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Ukrianian Adoption Journal (pg.5)

Sunday, April 11, 2004 Easter Sunday

Jim was sick all day today. If he is not feeling better by tomorrow, I'm going to ask for some remedies at the orphanage. If that is not incentive to feel better, I don't know what is!

I asked at the hotel desk this morning about time for Easter liturgy at the Orthodox Church, but the woman there was clearly not religious, and had absolutely no idea! So I decided to go to the orphanage, and see if I could find out there. (They do not list times on a handy board out front here!) Tanya told me they were going to church at 4. She held up four fingers. 4 o’clock. Swell, I'll just go with them.

The kids were enjoying their "Kindereggs", and the toys in them too. I'm very glad we got them for them. They were also enjoying the "lemonade" we got for them, making sure not to waste a drop of it.

We tried to watch Shreck, but the "play" would not work when I clicked on it, so we settled for Ice Age. It is a very cute movie, but much of the humor in it is language based, so interest was not really high. We looked at our books again, and Dima repeated many, many words in English with me. He will not have any problem with pronunciation. Tanya will have a little more, but not much. There is another Tanya here who is also taking English with our Tanya. She is very interested in the books I brought, and practicing saying and reading the words. These kids really want to learn.

Tanya, Dima and I came back and checked on Jim, then went to get something to eat. The restaurant (now know to Jim as "chez death!", was closed, so we went to the grocery store. I got a carton of milk, and some water, and got them each a drinkable yogurt. Plus some kind of layered cookie thing that looked good. Back at the orphanage, we ate and drank, then ½ hour later, it was time for lunch. They ran downstairs and were back in 5 minutes. Doesn't take them long at all! After lunch, it was Dima's naptime, but before he could lay down, it was brought to Tanya's attention that it was almost time to leave for Church. I thought it was at 4!, but no, it was 2-I keep forgetting 24 hour clock. She was trying to say 14! I ran back to the hotel to see if Jim was up for the service, but he was not, so I ran back. We left for church, but it was not at the Orthodox church. It was a Protestant Church service. We stayed for about an hour and a half, then left, and headed back to the orphanage. I brought out the Uno cards, which are another really good idea! You can work on colors and numbers in English, all the while playing a fun game! Didn't take long to teach them how to play, and I left them with Tanya to play with her friends tonight. She liked that idea.

While on the way to Church, Tanya told me that she wanted to be called Catherine. I will double check with Maxim when he arrives on Tuesday and can fully translate, but I asked 3 different times in different ways and got the same answer each time. She wants to be called Catherine, and Dima wants to be called James. Not Jim, or Jimmy (He looks like a "Jimmy", but James. Such a big name for such a little guy). I offered Tanya Catie, Cathy, Cate, and Catherine, along with strongly suggesting we keep calling her Tanya, but she was insistent. So, I guess we have a Catherine and James, instead of Tanya and Dima. IT was always our intention to allow them to choose to be called by another name, if they REALLY wanted to, but I was not expecting it to happen so fast. Could be a "new beginning, new name" kind of thing. I'll ask Max on Tuesday.

After Uno, it was dinner-time. I told Tanya that I had cleared it with Galina, the director, for us to eat at the orphanage tonight. She was pleased. I’m glad I did and got to experience what they do for meals.

Meal time is called, and one caretaker stands at the door, guarding it from anyone entering. 2 children are assigned to be helpers, and they carry each plate from the ½ door where it is served, to the tables. There were 6 tables, each seating 6 children. I thought there were a lot more children there, but tonight, that was it. 6 tea cups of tea were already on the tables, and the helpers placed one salad plate of the rice mixed with a very few pieces of meat, at each place. It was a gooy glop of food, like a sticky rice pilaf, with some sort of tomato "base" (like tomato soup?) that held it all together. And there were large pieces of bread in a bowl at the table. No butter, but heavy, (good) Ukrainian bread. Then the kids are allowed in. They swarm in, each taking their respective places at their respective tables. By the time they are all in and sitting down, the workers have placed a large bucket and dish cart in the dining room, and almost immediately children are finished and scraping their plates into the bucket. A lot of the food was not eaten.
I thought I was going to actually eat with Tanya and Dima, but I was directed to a table at the back of the room. Once all of the children were fed, the workers sat to eat. They had the same food as the children, along with leftover hardboiled eggs from breakfast, and a few things they brought from home. I must say, I felt very funny at first, having this food laid out for me, while the children did not have the same stuff. But these things were from the private homes of the workers, who brought food to work, like anyone else would. I left there with 3 pieces of "Pasch" bread- a special Easter only bread, homemade by one of the worker's mother's, and tried to share it with Tanya and Dima. They both refused, saying that they had some this morning! So I guess they do get some treats like that.

Back to dinner. I participated in an egg breaking ceremony for the hardboiled eggs, and sampled a few other homemade dishes. Only one did I not care for. It was some kind of gelatinous meat based product, eaten cold. I know that I've read about it and I'll have to look it up. We had some good Ukrainian bread, and some tea. They kept pushing me to eat more and more, but I did have my fill, plus I have to save room for more protein.

We managed to communicate fairly well during dinner. They told me to not take Tanya and Dima to the restaurant any more, that it was too expensive. Jim and I should both be eating there with them, at the orphanage, and not at the restaurant! I think I was invited to go to the Orthodox church next Sunday, if we are still here, with one of the ladies, but I’m not sure. During all of our discussions, I received a phone call on the orphanage phone! It was Maxim, who was feeling very uneasy since we are in Ivankiv, and he is not, and he has not been here in a couple of days. I reassured him that we were indeed ok, and that I was having dinner, talking to the caregivers in the orphanage. He asked about Jim, and I told him he had a “touch of food poisoning”. He offered to talk to one of the staff there about helping us get some kind of remedy, but I said I would talk to them tomorrow if Jim is not feeling better.

Monday April 12, 2004

Jim felt some better today, and was able to visit with the kids a little while, off and on. Recovery from food poisoning is NOT fun!

We went to the orphanage about 9:15 this morning, and Tanya was there, but not Dima. One of the workers told Tanya to take us to the church where Natalia, another worker, was with Dima. I had spoken last night to Natalia about going to the Orthodox Church in town. I thought she meant next Sunday. Apparently, she meant today! She was there with Dima and a few other kids. Tanya took us, and Tanya, Dima and I stayed through the entire liturgy-which was long! Jim was feeling very weak, hot, sweaty, and dizzy, and decided that rather than pass out in church, he would head back to the hotel!

After church, Tanya, Dima and I walked back to the hotel, and Jim was feeling better, so he accompanied us back. We first went to some stores in search of clothing for the kids. We found a pair of gym shoes for Dima (U.S. less than 6.00!) and a "jogging suit" for him, too. (about 8.00) I think he would wear about a 5-6 in U.S. sizes, Julie, if you see anything while you are out and about. The "pickings " are very slim here, and we decided to hold off on any other purchases until tomorrow. The large outdoor market should be fully up and running tomorrow-the Monday after Easter is a holiday here, so not much was open. I got Tanya and Dima each a drinkable yogurt. They don't get any milk in the orphanage, and they like the yogurt. So at least this way they are getting some calcium every day.

Back to the orphanage, it was lunch-time. The workers invited us to eat lunch with them, but Jim is not up to eating anything yet, and I had just finished a protein bar, so we passed.

Jim started to feel run down again, so he left to go back to the hotel, and I stayed with the kids. The Orthodox Church came to the orphanage today to give an Easter presentation. They gave each child a hard boiled egg, and two coloring books with Bible stories in them. They also donated a few Bibles to the orphanage. It is nice to see that religion is accepted in this post Soviet system. Tanya wanted to video the entire presentation, as it included part of the choir singing, but the batteries ran out, and she was not able to. After the "concert" as Tanya put it, we walked back to the hotel to get the batteries charging, then back to the orphanage. We played Uno a time or two, and just passed the time.

The older girls, at least, here do their own laundry by hand. They wash it in a wash tub, rinse and wring it in the sink and hang it to dry on a rack in the bathroom. I told Tanya she would be doing her own laundry at home, too. Her eyes got really big, then smiled and asked if we had a washing machine! She laughed when I told her yes, getting the teasing I was doing with her!

I ate dinner with the kids again tonight-it was some "mystery meat" patty-I'm sure more filler than meat, but not bad tasting, a LARGE serving of mashed potatoes, and bread. Warm, sweat tea, and a hard boiled egg rounded out the meal. It filled me up. These kids eat FAST. I still can't get over it. And they all eat only with a large serving spoon. Seems sad to see these older girls, who clearly care much about their appearance, trying to dress as stylishly as possible, keeping themselves clean and well groomed, shoveling food so fast into their faces.

Tomorrow is the big day-the kids are going for some physical here tomorrow morning at 8 am. We do not go for that one, it is not the one required by the embassy. Max will be here in the morning, trying to get that final signature to turn into the NAC. Hopefully, the inspector will sign readily in the morning, and he can run it back to Kyiv right away. I think he said there is other papework to do tomorrow as well. If we have a chance, and are allowed, we would like to take Tanya and Dima to Kyiv, possibly on Max's return, to do some shopping, visit the internet, visit McDonalds, and return to Ivankiv late tomorrow afternoon.

We will see how well those plans work out....(more...)

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