Saturday, June 2, 2007

Our trip to Kiev went well. Max was great on the airplane. He did cry during the landing but most kids do because of the ear pain. We are back in the original flat we started in and Max loves it We gave him his first bath and he had a lot of other firsts yesterday and today. The internet club here isn't as great or as close to our flat as the one we found in Kiev. We are not sure how long or how often we will be able to post. We will do our best to keep everyone informed. Everyone is doing great and we are sharing our experiences with another couple that is sharing the flat with us. They are also adopting but from a different region. It is neat to talk with them and see the similarities and difference in our experiences. We love you. Keep the comments coming.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Well tomorrow is the big day. Everyone was thinking Jim's birthday right? Well it is my birthday but it is also the day we get Max for good. We should be busy during the day and Our flight for Kiev departs at 6:10 p.m. local time. We are so glad we are flying back. I think we will have our hands full with Max. We can't wait though. We presented our gifts to the orphanage staff and had Maxim's farewell celebration with his group today. It was really neat. It was the first time they let us enter the room. Before today all we had done was peek in whenever they would bring him out. You can see a picture of the door to the left. They also allowed us to take pictures. I did not post any of the ones with his group but we can show them later. Later they allowed us to go back in and take pictures of the group room while the children were gone to the bathroom. That's right they do everything together. We think Max will miss his friends for a little while. He'll be just fine once we get him home to his new family and friends. In the pictures you can see the kitchen area, a play area and their toys. You can also see his bed. We got to see his injured finger for the first time today. While the kids were playing at the party his bandages came off. It is healing but you can tell it was a significant injury to the tip of his middle finger. I would guess it would have required stiches if we were at home. Hopefully it will heal properly. We found out yesterday from Olga that when we get to Kiev we will be staying at the home of one of the main facilitators. Her name is Galya. We were kind of hoping we would get to meet her while we were here so it looks like we will. She is the one who translated our dossier (both times). We are already packed and ready for tomorrow. Thanks for all of the love and continued support. Hopefully we can post again on Saturday from Kiev. We have our appointment with the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday morning and are still planning on trying to fly home Wednesday. We will keep everyone posted. We won't confirm our tickets until we get back to Kiev.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Congratulations to Rex and Grace for finding the hidden message! I know it wasn't that tough. Maxim is a popular name here so several different shops carry the name. This one happens to be a small grocery/deli and it also sells DVDs and magazines. In the picture of me and Max, we are standing just outside the fence that surrounds the orphanage. It is most likely that he has never been outside this fence since he was brought here. He seemed very interested in what was going on. He has a whole new world in store for him in a couple more days! Today we went and purchased some gifts and supplies for the going away celebration for Maxims group and caregivers. We will celebrate a day early since the orphanage has already planned another celebration for Friday for the whole orphanage. It is a day to celebrate the protection of childrens rights. We are not sure yet how much we will be able to participate since we will be finalizing some paperwork (court decree, birth certificate, passport for Max etc.). Something humorous we have encountered several times that you may be interested in. Any time we are having trouble comunicating with the locals, they speak louder and slower. Guess what? We still don't understand Russian. That is primarily what they speak here since it is so close to Russia. I don't blame them I have done it myself many times but until you are on the other side of the language barrier you don't see the humor as much. Another observation...Man purses are common. Not brief cases or satchels, actual small handbags. I can't say too much though since I've been walking around the whole time with a fanny pack. We are still making the most of things. However, we are so glad that things have gone smoothly and we will get to come home soon. It rained today for the first time since we have been here. It was a brief shower and blew over quickly but it was nice. Maxims face has healed well and they tell us his finger is looking much better. It is always wrapped with gauze so we haven't gotten to see it since he injured it. I'm not sure how much we will be able to post between now and when we get back to Kiev so it could be Saturday or Sunday before I post again. I will try as much as I can. Keep checking. We enjoy the blog as much as you do so if we can post we will. We love you and will talk with you soon.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Here is Max eating some fruit snacks and playing with Mom. We had two short visits today and everything is still going well. We love everyone.

Monday, May 28, 2007

We had another good morning meeting with Max today. He prefers drinking out of the water bottle now. Mid way through the meeting it was obvious how tired he was so Iris rocked him to sleep. Isn't the close up cute? The temperature outside today is about twenty degrees cooler and it is a windy day so after the meeting we had the taxi drop us off early so we could walk. It was a nice walk and I was able to take some pictures I had been wanting to get for a while. There is one of the opera house. One picture has a hidden message in it. Can you find it? We took a photo of a couple of police. It is bizarre how they get people to pull over. They are rarely inside their vehicle unless they are driving somewhere. They usually stand outside there car like in the picture. When they want you to pull over they just point at you with their baton and motion toward the curb. It works. We haven't seen anyone ignore them yet. It would work for me. I would not want to spend any time in a Ukrainian jail. How do you like the huge cannon? One of the photos is of an orthodox church. Many of the orthodox churches are very ornate. Not much else to talk about today. We are going to walk around the city a little more and maybe pick up a few items from the grocery before we go back to the flat. We are going to enjoy this cool day while we can. The forcast shows it will be back up in the mid 90's for the rest of the week. Enjoy the pictures!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hello everyone. We thought you might like to see the internet club we have been using most of the time. It is about a 15 minute walk from the flat. There are closer ones but the computers are slower there is no usb hook-up for pictures and they are crowded and hot. This one is smaller less busy and of better quality. We enjoy the walks anyway. We went to church this morning. The church is called Word of Life Church. It was founded by one of the first Christian missionaries to come to Russia. He was a Swiss man named Olef Eckman. The church has four 2 hour services you can attend. We chose to go to the one that started at 9:00 am. The building is not air conditioned so we wanted to go when it wouldn't be too hot. You can see the building in the pictures. One shot of the outside and one of the sanctuary just before services started. I would say it was about 90% full once they actually started. They are currently using an old movie theatre for their church. They are collecting money to build a new church. There are fliers and a scale model inside the church. It looks like it will be real nice. They televise the services nationally so this is a well known church. They start out with some praise and worship songs. The band and singers on stage lead the congregation. There are transparency projectors for people to sing along. Everyone stands and sings very energetically. Most seem to have the words memorized and clap their hands along with the beat or raise their hands in the air. It is more typical of a special praise and worship service or christian concert at home. I guess since it is televised they put a little more into the choreography. After that they allowed a couple of people from the audience (preselected) to share testimony of how God was working in their life. Then they sang some more. After that they allowed newly engaged couples or newly married couples to come to the front (one of each came forward) and be acknowledged by the church and have a prayer of blessing for them. They also invited newly born children but none came forward. The next part was a small sermon and praise time for offering. The main sermon today was focused largely on The Holy Spirit. Several scriptures were referenced and the serman followed exactly with the scripture contents according the the translations Olga was giving us. What was really neat is that a large part of the scripture referenced was from John 14. If you look to the right and top of the blog you will see the verse we selected before we came which is also from John 14. Everything just seems perfect. We can tell the Lord is leading us through this journey. We always have believed this but the signs are becoming so obvious. What a blessing that He has chosen our family to pursue this calling. That includes all of you, our extended family and friends. We are greatful for the love and support everyone has shown. It has already been such a rewarding journey and we haven't even gotten Max home yet. After church we went out to eat at a restaurant called the Golden Lion. It is labeled an Irish Pub but it was more of a theme than an actual pub. The food was good and we enjoyed the lunch. I ordered apple pie with ice cream for dessert. How American is that? It was good but their sweets here are generally not as sweet as we are used to. At home I usually don't prefer real rich tasting sweets but the ones here have been real bland. One of the pictures is the stand were My Russian friend and I had the long conversation that night when I went for some water. He wasn't here today just his wife. I will try and talk with him again before we leave. The last picture is of some men playing dominoes outside their buliding. I thought it was a good example of their culture. You may have to enlarge it to see them. I did not want to take the picture too close in case they might not like it. We hope everyone is doing well and we will have to get caught up with everyone when we get home. I'm sure there will be much to talk about. Well you can tell Iris and then she can relay it to me like usual. Ha Ha. I have to give her a lot of credit she has adjusted well to no cell phone and no Mountain Dew. I new she would though, she has always been able to do anything she set her mind to. We are making the most of the trip and enjoying the moments. All the while we can not wait to get home. It will be here before we know it.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hello again from Donetsk. We hope everthing is going well for everyone at home. It has been so great to use this blog to keep in touch with everyone. Thanks for all of the interest and comments. We let max drink from a water bottle by himself yesturday. They were the ones we had brought for ourselves but he wanted to try, so we let him. He does pretty good and usually doesn't spill any. There was one time that he spilled a little on the ground. When he bent over to try and wipe it up with his hand he spilled a little more. This continued for a about three more trys before he gave up and wanted his hand cleaned up. It was just like a video clip we saw on America Funniest Home Videos where a boy kept spilling milk and trying to clean it up. I tried to catch a picture of it but by the time I thought to get my camera it was too late. If you have seen the video you will know what I mean. It was pretty funny. Today's one meeting went very well. We won't see him tommorrow. Olga has selected a couple church options for us so we are looking forward to going. Last night we ate at a really good Japanese place called Kobuki. The quality of the food was just as good as the ones we go to at home and it was cheaper (see picture). Today after the meeting we went to a shoping mall. It was nice. Not much different then any American mall. There were not any giant department stores in it. Mostly smaller specialized clothing stores....Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi Strauss, etc. As I have said before clothes in general are much more expensive here. Especially if you buy trendy clothes. A $30 pair of Levi's at home sells for the equivalent of $110 here. We purchased a few small items and just had a relaxed stroll through the mall. We ate lunch at the food court (Sbarro). I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend. Hey Kids, just a couple more days until school is out! It is going to be fun when we get home. A few people have asked us about a welcome home party. I think it is a nice idea. There are many people who are interested in seeing Max and most of them could come to the party.