MICHAEL IS HERE!! :) :)
Yes, I'm very glad my other half has joined me on this side of the planet! He came, with no luggage, so he's roughing it still a bit though. He said they commented that the tag for routing his bag was loose and that is probably the problem. Oh well... Looks like we'll be going to the SDA with him in jeans tomorrow. Because that's all he has.
This evening Michael and I were invited to the home of Sergei, he is the president of the Down Syndrome Association of Kiev. The vice president, Tania, also came with her son. It was such a pleasure to meet Sergei's wife and mother and his two children (his 6, almost 7, yr old son has Ds and they have a 2 yr old daughter) as well as Tania's son (he is also 6). We had a delicious meal (I skipped the fish ;) ) and a lot of great conversation. Sergei speaks English some and Tania is very fluent.
When we first arrived Tania wasn't there yet so we got out Google Translate and Sergei's wife and I were typing back and forth to one another questions and answers- mostly about our family. Both of these families are doing a WONDERFUL job with their children! It was so great to see these "typical kids with Ds" here in Ukraine. By that, I mean that they are just like any American child w/ Ds that has been raised at home! They are treated the same as their siblings, they hit each other and then pouted :) They were disciplined, they played, they were just a pleasure! Sergei's little boy has WONDERFUL language skills, and though I don't know Ukrainian, I could make out words that I recognized. He spoke quickly and fluidly.
There are MANY families here trying hard to push past the cultural/social inadequacies of their towns and to make things work for their kids. And some others that are simply bringing their child home and not working with them at all.
Since the opening conference and the announcement of the Down syndrome center in Kiev, parents from all over Ukraine have been calling to find out about the things they can offer and saying that they had no idea their child could accomplish anything. They were told they couldn't learn... and now their eyes are being opened and they are looking for outside help from other organizations to be able to help their children develop to their fullest potential. Many had made the decision to keep their child home, but never imagined that they could learn... so never took the chance or spent the effort to teach them.
What a blessing to have Sergei and Tania step up and be a voice for the children and a resource to other parents!
On Saturday we've been invited to their first parents' meeting, which as long as we are in Kiev we will try to attend.
In the morning at 8:30 we will be picked up to go to the SDA. We'll do the 'official' interview for the children then. We're still unsure whether our facilitator decided to request one or two referrals for us at this interview. We know he is requesting Aleksa's referral now. We may have to have a second appointment in a few days to get Wesley's referral. Either way, the SDA will have no qualms giving us both referrals. At least-- none that we are aware of :D.
Someone had asked if we are getting a third child. NO. We are not capable of that legally right now. Our homestudy and approval are all for two. No question, no question, no question, it will be 1 or 2 children right now.
Also, someone asked if maybe we weren't getting Wesley's referral. YES, we most definitely ARE getting Wesley's referral, it just may be that we get his at the second appointment rather than the first. This is only because we expect that things may be more difficult for Aleksa's adoption, and Wesley's should be pretty straight forward. Therefore we'll start with the harder one in case it takes longer so that it isn't drawn out at the beginning AND end of our trip.
Someone asked our schedule... we have none! :) We go to the SDA in the morning... and then we have NO IDEA what we do next. So we will go with the flow and see where we land when all is said and done.
We are blessed to be on this great adventure and look forward to what tomorrow holds!