Day 42. From my Journal. Wednesday January 11th 2017 and also Day 0 of 10 days. We both had a good nights sleep. We are still waiting to hear back from Rob’s new Client Services Manager about an extended start date for him. He will not make the original January 13th one as we are now at the 11th. I felt prompted to text Kaylene and she said she would pray. It’s snowing at present here and -1 degree.
We had a super visit with the children today. I’m so glad yesterday is over, they seem much more relaxed. Today we built 3 large snowmen at the Orphanage. Our children loved doing this and I don’t think they had ever done this before. All the children who were out playing at this time joined in and they all had so much fun when I gave them chores, like searching for leaves for eyebrows and stones or fir cones for buttons. We used some old tyres that were lying around to make a tummy divider and a neck for the snowmen and decorated them with scarves and hats at the end. I had to stop the children at one point and redirect them, as they were pulling the branches from a spruce tree by the fence, to make arms for the snowmen. It’s so easy for things to get out of hand:). I think the Orphanage workers who were out with the groups probably think Rob and I are totally crazy but I don’t care. We are doing this for the children and they had so much fun with it. The workers just stood and watched us.
Building Snowmen with the children and their friends. It was so much fun for all of us!
Day 43. From my Journal. Thursday January 12th 2017 and Day 1 of 10 days. Yesterday Rob heard back from his new boss in Canada. He has a revised start date of February 13th 2017. This is such an answer to prayer! Praise You Jesus! Once again You are faithful! I am so thankful! I had initially offered Rob to bring the children home alone by myself if he had to go early but after the last couple of weeks, I see that it would have been a major undertaking. In fact it really would have been like ‘Home Alone!’ We went to the markets and I found 7 Hryvnia (Greev’na) just laying on the street! Bought a tape measure for 10 Hryvnia so we can measure the children for more clothes. Inna called to offer her assistance in anything we need and to say hi. Rob and I ate supper at the Fiesta tonight as the roads are very slippery.
Day 44. From my Journal. Friday January 13th 2017 and Day 2 of 10 Days. Neither of us slept really well last night. Teneille texted to say it’s -45 in Manitoba! Concerned for our family and others out on the roads. Peter texted so I was glad to hear from him. Tracey also texted. I settle better when I know they are safe indoors. We brought clothes to the Orphanage for the children. They all fitted except for one sweater for Declan. Niamh refused to give back her jeans. She wants to keep them for school. We went for pizza and were actually able to FaceTime with Teneille, Micah, Grace and Hope. It was great! Micah has made us 2 pictures of our house and him there on a sleepover! So precious!
Day 45. From my Journal. Saturday January 14th 2017 and Day 3 of 10 Days. We both had a reasonable sleep in our little single beds! We went to the Orphanage at 10:30 this am. as they are celebrating Orthodox Christmas! I’ve never seen SO many celebrations of Christmas here! Our children are not taking part this time.
The many celebrations of Christmas here in Ukraine.
This morning I had asked The Lord for a quiet time of just connecting with our kids and once again He answered my request! Both visits today were the quietest and most peaceful we have had with our children up until now. They played ball with us and chess and mainly just wanted to cuddle, especially Conor. We walked back from the Orphanage and saw the others at the park singing. I took some pictures of them. Later in the day we had a sandwich in our room and then to sleep.
Day 46. From my Journal, Sunday January 15th 2017 and Day 4 of 10 Days. We both slept well last night. Up this morning and had a shower. So thankful for water and heat and a bed to sleep in: even though it’s a tiny single bed and the mattress is very thin. Rob and I cuddled for a few minutes on my bed. That physical contact each day is so important. We went to the Orphanage and had a good visit with the children. They wanted to play ball and we let them. Declan’s friend came to play too. I am not feeling so well today. Hope I’m not getting another cold! I’m very tired!
Day 47. From my Journal. Monday January 16th 2017 and Day 5 of 10 Days. Today marks the ‘half way’ point in the cooling off period. So far no appeals have been filed with the court. I’m thankful for that. This morning we went to the markets to look for some more clothes for our children but they were closed. We bought a few things in little shops. Hope we have enough now and that it all fits. We just need two sets of clothes and maybe a couple of other things so that when one is soiled they have something to change into, just until we get home and then I can do more shopping for them.
Stopped at Bdzhilka again for breakfast. This time I enjoyed some kind of a bread twist with meat in it. It was very tasty. I’m so glad to have found proper ketchup in the supermarket! What passes for ketchup here in restaurants is a brownish color and doesn’t taste of much. It was a bit of a guess buying it as the writing on the packaging is in Russian and I know pictures don’t always match what’s in there but we now have a squeeze bag that I can fit in my backpack and bring out as needed. In Victory Park there is another restaurant called The Fairy Tale. We had lunch there. This is the first time we have been here for food, as initially I thought it was just a bar by the beer smell as we walked past, but it’s not. Rob and I both had ‘hot dogs’ Ukrainian style. A bread roll with the middle hollowed out and then toasted and a barbecued smokie inside. They were very good and very cheap!
Day 48. From my Journal. Tuesday January 17th 2017 and Day 6 of 10. We both slept well despite me once again feeling that I am getting another cold. I’m sure all the different germs we are exposed to at the Orphanage and other places don’t help. I wash my hands as soon as I come back in our room after every visit to the Orphanage or trip in town and the water is always visibly dirty! One of Niamh’s group friend’s little brother spent the evening playing with us and our children yesterday and he had such a runny nose! He’s very cute and it breaks my heart to see such beautiful children without parents. Tomorrow we will be here 7 weeks. It’s going to be difficult to settle back in Canada. Our routines are nothing like at home. We sleep in single beds here and I’m not really cooking except to make sandwiches.
Back again from the markets. We are almost done our shopping and thankful for iTranslate. Some ladies in a shoe booth gave us an amazing deal once they heard we were adopting and buying the shoes for the children. She asked if we were going to take the children back to Canada. I think she has a soft heart for orphans. She even asked our names and told us hers: Alexandria.
We had breakfast at The Fairy Tale in the park, some kind of fried French toast that was dipped in egg and had cheese curds inside-delicious! We tried ordering something else too which we thought was schnitzel but turned out to be fried eggs with slaw in a sweet vinegar dressing but it was really tasty. We are finding some really good food here just as we are almost about to leave. I had been craving familiar foods recently and I tried ordering in a restaurant we found one day when out walking that prided itself in serving ‘ Americans Food’. I ordered Bacons, Egg and Toasts-American Style’ from that particular menu, thinking it would be like at home and when I got it, the eggs were barely cooked with the whites still clear and runny. The ‘toasts’ were two tiny triangular pieces of black bread and the ‘bacons‘ was maybe a teaspoon of crumbled ham on top of the eggs. I ate it but I was so disappointed! The Fairy Tale is not like that, the food here is cheap and tasty! Inna called to say Yana has a copy of the court decree but she is unwell at present so we haven’t seen her.
Breakfast at The Fairy Tale Café in Victory Park.
At our visit this evening Conor was very anxious as to when he is coming with us. He was just in tears! He sat the whole visit just cuddled up to Rob. He didn’t play or anything, just cuddled! What has his life been like before? I don’t really know. I think he’s afraid we will not take him. That maybe all the waiting is just an excuse for us to get out of this? Even though it is expensive to call Kyiv, we got Inna on the phone and had her talk to the children and explain in a way that makes sense to them. We want them to know that we are waiting on things out of our control.
Niamh took some things out of Robs pockets when he wasn’t looking and thinks its funny. This concerns me as she can’t do this at home. We need to find a way to explain boundaries to them. In the Orphanage all the property is communal. After we came back to the Fiesta, we texted our adult children in Canada to visit. We miss them!
Day 49. From my Journal. Wednesday January 18th 2017 and Day 7 of 10 Days. ‘No good thing does He withhold from them whose walk is blameless’ I am praying for wisdom in how to handle the children and the behaviours we are seeing on a daily basis. And also for how we will integrate with our adult children at home. We are unprepared in many ways but I need to remember that He is faithful and God sees us as blameless in His Son! We went this morning to see Declan when the others were in school and did a puzzle with him. Then went back for 4:00 pm. I get the impression that maybe one or two of the workers are fed up with us coming to the orphanage twice a day. There was a female who we had never seen before at the orphanage this evening. She came into the room where we were with the children. We had been told we could meet with the children there by the Orphanage Director. This woman just took over. She turned on a cd player very loudly and did some ‘dancing’ and stretches. Not sure who she was but she was quite rude and ignored us completely, setting up her things in our way and making it impossible to play with the children. This is probably the first rude person we have met here. To date, we have found the Ukrainian people we have met here to be very gracious and generous. Regardless, we had a good visit with the children, just had to go outside so we could have some quiet. Then back to the hotel and bed.
Day 50. From my Journal, Thursday January 19th 2017 and Day 8 of 10 Days. Not sure how they count the days here? Inna said they begin counting the day after court. By my adding that would be Day 1 but she says the 10 days is not up until Saturday. No matter, just a different way of counting I guess. We were up and ready to go out by 08:30 this morning. Walked through the Markets to get a gift for granddaughter Mila’s birthday. I find myself looking at the women I meet and wondering if any of them are family to my children? This is probably silly on my part but I can’t help but wonder. We went to the Orphanage later too. Niamh had a cell phone again and was listening to loud music. I tried not to let it bother me. It’s not the music, I don’t care about that: it’s that she may be vulnerable to predators through the internet. I want to protect my daughter! Back to the Fiesta. Hopefully we will have a good sleep.
Day 51. From my Journal. Friday January 20th 2017 and Day 9 of 10 Days. We slept fairly well despite noisy neighbours in the room next door. This is one of the disadvantages of a hotel room rather than an apartment: we never know from one day to the next who is going to be sleeping in the room next door. We toured the Markets to get some last-minute items. Don’t need much. The visit to the Orphanage went well. The kids like to rough-house with their Dad. I smiled as I sat and watched them play and thought how nice it was to see. He may be the first man in their lives to be reliable. The first man they feel comfortable enough to trust. Then back to the restaurant for a salad and to bed. I don’t feel at all well and my nose is running again. I’m so fed up feeling like this! At home I’m hardly ever sick!
Day 52. From my Journal. Saturday January 21st 2017 and Day 10 of 10 Days. We made it! The cooling off period is over! No appeals were filed and court is not open today. Inna says the courts will not issue the decree on the weekend so it will be Monday now before anything is done. This is ok! Jesus You are faithful! We are a family for real! Went to the Orphanage later and we played outside on the swings.
The back of the Orphanage is in even worse shape than the front! There are pieces of rusty tin and old tyres that the children play around. This is dangerous! The mom and nurse in me sees cuts and falls but so far they seem to be ok so maybe they know how to be careful. I have another bad cold 😦 The visit at the Orphanage was ok but there was a lot of rough-housing at the start between Conor and his friends. Rob stayed to play with them and Niamh and I went out to the swings with Declan.
The roof is missing ridge tiles and the pathway cracked and broken.
We still had fun playing outdoors.
Day 53. From my Journal. Sunday January 22nd 2017. We slept well and had breakfast in the park. Then Rob and I walked to the Akkerman Fortress. We had such a beautiful walk and time together. This is going to be one of the last few times where it’s just to be the two of us for a while. In a couple of days we will be a family of five. There was a film crew from England and the US there and they were talking about ‘shooting scenes’ and what would work best for different shots. I tried to listen to see if I could hear the name of the movie but they didn’t say it. Hopefully we can find it when we are back in Canada. That would be cool! We met the cutest little cat that followed us all over the Fortress. He reminded me of ‘Fish,‘ our cat at home, my ‘first friend’ in Steinbach. We tried our hand at bows and arrows. Rob was a way better shot than me.
Then we walked back to town and got Yura to bring us to the Orphanage for 4:00 pm. We had a very nice visit with our children and their friends. Then back to the Fiesta and relaxed for the evening. My mother called us from Ireland and sang ‘One Day At a Time’ over the phone to us : so beautiful!
Day 54. From my Journal. Monday January 23rd 2017. Slept well again-thankfully! Quiet time and then breakfast in the park. Yana is here in Bilhorod, but we haven’t seen her yet. We want to get another suitcase for the extra things we have and then go to the Orphanage. Tonight we are having a farewell party for our children and their friends. We need to order the pizza and buy the pop. Hope it all goes well. It will be difficult to leave Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi. In a short time ‘here’ has become our home. I am looking forward to going home to Canada though but part of my heart will always stay here I think, especially at the Orphanage with the children who we have grown to love.
Familiar brands for the Farewell Party this evening.
Tomorrow we pick up our children and visit the Orphanage for the last time, At least for now.
Rob will tell you about the party and our last evening at the Orphanage in the next post.