Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'm a bad mother...

Maybe it's because I am completly burned out from dealing with the mountains of paperwork from the adoption, maybe it's because Igor is the second child, maybe it's because I'm intimidated by all the scrap booking stuff at the craft store but I haven't even began a babybook of any sort for Igor. I know, I know, he should have the all important Life Book that somehow becomes the bible for adopted children, I know I should order one of those adopted baby books from somewhere on the internet, but I just can't bring myself to start dragging all of that stuff out again. I'm even bad about taking pictures!

Speaking of dragging stuff out, all of Igor's paperwork is now officially over once I get him a social security card, which I plan to do next week. A couple of weeks ago we had our re-adoption hearing here and gained the all important stateside birth certificate, though it's not a real birth certificate, it's called something odd and looks a little odd, but it will suffice in all situations where a birth certificate is called for in life, and I will only need to call the state in order to get new copies in case anything happens to these instead of wrangling Ukrainian paperpushers in some po-dunk town. Anyhow with the completion of this last little bit of paper wrangling I plan on emptying my accordian file that has never been too far from me for the last 18 months or so, shred, or file as needed and put the stuff away. Finally that red file will be hidden unless I can talk Hubby into going into this crazy adoption thing again for a girl. Needless to say he's balking like a donkey on a steep trail.

With the onset of cool weather Sonny Boy's extreme hyperness has driven me to the brink of insanity. Currently we are having him tested for ADHD (which I've always suspected) and the pychologist agrees that he's definitely hyper, though we haven't determined a full diagnosis yet. We will most likely start him on meds to see if it will settle him down to some extent. Funny how my thinking changes when faced with this problem. A few years ago I simply would have said that "those parents just need to give that kid a swift kick in the pants" however after delivering so many swift kicks, time-outs, etc I'm at my wits end on how to communicate with this child. I feel as though I am constantly on his case and I don't like it anymore than he does. Looking back the signs have always been there, and when I compare Sonny Boy behavior to Igor's behavior at the same age it's apparent that either Igor is way too mellow or Sonny Boy found a stash of crack hidden in the floorboards from the previous owners of the house.

Since the holidays are fast approaching I'm torn. We plan on being at home this Christmas, the first in a long while (we are usually at family's) so I'd really like to do a big thing with this being Igor's first real Christmas. However I'm a realist and realize that he won't really remember anything and we shouldn't really spend all the money and have the hassle of a huge meal etc when it will just likely be the four of us. I guess we'll see what crops up and if any holiday orphans appear at our table.

Well I've written now, it's late and the little ones will be up early as usual.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

YOU are the BOSS!! Tips for the traveler

After reading some recent blogs of people in Ukraine and noting the experiences of others while we were in country I want to give a few tips to people who are traveling or about to travel.

1. Remember YOU hired these people to help you. While your facilitator may know the ropes and strings to pull to get your documents done they are not in control of your pocketbook. If a flight to your region is too expensive make them investigate other options, if a hotel or apartment is too expensive tell them no, find you somewhere cheaper. If your dragged into a restaurant and the prices in grivna look like a phone number, tell them you want to eat cheaper. While many of the expenses of this "adventure" are uncontrollable things such as these are and if your budget is tight can ad up.

2. Keep all cash and your passport with you at all times. Wear a money belt and pull out your daily needs for your purse or pocket when you dress in the morning. I never felt threatened that I had all that cash on my body but I didn't leave it anywhere either. I soon adjusted to having the money belt on and didn't think of it anymore. Take all unnecessary items out of your wallet or purse. You will not need your library card in Ukraine, that way if something happens at least your not replacing all of that stuff too. Men should keep their wallets in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket, women make sure purse is zipped at all times and do not carry a purse w/o a zipper, also keep purse in front of you when in crowded places same goes for backpacks etc.

3. Try not to stick out like a sore thumb. When in public speak quietly. Don't wear white tennis shoes unless your under 25. If your a championship high heel walker buy some stiletto boots, if not, take very non-descript dark colored shoes. Do not wear expensive jewelry. If your wedding ring has stones in it at all leave it at home, wear a plain band or nothing. Jeans are OK to wear and are very practical as most of the time you can wear them several times before washing. Dark jeans are more common than faded washed out jeans. Walk quickly, everyone walks fast, no one strolls. Do not sit on concrete or stone walls. If it's even close to being cool weather wear a coat. Don't ask me why, everyone wears a coat even in pretty mild weather. Dress in layers, inside tends to be overheated and you will want to be able to get to lighter clothes.

4. Pack very lightly. Cars are little and there isn't much room for luggage, same goes for train compartments. If I was to do it again I would carry no more than a rolling carry on per person and a backpack. You should be able to find most anything you really have to have while there though the brands may be different etc. Consider it urban camping, you'll make do. There's no need to carry laundry soap etc it exist there. The only thing I really recommend taking is a length of twine in order to make your own laundry line if needed and a travel size bottle of fabreeze to freshen clothes and things since everyone there smokes. While every other list you find says ziplocks by the dozens, they are handy but you can manage w/o them. Save the space for reading material, DVD's, or a board game or deck of cards.

5. Remember most things in Ukraine are negotiable. Hotels, apartments, anything in the open markets, your "expediting" fees, taxi cabs, even train tickets if your facilitator schmoozes enough. I think the biggest tip for negotiating is to send your facilitator in and do not disclose you are foreign, just stand there quietly or stay outside. Again, you are the boss and he/she should work for the best price for you.

Our facilitator was very up front with us about our options, therefore I know there are other ways to do things while there. From reading others blogs I get the distinct impression that many are told we will buy a plane ticket to region, we will eat at this restaurant, we will stay in this apartment and not given options and many do not stress their wants and needs due to stress, language barrier and culture shock. For those people please stress your wants, needs, and the fact that you can't or won't afford XYZ and you want other options.

Remember YOU are the boss. Nothing can happen w/o your pocketbook paying for it.