Thursday, May 22, 2008
It is so hard to believe--- one year ago today we were in Kyiv and we had just gotten our info to head to Slav'yansk.
This is going to sound really strange, but if I knew now what I knew then (that I would return to the US to get fired from my job for saving this child's life). It would have been so much easier over there. The constant fear that things were not going well at work--- not well at home-- made it very hard to just chill and let what was going to happen unfold as God had planned.
My perspective is so much better now--
Update: Joey is doing GREAT! He just finished first grade. We have decided to move him BACK to kindergarten in a Catholic school next year. There are so many social skills that he missed in the orphanage-- a chance to be a "kid" will be a good thing! It's a half day program, We will work on academic stuff during the morning and he'll be off to St Jude in the afternoon.
He is now an English speaker. Joey still remembers his Russian. We go to a local dining spot and the host speaks Russian. They will chat as we get seated--- he still "gets it". Nice!
Again this time, the transition has been VERY easy--- easier than we deserve. Joey has blended into our family with few (if any) problems.
To our Ukrainian friends a BIG hello! Peace Corps Katie THANK YOU !!! Lera--- I know we still owe you a package-- it's on the way--promise! and to MAX our translator and even more our.. friend-- MANY THANKS--- It is very humbling to know that if it were not for all these wonderful people Joey would probably be in an institution or worse-- he would be another statistic of the sad truth of Ukraine's struggle to deal with their mentally disabled population.
There are so many more kids that need help. It is overwhelming to even think of it. Please check out http://www.reecesrainbow.com/ and http://www.life2orphans.org/ to look for ways that you can help. We feel called to do more--- we pray every day for the guidance to do the right thing---please pray for us and for all the kids that desperately need help not just to get adopted but just to survive!
Sunday, August 05, 2007
It's hard to remember a month when so much has happened in our lives. Getting Joey---Getting fired-- having all of my stuff packed to move back to Vegas for a job and then it not happening--- more job interviews---lots of lawyers---- whew!!
Monday, July 16, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
So far doctor visits have been good--- ENT and Eye doc gave him a clean bill of health--- cardio, Down Syndrome clinic, Genetics, TB Clinic and ortho are next week.
I was SHOCKED to be terminated from my job my very first day back from FMLA. My lawyers won't let me say any more about it right now, but I look forward to sharing the incredible story as soon as I can.
Matt has to be in the hospital for the next few days and I am on the road hunting for a job...so things will be crazed. I'm sure everything will work out, but we sure did not need this added stress.
Jim and Mary
Friday, June 29, 2007
Sorry this is a little late--- Things are going great at home. Only problem was he came home with an ear infection and pink eye. Both are now under control and he is feeling much better!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
lots of drama getting here-- fill you in on all that later today. We won't be online or avialable by phone much for the next 4 days as we get settled with our new bigger family, but we'll try to post once a day!
Jim and Mary
Monday, June 25, 2007
**** FOOD POISONING ALERT*******
It was bound to happen and it did. Both Mary and I got a serious case of the "Ukrainian trots" She thinks it was from "our café"—I refuse to believe that and think it was at ElDorado (the place with the English menu) Either way Mary was really sick starting yesterday—it hit her hard at Church. I woke up this morning sick (aches, 102 fever and the other fun stuff that I will not mention). We got right into the cipro and are both feeling a little better this evening… The best advice I can give anyone is to have your family doc write a prescription for Cipro or something that will work on stomach bugs. Only being sick one day is way better than 2 weeks last time (though I won't lose as much weight)
Ok—on to the real post—
I know most people get swamped right before they leave Kyiv and really don't have a chance to write about the last day (us included last time). This time I wanted to give those of you thinking of adopting or already in the system, a feel for the hectic last day. ( at least ours)
Joey finally got to sleep around 10 last night and not having a nap for 2 days he did NOT want to get up for breakfast and the cab at 7:30. We pried him out of bed and got him to eat some hot cereal (thanks Chef Max) and we were off to the medical center. Medical center is actually a generous term. It is a hallway with several offices and "exam rooms" where people looking for immigrant visas for the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand go to get a "physical" that is approved by the embassy (you may hear some people refer to it as the "Oil Clinic" as it is operated by an oil interest.)
Traffic was terrible from the left bank into the city. Our cabbie played "chicken" on the highway speeding the wrong direction down the road (we did not come all this way to die in a car accident you dummy head). It took an hour to get into the city.
The good news is orphans go to the front of the line at the Oil Clinic, so the hallway full of people did not slow us down. Max pushed his way into the registration room, then for weight and height and then to wait for the doctor. And wait and wait. The clinic opens at 8. Doctors start seeing patients at 9. Our "assigned doctor" never showed up so we got into the "back-up doc" at 9:45 (our Embassy appointment is 10:30). She decided that their psychologist needed to evaluate Joey to determine his level of mental delay. I refused and said the home study already has us approved to adopt a kid with Down Syndrome and that was approved by the US Government. We did not need LukOil's quack shrink to take more of our time (and I'm sure money) to tell us we are adopting a retarded kid (sorry for the pejorative). We know that! I called the embassy and I was right we did not need the extra evaluation—they are just trying to separate us from some greenbacks.
The doctor finally relented and prepared the paperwork after her "intensive evaluation" ("he looks okay to me"). We were off to the American Embassy. (I called them again to alert then to the fact that we were running late)
*** Note to parents who get their visa physical at the Oil Clinic***
There is a really nice playground just to the rear of the building—it is a little hard to see from the street. It's a great place to go while your forms are being prepared.
The people at the Embassy are WONDERFUL!!
Max did a great job compiling all the needed documents and we only had 4 or 5 forms to fill out and sign once at the window. It took about an hour for all the paperwork and the interview. They have a fun waiting room with toys for the kids and a water cooler (not to mention the best bathrooms we have found in a public place in all of Ukraine.) We need to come back after 3:30 to get the completed visa and all the immigration documents.
We grabbed a cab and headed to the Delta ticket office. I know we could just pay for his ticket in the morning at the airport but I'd feel better having it in hand today (Flights are TIGHT through the holiday and we don't want to get stuck here because of a preventable airline issue) We were very excited when the Delta lady said she could get us home without the overnight stay in Paris—DEAL! It was not til she printed that tickets that I noticed we would still have an overnight – but in New York… We decided to stick to the original plan—beg for a transit visa at the airport and get a room at Formule One (I LOVE their "shower capsules") or something near the airport. Plus that gives us one more day for the Cipro to work before the long flight.
I sent Mary, Max and Joey off for food while I did the airline stuff (The thought of food is very bad right now). Tickets in hand, I went to a kiosk to grab a little fizzy coke to sip. I checked the tickets and they were wrong. She had Joey's right, but Mary and I were still overnighting in New York. I suggested that they may not want him to wander through CDG on his own—they hastily agreed and got the tickets fixed.
Upon picking him up from the orphanage, we learned that he had a savings account with about 450 USD in it. Max went ahead to the local branch to see what we have to do to get his money. It will take 30 days and about an hour of paperwork—seems like a good investment of time so we will get there after we pick up the passport.
We took a cab back to the Embassy (we had taken a bus from the embassy, but I'm feeling really puny) and went in to get his stuff. 3:30—nope sorry come back at 4. 4—nope there was a slight clerical error on the Visa (it had his full middle name and the passport had only the initial J). They needed to reprocess all the paperwork. No problem—we've got no where to be til 6 (the bank) We walked across the street and got Mary and Joey an ice cream and me another coke. We headed back over and it was ready (actually they decided the inconsistency was not really a problem). Again I will say—The people at the American Embassy are the BEST! They really seemed to care and were very efficient (not typical for this country).
***** Note for adoptive parents**********
there is another playground right next to the Embassy—not nearly as nice as the other one, but a good place to kill some time.
We are now officially ready to go home tomorrow—Thanks Max!!!
We went to the bank and worked a plan to get Joey's money to him. It has to be wired from Slav'yansk to Kyiv and we'll send Max a power of attorney to withdrawal the money (or transfer it into one of those cool 13% interest accounts here for him.) The process will take 30 days but what the heck. Max is willing, the bank is willing and it IS his money.
******Note for adoptive parents**********
Many kids do have a small savings account in their name when they leave the orphanage. Don't let the money just sit there—make sure you track it so the kids do not lose it.
We had a celebratory dinner of Skyline Chili (Max said he liked it and Joey LOVED it) Mary and I both ate and so far so good.
Our flight leaves at 12:15. we'll be out of here at 9 for the cab ride to the airport. The computer is staying behind in Ukraine so we will not be able to post until we get home.
Thanks for everyone following along—we will keep posting through the adjustment period. Thanks to everyone back home for holding it all together and thanks to Max and the many new friends we have made along the way.
What is the cost of saving a life--- A LOT! But there is no amount that is too much when you see those bright eyes looking back at you and knowing that they would have grown dim way before their time at Torez.
Jim and Mary
Sunday, June 24, 2007
It is Done!!
Friday June 22, 2007
STILL 1 day till Joey's release
Well, the good news is that we WILL be able to make our train tomorrow night. We have the documents done, notarized and 100% ready for the US Embassy. The bad news is that we did not make it back from Donetsk in time to pick up Joey from the orphanage. It seems there is new paperwork that must be completed by the orphanage director before we can get him--- We did not have the documents to present to her until after her day was done. (she had an all day conference yesterday and could not be bothered to stay until 6pm when we got there).
Max got here at 6:15am and caught an hour or so of sleep. He went to the courthouse to get the signed decree at 8am---They said it would be ready and waiting. Well, it was not waiting—he was. Finally Max was able to get the decree at 10. (we were at the hotel watching Discovery Channel's "How it's Made", "Myth Busters" (both in Ukrainian) and various Ukrainian cooking shows (we can now make a mean stuffed standing pork chop))---oops almost forgot the dubbed informercial for the magic bullet…. I WANT ONE OF THOSE!! Pesto is 6 seconds? How cool is that??!??!!
Back to the real story—
Sasha drove us to the notary in Kramatorsk, then to Joeys birth-town to get the birth certificate changed.
Next the one hour drive to Donetsk to get the birth certificate authenticated and then to the passport agency---
The court decree took forever. It was about an hour to get the birth certificate---10 minutes to get it authenticated and less than 45 minutes for the passport. We were VERY lucky—to get started 2 hours late and have a 2 hour drive to Donetsk and STILL get everything done is incredible (it usually does not work that way!!)
It was 4:30 and we were wiped out! We celebrated a fruitful day by taking Max and Sasha to McDonalds (none of us had eaten since breakfast and we were not in the mood to go hunting for the Mexican place)
Time for the 2 hour drive back to Slav'yansk. We stopped off in Kramatorsk to pick up some pictures of Joey when he was little. Sadly, the workers could not scare them up.. Hopefully they will find them and send them to us.
We finally made it back to the hotel close to 7. We decided to splurge tonight and went to El Dorado. Actually, the food was just okay—we should have stuck with "our café".
10pm and bedtime.
Tomorrow Max will drive to pick up Luba from her home (45 km away) and bring her to the orphanage to sign the papers we need. We will meet them there at 9:30—sign the papers and get Joey out of there—Max will take Luba back home and do some sightseeing at the Lavra. Mary, Joey and I will take him to the square to ride a "power wheels" and terrorize the pigeons---then lunch and back to the hotel for a nap before we head back to Donetsk for the overnight train ride to Kyiv.
Sunday is mass in Kyiv (we'll get in too late for English) TGI Fridays and the circus (we STILL can't reach Catie and James' relatives in Ivankiv L). We'll be on our own—Max will be busy translating documents for the Embassy.
Thursday June 21, 2007
1 day till Joey's release
Today was great day and a difficult day. It was great because we are but one day away from springing Joey from the joint. It was also great because of the wonderful party with his groupa. Yet it was very difficult because it was the day we said goodbye to our new friends- Lera and Mimmo and Lucia.
After a big storm last night, today was breezy and cool. It felt more like October than June. We got to the Orphanage for our morning visit and found Joey all bundled up to go outside. We headed out, but soon got cold and came inside to his groupa's playroom. We played with the hula hoops, emptied and refilled the toy basket and spent a lot of time wrestling on the mat.
Mary asked that he get a bath either today or tomorrow before we go. They decided to give him a bath BOTH today and tomorrow so he had to leave us 15 minutes early.
We hung out and waited for Mimmo and Lucia (the Italian couple who are also adopting) to finish up their visit and we met up with Lera who was nice enough to go with us to the ceramic market. (in case you missed it—there is a huge pottery plant here in Slavyansk. They make pottery that is resold under an Italian brand). The market was amazing. Things were just closing up as we got there but enough merchants to look for goodies. There was a HUGE coffee and tea set—it was beautiful—for 22 hrvn (less than 5 dollars). We got a few goodies to take home and walked out less than 2 dollars lighter. The Italian couple was as amazed as we were. They were familiar with many of the pieces—they actually found some items that match things in their kitchen back home. In Italy it was over 10 euro for something that was 40 cents here----crazy! We'd like to try to get back there tomorrow for a couple of minutes if there is time.
We all went to get lunch—Lera helped Lucia get something that was NOT chicken with Cheese (pretty much all she as eaten in 2 weeks) It was nice to sit as our "Mini UN." Italy, US and Ukraine (Actually Lera is a Russian citizen) all sitting down to enjoy a meal together—Leda, our waitress, was a bit overwhelmed. After lunch a sad farewell to Lera.. Thanks for being a great friend—we will stay in touch!
Max called a cab for us at 3:30 and we picked up cake, ice cream, fizzy apple juice and Champaign for the party.
4 O'clock and party time!! The kids were so excited to see the cake. We listened to music, ate, and played with bubbles. It was a very nice time! I feel a little bad for the workers. We left them with six 5 year olds all amped up on sugar.
We had a chance to take Joey outside for a little while. We fed Stimpy and walked around the grounds for one last time. Big hugs and I think Joey understands that tomorrow he gets to leave with us. We asked the workers to explain to him that we would be back around noon and we would be leaving! Tomorrow Joey will be officially and legally a member of our family.
We had a quick bus ride back to the hotel. We dropped stuff off and decided to have one last meal at "our" café. The food was good and we were pretty much able to order in Russian (amazing how much you can learn in a month). After dinner Leda presented us with a Chernihivska mug as a "present". Spaseeba!
We had Mimmo and Lucia to the room for a Coke Light and goodbyes. They have court tomorrow. We wish them well!
We are all packed and ready to go first thing in the morning. Tomorrow needs to go well—I'm confident that it shall!
Jim and Mary
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
2 days till Joey's release
**** some tech stuff. As I said yesterday, Yahoo is killing it's Photos section. We have migrated all of our photos to snapfish, but I'm having trouble setting up public directories there—plus I cannot update the html on the website since I do not have my authoring tools here—sorry—no more photos until we get home (unless I have an epiphany as to how to do it) Also—I'm not sure if we'll have internet again until we get to Kyiv. Things will be moving fast Friday so Thursday's blog will probably be late at best or we may need to go dark until Sunday. Please check back early and often!
sooo close! I can't believe it— Tomorrow is our last day of visits—A regular visit in the morning and the party in the afternoon! Yippeee!
Today we rode with our Italian friends to the orphanage. They do not like the trolley-bus (too many people) so we took the regular bus (1 hrv vs 60 kopek) and we got there a little early for the "dance recital". It pretty much went the same way as the last program did--- teachers and a small group of kids performed for the rest of the kids and some dignitaries (and the adoptive parents). The theme was "back to school" and the older kids all got new backpacks and school supplies. It was quite cute except for the song for the closing credits (it prominently featured the "F" word many times—that is a first for a preschool performance for us).
We tried to get pictures of the other kids in the group after the performance, but we did not bring a still camera, just the video with a 2 megapixel still. Some photos look great—the ones we took of the kids did not--- we'll try again tomorrow.
We had about 45 minutes to play with Joey after the performance—just kinda hung out and played with the dogs.
We stopped to eat on the square on the way back to the hotel (the Italians have a translated version of the menu there). The food was pretty good (chicken with cheese and fries) but most of what we ordered was not available--- (I'm sure in honor of Mr Lenin who was peering down upon us). We were going to go to the lake, but a big storm has rolled in so methinks it's nap time.
The Italians and American's will take ice cream cones to all the kids to celebrate today's wonderful performance… We have 53 ice cream cones on hold at the 7-11 (well it IS open from 7am til 11pm)
And later it is!
First we took mahroshna (Ice cream—sorry for the bad transliteration) to all the kids--- lots of hugs and spaseebas! It is hard to believe so many great kids need a home--- I wish we could take them all home with us---- One girl in particular. Her name is Nastia (Natasha) She is the mother hen of Joey's group. She knows a little English and LOVES to practice on us. She has been out of sorts since her friend (and Joey's best friend here) Kristina left on the "blue bus". She is pretty and sweet. Dark hair, blue eyes. She seems to be about 5 or 6. A born leader, but not bossy at all--- we actually thought about how much it would put us back, time-wise, to go back to Kyiv and get paperwork and adopt her (we are approved for 2), But my boss is already wanting to fire me, so another 2 weeks here would no doubt cause me to spend some time in the unemployment line. The best we can do is put out the word—PLEASE—if you are even thinking about adoption—contact us and we can tell you more.
The afternoon's visit with Joey was tough. It rained and we were not able to get out much other than under "our" shelter house. He chose today to see how far he could push us. He found out the answer is "not very far". Three (or was it 4) "time-outs" a LOT of crying and I think he is finally understanding boundaries--- there will be more tussles, but hopefully we can be firm, consistent and loving in correction and it won't cause any of us too much grief!
We stopped by the Chernehivska café for dinner. Mary got something like a chicken swiss steak. I got chicken, peas, and corn in a cream sauce. Good stuff! We will miss the friendly staff and good food there!
It's hard to believe we are down to our last day of visits! We will meet the Italians at 9:30 for our last (hopefully) trolley-bus ride to the orphanage. Meat sticks and a coke and we'll be done. We'll go to the pottery market with Lera tomorrow at noon, then to get treats for the party (the director wants cake from a specific bakery—wonder if she owns it) We'll get the cake, ice cream, juice and some Champaign for the workers. We have the party play list ready to go on the computer (and no songs with the "F" word will be featured). Maybe we'll watch Kidsongs (but I hope not-- hehehehheeee)
Friday looks like this: (I hope)—sorry if this is a repeat--
8am go to courthouse to get the court decree
9am Drive to the notary in Kramatorsk to get everything nice and "official"
10:30 Get to his birthtown for the birth certificate
noon back to the Orphanage to pick up Joey for the last time!!!! (YAY!!!) J
Drive to Donetsk
2pm Go to passport agency to get his Ukrainian International Passport
4pm To hotel in Donetsk
5pm McDonalds in Donetsk for his first taste of American food (this is actually up for negotiation—there is a Mexican restaurant in Donetsk that Katie (Our Peace Corps friend) said is actually pretty good. We are very curious to try it—so that may be his first taste of "American" food.)
If this works out, we have most of Saturday to lounge around—if not, we will be doing passport stuff then (the passport lady offered to come in on Saturday if need be!
7pm Get on train for Kyiv
sleep on train (we have a 4 berth 2nd class sleeper car)
We will try to get to Ivankiv to see Catie and James' relatives. If they are still on vacation we'll go to the circus and/or the zoo and take it easy.
AM Doctor visit
PM American Embassy
12 noon flight to Paris
sightsee in Paris (the French Embassy STILL will not answer their phone so our hopes for a travel visa are fading a bit)
We really need the birth certificate, passport and American Embassy to come off without a hitch for this to work--- it's not unheard of, but there are often problems. Max knows that we will be stuck with him and him with us for an extra week of we hit a road bump.. needless to say he's working extra hard to see that we are going to get out of here!!
Hopefully you'll see more from us tomorrow--- Keep praying for us. We need it!!
Jim and Mary
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
3 days till Joey's release
In less than one week we will be aboard an airplane making our way home!! YAYAYAYYAYAYYAYAY!!
Thanks to Julie for finding a flight for us—there is no direct flight on Tuesday, but there is a flight that has an overnight connect in Paris. That is good news because the Wednesday flight we were booked on was sold out—no seat to buy for young Joey--- in fact there were not 3 seats on ANY flight through the holiday…. So there is extra pressure to get everything done right on schedule—we have no room for error or we will could stuck here till July 5. Keep us in your prayers that he don't hit any snags with his birth certificate, passport or at the embassy.
This morning's visit was a shopping trip. We (Mary, Joey, 2 orphanage workers and I) climbed into a Lada taxi and headed for the Rynok by the hotel. We got him a couple of outfits, some sandals, socks and undies. Total cost about $30. Not too bad compared to Dillards—but we do not shop at Dillards. A little more than at the K-mart and the quality does not seem as good. We stopped to get his passport and visa photos done. We pick them up at 6:30. that will save us some time during our crazy day on Friday. Joey really enjoyed the trip—he did not get car-sick and was fascinated by all the motor scooters at the Rynok (Hey Prof--- can we have a ride?!?!?)
We also picked up a gift for the kids in the group.
By the time we returned to the orphanage our visiting time was over--- we were very happily surprised when the workers invited us to stay for lunch. It always smells so good.. it IS good. Clear veggie soup, brown bread, spaghetti, tomatos and a "mystery meat pieces parts" patty with homemade cherry juice to drink (I LOVE those cherries!!)
By the time we got back to the hotel it was too late to go to the beach (sniff sniff) so we hung out for a while, went to the internet and hung out some more.
Getting ready to head out for our afternoon visit--- more soon…
We are back from a fun afternoon! Our visit went well. Joey was wiped out from his morning adventure—it took an hour for him to finally wake up and we played tag and the "killer lion game"--- sounds too evil to write about—you'll need to ask in person. We did a lot of the usual—walk the grounds, feed and pet the dogs, climb on the playground equipment and, of course, eat cherries!!
"Priviet" to Kat and Jaye at work. It was good to get caught up. Thanks for doing such a great job while I'm away. Joey, Mary and I really do understand that you are working extra hard and we appreciate that you are busting hump!---Thanks!! YOU ARE THE best!
Kudos also to the kids for taking care of grandma and for not killing each other while mom and dad are away!!! Spaseeeeeba!
We spent some time at the internet today trying to figure out how to get a French transit visa for Joey (we would really prefer not to have to sleep in the airport) Last time Mary had to cry (literally) to the guy at immigration at CDG and he finally approved a waiver and let us take James and Catie to a hotel. I'd like for this to go better that that one. Much to our great surprise (not), the French Embassy in Kyiv does not answer their phone, so if anyone out there has any suggestions for securing the Visa, please email them to me at: marty at martythompson.com.
We'd (okay, actually I'd) like to take him into the city and go up the Eiffel Tower, see Notre Dame and spend the afternoon being tourists. I LOVE Paris--- Mary HATES it! We'll do battle if we can actually get him through immigration! J
We met Lira at 6 and headed to the drug store to pick up his passport and visa pictures. I must say that I have never known Joey to not be smiling. He is a really happy kid 99% of the time…EXCEPT when they flashed the picture.. Oh MY--- he has that Eastern European "up yours" scowl. It looks like he wants to kick someone's butt just 'casue it would be fun… What a hoot!
Lira, Mary and I went to café Ultra for Dinner and for English tutoring. Congrats to Lira she passed her boards and is now qualified to teach high school and college math! I'm trying to figure out who I can "fix her up with" in the US. She's a sweet girl who will have a really tough life here. (there are no jobs here for teachers right now so she is looking for work in another field). She is a "born again" Christian and seeking the same.
Tomorrow is a dance recital at 10 (that should be interesting) and a regular visit at 4. We are planning a big party for 4 on Thursday for all the kids in his group--- cake, ice cream, fizzy apple juice (they love that stuff here), bubbles and general silliness. The end is really getting close and as strange as it sounds I will kind of miss "Ground Hog's Day".
Still to do while we are here:
Chernihivska café one more time
Get a photo with Mr Lenin on the square
See ya Zaftra!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday June 18, 2007
4 days till Joey's release
We awoke up today to "I Got You Babe" on the radio—not really, but it is groundhog's day again—But today had a twist. We were tour guides for the family from Italy.
We met in the lobby at 9:30 for the trip on the trolley-bus to the orphanage. We showed them how to board (push hard), how and why to avoid the "B Dehot" bus (it's going to the depot which is ok on the way to the orphanage, but will not get you very far on the way home) how, when and how much to pay on the different modes of transport (on the trolley-bus the nice "sturdy" lady will squish her way through the throng, collect your money and give you a ticket---in Kyiv they will offer you a discount if you will give the ticket back to them so that they can resell it and pocket the money. On the city bus you pay the attendant as you exit) and other important public transportation tips.
Plus we helped them order lunch. Chicken Kiev for everyone—Rice with maslo (butter) for them--- fries for us. And went back to the orphanage with them this afternoon. I think they will be ready to solo tomorrow if need be!
It's fun showing people around "our town". Rain today kept us from the beach, but we will try that tomorrow. We also still need to get to the pottery market and we will take them with us. Not many people here speak any English. I am surprised that no one speaks Italian (especially since the Italian pottery company has a factory here.) We will not be able to take them to the lavra, but will show them how to get the bus so they can go if they want.
This morning the kids were back in school (it is at the orphanage). Joey (I think we are set on that name) came down from class to meet us right at 10. We got him dressed (school uniform is undies only) and headed outside--- he was very active today. We raced, ran, jumped, wrestled non-stop both in the morning and afternoon.
He also popped a gasket today at some workers at the factory next door—there was a bunch of noise coming from over there and he walked over near the wall and started shouting at them--- the only thing we could make out was "Luba". We are guessing that the factory noise is a common problem and Luba comes out to get them to quiet down in that tactful Eastern European way (scream at them and they scream at you and then nothing happens and you go to the kiosk to share vodka shots). We taped it to see if he actually saying things or just babbling (and it we should be concerned at what he is saying!) It was very cute!
I think Joey finally understands that the end of his time here is getting close. We spoke with Luba (the director) today and she agreed to let us take him out tomorrow to get clothes and shoes (the adopted kids may only leave the orphanage with what God gave them at birth). We will be provided with an escort to assure that we return with him.
We were walking around the orphanage and I told him we needed to hurry to get to the Duoma (home—also what the kids call the orphanage). He started jumping up and down shouting Duoma! Duoma! Duoma!—I felt terrible. He thought we were leaving for our home right now… sigh! Soon little man, soon! Joey was very "clingy" both times we had to leave today. We all want "ground hogs day" to end.
- Our dog family has grown to 3—Stimpy, Stinky (formerly known as Wren but he got his new name since it appears his favorite past-time is rolling in poo), and Scared-ey. (his tail never comes out from between his legs). Not too much food for them since Joey eats most of it (Hot Dog in a blanket, apple turnover and meat and cheese and a meat-stick).
- Cherries are EVERYWHERE--- Joey loves to pick them but is tired of eating them—I am not—I do not think I have ever eaten so many cherries. They are tiny but full of flavor—there are 20-30 cherry trees on the grounds and all have branches drooping from the bounty. (I'm working on mouth sores from cherry overload!!)
- The corner 7-11 got a shipment of ½ litre bottles of Pepsi. We have never actually seen Pepsi outside of an occasional kiosk in Kyiv—not that we are big Pepsi fans, but you tend to notice stupid little stuff when you relive each day over and over.
- Meat-Sticks weigh exactly 100 grams and cost 45 cents. (sorry that is real minutia)
- When it storms here the sky turns orange. I assume from pollution?? Rich Appuzo where are you?
- There are no storm drains or sewers. When it rains it floods. You may have to drive/walk/wade/swim home at any time.
- Happy news we are back in our "BIG" room—it's an extra $20/night and worth every penny—we feel human again!
We are really excited to be able to take Joey shopping tomorrow—it should be a great day. We also will probably go to the beach and we meet Lira (the college student we are tutoring in English) at 6 for snacks at Café Ultra. More tomorrow----it's getting close!!
Jim and Mary
Monday, June 18, 2007
5 days till Joey's release
Ground Hog's day is back! It's the same day over and over and over—the good news it that it is a great day!
We got up this morning and went to the Rynok to get Joey (pretty sure that is what we will call him at home) a backpack of his very own! He LOVES it! Big enough to hold all of his stuff (ball cap, crocks, pen, paper, Delta travel kit, pop and snacks) little enough for him to carry on his back! Cost was about 6 bucks (I do love this country!!!)
We had to pass on our first bus ride this morning because it was too crowded—even the iron willed babushka could not get on the trolley-bus. We took the next regular bus and got to the orphanage just a tad late. This morning --- we:
- Ate cherries (a lot of cherries)
- Watched Kid Songs on the computer
- Looked at pictures of Joey from Antoshka (the first time he has ever seen them) He was impressed and seem to love himself thoroughly.
- Tuta! tuta'd! 3 times
- Ate bananas and meatsticks
- Fed the dogs (Stimpy returned with her boyfriend Wren (sp??))
- Talked with the Italian family who are also adopting.
- And got called in early for Joey's bathtime--- he NEEDED it!
We stopped by the internet café by the university and ate lunch at Café Ultra (Mary had sweet and sour chicken---very authentic actually-- and I had Chicken Kiev—yes they eat that here)
We headed back to the room to request the upgrade for the rest of the week (we get our room back tomorrow) and another "load of laundry". I have taken to doing laundry with my feet in the shower. Clothes get cleaner—my feet get clean and my hands do not crack open and bleed--- I do not see a downside!
We had a much better trolley-bus ride this afternoon (we go the coveted rear standing place against the back window where you can place your bags on the ledge and lean on the wall—YAY!!!)
Our afternoon visit was much like the earlier visits. Joey was tired and a little grumpy. He had a couple of "time-outs" and was not allowed to play with the sobakas because he was being rough (poking them in the eye--ouch). Queenie (our 14 year old black lab/chow mix) requested that we make sure he is "dog friendly" before we return so she does not have to eat him.
This afternoon we:
- Ate Cherries (actually only I ate cherries—Mary does not like them and Joey likes to pick them and hurl them to the ground—he no longer has cherry picking privileges)
- Fed the Sobakas
- Ate a hotdog in a blanket
- Played beach ball soccer
- Played the "backback game"
- And tuta tuta'd 3 times
We were going to show the Italian couple how to take the trolley-bus today, but the orphanage workers called them a cab so we shared it back to the hotel (they are staying here too).
I am embarrassed that my Italian has gotten so bad--- I barely remember the basic pleasantries L. The wife speaks pretty good English. We will take them to the trolleybus stop tomorrow and try to show them around town. (We were so lucky that Peace Corps Katie found us and helped us get settled—we'd like to return the favor). The translator for the Italian family headed back to Kyiv today so they are on their own.
We splurged and ate out for dinner tonight. A storm blew in while we were at the outdoor café. We sat and ate and watched the dust blow by and finally a few raindrops with lightning and thunder. Back in the room now and to bed by 9! YAY!!! Check out the photo page for some shots from Munich and we'll take more pictures here in Slov'yansk tomorrow!
Jim and Mary
PS We will NOT be home Tuesday as there is no Delta flight that day—looks like Wednesday will be the best we can do--- we'll keep you posted!