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Ukrianian Adoption Journal (pg.3)


Just back from dinner at the hotel.

WOW our best meal yet in Ukraine.

We shared a tomato cucumber salad--- sure reminds us how produce in the US has no taste

Mary had a beefsteak with mushrooms (for shame or shame for shame---as we are within zone 2 of Chernobyl), onions and cheese.

I had Max's famous fried meat-think carnitas-- with buckwheat..

We had crepes with raspberry jam for dessert.

Plus a couple of good local beers.

I have not had a chance to write yet today-some random thoughts:

The drivers are not as bad as most say. Yuri drove us from Kyiv to Ivankiv with no problems-if anything he took things a little slow for my tastes. He is great and drivers overall are better than a Saturday night drive in Vegas.

Nice People (for the most part) Everyone involved in the care of the orphans really does want to see what is best for the kids-that means adoption. Yuri guessed that 80-90 % of the kids in the homes would end up on the street, hooking, working for the mafia or in jail. There seems to be a real desire to get these kids placed to avoid those issues.

Ivankiv orphanage is as wonderful as any orphanage could be. Bright and cheery.. warm.. loving staff. The kids seem to get along-but it isn't family.

Causes at home seem to pale in comparison to what is happening here in the real world. The monies thrown at homeless pets, spotted owls, and the "cause of the week" are really needed here and elsewhere to help HUMANS live a better life.

As for Tanya and Dima, WOW what wonderful kids, so strong to have thrived through such adversity. They will do great in the States and I’ll be proud to be their papa.

Friday April 9, 2004
Another great day.

A good night sleep in out little "Hotel Happiness" in Ivankiv. Up at 8 and Max at the door at 9:30.

We took the half-mile hike to the orphanage with our electronics in tow. Video Camera, Digital camera and computer, plus books for the kids and a KOOL Summer of Fun Beach Ball (thanks Tony).

The director called to have Tanya come back from school and pick up Dima on her way home.

Seems computers are scarce here in Ivankiv-luckily I had loaded Ukrainian on the laptop. We borrowed the keyboard from the Director’s defunct desktop and Max was able to type up the official documents of the day. (In Ukraine every official document produces another 3 official documents..you simply trade "up" until your stack is high enough to trade down the pile for the one document you really need-in our case the Judge's ruling)

Tanya and Dima arrived about 20 minutes after the call from the Director. It was great to see them both again. Seems like we have know them forever. Big hugs and down to the "getting to know you room". Lots of fun the beach ball. Back and forth round and round-off the head soccer style-bump, set, spike, good way to communicate without words. Next, book time, and Dima especially devoured the "First 100 words in English" and Richard Scarey's Best Word Book Ever. Both are highly recommended to bring with you. Also, Usborne's first 1000 words In English. Took some video, then showed them the results, along with the first part of the tape-from Marie's birthday, Christmas, etc They seemed to really enjoy it. They love the picture album we brought with pictures of the family, the house, the dogs, the neighborhood, etc… I don’t think you can possibly bring too many photo albums. They both wanted to keep it with them to show their friends.

We had to decide on final names today for Maxim's documents. So, we will have a "Tatiana Catherine Stolz" and a "Dmitri James Stolz" in our family. They seem pleased with their names, and Tanya is thrilled that Dima's middle name is Jim's. VERY HAPPY. While I was telling Tanya what their names were, and writing it out for her, Jim, Dima, and Dima's friend, Sergie, were playing ball. Dima purposefully brought Sergie in to "see" us, then obviously wanted him to sit and watch while he (Dima) and Jim played ball! Jim quickly included Sergie in the game, much to Dima’s dismay, but he got over it quickly. Sergie is VERY cute. Sweet, somewhat shy, just a darling little boy.

We took Tanya and Dima to the restaurant in the hotel. The first time they had ever been to a restaurant. Egg Salad, Chicken Kiev, Fries and OJ. For being a little guy, Dima ate well- Tanya too. Amazing how kids are all the same- Dima discovered the joys of blowing bubbles with a straw. Nap time is 1-it's now 1:30. The dutiful older sister reminds us that it is time for Dima to get some rest. We walk back to the "nest" (well-I carried Dima part of the way) and got him in for his nap. On the way, back, we ran into the director and Nicoli (Tanya's track coach). Seems our new "sports girl" will compete in the Kyiv regional track meet tomorrow (having won the 1k Ivankiv title). We'll all travel to the meet tomorrow at 9:30. One of the best parts of that whole story is the international way we all communicated. Max was not there, Nick, the track coach spoke some very broken English, and of course, we speak very little Ukrainian. But Jim and Galina, the director both speak some German, and between the 4 of us speaking parts of 3 languages, we "got it" that we were able to accompany Tanya tomorrow on the bus, be there at 9:30 AM!

Thanks to the Hamanns for the picture CD from when they were here-they were a big hit with the kids! Movie time-Monsters Inc on the computer. No language barrier there.

After the movie, it was time for us to get back to the room. Maxim was walking us back to the hotel, talking about whether he had missed the last "mini van" back to Kyiv for the day, or if he was going to be staying in the hotel too, tonight. (Our choice to stay in Ivankiv or go back to Kyiv for the night, or for the weekend. We wanted to stay close to the kids) As we rounded the corner, the last bus was there, so we bid him a quick "Happy Easter", and left a very concerned for us Max getting on the bus. I think if he could, he would tattoo his cell number on our arms, so he was SURE we knew how to get a hold of him if needed. But we have our "Language and Travel Guide to Ukraine, Third Edition" with us at all times, and we are not afraid to try to communicate with people. What is the WORST that will happen? We get bottled water with carbonation? Can't hardly get lost in Ivankiv, and we certainly won’t starve to death! Really, Maxim, RELAX, we can take care of ourselves! He seems truly impressed that we are able to communicate with Tanya! Much of that credit goes to Tanya. She is very open to trying to talk to us. She looks through the book (Language and Travel Guide) to find things to talk about, and we go from there! I also highly recommend this book!

Tomorrow is the track meet in the morning, then when we get back, the director has assigned someone to accompany us to the market with a list of things we can purchase for Easter Dinner. WE wanted to eat Easter Dinner with the kids at the orphanage, with all of the kids, but we didn't want to impose and stretch their already thin budget. We told them that if we could eat at the orphanage, we would bring whatever they wanted to add to the dinner.The director requested some fresh fruit and lemonade for the kids, and some Easter candy. She has also assigned a couple of the bigger boys to accompany us, to the Rynok (market) help carry these things. Remember, we are walking. (more...)

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