption travels would be delightful!!!


I’m not much of a traveler.  I love my family, my home, our ranch.  That’s my idea of paradise.  But, when God tells me to GO, I obey, and pray for His blessings.  Most of our travel experiences are C-R-A-Z-Y.  Truly, I’m not exaggerating.  We usually have lost luggage (and I usually pack at least 2 checked bags (BIG bags) per person, plus carry-ons, driving everyone in our party crazy!), we usually deal with flight delays and cancellations, sicknesses, and almost everything that could go wrong usually does.


This trip has been much different, praise God!!!  All of our luggage arrived (Matt made me pack lightly, with only one checked bag per person and one carry-on per person…yep, I did it, I know, amazing, huh?!?), and we didn’t have any delays (other than sitting on the runway at Washington Dulles for an hour), and we didn’t have any flight cancellations or changes either!  This is not normal for us, but it sure does make travel more bearable!  Oh, I even had an empty seat next to me on our long flight from Washington Dulles to Frankfurt (8-9 hours).  I’ve never had that!


My Selah baby withdrawals have been pacified by this cute thing:

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Baby “E” (Tara and Jonathon’s new daughter) is a doll, and she’s helping to fill my empty arms.  I’m not used to having empty arms.  What a blessing to have this sweet girl to welcome me to Ukraine.  If you look closely, there’s a rainbow in the upper right-hand corner of this photo.  And, of course, Miss “E” has on her Boss Your Heart shirt.  Love it!


We’ve gone out to eat every night since we arrived.  The food here is really good, and so very inexpensive.  Matt and I rarely eat out, so it’s been fun to go to dinner  each night with the Airharts.  We haven’t much exploring or sight-seeing, just taking it easy and enjoying some slower-paced time with the Airharts, hanging out during the day (with a few trips to the SDA), and eating out at night.


We ate Georgian food the first night (fabulous), Serbian pizza the second night (yummy), Turkish the next night (salmon was delicious!), and pizza again (different restaurant, across from the SDA office) the 4th night.  Everything’s been wonderful and we haven’t gotten sick, thank you, Jesus!!!


The picture below shows the most fabulous restroom in all of Ukraine!!!  It’s in the Turkish restaurant in Kiev.  It is CLEAN and beautiful and smells luscious.  Yes, luscious.  In a restroom.  I wish I knew how they made it smell so yummy.  I can’t even describe the scent.  Simply luscious.  They even had real washcloths to dry hands on after washing.  This is NOT typical.  At all.

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Matt is shown in the photo below sitting in the pizza restaurant that is located directly across from the SDA building.  That’s our hang-out spot when waiting for SDA business.  There’s a sweet waitress there who speaks a little English, too.

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Here’s Matt (below) standing against the wall in the SDA building.  Very plain building, nothing special.

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Here’s Matt and I together inside the SDA building Thursday, January 12.

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There’s beautiful architecture here, but I haven’t gone out walking to take photos.  We’ve taken cabs to the SDA buildings (my ankle is somewhat sprained/strained), and our dinners are after dark, so I haven’t taken photos at night.  I snapped the shot below from the dirty window of our cab today, on our way to the SDA building. 

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We took the shot below of ourselves standing in front of a beautiful cathedral that is adjacent to the SDA building, but the only thing that showed up was the dirt in the renovation!

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This is the cathedral that I wanted to get in the background of our last self portrait!  Isn’t it gorgeous?

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Matt made me get in the photo, but we really just cared about the architecture.  The landscaping is under construction, and everything is barricaded, but it’s still breathtaking.

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Another angle of the same building, with Matt posing,  like a good husband/tourist would. Smile

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Matt saw this sign (below) at one of the market vendor shops.  Super Nana.  My mom was Super Nana.  I would have bought it if she weren’t in heaven.  It’s been tear-jerking to be here and not be able to share everything with her.  She checked our blog continuously for updates when she lived on earth.  I wonder if God is allowing her to join the cloud of witnesses when He desires.  I wonder if she can see this Super Nana sign?  I wonder if she can see our blog.  I wonder.  There are no specific answers found in scripture to many of my specific questions regarding heaven, but if you’re able to see this, Mom, I love you and miss you and wish you were here.  Can’t wait to join Super Nana in Paradise someday.

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Another street vendor sold these beautiful mounted butterflies, under glass, which reminded me of my mom (she LOVED butterflies).  I almost bought one, but wasn’t sure I could keep the glass from breaking in our travels.  Then I saw this lovely creature (below).  Hoping one of these beauties doesn’t join me in bed one night.  BLECH!

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Matt and I spent about 4 hours in the pizza restaurant Friday, Jan. 13, the day we got to pick up the official referral for BOTH boys.  Hallelujah!  Our sweet slightly-English-speaking waitress took our photo in front of their Christmas tree.  (Oh, Matt bought himself a warm hat, and our facilitator says he looks German, not Ukrainian. Smile)

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This is our facilitator’s husband, Denis, with Matt at the SDA office.  Waiting for our referrals.

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There are photos of children on the walls of the SDA building.  Precious children.  Yes, the boys with the baseball bat has a black eye.

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YES!!!  Matt just signed to accept the official referrals for BOTH boys.  Hang in there, boys, Daddy and Mommy will be there SOON!  Since we didn’t get the referrals until almost 6PM Ukrainian time on Friday, Jan. 13, we have to wait until Monday, January 16, to go to the boys’ orphanage to meet them, where our visit will be supervised by the local inspector.

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From what I understand, after we meet the boys, our facilitator can begin the necessary paperwork to get us a court date.  The last American family who adopted from this orphanage had to wait 15 days until court, which is typical.  After court, there is a mandatory 10-day waiting period where no one can do anything but wait for the 10 days to pass.  Many families return home during the wait(we probably will, too).  After the 10-day wait, Matt and I will return to Ukraine to complete the process, which usually takes another week or so.


We can all pray that the judge will decide to waive the 10-day waiting period, but it’s not likely, as this normally doesn’t happen in the region where the boys are.  But, of course, with God, all things are possible.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous if we could bring our boys home on this trip?!?! 


We can’t wait to hold them.  Please pray for the boys to KNOW us and TRUST us and LOVE us BEFORE we even get to them.  That their hearts would already be intertwined with ours, and that they would KNOW we are their Daddy and Mommy from the moment we lay eyes on them. 


Counting the minutes until Monday. 


Thank you for praying!

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