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Ukrianian Adoption Journal (pg.11)

Mary again..

As soon as we got back to the orphanage with the cake and lemonade (at 5:45), we took the cakes to be cut and went to pack.

Tanya was ready, and within 2 minutes had all of her and Dima’s stuff in the suitcase. I had to stop her so we could get the gifts out of there before she put their stuff in! We had our first "mother daughter argument" and I'm proud to say, I won! I reminded her to get her dictionary that we got her, and looked in her desk when she opened the cabinet. All of her school stuff was in there-books that had to be returned to school, and a stack of notebooks. I looked at her and asked if everything had to go back to school? She had that "gleam" in her eyes when she smiled and said "yes, school". I knew immediately she was lying, and she knew I knew! I told to bring those notebooks with her! She argued that they were Ukrainian, and she would not remember Ukrainian, she was going to learn English. Nope, no doing! I put my foot down, played the "mean momma" and told her to bring those books! She smiled and backed down. If only everything could be that easy! She will want those some day when she is older.

The kids went down for dinner, but didn't-- eat-too excited. They passed out the treats after dinner, and then we waited. And waited, and waited. Tanya kept asking me if we were going to Kyiv today. Today? Now? Dad and Maxim Kyiv now? Tanya, Dima, momma, papa Kyiv today? Then looked up the word for “certain, positive” and asked me again. She was so ready.

They did have a very nice, relaxing while waiting evening to end their orphanage experience. Dima played outside for a while with his friends, Tanya filled the 128 meg smart card in the digital camera between pictures of her friends from school and pictures around the orphanage.

When Jim and Maxim finally showed up, the kids were ready in about 30 seconds, and they had to put their shoes and coats on! We got the donation stuff straightened out, hugs all around, tears from me, a couple of caregivers and at least 2 of Tanya's friends, but not from Tanya. You can just tell she is so strong. It was not a lack of tears from not caring about this place, but from her inner strength, and happiness to be part of a family, on her way to America.

Yuri was our driver home to Kyiv, (He also drove us to Ivankiv). His wife, who is also an adoption facilitator, is 9+ months pregnant. And he still drove us! He is our favorite capitalist in Ukraine. He sells window casements (window furniture, he says), buys cars in Germany and brings them back to Ukraine to sell at a profit, drives for adoption facilitators, and anything else to make an honest Grivna. He told us life in Ukraine is hard, but if you are willing to work, you can make it easy. He is an optimist and an all around good guy. He took the drive slow and careful with our precious cargo, which was much appreciated.

Dima fell asleep for a short time on the ride to Kyiv, but was up and raring to go when we made it to the apartment. Everyone in, Jim ran to the grocery store while I supervised bath time. I’m sure it has been a very, very long time since they have had a bath-only quick showers at the orphanage. They both thoroughly enjoyed their baths.

Jim home with food, and we all realized we were starving! So, we ate tomorrows breakfast sandwiches tonight. Good thing Jim also got eggs, corn flakes (which the kids were very happy about) and milk for tomorrow morning. Teeth brushed, and into bed they go. Both the couch and the love seat in the living room open into beds, which the owner set up. Dima decided he would rather sleep in the bigger bed with Tanya tonight.

They both whispered for a while, now, at 1;30, all is still. Time for us to be in bed, too.
Good night from Jim, Tanya-Catherine, Dima-James, and Mary Stolz

Saturday April 24, 2004 8:00AM

Dima was up at 6:30-Thanks Mom for getting up with him.. Cornflakes (no milk thanks) and Cartoons on a Saturday morning. Dima came in and pounced on me to get up at about 7:15. nice. A quick breakfast and we are headed into the internet café-

We are really glad to be back in the apartment-especially with the kids--- It's BIG, comfy and home.

Saturday April 24, 2004 8:00PM

Our first full day with the kids went well--- lots of busses-lots of walking-Lots of fun--- Man, are we tired!

Up and out to the internet café. Different guy there-took 3 computers to finally get one that didn’t crash every time java ran. Never had that problem there before-He gave us a discount-4 UAH for close to an hour.

We are still trying to figure out which busses run from Freedom Square to Bresabarian (sp?) Market. All the ones we have tried make a “righty” at a big park-we then get off and walk back to the main street and down the hill to the main shopping street.

Back to the apartment (no trouble with busses this way). We ask if they are going to the "circus" they grunt "Tak" and we climb in. It's not really a long walk and we'd hoof it, but Dima's little legs wear out fast.

Max calls a little after 11. We were hoping to get the passports done today, but no luck. It's too late after getting birth certificates apostilled. It looks like Monday is going to be a VERY busy day.

After the call from Max, we decide to save the Zoo for tomorrow and get some shopping done today. But first naps-it's 11:30 and Tanya reminds us that Dima does not nap until 1-(but he was up past midnight and awake at 6:30 so we're thinking he's ready---cuz we are!) Hey, did we mention Dima'’s nap time is 1? (which is exactly when he fell asleep). We were up and out a little after 2. Back onto the wrong bus (a different wrong bus this time-we rarely make the SAME mistake twice).Off at the park and walk back down the hill.

It’s a beautiful spring day in Kyiv-Thought about stopping at the park, but it is wall to wall kids (guess that's the idea with parks). Maybe later.

Shopping, shopping, and more shopping, yet ever vigilant, we only buy a couple of things (The UAH need to last 3 more days). We walk all the way down the main street-I do mean down the street (it’s closed off to cars on the weekend). We walk all the way back up the main street.. Capitalism at it’s best. You can get everything here. Your picture taken with a monkey..orrr how ‘bout an owl? Concerned that too much borshch has caused you to put on a few pounds? Find out-talking scales are every few meters-or for half the price there’s a babushka with a bathroom scale (do you really want the scale talking to you telling you how fat you are-nope-I’d go for the babushka-If I could convert Kilos to Pounds in my head).
Telephone cards of all shapes and sizes-how bout a great deal on some very nice "designer" sunglases? Need a fresh copy of MS Office XP? I "don't know how they do it" but you can buy it for just 15 UAH (3 bucks). I’m sure they have a "special" deal with Microsoft J .

No open container laws here-everyone over the age of 10 seems to have a beer in their hand (I'’m still not ready yet-I REALLY dislike those people at the "Diner of Death" right now). Water filled yo yo balls, balloons of all sizes, hot dogs for 2 UAH (40 cents)-Marge Schott would have loved this place!

We decide to eat American with the kids-sure we could have done MC, but opted for Fridays-Dima LOVES pickles (Julie, get a BIG jar of dill spears). The kids got Kidburgers (my that’s a VERY LARGE Fluffy Bun). I got onion soup. Mary, a Friday Burger. Everything was yummy. Out the door in time to see a parade of all of the ethnic groups with large populations in Ukraine. Everyone is parading in traditional costume. The kids are not impressed-neither am I. Mary is, but she loses-Mini bus back to the apartment. Tanya stops to call her friends. Dima and I go to the room and watch some football.

Bath time-wind down time-Dima is in bed. Tanya is watching TV-I'm ready for bed. So Nighty night.

April 25, 2004 12:30pm

Ahhhh I have the apartment to myself. How did that happen? Tanya went to call her friends (boredom is setting in for her-she is anxious to get going to America). Mom and Dima when to the park. I need to wait here for a call from Max. The orphanage director has some documents and other stuff that we forgot in our rush to get out of there Friday night. She was coming into Kyiv today and wanted to stop by, drop the stuff off and see the kids one more time before we head off.

The kids (and happily, Mary and me) slept in today (sort of) Up at about 7:30.

We need to get our of here by 8:10 to get to church at 8:30 for Mass in English at St Alexandar. We decide to take a cab and we arrive at church by 8:20. We thought we were late-Mass was going on-In Ukrainian. Nope--they are running late. Mass began at 8:45. (hey it's 8:30ish).

It was a beautiful Mass. Organ and violin music. Traditional hymns. Irish Priest. Nice. The kids were great at church. (and I’m sure they were thrilled that it lasted about 50 minutes rather than the 2 ½ hour Orthodox Liturgies).

We walked down the BIG Hill to Independence Square, then on to our normal bus stop to catch a mini bus back to the apartment. Breakfast time. It's been forever since I have made soft boiled eggs. It will be forever until I try again. First attempt-almost hard boiled eggs. Second try, very soft boiled (and snotty) eggs. I give up. The kids like the hard boiled-the other goes down the drain. Sausage, ham, bread, cheese, pastries, milk and juice for all!

We got to talk with Julie, Marie and Emily last night. It was GREAT to hear their voices. Things are good at home (except grandma has the grumpies). I think I owe a lifetime of free Bellagio Buffets to the kids back home.

Tanya’s back-Mom and Dima should be here in just a minute-Nap time is at 1pm, you know. I may dash out during naptime and get stuff uploaded (or maybe I'll take a nap too J).

We’re excited about tomorrow-A day full of missions. GOOD! The only thing that has us kinda freaked out is our lack of French transit visas for the kids. (we have to overnight in Paris because we chose to fly Delta-I'm a "Skymiles" pig). Max seems to think that it may be more trouble than it’s worth (in time at the Embassy and money) and we might just want to just spend the night at the airport. If it was just to two of us, that's what we’d do-but we’re not sure keeping Dima happy at CDG sounds like much fun. I expected Delta to take care of this-they (the local ticket office) did not offer and directed us to the French Embassy when I asked for their help. For all the miles I fly with those boys, I expected better. Argh--- The French Embassy in Ukraine when I speak neither French nor Ukrainian (and we all know how much the French enjoy speaking English and helping out Americans)-doesn’t that sound like a fun day-and we probably won’t have the time to press Max into service-more important to get the paperwork needed to get out of here.

I’ll try to get an update posted after tomorrow's running-we should know if we will make the Tuesday flight by then.

Hey, Cincinnati Family-Right now, we have everything set up so that we have the better part of the afternoon to visit with y’all (no, that was not a Kentucky slam). I think we get in around 1:30pm (It's the first Air France flight in of the day from CDG). We’ll probably clear customs and immigration by 3pm. We have to be back to the airport by 6ish. Greaters? LaRosas? DonPablo’s? Should we rent a car? We’ll call and let you know for sure.

Everyone was back-now they went to call Max. We want to go to the Zoo today, but time is getting short-

We need the stuff from The Orphanage Director, but the kids need to get out and do something.

April 25 2004 4:30pm

We're back from the zoo. We were reading in the Kyiv Post about how rundown the zoo is, so we had low expectations. Not sure where the Kyiv Post was but The "Kyiv Zoopark" was wonderful. A few of the exhibits were old and "cage-like" but for the most part it is a beautiful, modern zoo-complete with all the usual zoo stuff. (like overpriced snacks (a whole dollar for a 1 litre coke), trinkets and beads, and rides (we could not escape the ride magnet-both kids especially like the roller coaster). If you adopting kids of ANY age the “Zoopark” is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. That and the circus are the 2 "Must-Do's" in our book. (more...)

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