We flew from JFK to Kiev, Ukraine. On the airplane was a huge group of devout Jews on their way to Ukraine for a vacation. It was very interesting to see them wear the clothing, speaking Yiddish, and reading from their scriptures on the plane. Plus they were very nice to us and one of the girls (9 years-old) particularly liked talking to Tyler. It made the trip more enjoyable – although I was ready for a real bed before long into the 9 hour flight!
We arrived in Ukraine and went through customs. We were nervous because the officer wanted an address of where we would be staying while in Ukraine – but we did not have such an address to give him. After he huffed and puffed, we were able to go get our luggage. After that we went out into a sea of people, mainly taxi drivers looking to take someone somewhere, and we were relieved to see a man holding a card with our name on it. The driver’s name was Vajim (spelling?) and he has since been our main driver while in Ukraine. He is VERY nice, but speaks ZERO English – which makes for some fun communication. He took us to a nearby market to buy some oranges, deli food (very scary looking) and some Sandora mixed fruit juice – which I’d already learned to love while on the plane to Ukraine!
We then went to our apartment where the two landlords were waiting for us. The apartment was very nice – the main color was ORANGE, even! Here are some pictures:
Me very tired and ready for bed!
kitchen, complete with washing machine and drying rack.
toilet with button on top to flush.
sink without a faucet - we used the shower faucet which worked just fine! Plus there was a heated towel rack - we need to get one back home! So neat! Power outlets in Ukraine - interesting!
Tyler eating ice cream near Independent Square. We later learned that there were 2 internet cafes near this McDonald's...wish we would have known that earlier!
dark picture of the elevator in our apartment complex - only held 2 people at a time. I was impressed with all the REAL WOOD I see everywhere in the buildings and architecture - it's lovely!
Sightseeing in Independent Square
The wishing well - people would stick a coin in the dirty water in the water fountain and then stick the coin on the the sides. Then they would hold it there while they made a wish and then if it stuck when they were done - then their wish will come true. I think. Actually, I don't know for sure - that was my guess!
A beautiful description of Christ praying while the apostles slept.
What I affectionately call an accordio-bus! They are 2 buses joined together by an accordian-like rubber belt that helps them go around corners. Very unique.
Ukrainian restaurant: chicken cordon bleu (I think), potato wedges, salad, sauerkraut, bread, carbonated water (YUCK!) and a lovely whipped cream pastry! Yum!
Tyler outside the SDA.
Wednesday at 2pm was our SDA appointment. At first they wanted to know more about it – we had our family photo book, which was very helpful. (If you’re going to adopt, I highly recommend having a family photo book and for you to bring it to your SDA appointment) After that they showed us the file of Nikita, with this picture:
Isn’t he sweet? We took a picture of the original picture, as I’ve heard we won’t be able to see it again even after we have adopted him. They told us information about Nikita, such as his mother’s name, her birthdate, they said that she was “alone,” which made me very sad. The SDA and our facilitator continually refer to Nikita as an “invalid” which upsets me very much. This is all the information that they have on Nikita – but I have heard that I will learn more throughout the process.
As for the girl – there aren’t many girls available in Ukraine due to the surge of their new foster care system. Most girls under the age of 2 that are healthy are in the foster care system. The SDA presented us with 2 files of girls. One was a girl that we recognized from Reeces Rainbow. Her name is Daisy and has already been committed to by another family. So we did not accept her referral, although there was some strong persuasion to do so. The other girl, Irene, is 4 years old and has some mental delays, which they say are severe. I know that everything is relative, but that is what they said. I have heard of other children being labeled as this or that and when they bring them home – the evaluation was incorrect. We asked if there were any other girls available for adoption and they brought out two sibling girls. The older girl, Victoria, is 6 years old and very healthy. Her younger sister (they didn’t give us her name) is 3 and has severe mental retardation. Our facilitator, Olga, knows Victoria personally and suggested her as an excellent match for our family, being a healthy girl. However, our dossier is only written for 2 children, not 3. So we would not be able to adopt both of these girls. But Olga is suggesting the idea of splitting up the girls. This idea doesn’t settle too well with us since we know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of splitting up siblings with Nikita’s twin sister, Nastya, being adopted separately from Nikita when we wanted to adopt them together. So, we do not know if we are comfortable with the idea of splitting up Victoria from her sister, but we have been assured that if we do not adopt her, someone else will split them up and adopt her anyhow.
It was very emotional being in the SDA appointment. Tyler & I had been fasting all day to be directed to our daughter, but when we saw the pictures and files – nothing felt right except for Nikita. It was very disconcerting and I felt very lost and confused. Tyler & I came home and prayed and prayed and prayed for direction. We finally came to the conclusion to explore all of our options.
So, our current plan of action is to go visit Irene and see if we have any feelings towards her. If we do not feel that she is right for our family, then we will ask her orphanage director if there is another child available in that orphanage – if we do not find anyone there, then Olga will go visit Victoria’s orphanage to see about splitting them up. I am asking for your prayers and faith to be with us to help us find the daughter for our family. We are praying for the way to be opened up to us and that God will direct us as we search for the little girl who needs us and who we need. I will keep you posted – we don’t have internet access because we don’t have a converter for our computer, but will try to post new information very soon.
Note to Anna: my dear daughter, I miss you SO MUCH! Your daddy & I pray for you every day and hope that you are having fun. We love you and hope to talk to you very soon. Hugs & kisses! ~Mama~
Tyler, myself, Olga (facilitator), & Oksana (translator going with us to Donets'k)