Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Long Story and What You Have Been Waiting For

This is us in Kiev before our appointment at the SDA. The picture was taken in front of the Capital Building, not the SDA Building.

(Written Friday Night)

Okay, finally a minute to sit down and type. We have been running, running, running non-stop for days. On Wednesday we planned to take the overnight train from Kiev to Lugansk. We spent the day trying to get something that we needed notarized, had to pick up our paperwork from the SDA, and then only had a few minutes to catch the train. We dropped the paperwork at the notary before lunch and then went with Kostya, Olya, and Nikita to the mall to pass the time. When we went back to get the documents the power was out at the notary and the documents were finished, but not yet printed. We had one hour before we needed to rush to the SDA and then onto our train. We sat in the notary’s office for nearly the whole hour while the power was being worked on. At the 11th hour (and after a couple quick prayers) the power was on and we signed what we needed to and flew out the door.

We took a taxi to the SDA and then had him wait while we got our luggage from the apartment. Then Kostya, Kevin, and I headed to the train station where we met up with Olya and Nikita to catch our train. They were headed home after spending time with us in Kiev and we all got to travel back together. The train stops in their city a couple hours before Lugansk. Lugansk is the last stop at 15 hours! We played cards, ate a picnic dinner, and watched a movie together. Then Kostya was kind enough to go sleep in the other room so Kevin, Olya, Nikita, and I could sleep in the four bunks in our room.

Once we got up the next morning Olya and Nikita were already getting off the train. We slept pretty well but we were warm when we got all packed up and ready to get off the train. We were ready for a shower and a meal, but we had more important things to do. One of the children has been staying at a different orphanage about 40 minutes from Lugansk for the past several months. This meant we had twice the work to do. We had to go to each city and get permission from a social worked to visit the children. Then head to the orphanage and hear about their case history and medical information. Then we found out that the boy in the other orphange was at summer camp two hours away. So we made a trek out their in a taxi (think Ford Focus) with a cab driver who smoked a whole pack in the time we were with him, a social worker from the city (this is the first international adoption in that city, by the way), a representative from his orphanage in Shastia(?) where we stopped, Kostya, Kevin, and I. It was a bit crowded!

Onto the good stuff. I won’t bore you with all the details about waiting and driving, etc. Three of the siblings are at The Lugansk Orphanage #1 in the city. We got to meet them in the early afternoon. By the time we got to the fourth one to meet him we it was about six in the evening. We didn’t get back to Lugansk to find an apartment and pick up our luggage from the train station until after 9. We were so tired! We ate dinner (our first real meal of the day) at about 11:15, I think. But it was a great day!
These are our children. They are sweet, polite, and charming. They are also full of energy and are going to keep us very busy! We have already started the adoption process formally and until then we are going to use their birth names. We have requested to change their names and use their given names as middle names, but since we just met them yesterday we haven’t told them yet. ☺ We will share them once the kids know. We would have liked to ask them (at least the older ones) their opinion, but we had to make the changes in the paperwork and there just wasn’t time. We actually only had about an hour to decide this morning. Hopefully we will find the right time soon to talk to them about this.

This is Alina. She is 8 years old. She is a happy girl who smiles all the time, but not much in pictures for some reason and not when we first met her. Kevin is sitting next to me telling me to caption this picture "My daughter can kick your daughter's butt!" Kevin's first impression of Alina was Pippi Longstocking meets Annie. Joking aside, she is a sweetie. :)

This is Edward “Edich” (Ed-dik). He is 7.

This is little Ilona. She is 6.

This is Igor (Eeg-er). He just turned 5 last weekend.

They all stole our hearts the minute we met them and we can’t wait to bring them home forever. I will make a post to tell you a little more about each one next time. There is so much to say. They are wonderful children who will thrive in a loving home. I can’t wait to put some more nutrition into their little bodies and clean them up a bit. You can tell by their skin and the ones’ hair that they need some vitamins and sunshine. They are definitely not afraid to get a little dirty! We are going to have so much fun together.

In the meantime:
Thank God that Edich’s possibly health issue appears to be a false alarm.

Pray that Alina is able to continue to bond with us. She is old enough to know that she will be leaving her friends and caregivers soon and going with people she just met to a place that she has only seen in pictures. She is pretty scared of all the change ahead, I can’t blame her. There are also some kids and even a couple care givers who are giving her a hard time about it and trying to make her think something bad will happen to her if she comes with us. They are likely feeling jealous that she will soon have a mama and papa of her own. Thankfully there are some wonderful people working to take care of all of this. One of her favorite caregivers Julia (Yulia) lives in an apartment building near where we are staying and brought Alina home with her for the weekend. We were able to spend this evening all together eating ice cream, playing with the Mac Photo Booth (a great toy, no language needed ☺ ), walking around the city, and playing in the parks. Thank God for Julia. She was so sweet to bring Alina home with her on her own days off and spend the evening with us. We will see them again tomorrow. Alina has already started to bond with us. I think things will be just fine.

This is Alina with Julia.

The language barrier with the kids (and everyone really) is so hard. We have Kostya with us to translate when needed but we miss so much. Our kids and others around us look at us with smiling faces and say something or ask a question and we have no idea what it is. I am sad we are missing the things that people have to say. On a positive not though, there is nothing cuter that the way Alina says “Hal-low,” when trying to say hello to us in English. She has a little bit of a raspy voice and a very thick accent. ☺

I know this was a long post, but I didn’t want to leave any important details out. It was hard enough to make the post this short!

Love from Lugansk,
Krista and Kevin

P.S. Though I won’t legally be their mom for a while I had an official mom moment today. Igor was playing with a tube of bubbles he picked up somewhere and put it in my purse. (He has a fascination with my purse and the things in it.) The top wasn’t closed all the way and the whole thing spilled all over. It was in my nice, new purse that I got just for the trip since it is big enough to hold my camera (my Mother’s Day gift from Kevin). It got all over our passports and customs information, it got inside the screen in our brand new video camera and many of the buttons no longer work, and about two dozen less important things. Oh well. I think it was my baptism into motherhood. At least it was soap, right?


Kevin and Tammy said...

There are absolutely gorgeous. They look just like mom and dad. What wonderful words huh MOM and DAD. You are going to have so much fun getting to know your children. God is so good. I know we keep saying that but what else sums up such a wonderful experience. Keeps those blogs coming. said...

They are beautiful!! I think Alina(?) looks a lot like you, Krista!! :) Claire and I have been following your adventure together and praying for you guys... I showed her the pictures and when she saw the one of Alina, she noticed that she was wearing a cute top! :) We are so happy for you guys and will continue to be praying for everything to go smoothly... the paper work, the bonding, everything... We are just sharing in your joy!! :)

Shannon said...

Those ARE your kids Kevin and Krista! What a wonderful blessing. I can't wait to hear more about them. They look and sound adorable.

Melissa said...

How precious! I can't wait to meet them.

mayatk said...

i already love my nieces & nephews. there is a huge puddle of tears on the desk, from as soon as I saw the pics...that's our family!! i love you guys:)

Lelah said...

Wow! They are perfect! I am couldn't be happier for you. We will be praying that the bonding continues and that your family will grow closer together. Thank you for all the wonderful details. Love you both.

KateDoiron said...

Yes, baptism by soap is definitely better than by fire!
Your children are beautiful! And it sounds like their personalities were being formed to be your children all along. I love that God knows what he is doing!
I am so happy and excited for you! Congrats Mom and Dad!

cschelb said...

Your family is beautiful. A true answer to prayer. I am speechless and awestruck. Mostly, I am so happy for you guys. How is grammy and grandpa doing seeing them? Can't wait to hear the next update.

Tami said...

Congratulations!!! They are beautiful! As a mom of four myself, I have to tell you there is nothing that can describe the journe you are about to take. While it can certainly be crazy at times, it is also full of incredible joy! Hang on! :>)

David & Monica said...

How wonderful! They are adorable and look just like you two! I am so happy that the wonderful caregiver gave your daughter the perfect situation to alleviate her fears. Best of luck with the remaining "legal" items and a safe trip home. Monica & David

Dan & Michelle said...

Yes, welcome to motherhood!!! :)

The kids are beautiful. Boy, Alina looks like she could biologically be your own. Isn't that weird how that happens? I hear that about Yana and "Flower" (and they don't look like each other LOL).

Congrats again! I am truly SO happy for you guys!

If you haven't already, maybe it will help Alina to know that there are many other Ukrainian kids here too. I'm sure Yana would be more than happy to be her friend. Since yana still speaks Russian, it may be helpful.

Adina said...

Oh, my goodness! They're beautiful. I'm so very happy for you.

I'll continue to pray that the transition will be as smooth as possible. I'm sure the language barrier will be quite a challenge.

Do you know why Edward isn't in the same orphanage?

Christine said...

Yeah! They sound wonderful! I am so happy for you. 0 to 4 will be so much fun!

adoptedthree said...

Your family is beautiful. THe children look healthy happy and vibrant. what a blessing!


DoveFamily said...

They are beautiful and I'm so happy for you guys. Praying that all continues to go well!

Emily said...

Oh K&K!!! They are so beautiful, and they really do look like you two! We can't wait to meet them, and learn their new names. And welcome to motherhood,Krista!! :p