Monday, April 21, 2008

Home- almost a week

Things are transistioning somewhat smoothly. Igor is adjusting fantastically and seems to be enjoying himself tremendously having a big brother who gives him way more attention than I can. We do have a few sleeping issues but nothing terrible just adjustment to a new room and place and all the new noises. He's a light sleeper and we have creaky old floors so everytime we walk by his bedrooom it wakes him up and he upset so he seems a little tired all the time. We have tried to cover the household noise with a loud fan that runs in the hallway which has helped some. Hopefully as he becomes more comfortable he'll sleep more soundly. We are also having typical adjustment issues with food - we don't serve a lot of borsht in our household - but he's adjusting. I'm doing my best to cram tons of calories and protein into him everytime he eats which I aim as every 2-3 hours. I was actually reading labels and comparing which items had the most calories and buying the ones that are fattiest etc at the store - backwards to the way I typically shop. I imagine I'll gain the 15 lbs I lost in Ukraine right back with all the fat floating in the house.

The biggest fear Igor displays is of the dog. Poor pup is so confused because she just can't understand why everytime she gets within 10 feet of him he starts screaming and she gets thrown outdoors. He'll adjust in time I'm sure as soon as he realizes she's totally harmless, I'm sure it's scary for Igor though as she looks him right in the eye and outweighs him by a good 50 lbs or so. Hopefully seeing the way Sonny Boy wrestles and abuses the dog and her absolute submission to him will help.

Hubby and I adjusting as well. Not sleeping through the night and the constant attention that a little one needs as we had gotten used to Sonny Boy's relative independence does take some time to get used to. It's a learning curve for all of us.

Sonny Boy is somewhat jealous, however we've been doing our best to give him extra attention and special privlages. He has a hard time understanding when Igor is acting out orphanage issues - a little head banging - and fear of the dog but now has enough understanding when we explain reasons to get it so that's been very helpful.

On Thursday I took Igor to our local pediatrician for a quick going over and to have bloodwork drawn as we have an appointment this Thursday with an International Adoption clinic and they said it would be helpful to have some lab work at that appointment. The Dr. visit was pretty traumatic, but not as bad as the blood draw. The ladies in the lab were very understanding and used a spray to numb his arms and held him as the blood was drawn and then let me comfort him. I didn't want Igor to associate me with that pain and fear. They had to draw quite a bit of blood and I had taken in a stool sample too, hopefully that will be all the labwork we have to do for a while. The Dr. pronounced him healthy for the most part but very tiny - which we knew - I think he's going to defer to the IA clinic for any major pronouncements on health though. He did mention PT, OT and Speech Therapy which I know we will be needing.

The last few days in Ukraine went pretty smoothly, we had no issues getting passports and birth certificates and no problems processing through the Embassy. The last three days in country MIL and I played tourist and bought a few trinkets, visited St. Sophia's, and the Lavra. I still haven't downloaded the last of the pictures but I'll post a few when I have some time. ( like that's gonna happen)

Well, that's all for now, as for now, know that we are busy and adjusting. I'll try to post more in the next few days.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


We landed at O'Hare around 4:30 pm yesterday. After a grueling day of flying and having documents checked everytime we went through a line we got home. Igor was a gem with only a few minor meltdowns which can be expected at his age.

Sonny Boy has grown four inches I swear and gained 10 pounds. The dog is also quite big now and didn't remember me when we got into the yard so she barked at me and then peed everywhere ( she's in a stranger anxiety phase)

Thanks for everyone's postings, I didn't know I was getting so many peeks. I'll post more in the next few days as I'm at the exhausted level today and just trying to find my car keys and toothbrush have been trying experiences, not mention a jet lagged and scared toddler to deal with.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Update from the US

Hello all. As of Friday, April 11 "I" has become "E". All paperwork is completed with the Ukraine government as well as the US Embassy. "E" has joined his new mom and grandma as they rode the overnight train to Kiev to prepare for their flight home.

The court documents were made official April 7. The birth certificates and passports were obtained by end of day April 8. Overnight train to Kiev April 9-10. US Embassy documents started April 10 and finalized April 11, including the physical exam.

Airline tickets were guessed earlier at a return date of April 15. Mom and grandma decided to wait and not change tickets since the weather is great, "E" is extremely happy and content, and they want to visit the sites in Kiev. I think they are just enjoying the inexpensive local champagne which is very enjoyable! 3 weeks in country was enough for me, but I guess an apartment with a washing machine has given new life to mom.

Thanks to all for your support and kind comments during our journey. Sorry I didn't update until today, I just got instructions over the phone on how to do it. "E's" new mom can do this much faster than I and she will probably have more to add when she gets stateside.
Take care,
"E's" dad.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Probably last post for a bit.

These are Igor's favorite toy, He stacks them all the way up his arm and refuses to take them off. When the end of visit it is over it's usually a screaming match to put them away as I can't leave them with him or they will disappear into the orphanage.

Well today is the last official day of waiting. I could pick up the court decree and start the final running however it’s Sunday so I’m stuck waiting till tomorrow. My translator and mother-in-law will be town tomorrow around noon barring any unforeseen problems and we will start the mad race to the finish line, which is the American Embassy to get Igor’s Visa. This may be my last post for a while as I don’t know how much down time I’ll have in the next few days with the list of running that will be happening and the trek that is required to find an internet connection. Possibly Hubby can update the blog from home and keep everyone informed.

Today I attended services at the red Orthodox church (see previous posting for picture) with one of the other American couples. He was raised Russian orthodox so he filled me on what was happening. It was an interesting service. The music was beautiful and the church is heavily decorated on the inside with angels, saints, sinners, and of course Jesus and Mary. It’s a far cry from the southern Baptist church I was raised in and the non-denominational church we attend now. I couldn’t help but wonder what the congregation would have thought about the band and contemporary music at our current church. Probably the oddest thing about the whole service was the amount of milling around during the service. There are no pews in the church – something about being impolite to sit in the presence of God- so everyone stands, but that isn’t the odd part, people tending to be coming and going throughout the whole service as if just making a brief appearance was enough for the week. There was also quite a bit of kneeling and crossing and I worried that some of the little old ladies were not going to make it up off the floor. I’m glad I got the opportunity to attend. I wouldn’t have gone on my own but it was interesting to see a church service in the predominant religion of the country. I also thought it was important as Igor was baptized while still in the hospital by the Orthodox Church. We were given a little gold cross wrapped in a piece of notebook paper that said it was to be sent to him at the orphanage here. Technically he can receive communion in the church I suppose.

Things are basically the same here as boredom rules the day. The orphanage is so crowded during visiting times that it’s pretty unpleasant to go and visit. Not that it was ever a happy fizzy party to begin with, but at least you could play. Now there’s always somebody fussing if you let the kids sit on the floor – why I don’t know- get dirty outside- feed them yogurt etc etc etc. I’m just trying to bide my time now as things are nearing the end.

Last night there was a wedding party staying in the hotel. We saw them leaving as we came back from dinner and around 11:00 pm or so I heard singing in front of the hotel – not a drunken song but something rather nice – I assumed that they were singing bride and groom off to bed – poor couple spending their wedding night in this dump. It wasn’t long after that I could hear people pouring into their rooms and settling in for the night.

So long for now, it’s about time for the evening visit with Igor then I will walk the few blocks to the internet to post this and check e-mails. I’ll probably eat at the Flower café tonight as the food is good, cheap and I feel comfortable there alone. I’ve been eating with the other couples hear most nights however I don’t want to wear out my welcome with them. The Flower Café’s (I don’t know the real name, there’s just a big flower on the building) owner also speaks fair English so communication isn’t as iffy there as other places and they’ve translated the menu for the recent influx of Americans.

If there’s time, I’ll get a post up with the progress of the second stage of paper chasing, however if there’s nothing new assume no news is good news.


Friday, April 4, 2008

And the days drag on and on and on and on and on...

The days are blur and we are continually asking each other what day of the week it is as there is really no distinction to us other than the faces change at the orphanage as people rotate in their work schedule. At least at home you have the variety of different TV shows, different work schedules and other weekly things to help keep your calendar in order.

The saga of the playroom continues today as it appears that the last ones out did not clean up behind themselves or something managed to get torn up. We are not sure what the exact situation is but it appears punishment is being doled out to the international couples as we were not allowed into the playroom this pm even though therapy was not in session. I called my translator and she found out the above info, she is going to talk to them again tomorrow and see how we might correct the situation. Things are terribly crowded here as three of the five couples in process have brought their older children along as well, and they are typical kids that have been cooped up too long. The weather is also not cooperative as it’s rainy and rather cool to be outside or we’d just go out.

I’m rather peeved at the playroom situation as I was hoping to use this time for Igor to get more comfortable with me so when he does leave the orphanage it’s not so traumatic for him. However it’s very hard to get a toddler’s attention when there are three young boys running about, five kids from the orphanage (three of these are in his groupa) and ten adults. I don’t really expect any real bonding to occur at this time, I just want him to feel comfortable with me. Maybe my translator can work something out tomorrow. If not I feel the length of my visits are going to shorten dramatically as I can’t take all the chaos. I’m super glad there are just a few more days to go before we can actually tuck him under an arm and run.

Our official court decree goes into effect on Sunday. However we will leave him at the orphanage a couple of more days while we get birth certificates and passports. My translator's plan is to grab him and run for the train. I can see her point as it's less moving around. Also since we are staying in a TINY hotel room there isn't much room for a little guy nor facilities to deal with him like cribs etc. Hopefully we will be able to run with him soon as I've had enough of the crazy orphanage rules. ( that's a whole 'nother post)


Thursday, April 3, 2008

I spoke with Hubby early this morning and he made it home safe and sound, if not a little aggravated as a couple of different routes home from the airport were flooded (it always seems to flood in that area this time of year) and he had to take detours.

Hubby did have an interesting experience while killing time in his Kiev hotel room on Monday. He was watching out the window and saw several military vehicles pull up and special forces guys pile out and start moving around the neighborhood so he thought “ this is better than TV in Ukrainian” so he pulled a chair on his balcony and started watching the show as several more security forces entered the area and started spreading out. Pretty soon he noticed one guy watching him and then a few more. It wasn’t too long before he heard a banging on the door and he answered it and there was a Ukrainian military or police official there. Hubby gingerly opened his coat in order to show he wasn’t a threat and handed him his passport, the guy didn’t want it (probably already knew everything there was to know about him already) and just told him “ No Balcony, George Bush Condoleeza Rice, No Balcony” so Hubby said sure. The guy left and Hubby turned off his room lights and peeked through the curtains and watched the presidential motorcade go by. We just can’t get away from presidential motorcades as we have both been run off the road by a president when we lived in Little Rock when Clinton was in office. You’d think in Ukraine we’d be safe from that anyway.

This orphanage here is doing a brisk business lately, they must have turned in tons of kids all at one time to the national registry. Since we’ve been here we’ve seen a Ukrainian couple and a Spanish couple leave, three American couples (ourselves included) have court and start the 10 day wait. There is a Ukrainian couple in process, and a new Spanish couple showed up today. The playroom is overflowing in the afternoons and it’s difficult to play as three couples have brought along older children as well. Mornings are somewhat less crowded as the Ukrainian couple only comes in the afternoon and not everyday as they have to drive some distance, however we are usually not allowed to use the big therapy playroom as they have physical therapy sessions going in the a.m. The director has tried to stagger our visitation times but we overlap quite a bit. Ugh I’ll be so glad when this “visiting” my own son is over.

From what I gather when our translator visits with the Ukrainian couples it’s quite a process for them to adopt as well. The first couple that left had been visiting their boy for almost four months while things worked through the process. The couple that’s in process right now are really only starting to get rolling and have quite a ways to go. Now I don’t know if the four months includes completing some sort of home study and background checks etc but if it doesn’t I can imagine they get rather aggravated at us rolling in and doing it in about a month. I will say the children the two couples adopted are beautiful and look perfectly healthy and are normal size, where the children the international group is adopting are very small for their age.

A funny Sonny Boy-ism Hubby reported to me this morning. “ I miss my little brother so much!” Nice sentiment, however I don’t know that you can miss someone you’ve never met. No word on missing Mommy and Daddy though.

Well I had contemplated going to the internet again tonight as I thought I might get a reply from Hubby, however it’s raining now and dark so I’m either going to dive into the stash of movies (thanks GS) or try to find someway to read. I’ll post this tomorrow on my afternoon hike.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

the wait continues

Hubby called early on Monday morning to inform me that he had missed his flight. The flight had been changed to a 6:45 am flight and we thought it was 11:45. He got it straightened out but ended up staying another day in Kiev than had not been planned. Thankfully we didn’t have to pay another change fee on things as everything is picking us apart one grivna at a time. I’ve left instructions for him to call me when he gets home however his flight isn’t due to land for another hour yet and it’s already midnight here, I suppose he’ll wake me up but I don’t care as we haven’t had a conversation since Sat when he left for the train.

It’s not terrible being here alone however the evenings drag out very long since there’s no TV and little to do. I brought a few books but honestly they don’t interest me much and there’s nowhere comfortable to read in this room, I had also brought a cross stitch kit along as that eats lots of time but the lack of lighting in here is horrendous unless it’s 5:00 am and your trying to sleep. I don’t think there is a blind in this hotel, just sheers. Someone needs to introduce them to the wonders of blackout curtains at least. I’ve thought about taping up some tin foil to tell the truth.

I’m homesick but it’s for the little things that shouldn’t really matter. Sure I miss Sonny Boy, and now Hubby, but I miss the little luxuries that are home. In random order:

Internet access, a hundred times a day I think “ I can look that up quick” but quick is an 8 block walk to a computer gaming place full of smelly teenage boys.
A bathtub that my legs can stretch out in – I’m only 5’1” so you can imagine the size of this tub.
A fitted sheet on my bed – Is there an elastic shortage here? If I can’t have a fitted sheet can I at least have one that is big enough to tuck under the mattress?
Charmin toilet paper – I bought the most expensive I could find and it’s still pretty bad. Not as bad however as the brown stuff that the hotel supplies, Hubby had remarked he thought he’d get paper cuts from it.
The food – While not horrible is all starting to taste the same at all the restaurants no matter what you tend to order, when you can get your point across to the waitress who is dumfounded to have a customer that doesn’t speak Russian.
Being able to read – A sign, a document you’re told to sign, a receipt from the grocery store, labels at the store, I’m sure there are better food choices they are just in packaging without pictures.
Lack of TV – Nothing like being able to turn on the boob tube and turn off your brain for a while. There’s TV here but in Ukrainian and Russian so It might as well not be here as it takes up space we could use.
Living in a news vacuum – On a daily basis now the Americans in the orphanage get together and compare notes on the headlines we saw on the internet or heard from family back home. I’m not a news junkie by an any means but I try to watch a t least a little everyday. If nothing else to have a hint at what the weather might do, here I look out the window and occasionally open it to determine what I should wear for the day.
Living in he chaos of a tiny hotel room, there’s really no where to put things away so I always feel like I’m searching for this that or the other. Though the clutter has decreased with Hubby leaving, however it will increase again next week with my MIL ‘s stuff.

Well I’m just whining I guess, things could be worse. The other Americans are nice and I’ve been out to eat diner with them a few times, which kills some hours in the evening. They do have their young son with so they retire early and I’m a night owl to say the least so after dinner they’re tucking their kid into bed and I’m starting to look for entertainment.

I want to thank those posting comments on the blog, I do read them but I haven’t really had time to respond to them individually as I write the blog in the hotel and then cut and paste when I get to the internet gaming place so save time. The internet joint lacks a lot to be desired beyond a DSL cable, and I have to pay by the hour to use it. Grant it, it’s not much, about a $1.00 and hour but just trying to answer e-mails, this blog etc keep me buys for the hour or so I’m there. Your support is appreciated though.

Wells it’s officially late, I’m rambling on here and should really crawl in bed to be awakened in a few hours by Hubby arriving home. He has a to-do list as long as his arm of course when he gets there so I hope he was able to sleep on the plane some so he’s not so exhausted.