Thursday, January 31, 2008

01/31/2008 8:45pm Kiev

Well, nothing. They got us all dressed up but no place to go. We did, fortunately, have a great day with Joy and her husband Kevin, but they never called us back for an appointment with the SDA. After a bit of a difficult time finding one another we finally met up and enjoyed a leisurely walk up Andreevsky street with all the little booths of vendors (where we stayed our first trip through Kiev). We rode the Funicular (like a cable car, on a track that goes up the hill) and got another little taste of real Ukrainian transport :) Didn't even get lost! (this time!)

Hoping for tomorrow...

read below post first 01/31/2008 12:30pm Kiev

Here are some more pictures of Kiev. We got to see some other areas of the city yesterday when meeting up with Joy and Kevin and then with Sheila and Randy!

An outdoor market

Going down into the metro station

In the metro station there's almost like a mall with all kids of little shops. You can get just about anything (including guns...?)

A babushka with her cup asking for money

The trams that run on the city streets- similar to the literail in Bloomington, but they are on the city streets. Watch out!

A once-well-cared-for church

The back entrance to an expensive restaurant

I'm beginning to realize why my parents didn't like us to eat icicles when we were little.. bleck!

We didn't get any pictues of our time with Joy and Kevin but we hope to meet up with them again today. Here's some from the area we met Sheila and Randy

- the entrance to the Metro Station





01/31/2008 11:00am Kiev- SDA APPT TIME!

Tenatively set for 3:00pm (8am EST)!!! PLEASE PRAY!! Even tho I know most of you might not even see this before then. We are hoping and praying that this will give us a definite direction and we may even be able to jump on a train TONIGHT if the paperwork can be done quickly enough (otherwise it may be Sunday night or so because there's no point in sitting there for the weekend). Will let you know how it goes... I'm nervous about this one, don't know why. I'm looking forward to this part being over and knowing who God has for us...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

1/31/2008 12:45 Kiev

A little update on our mental whereabouts:

We have definitely not been expecting the things that have gone on, but we ARE ok with them. We are hopeful for Sasha and her orphanage that this may have been the catalyst for change that was needed there and we may be able to build a healthy relationship with her director in the near future.

Today we were able to meet Joy and Sheila :) Both are in Kiev and adopting children with Down syndrome! Sheila and Randy was leaving for the train station tonight to go to the Odessa region to Ismail (sp?) to meet her two girls. Joy and Kevin are staying in Kiev because their new son, Sasha is in the Vorzel orphanage just a short drive from here. It was wonderful to meet them both and we hope to get together with Joy and Kevin again during our (hopefully) short stay in Kiev.

I know I've said it before, but it has made such a difference to us that we are able to stay with a WONDERFUL Christian family that have a beautiful and comfortable home. Today we even got brave and they explained to us how to ride the Metro!

We are enjoying our stay now and are excited as we look forward to what God has for our family.

Michelle has also been tremendously helpful both as emotional support (hey, she was awake at 4am her time when I was writing her messages!) and also with getting contact info for some people that work with the orphanage. All in all this is not the way we would have chosen it to be but it is definitely going to prove beneficial not just to Sasha and to our family, but also future families and children that will one day come to that institution. We are glad to have been a tool for that.

And... as many people say that they lose track of days when out of the country... I have to admit that ALL DAY today I thought it was Thursday. I don't have a clue why... but I was so excited tonight to learn that I'd somewhere skipped ahead and we have another Thursday tomorrow! Maybe we will get our SDA appointment this week after all!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

01/29/2008 9:00pm Kiev

For those who posted about my health, I am feeling MUCH better today and only went through ONE packet of tiny pocket-sized tissue packets today :) But we did go buy a box too! We slept SO WELL last night and then got up to hot omlets this morning. Mike went back to bed for a while (he'll be up all night now). We have been so blessed by the family we are staying with. If they allow I will share their contact info with those traveling to Ukraine soon. It's a bed and breakfast type setup and they charge comparable to a rugged apartment with a springy bed, but instead have a beautiful home, real toilet paper (this is important;) )and a caring family around you!

Here's some pic's from the last week:
Our hotel room in Korosten:

Our regional facilitator, Natalia, and her husband, Artoym

The views from our car in either direction when we ran out of gas :)

FINALLY! Someone sold us a little gasoline :) they siphened it out of their tank for us!

One of our shopping trips- I think this was dinner when we had a late lunch one day :)

One of the MANY churches. They all have the bronze roof and are very ornate. When we were driving around sometimes there would be these TINY little homes that were all pretty dilapidated and then a huge ornate church. It was interesting. This one is in Korosten.

Some other things around Korosten

This is also in Korosten, but it was a 'market'. I don't know about you, but I don't want to have to go down that alley to buy food!

A public bus and an ambulance. There were a lot of different vehicles used as ambulances!

Picture this... it's 30 or less outside, it's snowing, and the 'place to be' is outside in this tent... I'll pass, thanks.

When we went downstairs on Saturday in Korosten only to find that the hotel restaurant was reserved for a wedding all day, this became our lunch and dinner :)

This one's for Gayla

I'd hate for you to lose faith in my thought processes... so this one's for you!

View this montage created at One True Media
My Montage 1/29/08

And for you who don't know what I'm talking about, Gayla posted a comment saying something like... "of course you got video of the dirty water, right?" Yep, I did ;)

01-28-2008 8:00pm Kiev

Well, it’s done. We were able to cancel the adoption of Sasha- not without its bumps- but it is done now. There’s a fine line between encouraging someone to press on and trying to drag something out. I think we’re on it, but decided we are definite in our direction now and will work on convincing the director to release Sasha (and other children) from a little more distance.
It was a LONG drive back to Kiev and we are both exhausted now. My head is stuffed up, my ears too, and my neck aches. I didn’t sleep much at all last night but I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep tonight. We are staying with a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend that does a bed and breakfast type of setup in her home. The apartment (it can hardly be called an apartment) is beautiful with hardwood floors, very modern and yet cozy, clean, and comfy. We will enjoy being here this week. Most of all, there is REAL toilet paper, we will be served breakfast (haven’t had breakfast in almost a week), and the bed is SOFT (no springs in your spine like the last two places!). We are abundantly blessed! It’s like our own little piece of America with a Ukrainian twist ;).
Irina (the woman whose house we are staying in) has also invited us to use their Internet and Vonage phone (free calling to the US) so we are being very well accommodated! We can give updates and maybe even call our kiddos if we can find a time we know they’ll be at home. I miss their little voices and especially their smiles, hugs, and snuggles.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

01-27-2008 11:30am Korosten

Well, we are glad to have had the weekend to figure out what is going on, to sleep in, and to spend some time talking and in prayer. At the moment we are going from sad or angry one moment to hopeful and excited the next. We will always see Sasha as a daughter of our hearts and are encouraged that there may still be some things we can do to stay in contact with her and to try to build a relationship with the director so that she and so many others might some day find a home.

For now though, we must continue on the path that God has brought us here for… to bring a child into our family. We will be meeting up with our regional facilitator (Natalia) in the morning at 8am and will be signing paperwork to officially cancel the adoption. After a few other errands we will return to Kiev and Oleg (the “main facilitator” that stays in Kiev a lot of the time) will arrange another appointment for us with the SDA. Please pray that this can be made quickly so that we will not have to spend a long time in Kiev before we travel to the new region.

We are excited to return to Kiev, though, for several reasons. One is that this time we will not be renting an apartment and out on our own, but instead we will be staying in the home of a Christian couple that a friend from the Down syndrome support group has hooked us up with. The couple allows people to stay with them sort of as a bed and breakfast and has been gracious to accept the amount we would have paid for the apartment we were in previously. We look forward to meeting them on Monday evening. In the midst of getting connected with them we were also put in contact with a woman that is a missionary in Kiev and I spoke with her last night. Depending on the length of our stay in Kiev we will try to meet up with Julie and her husband as well.

Some other special people are now in the capital city- Joy and her husband, also adopting a child (a Sasha even, but theirs is a boy) with Down syndrome through the Reece’s Rainbow group and even using Team Oleg as facilitators. I hope to get to at least talk with them if not meet up with them while we are there. Sheila will be arriving soon for her appointment on Tuesday as well. It looks like our trip back to Kiev might have us meet several people that we know very well through e-mail and online interaction, but we’ve never met face to face.

A few unimportant things that have happened lately
-This morning Mike got out of the shower and said that he didn’t think I would want to take a shower today. Why? Because it was BROWN. Not just a little tinged, but running mucky muddy water. EW. He’s right- my hair may be a little overdue for a washing, and I felt a bit scummy since I hadn’t taken a shower on our day of relaxing yesterday, but I was not about to take a shower in mud- or whatever that was. Luckily, about 45 minutes later we tried it again and it ran clear. We rinsed out the shower and waited a little longer- still clear. So I took my VERY QUICK shower and got out with clear water still. We will be brushing our teeth with bottled water today though!

- A few days ago I plugged in my hair dryer to the wrong conversion plug and it couldn’t handle the wattage and wimped out. Bye bye (paka) converter. So the next day Mike looked at the wattage on the second one we brought and agreed it could handle it. He tried it. It worked. Today I took a shower and came out to plug it in and nothing. Nyet. Not happening. The hairdryer is fried. So I will have a cold head today or just be hanging out inside until my hair dries. I’m thankful for the warm hat I brought!

-Speaking of warm clothes, for those of you wondering we have both been plenty warm on this trip. We are glad for the warm jackets we brought as well as the hats and gloves. We’ve also used all of our sweaters, long underwear, etc. and have been glad we have them. The hand/foot warmers have been wonderful and Natalia was glad to see them after we got back from our lovely trip when we ran out of gas on Thursday. They don’t have hand warmers in Ukraine. I guess I know who gets any extras we have at the end of our trip! Along with ear plugs- weird, but they don’t sell them here. And hand sanitizer. I won’t have to worry about packing any of those things on our way home!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Beautiful song-thank you for the suggestion

I would like to clarify

There have been questions and I'd like to put out a few fires and ease a few fears before I go to bed (it's 11pm here).

1. We knew this could happen. We knew that we were coming to a NEW LOCATION where no other adoptions have taken place. Plus, in Ukraine, you are not "matched" with a child as you wait, so it could have been that Sasha was already adopted or there could have been another issue. We took that risk to come with the "unknown". And we are still glad we did. Please take a look back at our EARLY posts about the adoption (In sept 06) and you will see more about the uncertainty of this even then.

2. This is by no means the fault of ANYONE. It is not our facilitator's fault, Andrea or Reece's Rainbow's fault, or the fault of the SDA. This is purely a situation where a man with power does not wish for this to happen.

3. This does not happen often (I would say ever, but it did happen to us...). Ukrainian adoptions are usually more sure than even this. There have usually been other adoptions from an orphanage, the child's status is usually known before going, and there is very seldom someone that holds the kind of power that this director has with the city officials to be able to stop the process on so many different levels.

4. We will not be coming home now. We will spend the weekend in prayer and we will decide what to do. We don't have the answers right now nor can we share all of the details. But in time everything will be shown to His glory.

01-25-2008 7:00pm Korosten

Sometimes He calms the storm, and other times He calms His child. This time He has given us a calm, although it is still devastating to lose a child you have waited months and pressed against all odds to get. We will not be allowed to adopt Sasha, and we are heartbroken. But God is either on the Throne or He’s not, and we believe that He is. So we trust in His greater purpose and we give thanks that we are able to know that Sasha is ok and that her institution is not one where she is mistreated or neglected.

In Sasha’s honor I want to take this time to thank those that have commented on our faith, and also to share something more with you. Two years ago our baby girl, Brianna was diagnosed with Down syndrome. But instead of tears of sadness over her diagnosis we had surprise and relief. We thought it was going to be something worse. Then two more days passed by and we received notice that she had a major heart condition and that she would need open heart surgery very soon. If someone had told me a year before that that I would be dealing with a child who needed open heart surgery I would have said I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bear that load. I couldn’t be strong for her. I didn’t have THAT faith. I believe God performs miracles, but I didn’t think my own body and mind were strong enough to endure it. But I was. Not because of myself- but in SPITE of myself. It is easy to say we have “great faith” or “little faith” when we are going through daily routines and taking life as it happens. But in the fires is when it is not only tested, but refined. The saying “God doesn’t allow more than we can endure” is not just a tale. God will refine us. He will polish us. He will straighten out a bent rod but must first heat it to make it pliable. We have to go through things. And they make us stronger.

Even just one year ago I hadn’t even considered going to the other side of the world for a child. Then 5 months ago the idea of 6 weeks away was daunting and we were glad we would travel for 2 and then another 1 later on. Then God changed things a little more and had us plan to be away for 3 weeks initially and for me to stay for the additional 3. He brought us here, and now the plans are not ours. God has a purpose in us being in Ukraine right now. If it is for just one person to read this and to turn to Him with knowledge that He is the God of the universe, then it is worth it to me. God loves us so much that he gave his son. He allowed him to die. Sometimes love means letting go. Sometimes letting go has another purpose. God allowed Jesus to die so that we ALL could have a passageway to Heaven. Jesus bore the sins of all men- past, present, and future- on himself when he hung on the cross. He was separated from God and he died. But the important part is that Jesus fulfilled his purpose. He rose again and conquered death and the grave. And he would have done it even if only one person- just you- would ever put faith in Him, accept His forgiveness, and live for His purpose.

Please consider these words, in the honor of the daughter of our hearts. For Sasha.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

pictures from 1/24 visit with Sasha

01-24-2008 5pm Korosten

We are grieving. Grieving because there seems little hope that Sasha will be ours. Sasha is not gone to us yet- there is one last thing we are trying- but if that doesn’t work than we will not be able to adopt Sasha. The good news is that there IS one more thing… it will not change the temperament of the director, but maybe his decision to support us or not. There is a call in to the SDA to intervene.

At the moment we do not have his permission or signature to adopt Sasha. His statement (translated) was that we CANNOT establish an “initial contact” with her because she is non-verbal. How can we know. My response? How can an infant know? Or a young toddler? But I wasn’t given the chance to ask. We will see what the SDA is able to do… and then we will take it one step at a time after that. PLEASE pray. Sasha is in a good place. She is cared for and well kept. She is happy and healthy. But she has no family, no REAL love, and her ability to grow and learn are very stunted in her placement. If we HAVE to walk away, we know she is ok. But we are praying that this will not be the case. She needs to come home.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Our Sasha-Aleksa :)

01-23-2008 7:00pm Korosten

What a day it's been!  We drove to Korosten, got a hotel, met the "inspector" (like a social worker), spent a while in his office with 3 ladies that work with him.  He rode with us to Pugachevka (Aleksa's home), we met with the assistant director.  She was very nice and open.  Director came in, and not so much.  The inspector, Natalie, and the assistant director argued with him back and forth for over an hour.  Finally they told us it was about the fact that in Russia bad things were done with children adopted from there and he didn't want to allow an adoption.  But he would let us meet her and see.  We met Aleksa!  She is tiny, sweet, loving, smiley, loved the orange she was sucking on, came and sat on the floor with me, stood up to go sit with Mike, gave me a hug goodbye and I carried her back to her room.  Then she sat and cried…  And so did I.  After another chat in the director's office he has not yet decided it is a good idea for her to be adopted.  He says she is quite well cared for there (which she is, thank you Jesus!), and that being adopted would make her face discrimination that she doesn't see here.  We left after he said to us that "I will pray to God and hope to find a peace in my soul about this adoption."  That's all I can ask for.  Please pray!!
Mom to Kristopher (3 1/2)
Brianna (22 mos, Ds)
Adopting Aleksa (5, Ds)

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

01-22-2008 1:00pm Kiev

This morning I woke up to a wonderful surprise! On the chair in the living room were two sweet little teddy bears with necklaces that said “Kristopher” and “Brianna”, a card from Mike, a card from the kids, a bag of M&M’s, and a keychain picture frame with Kristopher and Brianna on it. Not only that, one card had a memory chip in it. Mike made me a video with the song Passionate Obsession by Dennis Jernigan. The song is sung from the Father to His children. Dennis came to Park Avenue a week or so ago and when he was there he asked anyone that “needed to know that things were going to be ok” to stand up. Then he sang this love song from our Savior over them. Anyway, I love the song, and I loved it even more because the video had clips of my children. Not just pictures, but moving video of Kristopher and Brianna. It started with Kristopher as a baby and had video that I haven’t even looked at since it was taken probably.

Mike uploaded the video clips onto his computer and made the video for me while on the plane. No wonder he wouldn’t sleep! I LOVE it though and it is so nice to see my little ones smiling and playing. The BEST clip is at the very end where the kids are sitting together and Kristopher is using Brianna’s hands and singing “Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes”. They really do play so well together!

This afternoon at 3 is Charissa and John’s appointment at the SDA and we’re going to meet them up there and come back to our apartment then have some dinner out together. Or so goes the plan. It’s been kind of rainy out today and I hope that it doesn’t dump on us. It’s not that cold out though- probably in the high 30’s I’d guess. I’m really looking forward to getting to meet them and to be able to hear about their appointment for Ava! I wonder what the SDA workers will be thinking when they realize that’s one more child with Down syndrome that has a family… and then later on in the week there’s Joy, and Sheila, and Nancy’s not too far from now either! LOTS of kids with Down syndrome are being requested! Think they’ll notice?? I hope so!!

No word yet on whether Oleg or Natalia have our referral for Aleksa yet. Still praying that they get news of her soon so we can go meet her tomorrow!

Monday, January 21, 2008

pictures 2

I'll have to resize these later, sorry!! But they're at least here :)









1-21-08 6:00pm Kiev

Our SDA appt went well! They are working on getting us the referral for Aleksa, although they cannot locate her quite yet. Be praying that they can do this quickly and get us her referral tomorrow.

More later! Of course there's many more details but I haven't had a chance to go home to type them up so I'm typing this out at a pizza joint over some tea and apple strusels :)


1-21-2008 11:15 Kiev

Last night we didn't sleep.  It rained and the entire night we listened to the water hit the elbow in the drain and it sounded like someone was throwing rocks at an aluminum sign outside our window.  Plus our minds were both racing with questions that we knew we couldn't answer until today, tomorrow, or the next day.   When Mike got up to take a shower it sounded like construction workers were in the house using a jackhammer, and I guess I at least got a wink of sleep because at that point I thought- Didn't I bring ear plugs?  Yes.  So I went back to sleep.  

Our beautiful cobblestone historic street has turned into a very wet historic stream this morning.  It has about 6" of water running down it in a constant flow.  Still there are cars and people out and about (the sidewalks are high and dry).  We decided breakfast in was a good idea and Mike ate some instant oatmeal while I was still sleeping.  Apparently oatmeal tastes about the same when made with seltzer water.  Yes, we bought the wrong thing.  But when life hands you lemons, make lemonade, right?  We did.  I had some instant Crystal Light packets and we put two into a liter of seltzer water and voila… some variety of Sprite without the lime.  We used the other bottle to help with breakfast and it seems to be just fine.

I suppose in a little bit we may venture out and get some lunch, but it really is a nasty day out today.  Maybe we will break out another box of mac 'n cheese…  I feel bad for Charissa Urban (sorry, couldn't link to her blog because I don't have internet to double-check the name, but her blog is listed there ☺ ) because today is her first real day in Kiev and it is nasty out.  Yesterday was a very nice day, but today is her one day to sight-see before her appointment tomorrow. Plus, we had hoped to meet up with her yesterday or today but the likelihood of her getting internet yesterday was pretty low.  Maybe today… we shall see! 

Here's another story from yesterday about an unusual person here in the city.  On the corner of our street (a ways down) and the next street that is really a main piece of the city square there lives an older woman.  I believe she actually lives on that corner.  She has a cardboard box with something written on it but I have no idea what.  She also has eight dogs.  Yes, EIGHT.  I suppose that's one way to make sure you are warm on a cold night- to curl up with the pups?  They are all on leashes and last night when we were walking home around 5pm (it was already dark) there were 2-3 people stopped and talking with her and another dog- not on a leash- joined them as well.  Two of her dogs got up to check out this stranger and she raised her hands up in the air and told them to lay back down (I think) and to stop being a bother.  Something like that.  What surprised me is that they DID.  Anyway,  I cannot imagine living outside in a place where the highs are in the 30's and thee is snow on the ground- or rain even.  She either has a powerful drive to live or some sort of shelter elsewhere.  I cannot imagine.

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1/20/2008 8:30pm Kiev

Tomorrow at 3:00 is our appointment!  We are very anxious to see the paperwork on our daughter-to-be.  I really don't know what to expect except that we know these meetings usually are pretty quick and often times the most recent photo is from when they were registered as a baby.  So it will be interesting to see what Aleksa looked like a little smaller ☺  The pic's I have of her are from August, so pretty recent.

We were told that we're not far from the SDA and that we'll walk there tomorrow.  I et guess our driver is going to meet us at the apartment at 2:50 or so and walk with us.  Seems weird that we wouldn't just drive if the driver is there… but who knows.

Oh- and our apartment!  Before I forget, it's really not as bad as I first thought.  Daylight helps.  It was dusk when we got here yesterday and today coming in and out wasn't bad at all.  Of course we're really glad we brought flashlights, but it doesn't seem like a long dark alley in the daytime.  During the day there are all these little booths set up all along the street up and down the road where our apartment is!  They are all run by locals and had some really neat things!  We bought a few little things- some for gifts and some as souvenirs- but we  really enjoyed ourselves doing it.  When we got near the top of the hill (yes, it is a STEEP hill that we're on, hence the sliding up and down it last night!) we turned off on another road that was covered on both sides with pictures.  They were mostly painted, but there were a few others that were charcoal or other mediums.   When we got to the top of the hill there was a BEAUTIFUL church.  I wish we'd had our camera!  It was the only time we've gone out without our camera.  Maybe we'll have to hike our way back up there sometime tomorrow just for that picture.

Oh, and for those of you wondering about how us Florida people are faring in a Ukrainian winter?  We're doing just fine.  The weather really hasn't been as brutal as we were imagining.  I know, times may change, but it has been quite nice.  I am glad we bought heavy jackets for the trip, obviously, and we've worn our warm hats (something you never do at home).  Both of us put on long john pants this morning under our jeans but with just that we were fine!  No scarves yet, although we forgot to bring them when we went out to dinner.  The sun had set when we came home and boy did that temperature drop.  I wished I had my gloves then!  Mike had his so I stuck my hands in my pockets ☺ 

My jacket is quite a bit big on me- but what can I say?  I'm a small person.  It is an adult small and that doesn't seem to matter.  Regardless, it was a warm jacket that was available in Florida.  Do I really expect it to FIT too??  Anyhow, it keeps me warm so I am happy ☺  Just think, Aleksa will probably fit I the jacket with me too!  So no laughing at our goofy clothing!  (I know, you all probably don't think it's goofy because you wear warm clothes all the time, but we DON'T and feel silly in all these clothes ☺ ). 

After buying souvenirs we came back to the apartment because by then my pants had about 3" of wet on them and Mike's socks were damp (there are a LOT of puddles and slush on a warmish day after snow!).  We got clean dry clothes on and hit the city again.  This time we knew our destination and it was to get an early dinner at McDonald's so that we could get back to the apartment before it was too dark out.  Yep, they have Mikky D's here ☺  Some chicken nuggets, French fries, and Sprite hit the spot after my lunch  a "sandwich with chicken" that was topped with LOTS of mayo, onions, and mushrooms.  Oh, and lettuce too.  I ate a few bites as-is but had to take the mushrooms off.  EW.  And for those of you that don't know me too well, I hate mayo too.  But I ate it.  Onions and all.  I was HUNGRY.  And I drank 2 bottles (tiny bottles) of Sprite too.   Rejuvenating.  I needed that!  Mike ordered a cheese pizza and it was really good!  I had a slice of it too (it was a tiny one with about 6 slices).  So McDonald's was a sure bet for some food we could scarf down and know we'd get at least a full meal, even if it wasn't all that wonderful!

We also stopped on the way home at a restaurant to pick up some dessert to take with us. Oops.  It was 22 grivnas (about $4.50) for a slice of pie.  That's quite a bit for pie in my opinion.  So we got one and split it (said- Mike ate it and I too a bite then decided I didn't like it so he finished it off).  Kindof like my mac 'n cheese and snickers bar yesterday.  And my meals on the plane.  Just kidding, he's good for finishing it up tho ☺.

We watched Spidey 3 on the computer today and felt we were really in a foreign country because about halfway through the movie the voices stopped lining up with the picture.  It's been burned into the computer from a disk and I guess it goofed up half way.  So we felt like we were watching a foreign film that'd been dubbed.  It was still a good movie though!  
Oh, and I want to add that though most people in Ukraine are pretty much like you and I (so far) and many of the people we've dealt with during the day spoke English (or someone nearby has so we were able to get our point across), there have been a few people that stood out.  For instance, we saw two men that immediately catch you eye just for their size.  They were- is the correct term now "little people" because that sure sounds odd to me- anyway, that's what they were.  Midgets.  But that's not all.  One of them obviously had no use of his legs.  He didn't have a wheelchair though, he had a little cart.  Similar to one used to move large pieces of luggage or that we used to p lay with in elementary school (which I think are now banned because too many kids used them on their stomach and ended up on their face.  Anyway, you get the idea.  This guy was getting around by sitting on this and sort of pushing himself with his feet.  So I guess he had some use of them, but he couldn't walk. 

These to men then crossed a busy street (after coming up from the subway tunnel- not sure how they managed that one!) and about got hit twice.  Once was when the man on the roller thingy climbed off of it and into the snow to haul it up onto the sidewalk!  He had to be WET and FREEZING after pretty much laying down in the snow to get himself up onto the walkway.  Then the other man was trying to help him get his scooter thingy situated and was honked at by a bus.  What an unusual duo they made.  I wonder how they live.  I wonder how they get by.  Even the man that was fully able to walk alone had an unusual gait to him that suggested that he also had difficulties walking, but was able.

Ok, enough boring you with details.  I know you'd rather have them tomorrow after our SDA appointment when we can tell you something—anything- more about our girl!

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Sunday, January 20, 2008


Fresh snow out our apartment window this morning


Our apartment inside

Our apartment key

Before we left home