Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 15

Sorry...no news to report. This is definitely a big, drawn out remake of Groundhog Day!!!! We do the same thing everyday, eat the same food, go to same place....boring. But we did manage to walk down to the Black Sea Beach and see people swimming. Oh My..is what I can muster up. The average age of the swimmers were about 75 and the average weight was about 250-300lbs....and the MEN and women both had on speedos. I took pictures. I could not resist. Sean's face was red and it was so funny that we could not stop watching.

I got sick yesterday, really, really, sick...I was planning on going back to the baby house at 3pm, but couldn't even hardly stand up, so I went back into the apartment and slept from 3pm-7am, without getting up. I still don't feel much better this morning.

The visits with the boys are getting better and better. Cole is very smart. He has finally started playing with the toys we bring. He loves to take stuff out and put it back into his Toy Story backpack. He doesn't quite understand the concept of coloring, but he is trying. His pincher grip is not quite as good as Caden's and he has a hard time holding the crayon. This boy loves to eat. I bring him a banana and yogurt every morning. I thought I would change it up a little and see if he liked eggs. I boiled him an egg, brought him some cheese, and a banana. He ate every bite of his and wanted Caden's too. Caden wasn't so impressed. He hated the cheese, tolerated the egg a little, but cried for more yogurt. He only has 4 teeth and doesn't really chew. He just swallows whatever you put in his mouth. I am still very concerned about his fluids. He doesn't drink well at all. I am literally squirting fluid in his mouth from a bottle (he won't suck at all) and getting what I can in him. I have ordered the Honey Bear cups (I think that is what they are called) but I am worried about his hydration. His mouth is so dry. He has never had a wet diaper while we have had him. He is so funny and tired!!!! He falls asleep during our visits almost every time (probably because he is dehydrated). Cole drinks about 12 ounces of fluid every time we see him. I am afraid to give him more because I don't want him to get in trouble for having a wet diaper! How sad is that.

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 1 and we are picking up our translator at the bus station at 930 to go to the court house to see if we can get a court date. Please, please, please pray that we get a quick and easy court date so that we can go home, see our other kids, and catch up on the world. I miss home so badly and my other children are acting out like little babies throwing a fit for their momma! They are in so much trouble when I get home, but after I hug their necks off. So, I will blog later and let everyone know if we have a court date or not. We must get some food today. I was sick and only ate a boiled egg and a banana yesterday and poor Sean just sat here with nothing to eat because I was in bed.

Anyone that has any comments on Caden's fluids, please feel free to leave them. Any tidbits of info would be appreciated and helpful.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 12

Well, well, well...where to start???? We finally have interent access in our apartment....YAY!!!

I guess I will start of the happenings of Friday. We waited and waited on Olga (our facilitator) and Angelina (our translator) to come to Sevastapol. We walked around, went down to the board walk, went to a little flea market, etc. I was really needing a haircut and we passed by a salon and I thought what the heck, so we went it. They said they would cut my hair for 50 grivnas (around $6), so I went for it. I have to tell you, it was the most thorough hair cut I have ever gotten. I thought she would never get done. It is very, very short, but I like it and my hair grows so fast that it will need cut again by the time we get home.

So, anyway, Olga and Angelina call and say let's go. I thought we were just going to the notary to sign some papers. We have been out walking all day, we have on shorts and T-shirts, I just got a haircut and we were all nasty. To our surprise, we have an appointment with the head of the inspector's office, the orphanage director, the inspector and some other person (I forget). We are going to be interviewed by the Head of the Department to see if he will sign our application for a court date. So, here we go in, totally unprepared, look like crap, to talk to a middle age man that speaks no English to see if he will "allow" us to apply for a court date....GREEAATTT. He starts off and ask "why do you all want a child with so many problems?" I mean, how do you answer that..."we don't like easy ones". Seriously, I said that we felt like having these children would enrich our lives and that we have had experience with children and adults with DS and they were all such blessings and even though we know it will be hard work, we feel like the good will outweigh the bad and we will be better off having them. He then asked many, many times about what our families think about it. I told them that they were happy and supportive. He wanted to know how much money we made, what kind of resources would the children have access to and would they be "trainable" for any kind of jobs in America? That last question blew me away. I said that there were places available for people with developmental delays to work, but no specific ones, but that is was more for socialization than money earning potential....Awww, then the last question..."Will you profit from these children? Does your government pay you to have them?" Uhhh...that is a big negative. He looked very sternly for a few minutes, and at first, I thought he was not going to sign the paper. But then he said, "Good luck, and I wish more people were like you all and I hope everything goes well. Please send pictures and updates on the boys and let us know how they are doing." At just like that, it was over.

Now, for the court date. All of the paperwork is completed and we have officially applied for a court date. Olga has been fabulous. She has been talking to the judge way before we even got here trying to work on a court date. The judge goes on vacation for 60 days starting Sept. 1. Another judge will be handling cases while he is out, but NEVER international adoption cases. She has been working her way for several weeks into talking him into letting the other one handle it while he is gone. He said "yes" and so did the other judge, who is described as "good and laid back" by both Olga and Angelina. The new judge will start Sept. 1st and we should have a court date assigned that day. Hopefully it will be this week, but don't know anything for sure yet. FYI-I can't wait for you to be able to see a pic of the court house. It was scary. It looks like an abandoned building with grafitti(sp) and weeds all over it...nice.

Now, to the boys. I don't know if I mentioned the gash on Cole's eye last week, but anyway, he had a huge gash over his eye. Then Friday, he had a big, fat lip. Saturday, we pick him up, and his other eye is now black. So, he has two black eyes, a huge, busted lip and about 20 different scrapes and bruises on him. I have been calling him "Tyson" because he looks like a boxer. His balance is really, really bad and he is quite a danger to himself without careful supervision. He looks so pitiful. He has been so sweet our last visits. He loves to eat, no matter what it is. He sits and just waits for us to bring out the food.

Caden is a ham! He is coming to life before our very eyes. He is completely a different kid since we got here. For the first several days, he did nothing but lay there. No sounds, no emotions, no nothing. Now, he cracks up, he tries to sit up for long periods of time, he stands and dances. He plays with toys! He loves the keys and loves CARS. Little matchbox cars are his favorite thing so far. He laughs and laughs at them. Still having a lot of trouble with his drinking/swallowing. I ordered both boys a Honey Bear cup when I got home from the orphanage today. They are something else when it comes to fluids. Cole can't get enough and Caden chokes to death on one drop. I hope the cups work.

BTW, Cole says "Poppa" when he sees Sean and follows him around like a puppy dog. It is the only word that we have been able to understand so far. And....Caden cries for me when someone holds him. He has done it three times so far and instantly stops crying and starts laughing when I get him. So, I guess the first choices have been made...interesting, I thought it would be opposite.

Well, another trip to the "baby house" today and we will have Groundhog Day again in the big city of Sevastapol. We may change it up a little today and have Pepsi light instead of Coke light....he he he...


Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 10

Ok....I am still confused on what day it is. We did get our referral for David on Wednesday. We had to go to the SDA at 9 am, back at 2 pm, then back at 530 pm for our referral. I have no idea what or why we had to do that. We went in for our "interview" but they did not ask us any questions or even speak to us, so not sure what the purpose of all of that was...but anyway, we then headed to the dreaded train. Yes, another 17 hours on the train. I made a tragic mistake. I did not take any medicine and it was awful. This was by far the worst of the train rides. I strongly suggest ALWAYS getting a first class ticket, even if it is another $125 more. It is soooo worth it.

Anyway, we arrived back in Sevastapol on Thursday at 1pm. We were met my our driver and our translator and the running began. We went to the inspector's office, the notary, the orphanage, and then back to the inspector's office. For Lydia and Liam's moms.....I asked the orphanage director about them. She said they were both here and both really healthy and happy babies. She also said that we could see them, but they were napping right then. I told her that families were on the way for them and she was so excited. I truly believe the director really cares for the children and wants them to have families. She was tearful when I told her that you all were coming and she said that we could get updated pictures for you all. Hoping that happens soon. I also asked about little Emory. She said that he was well and gaining weight. She also said that he was going back to Kiev in a couple of months to have his colostomy reversed and that they think his GI system will be fairly normal after the next surgery. I can't wait to see all of the babies. It is so weird because you can hear them crying or just making noise, but never see them. Even when I pick David up from his groupa, there are no babies visible. I think they are just all laying in their cribs. So sad.

So, after the running around for paperwork, we took our translator to the bus station. She said all of our paperwork was completed and we could apply for a court date on Friday. She was very excited about this and said it usually takes 7 days to get everything together for a court date, but we did it in one day. I didn't have the heart to tell her that it has been 10 days, not one, but whatever...the paperwork is done and Olga is coming to Sevastapol on Friday to talk to the judge as request a court date. Please Dear God let it be soon. I am so homesick. I miss my Cody and Ducky so bad. I couldn't sleep last night thinking that we were out of our minds leaving our kids behind. I should have insisted that they come with us, but then they would have been miserable with all the travel and plus, they would have missed school. It doesn't help that we haven't had internet access for 3 days and we haven't got to talk to them.

We had our driver take us to a real grocery store and OMG! We found an Ukrainian "Walmart" called "FoxMart". It was hysterical. We bought $75 worth of groceries and it should last us for many days. Our apartment is like out of an Austin Powers movie. The landlord was showing us around so proudly of the lime green and black leopard skin rug, the multicolor dimmer lights, and all of the other funny stuff. I almost lol, but could see that she was extremely proud of all of it. It is nice, though, expect no internet access. She promised to have it fixed by Friday.

So, we haven't seen Anton or David since Monday and we are at coffee shop down the street for the internet access. Hopefully, we will see them today. Cody and Danielle-be on the computer tonight. We will walk down here this evening if the apartment internet is not working.

Last thing, the boys finally have their names...Anton's new name is ...... Cole Elijah Carmichael (tribute to Miss Elisha Janeway) and David's new name is.....Caden Sean Carmichael (tribute to you know who). Will try to update ASAP.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rest of Day 7, some of Day 8

I am loosing count of what day I am on, but I am pretty sure it is Day 8. We rode back on the train to Kiev on Monday night. It was 16 hours and it was a first class cabin instead of the 2nd class that we rode the first time. It was much cleaner and more comfy. They had a TV in the cabin, but it only played one channel in Russian, so we didn't really benefit from it. I slept most of the way from my antivert, phenegran, and scopalamine patch combo. Sean hates the train most of all, but he did ok this time.

We made it to Kiev at 9 am on Tuesday and we were greeted at the train station by our driver. He doesn't speak any English, but he is very nice and carries my luggage for me (up and down hundreds of steps). He took us to our apartment, which is pretty nice. It is much bigger than the other places that we have stayed. We paid $75 a night for it. We ate breakfast at McDonalds, which is only about a block from us. We then rested for a while. We ate at a little cafe for dinner. We ordered these fried flour things with cheese in it (meat and cheese for Sean). They tasted like a really greasy grilled cheese. I didn't like it much and won't order it again. The picture looked much better than the food tasted.

The the Nalles called us and we met them at Independence Square. They are adopting Aaron. They were jet lagged, but they were very good company and they showed us around Kiev a little. they have court on Thursday and then again next week. No one has ever adopted any children from where Aaron is, so please pray for them that everything goes smoothly.

Today I wonder if Anton and David missed us visiting them. I wonder if they know that we missed visiting them. I don't think that David cares or not, but I bet Anton was wondering where in the heck we are with his banana, yogurt and water. He also thinks that Sean is his personal servant and play toy. Poor thing won't get to swing until we get back.

We didn't have internet access last night when we got home because the landlord didn't pay the bill, even though we paid our $5 to have it, but it was back on when we got up this morning (Wed). Olga and the driver picked us up at 830 am and then we went to the notary for about 45 minutes for some type of paper to be filled out. We then went to the SDA and officially applied for David's referral. We are suppose to go back at 2 pm and see if we can get the referral today. This process is just so crazy and I can't understand why it is so difficult to get kids that no one wants, that not one person has ever came and visited their entire lives. It just doesn't make sense and the process is so difficult that no wonder that aren't a lot of people trying to adopt these kids.

We did find some funny things on the road to the SDA. I bought some nesting dolls, a Kiev display egg, and wait for it....wait for it....A set of nesting Dallas Cowboy dolls with Tony Romo and other players on it. Sean's face lit up like a Christmas tree. The only thing that could have been better is if they had the triplets on them (Troy Aikman, Michal Irving, and Emmett Smith). Remember my dog's name is Troy Aikman, so can you see the pattern here? LOL!!!

So, here we are waiting for our appointment (that we have already had because they told us about both boys at the first one), to get the same paper that we already have to see the same boys that we have already seen. Crazy! But, it could be so much worse. I have read hundreds of blogs about times in UA and I am thankful for many things. I am thankful that....it is not 105 degrees and the weather is pretty nice, the food is easy and accessible, the region we are staying at has apartments with a/c and internet, the translater in region has a great relationship with everyone involved with the adoption, the boys look healthy and happy, and that we are finally going to start the court process.

May be getting on a train this evening if we get our referral, so may not update for a day or two. Please pray that everything goes smoothly and we get the referral that we need to move forward.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 7

We went to the orphanage for a brief visit today before we head back to Kiev for a couple of days. Anton was so much better today. We brought some pineapple yogurt, bananas and cold water. Both boys ate and ate. Then they played really hard for about an hour and then both of them crashed. Of course, David fell asleep on Sean again. Everytime Sean holds him, he goes to sleep. He is a snuggle bunny. Anton was very sleepy at the end of our visit, also. He just sat in my lap and let me rock him for about 10 minutes and only tried to get my glasses once. That is much better than before.

After the visit, we went and exchanged money, stopped at Mickey D's and got lunch for us and the driver, came back to the apartment to finish packing up to head out at 1pm. I dread this train ride like nothing else. Luckily, I haven't had too much motion sickness while I have been here and I hope that continues.

Will update from Kiev tomorrow.


Day 6

As Sean said, this is starting to be like the movie "Groundhog Day". We get up at the same time, go to the same driver, go to the same stores, blah, blah, blah.

Today, we got to the orphanage a little early, so we only went to Anton's groupa at first. All of the kids were doing what they are always doing...sitting on a big rug. They have all kinds of toys in cabinets (like curio cabinets) but I have never seen anyone playing with them. It is like they are on display. Anton had a gash over his right eye. It looked like he almost needed stiches, but they had that blue medicine on it. We played outside and he absolutely loves to swing. He is very content just sitting in the swing, even if it is not swinging, but he cracks up if you actually push him in it. He likes to play with the ball a little, but nothing like he likes the swing. We will definitely have to have a swingset when we get home. I fed him some more fruit and let him practice drinking out of a sippy cup today. He does pretty good until he figures out that he can pour the water on his head. He was still a little rough at times, but much better than yesterday. He just gets so excited. He has no idea what to do with all of this attention.

I have decided that David looks like a little monkey. He will wear you down holding him. He doesn't even try to hold any of his weight on his on. He does stand up if you put him on the ground and let him hold on to something, but only for a few minutes. I tried some tummy time with him today and scooted all the way off of the bench. He has the potential, but just needs his muscles built up. Sean rubbed him down with lotion and gave him a deep tissue massage and he passed out! He was out like a light. We knew we would get in trouble with the nannies if they saw him asleep, but couldn't wake him up. He is sooo cute.

Anyway, came back to the apartment and cleaned a little and did some laundry, then went out to eat and back. Nothing exciting to report today, but we are leaving tomorrow afternoon to go to another city 2 hours away to catch the train to Kiev because there are no train tickets available from here. Our train tickets to Sevastapol were $100 for 4 second class tickets, but we are paying $215 for tickets back (that is 2 hours closer) because we are now traveling first class and it is a holiday Monday and Tuesday. It is Independence Day here. It will be interesting to see how they celebrate that.

I will probably not have internet access for a couple of days, but will update soon.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 5

Day 5 started off about the same. We got up and went straight to the orphanage. We got Anton first, but they wouldn't let us have David. They said to come back at 9:30 after "yum, yum". He was still waiting his turn to eat and he was not happy. I did finally get to see another baby with DS there. Sorry guys (no Liam or Lydia yet, but our translator is going to ask for us). I saw Evan today and if anyone is considering him, please know that he is a doll! He has the brightest blue eyes that you will ever see. He was sitting and trying to feed himself. The older lady in David's groupa was not very happy at all about us being there and wasn't afraid to let us know, but I didn't care. I just stood right there and waited.

The caregivers in Anton's groupa today asked us to bring diapers to the orphanage. Funny that they are asking for diapers for my "completely potty trained" boy. HA! Anyway, Anton ran out and held his arms up for Sean to pick him up. He is really happy to see us. Poor thing has had on the same outfit, well, actually the same shorts on for three days. Today is the first day that we have seen him with a shirt on. He is pitifully filthy. They definitely need a good scrubbing! Anton was totally wild today. I fed him some fruit and animal crackers and brought him some grape juice. I tried a sippy cup with him and he can't really use it at all, even without the little flapper thing in it. So, I took off the lid and let him use it as a regular cup. He sounded like my English bulldog drinking that juice! It was pretty funny. We will definitely have to work on his drinking. They are both so thirsty.

I don't know if it was the sugar in the juice, or if it was just being a little hydrated, but Anton was like a wild man today. He would grab my face and squeal and run and run and run. You tell that the caregivers were not happy that we just let him run around. I finally went and held his hand and we walked around. He does really well walking while holding your hand, but if you let go, he goes nuts. He did find his way to a poor cat today and put a WWF move on it. Poor Troy (my dog) will have to hide from him for a while. He was much more verbal today and was chatting up a storm, but, of course, we had no idea what he was saying. He listens very well. I patted the bench and told him to sit and he climbed right up and did what I said. He is not quite understanding this new found freedom. I am trying to keep a good balance between letting him have some freedoms that he has never had and not making him want to do more than he is used to and get in trouble in his groupa. The kids in his groupa are soooo cute. That same little boy that cried for us yesterday did the same thing today, but not trying to fight his way to us. Just a real quiet pitiful cry staring at me saying "momma" over and over. It is heart breaking. I am kind of glad that I applied to adopt two or I would probably be bringing him home with me.

We finally got David after yum yum. The lady that hates me should try out for the NFL because she football tossed him to me when I came back to get him. I was kind of stunned and just turned and got the heck out of there with him. They had him dressed in a girl outfit about 3 sizes too big with little girl flowerdy sandals on. He is too funny. I brought him a vibrating teether and he loved that. He picked up on how to make it start and stop pretty quick. I fed him some fruit and juice, too. I tried a bottle and a sippy cup with him. No go~ so I took the lid off to see what he would do. He also drinks like a bulldog!

We didn't stay very long this morning, about 2 hours, and then had our driver take us back to the apartment. The driver had his son with him. He was about 3 or 4 years old. I gave him some cookies and he snatched them from me and kept holding on to the back of his daddy's seat. You would think the driver would be a little more careful with his kid in the car. That would be a wrong assumption. He drove faster today than ever before. The driver had on a seatbelt. The little boy stood in the back seat holding on to the head rest. I thought I was going to have a heart attack when he passed a bus about 70 mph and the bus was leaning on its side toward us. But we made it back (Thank God).

We decided that we would walk around and see the city a little today. We walked and walked and walked. We actually ended up walking all the way to the Black Sea, which is probably about 3 or 4 miles from our apartment. We ate lunch at McDonald's-yes, there is no place on Earth that does not have a Mickey D's. We tried to find a tranfer cable for my camera and diapers. No luck on either. I don't know where in the world people buy diapers and stuff. We probably went in 20 stores, but no luck. There are thousands of stores and people here. This is a "resort" town because of the beach. We went into a Columbia store and it was very nice. Lots of clothes and shoe stores, cell phone stores, and you can buy beer on every corner. Either bottled beer or fresh out of the keg right on the street.

For people coming to Crimea (Sevastapol), please carry your address to your apartment with you at all times. After walking this 3 or 4 mile trek, I was tired and thought we would get a taxi back. Well, I forgot our address paper and had no idea how to tell them where we lived. So, you know what you do???? You get to walk the 3 or 4 miles back!!! Sean was no impressed! Also, the hype about the high heels, etc., forget it! You need some good walking shoes. We have to walk everywhere we go, except for the orphanage, so be prepared. My shorts were hanging on me today. We have probably lost about 10 lbs. or so. Between the first couple of days with no food and all of the walking, you will loose weight! (not complaining)

Anyway, Angelina arranged for our driver to take us to get diapers in the morning before we go to the orphanage and we will see how that goes. I hate it that I can't download any pictures. I will keep looking for a transfer cord. Good night, all!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 4

Day 4 went much, much better than day 3. We got up at 7 am and were showered and out the door at 830 to meet our driver outside. He was a different guy from the day before, but smelled the same. Actually, he was very nice and stopped at a little store for us to get some snacks and drinks to take to the orphange with us.

No one met us at the orphanage, so we were on our own. We walked in and everyone started speaking in Russian/Ukrainian to us. Not one person there understood any English. GREAT!!! I found Anton's groupa and I just kept saying his name over and over again until they brought him to me. He was smiling and happy as could be. They make them switch their shoes to go outside and put a hat on. The caregiver was a were a little rough with him, screaming at him over and over, to what I am assuming was to change his shoes. He did it, though. He went to his locker, got out his outside shoes, sat on a little bench, took off his inside shoes, put on the other shoes, and then put his inside shoes in his locker. Pretty smart, huh? Then we tried to get David. I couldn't understand them and they couldn't understand me, I just kept saying "David, David, David" over and over again. They kept trying to make up go outside with Anton and Anton was already down one flight of steps to get the heck out of there. I finally called our translator and handed them the phone and two minutes later, there was David dressed in girl clothes with a flowerdy hat on! Very cute, but we will have to change his look a little. I brought both of them a black Nike hat to trade in for the girl hats. The whole I was standing there waiting on David, there was about 6 little guys (2 and 3 year olds) staring at us, two of them screaming and crying. One of the little boys was screaming, "Mommmy and Poppy". The caregiver even said he wants a momma and poppa and tried to give him to me. It was awful.

We went outside and played a little. We found strollers and thought we would push them around a little and just walk. The mean lady from the groupa saw Anton in a stroller and ran over and snatched him out. She was not happy that I would let him sit in a stroller when he can walk, so we let Anton push David around for a little while. I brought bananas, animal crackers, and grape juice for them. They loved it. David only has 4 teeth, but can eat if you break it up for him. Neither one knew how to suck on the straw to get the juice, but knew that they liked it and kept coming back for more.

Our visit lasted about 1 1/2 hours and then we left to go pick up our translator and the Inspector to do more paperwork. Anton did not want us to leave and tried very hard to go with us. David could have cared less if we left or not. We went to the notary, done some more paperwork, exchanged some money, then came back to the apartment. I did some laundry (very funny-hung out on a pulley clothesline like in the movies from my window) and we took a nap. We got up and decided we would go explore a bit. We hit pay dirt! We found a nice little restaraunt that had a nice patio. We ordered grilled chicken, grilled pork chops, french fries, and fresh cucumbers and tomatoes plus coffee and coke. It was fabulous and it was only $16 American money! WOO-HOO!

Anyway, we finally have internet, got to Skpye Danielle and Cody and see my little Moochy on video. We are just chilling out and waiting til tomorrow to go for another visit.

Monday and Tuesday are a holiday here, so we can't go to our SDA appointment until Wednesday of next week to get our referral for David. I am very thankful that they are letting us see him and spend time with him without our official paperwork. I am also very thankful for the weather. It has been great today. Only about 80 degrees with winds blowing and you don't feel like you are going to die when you take a breath in.

Will try to update with pictures tomorrow! (promise)


Day 3 (I think.....)

Day 3 (written yesterday)

Day 3 was filled with absolutely craziness. We went back at 4 pm to the SDA to pick up our referral and we waited, waited, waited, and waited. Surprisingly, there were many families there waiting. In the middle of waiting, Olga thought she and I should “run” to get train tickets and exchange money. Well, in America, when we say run, we mean “go”. Well, Olga meant “run”. Remember now that I am dressed, including shoes, for the SDA appointment, which is not my normal attire. I had on a nice suit and some nice, NEW black dress shoes with a small heel. Well, about 5 minutes into our run, I could feel the blisters on my feet coming on. I had no choice but to have a Tennessee Redneck Moment. Everyone knows how important shoes are to the Ukra*nians; if you don’t-it is the mainstay of their dress. Everyone wears heels. Not just your Sunday church heels, but HEELS! 5 inch stilettos were everywhere. Anyhoo….I had no choice but to take my shoes off and run barefoot through downtown Kiev to purchase train tickets and exchange money. I thought Olga was going to pass out. I assured her that it was ok and that I would prefer to walk barefooted than in those shoes. The result of the 5 minute run-7 blisters! My feet look like I have walked through broken glass.
Anyway, getting the referral for Anton was uneventful. We sat in a little hallway on the infamous brown couch and waited our turn. We were third in line and we showed our passports and signed our name and then we were out the door. After that, we walked about a mile and finally got real food. Now remember, we have been in Kiev for over 36 hours and have only eaten what I brought as snacks up until this point. We ate a place called the “Potato Bar”. It was pretty good. But, at this point, we were not picky. We ate bbq ribs and a potato with butter, cheese, and mushrooms. We bought extra bottles of water there for our train trip. After eating, we went back to the apartment, packed up and were taken to the train station. THE TRAIN STATION WAS FREAKY!!!
We boarded the train at 820pm and did not arrive to our destination until 115pm the next day! For all of you counting, yes that is 17 hours in a 4 X 6 compartment surrounded by several older, scary, big, Russian men. We only left the compartment once and that was to use the bathroom. That is a whole post in itself. After 17 hours of boredom and feeling like we were sitting in a washing machine, I decided I would take a bath and get cleaned up for our arrival to meet our translator. I bathed with diaper wipes, poured our last part of water over my fro to comb my hair, brushed my teeth, and reapplied deo and a little make up. Well, I am glad I did that. Sean did not. He thought we would get picked up, taken to our new apartment and then he would shower, etc. Well, we literally hit the ground running. We went straight to the Inspectors office with our translator, Angelina. Angelina, by the way, is absolutely beautiful! She took us to this room and we were interviewed by the Inspector. They asked why we wanted a child with DS, what our other children thought of it, how many cars we had, and what kind of resources we had for them. I am so glad I got cleaned up before all of this! We had no idea that this would be happening. The Inspector told me to turn around. I was confused at first. I turned around and there were about 10 pictures hanging on the wall behind me and there was Anton when he was about 18 months old looking back at me. We answered the questions satisfactorily and then Angelina said, “Let us go to see the babies.” I said, “Ok…Let us go!” The inspector rode with us and we arrived at the orphanage a few minutes later.

I almost cried when we pulled up to the orphanage. Now remember, I have only had one meal, half a bottle of water, and a couple of pieces of gum in the last 36 hours. I was car sick, hot, hungry, thirsty, dizzy, and nauseated. The “playground” brought tears to my eyes. I will post pictures and more about that later. We got out at the orphanage and met with the Orphanage Director. She was a very nice, older lady. She told me some basic information and then she told us to follow her. We were just following the Inspector, the director, and Angelina. We thought we were going to another room to finish the interview. We walked through the door and there was Anton and David with two caregivers holding them up on a small couch. They were sooooo cute, but soooo sleepy! They had waked them from their nap to come meet us. Anton was so cute and friendly. He immediately came and sat in my lap and grabbed a hold of me and would not let go. He smiled and smiled and smiled. He giggled and was elated that we were there for him. I played with him while Sean was trying to talk to David. David was so sleepy that he could barely keep his eyes open. The information that we had received about David being able to walk and talk was WRONG. He is tiny! I bet he only wears like a 9-12 months clothes and he can barely hold his little head up. He was like a little rag doll. I wanted to get him from the caregiver, but Anton was firmly planted in my lap and wasn’t having any part of leaving it anytime soon. After several attempts from Sean to take David from the caregiver, I put my hands out to the side and took him while I still had Anton. He is so little! He just melted right into me. He held on to me, too. They have never seen a man before and they were a little intimidated by this huge bearded man. They just looked and looked at him. Finally, Anton, with the insistence of the caregivers, got in the floor and played ball with Sean. He stacked blocks correctly and did everything the caregivers asked of him. David, on the other hand, lay very still in my lap and just wanted to go back to sleep. Our visit was brief-only about 15 minutes and then we were off again. We went back to the inspectors office and then to the train station. We were unable to purchase tickets back to Kiev, so we are going to stay in Sevestopol (sp) for tonight and possibly tomorrow night. We did get to eat again!!!! We went to a pizza place on the Black Sea. We ordered a large pizza, juice, diet coke, chicken salad, and fruit. The chicken salad was awesome or I was starving to death one. It was chicken, cheese, fresh pineapples, and some kind of either sweet mayo or dressing sauce. Very, Very Good! We brought the rest of the pizza and fruit to the apartment with us for supper. We have a nice little apartment, $50 a night, with a/c and they said we have internet connection, but I can’t get it to work. That is why I am writing this and saving it on a word document and I will post it when I get internet. Anyway, we are again exhausted and needing to rest. The driver is picking us up at 830 in the morning to go back to the baby house to see the cutest boys in the world. I will post pictures soon!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

1st snag

Well, we had our SDA appointment this morning. Everything went well during the interview, but they would not give us the referral for both boys at the same time because a family came to Ukraine two weeks ago and got 4 referrals, went to the orphanage, and only choose one child (the healthiest of the four, of course). So they changed the rules that you have to meet the first child and then come back for the second referral. So, hopefully, tonight we will get on a train to Crimea and have an official meeting tomorrow, only to get back on the train, come back to Sunny K, get our second referral, then get back on the train and head back to Crimea. Don't forget that the train ride is 8 hours one way. And also don't forget that I hate trains (just had a death in the family two weeks ago related to a train-but hated them before that)!!!!

Anyway, I found out information about both boys. Anton was left at the nursery when he was born. His parents are wealthy, highly educated and very affluent. They immediately gave up their rights and did not want him. How sad:( But they say he is very healthy, except for some type of small hernia. I cracked up when our facilitator looked at Sean and said "Anton has same face as you, he moves slow like you, and he is plump like you." I was cracking up. Sean refuses to believe that he is the slowest human being in the world and that absolutely confirmed it!

David has "no known father", but his mother is Georgian (an no, not that Georgia). She, too, immediately gave up her rights soon after birth when it was discovered that he had DS. They said that he was healthy, walking, and TALKING!!! He is not two yet, so talking is a huge step for him. He also has some vision issues. Not sure what it is yet. He may need glasses or something.

Olga just goes on and on about how smart they both are. I was ready to bring home two babies, but I think I might be getting two regular boys if it is as she says. She also said that Anton loves to eat. She said he eats very slow and enjoys every bite of it. Sounds like he will fit right in at our house.

Little information on Kiev-EVERYBODY here smokes. We were walking down the street today and everyone looks very angry. Not one smile did we see. We did have a very drunk man ask Sean for money (which was funny), but no friendliness at all. Sean says that is because everyone is hot, dehydrated, and starving to death. We still haven't gotten any food, but I made us some mac'n cheese from home for lunch. We are going to pick up our referral at 3:30 and then get some dinner. We are going to try to find TGIFs because two other RR families are going to be there at 6:30!!!

I would post pics on here, but not quite sure how yet. Wish us luck on the train ride!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We made it!

Well, we finally made it to Kiev. The trip was interesting. We tried to fill out a declaration form for the money we were carrying in Knoxville when we left on our first trip, but they would not let us. So, when we got to Washington, we literally had to run back and forth from Customs/Immigration back over to another building to get on the plane. They were paging us overhead before out flight left. We got on the plane and got our seats and we took off. The 9 hour flight was so miserable. I slept most of the way, but Sean stayed awake the whole time.

When we arrived, Olga and a driver were waiting on us. We drove from the airport to our apartment. Very interesting drive, plus the driver had the "a/c" on, but just had it on defrost, so it was over 100 degrees in the car. Olga and the driver were sitting in the front seat and we were in the back. They sat in the hot car with the windows rolled up like it was normal. We were dying!

The apartment building that we are staying at is very scary on the outside and the climb up the stairs were freaking me out, but the apartment is ok. It has a small window a/c in the bedroom that barely works, but it does knock the edge off of the heat.

I thought we would go to the store and get some food last night when Olga was brought back our phone, but we did not get to go. We fell asleep and didn't hear her when she first came back, so we had pb and crackers for dinner. Olga did go get us a couple of bottles of water.

Our SDA appointment is in two hours and after that, we are DEFINITELY going to the store and to get something to eat. Sean made fun of me for packing so many snacks, but he isn't laughing too hard now. I brought us oatmeal for breakfast and we will make due until we can get to real food. Maybe we will loose some weight....probably not though.

I will try to update after we get back today!

Monday, August 16, 2010

We are off!!!!

I am sitting in my eerily quite house waiting to wake the kids up to get ready to leave for the airport. I have made at least 100 checklists in my mind and then rechecked. I am not usually like that. My philosophy is usually..."if I need it, I will stop at Walmart and get it when I get there." Well, seeing that the nearest Walmart is over 4500 miles away, that's going to be a small problem!

I can not decide whether to take the boys their stuff in case we happen to luck out and get a very quick court date and I decide to stay. That is a lot of gear to bring for a "just in case", but I think I am going to go ahead and bring it. What if I get over there and they just hand them to me and tell me and I can leave and all I have to travel with is two T-shirts????

Anyway, I am very nervous about the travel. I hate airplanes and am pretty sure that I will hate the train just as much. I have already taken some antivert, clarinex, scop-patch, and I have phenegran on standby! I may be too drunk to get on the plane.

I probably won't be able to post for several days. It takes at least a day to get where I am going and I don't know if we will have internet service or not. I will try to update daily. Please pray for safe travel and that everything goes smoothly!