Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Finally Home!!!!!

Our plane left almost two hours late and we were so ready to be home. When we got to Salt Lake we had another long wait with immigration as they carefully went through all of Misha's papers. We were so excited to walk out the door and see our kids, family and great friends that came to greet us. It is the most amazing thing to start our journey as a new family unit, and to have all my children together. Wev'e been home for a couple days now and I have to say things have been going well. I am sure Misha is overwhelmed with all the new faces and experiences, but he has been a great sport. One of his friends from Sumy came over today and I had to laugh watching them eat handfuls of green, unripe apples off my tree. It's been an adventure!!!!! Thanks for following along with us.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A very long night in the airport........

To start our adventure we almost missed our flight out of Kiev. We got to our boarding gate two hours early to be on the safe side. When it was time to go there was still no one at the desk so we went and asked and they told us the flight got in late so we wold have to wait. Right after this they announced over the loudspeakers that our gate had been changed to a different part of the airport, but it was only announced in Russian so we were not aware. I kept getting antsy, checked the board one more time and realized that our flight was on the last call. We ran through the airport and just barely got on. We had heard that the Paris airport was very nice, so we weren't too concerned about having to spend the night, and we were still hoping that the airport would issue us a temporary visa for Misha which they have the option to do. When we got to the airport we found out that we were supposed to stay in our terminal and not go into the main airport. This meant that we couldn't leave this tiny, ugly area with no food or water and nowhere to get comfortable for an over night stay. We were not to happy. We kept asking different people and they kept sending us to different people and we went around and around on the bus and shuttle trying to find someone that would let us leave the terminal. We finally irritated the night manager and he banished us to our little lonely spot with hard chairs with no backs on them. We were located right next to the shuttle that would blast and light up every ten minutes. We could never sleep, which makes getting on our 15 hour flight home seem really long. Two nights without sleep seems inhumane to a kid who has just been adopted. I think he is a little worried about our parenting skills. He kept asking if we could go see the city of Paris, or find a place to sleep. We thought that it had been explained to him that we might not be able to because he is not an American citizen yet. Luckily in the morning we were allowed to go to the main part of the airport which really is nice. They have internet connections and free play station units and places to plug in our computer. We could have really used all this last night!! One very nice employee who felt very bad for us brought us some sandwiches and water or we really would have been in trouble!! We are flying into Salt Lake at 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon on Delta from Paris on flight 0171 for those of you who've asked.

Fun in Kiev

Kiev is a beautiful city and a fun place to explore. Now that we are done wilth all the miserable stuff we have been having a lot of fun. We took Misha swimming at their downtown beaches, but got a little freaked out when all our swimming clothes turned a vibrant green. A little remnant from Cherynobyl?? We've had a few people tell us we were crazy to swim there. We also enjoyed the Kiev zoo. We saw a few varieties of birds and animals that we hadn't seen before. The funny looking bird in the picture had a hard time with Kent. When it got irritated it put its long beek between the bars and went after him. We also went to the the amusement park. I think Misha's favorite was go cart racing. They had a terrific course. We've also enjoyed walking at night in the downtown area. It's a great people watching spot, and there are always street performers. We saw a show put on by local breakdancers that was really impressive, but I still think Misha is better!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

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Monday was Misha's birthday and he had to start the day by getting his passport at 7:00 in the morning. We finally hooked up with him at lunch time and took Misha and 10 of his friends to McDonalds to celebrate his birthday. We told the kids to get whatever they wanted, and they took us very seriously!!! Most of the kids had never eaten there. Sasha had two big macs, a giant mctasty, jumbo fry, icecream sunday, two big cokes amd he helped everyone polish off there food. He is hungry every time we see him, he is as tall as Artem now and looks like he is on a serious growth spurt. The kids had a blast eating and hanging out together. We took the bus back and Sasha got really sick to his stomach and instead of being a one hour excursion which the orphanage gave us permission for it took three, but they were very nice about it. When we got back we found out that Vladimir had received all our paperwork early and he was ready to go. This was earlier than we had planned on so Misha had just a few minutes to pack or say goodbye to his friends. He literally only brought a few token birthday gifts from his friends, no pictures, letters, awards, clothes, personal items.

I can't imagine leaving behind all my earthly possessions, especially after you see how hard they work for them and how much they value them. Misha gave everything away. This was nothing compared to how heartbreaking it was watching him say goodbye to his girlfriend, friends and teachers. The whole group was crying. I hated having Misha have to do this on his birthday. We had also tried to get Misha's sister to Sumy all day so that they could say goodbye to each other, but she was in a different village and her husband couldn't find her. We had a three and a half hour drive to Kiev, and he could hardly talk or look at us. I knew this was going to be so hard on him, but I hate to see him hurting.

We got into Kiev late, settled into a new apartment and found a great Georgian restaurant to finish the day.

We got to spend a little time with Misha's mother teacher. She told us what a great kid Misha is, that he is not capable of dishonesty and deception. That he is friends with all the kids, not just a group. She told us that his age group has some rough kids and that Misha gets a long very well with all of them, but that he is never swayed to do the bad things that they do. She said he has a lot of ambition and character and has set many goals for himelf, and that he is the strongest student in his age group. Most importantly, he is a generous, kindhearted kid. These are always the kind of things a mother wants to hear!!!!!

computer difficulties!!

We have taken some great videos while we have been here, but it is quite a challenge to get them on the log. This is one of my favorites so I hope it will work. At the different internet cafes we have had broken disc drives, no usb ports and old computers so waiting for pictures to down load takes a really long time and video is prohibitive. We brought our own laptop, but have mostly not been able to plug it in due to the usb problem. They sell wireless internet plug ins that you just buy a little time on, kind of like the phones. This would have probably been a better idea!! We are all done with all our paperwork and we have our interview at the embassy today and should receive our visa. This means that we could have left on Thursday to come home, but there were absolutely no flights. The soonest we could leave is Saturday, we fly to Paris, stay in the airport over night because we can't leave the airport due to Misha's Ukraine passport and then get home Sunday at 1:30 in the afteernoon. The last two days have been extremely boring for Misha. We've been running around with paperwork, and doing a lot of sitting and waiting, and a few hours at Delta worrying that we couldn't get tickets. We tried to get the Paris embassy to give Misha a one day visa, but it won't work. We are just so appreciative that we got some help from a friend so that we were able to get tickes home, and not stay in Ukraine for another week. We have enjoyed our stay here, but we are so ready to be home and be with our whole family. We found out that the flooding in the west has gotten even worse, the worst in 100 years, and they have shut down most of the roads we were on as well as the borders, so we are so lucky we got out of Misha's birth region when we did. We taught Misha how to play Whist, a favorite family card game, and he is already a pro!! We easily beat Kent and Natalie.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back to Sumy School

We spent the day with the kids at Sumy today and it has been a little eye opening. During the school year and at camp they were very closely supervised and their activities scrutinized, but right now it's a whole new ball game. The school is out of session and most of the administration is gone and the mother teachers have a vacation so basically one teacher was watching all these kids. Basically these kids were free to roam and do what ever they wanted. The kids swam a lot in the lake and we spent a couple of hours playing with the apples from the apple trees that are all over the school. You may ask how you could entertain yourselves with apples but there are endless ways. We played softball with them, made flying spears, used them to juggle and of course had apple wars. The kids love to eat them even though they are new and sour. All the kids talked about their apples when we were at the camp and now we see why. I don't have more pictures today because the kids were using my camera to make videos and it is out of batteries!!