About Me

My photo
My husband and I, the Dynamic Duo, have been married since 2003. We've weathered the storm of chronic disease (diagnosis 2006), infertility (diagnosis 2007), turning 30 (2006/2007 respectively) a first adoption (2009) of a tender hearted, compassionate Ukrainian BIG boy (born 2006), who has told us he'd like a baby sister, baby brother, big brother, and REALLY big sister. We recently completed our second Ukrainian adoption journey, which brought us a daughter (born 2005). We'll see what else God brings our way!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March 31, 2009

Not much to report today. We went to the grocery store (seems like an everyday occurance) and picked up some chicken breasts, among other staples. Mmmm Lays potato chips...

Today Maxim was a darling. We played inside, since it is muddy outside. He's still fasinated by the tissues, and the rock and sticks he picked up at the park not too long ago. Dave took the propellor off the helicopter and showed Maxim how to put it back on again. Maxim was intrigued. He tried several times to put the propellor back on, without success. We finally distracted him with something else, otherwise I think he would have kept on trying!

The workers asked for our phone number today...don't really know why. We don't know Russian, so we can't really communicate with them, but we'll comply because we don't really care. They have been wonderful to us; can't ask for much more. After hearing about all the problems and issues others have faced, I recognize that God has been so good to us. He has brought us to a region sympathetic to us, and open to us adopting one of their precious children.

My husband is getting bored. We've gone through almost all our movies (we only brought 5 I think) and he's at a slow point in his book. I've finished my book, but am content doing word cross puzzles and suduko. It's strange not having TV. Well, we have a TV, but we can't understand what's going on. I've noticed the programs are very sexualized, so it's not even fun to watch TV. We were watching a news program (probably a sports station). They have a new trend in golf (this one's for you Todd)...snow golfing. Yep. These people were all decked out in skiing gear golfing on compacted snow. Not really sure how that works or if it's any fun, but it's an idea, I suppose.

Couple of fun things...My friend Lindsay had her baby on the 28th. My mom is coming around April 12th (woohooo!!!) and she just can't wait to meet her first grandson. And Maxim (at the request of the orphanage worker) gave us a hug and kiss before we left today.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What you've all been waiting for...

This is the day we brought him the sweet cheese and juice. Do you see how he's holding the cup? That's typical of orphanage children. He's making sure no one steals his juice. Look at that expression...he's not really sure about us at this point.

This is Maxim behind the wheel at 3 years old. Isn't he a little ham? This is our first venture outside.

Here he is with the Ooff (his way of barking). It's been through a lot, but he loves it.

We were visiting with him earlier today. He likes to dig through our plastic bag to see what goodies we've brought him. We've figured out he doesn't really like the sweet cheese. But he LOVES juice. Out of all the things we bring with us, his favorite is an unopened plastic travel sized tissue packet. Dave gave him an opened tissue packet, but he placed it in the bag and dug out the unopened packet. Interesting. He also loves to draw and color, so we're going to go to the store today and see if we can find a few things for him to play with.

Igor is gone. He's running around getting all our paperwork in order. Woohoo! He's going to leave us in a few days, and I'm sad about that. He was good company and very informative. But we're within walking distance of everything we need, so there's no need to get a taxi, and the flat is safe. This area seems to be very tolerant of foreigners adopting, so we're confident things will go smoothly. My mom will be coming sometime in the next month to help me take Maxim home (I'm going to keep calling him that until we get home so there's no confusion), and I'm really looking forward to that. Sometimes you just want your mommy, even at 31.

March 29, 2009

We woke up early, and a bit out of sorts. Last night was daylight savings here. So we’ve been here for almost a week, and have to adjust to another time change! We laughed. So now we’re 7 hours ahead of our friends and family on the east coast.

We played with Maxim outside earlier today. He had on shoes that fit him much better and, although he still stumbled a lot, he was much more stable today. This morning we fed him half a banana and he chomped it down like nobody’s business. It was cute. He lets us feed and hold him, but you can still see this “I’m happy on the outside, but not really sure on the inside” look and feel to him. I guess that’s just a little of me and my uneasiness with him. I’ll get to that later.

Dave and I went back to our flat and Igor was up. I asked him to take me to the grocery store to explain what a few things are. We bought some borcht mix (just add water…that’s the stuff I like!), mashed potatoes, jelly, butter, milk, & cereal. He even found us a place that has the internet! Woohooo! We are again connected with the outside world! He’s been picking on us for being so internet dependent. When I got back and told Dave we found a great internet place, he was excited. We went and I updated the blog, checked email, and let Dave have the computer to pay bills and check email.

We went straight from there to the orphanage, where we picked up our son and played with him some more. We were in a metal enclosure and he fell and cut his lip…not busted, but bleeding a bit. He started to cry, so I picked him up, got a tissue and compressed his lip. Don’t worry, I didn’t freak out (neither did he). He’s a boy, and with all the injuries my two brothers have had, I’m used to it. He settled down pretty quick and was back to playing in no time. He’s so funny! He loves to walk toward something and then all of a sudden do a 180. I’m not sure why. He seemed to have a better idea of where he wanted to go today, although I got the sense that he still feels it’s overwhelming a bit. He loves to pick up rocks and sticks…but only certain ones. Haven’t figured that out yet either. But I’m glad to see him being a boy and experimenting with textures.

Tonight has been low key. We came back and told Igor what we’d like to name our son. We’ve decided on Eli Maxim Moser. Eli is a Hebrew name that means God is great. And we really feel like God has been good to us in bringing him in to our lives. We thought about giving him my dad’s middle name, but decided to keep some of his Ukrainian heritage. The name Maxim means greatness and is a very popular name in Eastern Europe. And, of course, we Mosers (and Stobie’s) are just flat out great :)

I can’t really explain what I feel right now. It’s kind of a going through the motions. I’m not a mom just yet…he doesn’t live with me or even understand me. And he isn’t like the boys back home around the same age. But it dawned on me that he’s in a different culture and my experiences with American boys don’t necessarily translate to how I’m relating to Maxim. I know that part of my problem is my fear of commitment. This is yet another area where my husband and I compliment each other. I poured out my concerns and fears to him last night, telling him he’d have to be the strong one because I’m so terrified of this decision! But he said to me “Natalie, I believe this child is a gift from God to us, and I believe without a shadow of a doubt that he’s our son.” Wow. I trust my husband’s judgment completely so when he said that, it sealed the deal for me.

I guess I just wish we could communicate with him. He’s such a jovial child, constantly laughing. He loves to see us (again, probably because we feed him and take him out to play).

A few tidbits. The orphanage workers teach the children to call every female momma and every male papa. So when you walk in a room full of kids, that’s all you hear in cute little Ukrainian voices “Momma, Papa, Pree-vit” I really thought this would be hard for me, but it hasn’t been. I think it’s because these kids are in such a wonderful orphanage, or maybe I’m emotionally detached right now. Rosalie where are you when I need you?!?! (That’s my awesome counselor.)

Our stomachs are doing pretty good. We’ve been pretty bad about heeding the warnings about the water. I forget to use bottled water a lot. So far it hasn’t come back to bite me. And laundry has been a nightmare. I hand wash everything, then put it on the enclosed patio to dry…it’s been 2 days and Dave’s white cotton shirts STILL aren’t dry.

Dave and I have had beef cravings today. Mmmmm a juicy hamburger sounds so good! Ground beef. Drool. I may even venture out to buy a chicken and boil it (no oven) and use the stock for some chicken soup with veggies (mmmm, veggies). I’m still enjoying my time here, though. And I enjoy trying new things, so I’m hoping Igor will introduce us to more foods.

Igor is a riot! He and Dave share a love for Formula 1 racing, and there was a race in Australia today that wasn’t broadcast…they were both SO disappointed! He’s so full of information, it’s amazing. I love to hear stories of when he was a kid during Soviet control.

I haven’t been been in my Bible in a while, and that could very well be why my stomach is all tied up in knots with anxiousness. I miss my Bible Study Fellowship gals, and the structured, daily time in the word it encourages. I wish there was something here, but, Nyet, there isn’t.

Prayer Requests
1. Safety
2. Continued Health
3. My love for Maxim to grow
4. Continued smooth flowing process
5. My time in the Word

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 28, 2009

March 28, 2009

3:45pm We visited the child this morning. We woke up late because Dave’s phone alarm didn’t go off. So, we got up and ready in about 15mins and ran out the door. He was in a bad mood again this morning. It seems he’s not a morning person, like me. Thank goodness! He was crying when he came to us, with big fat tears in his eyes. But all that stopped as soon as we pulled out the sweet cheese, a child’s favorite, and juice. I fed him a few bites of the cheese, then passed it on to Dave. But little Maxim (that’s his given name) didn’t want any more. We opened the juice (room temperature, of course) and served the juice in a glass to him. He can drink by himself. He holds the cup in both hands with the top of the cup touching his forehead looking from left to right to make sure no one steals his juice. He drank the whole box…even finishing it after he was full. Interesting because he didn’t finish the cheese. By the time we left, he was smiley…he even told us nyet when we went to leave. How sweet. And, of course, he wanted Dave to keep the puppy we gave him for safe keeping. We were only able to stay for about 15mins, then we jumped in a taxi and went to the notary to start the adoption process.

On the way to the notary, I had to laugh at the differences in me and Dave. Here I am taking in the architecture, the people and fashion, and the streets. Here’s Dave getting excited about all the cars he’s seeing here. He and Igor have a great relationship because of their love for cars. I end up being out of the conversation often because they are chatting about a car on the side of the road. Dave’s even taking pictures of some of them! He wants to buy a Lada (a Russian built car) and ship it to the US, maybe even autocross it. What a funny guy J

Igor tried to leave to visit his mother this afternoon. We told him we would be fine. We went to the supermarket and got two loaves of bread, spaghetti sauce, noodles, tissues, diapers, two large bottles of water, toothpaste, laundry detergent, and OJ for 94 grivna, or $12. I love that the cost of living is much less here. Otherwise we may not have the money to be here for so long. Igor called us in the middle of our venture and said there was not a good connection to his mother’s house, so he came back to the apt. I’ll be honest, I’m glad he came back. I enjoyed our venture by ourselves, but was terrified. Once it was over I felt more comfy with being out in the public and crossing a busy large intersection that had no lights or stop sign. I think NYC and Ecuador prepared me for that.

I’m waiting and waiting to see sweet Maxim again. I’m hoping we’ll be able to take some pictures of him to add to the blog. I want to cry every time I leave him because I miss him…so attached with such little time. We’re going to try to play with him outside today…it’s so pretty. Dave and I both noticed that it seemed much warmer earlier in the day. It’s probably about 50 or so degrees…Spring has sprung here (hopefully). I saw my first bug of any kind today. A bee. Yep, that’s it! It’s too cold for cockroaches (thank goodness) and mosquitoes. I guess I look for that because I grew up in Texas, where mosquitoes don’t take vacations.

I have to mention that Maxim has 3 other siblings. We asked the orphanage director about this and she assured us Maxim is available for adoption without the siblings. Our court date isn’t for another few weeks, so we’ll find out for sure then. Initially I wasn’t looking forward to this time, but it’s actually a good idea. This will help the transition for him. It gives him the opportunity to get to know us a bit better before we snatch him up from everyone and everything he’s ever known. Maybe we can build a little trust before we leave. I’m trying to learn some Russian phrases with the booklet I have so I can communicate with him. I can’t wait to see how he does outside!

5:15pm Well, our outside adventure was somewhat of a bust. Not all, just a bit. Maxim has a really hard time with balance right now. He can sit up just fine, but he falls over if he leans a little too much to the left or back. And walking for him is difficult. He walks a little like he’s drunk. We directed him to a swing set, the kind that has a slide and monkey bars. But he walked away, almost in a circle as if he was going somewhere aimlessly. He fell a couple times, so we had to have a hand on him at all times. I’m starting to believe he has something a bit more wrong with his legs, perhaps at his hips. I’d like to get him home and to a doctor right away to get him diagnosed and get him the help he needs. I saw a family who is adopting at least one child playing in the same playground. The kids were running and playing and sliding. But our sweet Maxim can’t do any of that.

On the positive side, he giggles at everything. He thinks we are wildly funny. He still doesn’t trust us completely, which I totally understand. But he, along with all the other 3 year olds in his group, recognize us. He gets excited to see us, but I think that may be because we give him individualized attention. I suspect he may like the attention more than us. He lets me hold him tentatively, which is expected. I know what to expect because I read a great book about bonding and attachment during our home study. I kind of wish I had brought it. When I hold him, he doesn’t lean in to me or put his arms around me. Instead he kind of leans back, which is his way of saying I know you, but I don’t REALLY know you. He’s a typical boy, wanting to dig in the dirt and pick up rocks.

I can tell it’s going to be a difficult journey. Today we weren’t able to understand what Maxim wanted…no translators. He would get frustrated when we wouldn’t do what he asked because we couldn’t understand, and would whine. But we’d focus his attention on something else and he would be just fine. But our journey home is going to be awful, I can just tell. The Ukrainian people find it offensive to restrain your child in public, but we can’t let Maxim walk without assistance (although that might be because of the shoes we had on him). Deep breath. Anyone know a good support group in the vicinity of Sterling Heights, MI? I think I’m going to need one.

8pm I talked to Igor about some of my concerns. Apparently children aren’t taken outside much, especially in the winter. It’s too cold. So Maxim probably hasn’t been outside for quite some time, which explains why he didn’t really know where to go. Perhaps he was just overwhelmed by the new experiences. You can really tell he really enjoyed himself, though.

Dinner tonight was spaghetti, tea, bread and cookies. Mmmmm….

March 27, 2009

March 27, 2009

Today was perhaps the longest day of the trip so far. Let’s just say sleeping on a train isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. We got off the train, somewhat exhausted, feeling a little gross, and a bit hungry. We waited for our taxi in the cold (it really wasn’t that bad). When the taxi arrived, we stuffed our luggage in the trunk, and back seat with us.

Another test: Place all your bags in the back of a Chevy Aveo; if your things only take up half the trunk, you’re packed light enough for the Ukraine.

On the trip we discovered that this area is the auto capital of the Ukraine. They make their own cars here, as well as manufacturing Chevy’s. Hmmmm…..

We headed directly to the govt office to pick up our letter of invitation. Sounds good. We got there and figured we’d wait at least until 8am to enter. I’m not sure what time we got there, but we ended up waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more. Somewhere around 9am Igor asked where she was. Someone ended up calling her at 9:30am. Where was she? At the bank…she’d be there by 10am. Not a big deal for me. But when 10am came and went, I started to lose it a little. I was tired, hungry, had a headache, and felt pretty gross after not taking a shower in the morning. I started to literally not be able to stay in the hallway…it was making my head spin. So I paced, and went in to the stair well. At about 10:30am she finally came and we got our letter.

If you get Igor as your facilitator, thank your lucky stars. He has a lot of connections and is a very personable guy. Relationships are very important, and if you approach life that way, you’re bound to experience delays up front. But, trust me, Igor is on your side and is there to help you every step of the way. Don’t second guess him for a second. He may seem like he’s taking his time, or trying to make connections in place of helping you, but everything he’s doing is eventually for your benefit.

We got to the orphanage around 11:30am, and got to hang with this little fella for about 20 mins before he had to go to lunch. My first impression wasn’t bad, but wasn’t good either. I didn’t really feel a connection with him at first. He was exhibiting good signs, like not wanting us to pick him up, and running back to his classroom. He has a healthy connection to his caregiver. But he didn’t want much to do with the cute stuffed dog we brought for him to play with. The orphanage appears to be well kept, and well run. The workers we ran in to seem to genuinely care about these children, which makes a big difference. She showed us how smart he is by asking him to pick the biggest of the objects on the table, and put the red circle in the right spot on the puzzle. I compared him to my friend Lindsay’s 2 year old, and he seems to be just a little past that. He’s smart, focused and obedient.

After our meeting, we talked with the doctors about his diagnoses, which aren’t as bad as I initially thought. His feet will require some orthopedic care, but not surgery. And his heart condition is something that’s diagnosed in many orphanage children. The doctors seemed very up front about everything and answered our questions patiently.

Have I mentioned that we still haven’t eaten at this point? Carry snacks with you ALWAYS! I told Igor that I really needed something to eat or I was going to pass out. We got a permission slip to return again at 4pm just to spend more time with him. Normally, we wouldn’t get permission to see him over the weekend, too, until we made the commitment to adopt him. But we wanted an outside opinion from a doctor first. They will still allow us to see him this weekend. That’s where Igor really works for you. He has a great personality and is instantly liked by others.

We ate, although I didn’t eat much. The train ride really made my stomach go whoopsie daisie, and I wasn’t feeling all that great. Strange since I don’t get seasick or carsick. (Add Dramamine to your list of meds to bring with you.) One small bite at a time. Then we were off to find a place to stay for the weekend. Maybe tomorrow we’ll take pictures…the outside of this place doesn’t look like much, but this flat is beautiful. And the lady who lives here is an orphanage worker who has 2 children that live in the US…and even some grandchildren. She told Igor that the boy we visited was a good boy. She thought it was GREAT that we came from America and has treated us very well.

We went to our visit at 4pm and this boy was a different child. He was engaging and fun, and I even got a few chuckles out of him! He is so much like Dave, it isn’t funny. He thought it was a hoot that Dave would give him jumbo legos, which he stacked right away. He was determined to stack each one, and wouldn’t stop until he reached his goal. He also loves his cars, and even showed us how he pushes himself about on a 3 wheeler. He’s on the track to being potty trained. He and I played with a roller for quite some time. I would take the roller apart, and GASP, give them to the boy, who would gasp back, smile and very absorbedly put it back together (there were only two pieces).

After seeing his personality shine through a bit, we looked at each other and just laughed. I’m not sure a biological child would fit in much better. We told Igor that we didn’t need a doctor’s opinion, this is our son. Igor thought we were joking at first. He advised us to sleep on the decision; we’ll visit our boy again tomorrow and then go to the notary if we still want to proceed. I think it’s wonderful that Igor wouldn’t allow us to make a rash decision and it makes me trust his opinion even more. More to come…hopefully pictures, if they’ll allow it.

March 26, 2009

We slept in again…11:30am for me. Someone has decided to remodel the apt above ours, at least that’s what I’m guessing the loud bangs and sounds are. Doesn’t really bother me…I usually wear ear plugs.

Anna came to us at about 3pm again with Igor in tow. He’s hard to read, especially because I don’t know the culture. We had just finished up most of our packing (we being me) when they arrived. We went to lunch were I tried the best cabbage roll with some sort of chicken and rice stuffed in the middle…Mmmmm. And I finally got to try Borcht (?). It was a lot to experience in each bite! I was enjoying in just fine until I bit right in to a piece of lemon….yowza! I’m sure my face was priceless.

Igor left us, and poor Anna, with her head cold, took us to the SDA to wait for our invitation letter. We toured the blue church next door…what a gorgeous view! If you go in, you should cover your head with a scarf out of respect, but it isn’t required or looked down upon if you don’t. We then, with an hour left to wait, sat on the couch next to the door that would open at 5pm so we could get our letter. There was a Spanish couple already waiting, and then an American couple from Denver, CO joined in after a while. All of a sudden there was quite a crowd lined up out the door!

We went in at 5pm, got our letter, walked quickly to our apt where the manager was waiting for us so he could clean, packed up the rest of our stuff in a rush, ran downstairs to the waiting taxi and headed for the train station…our first train ride and it had to be at night. That’s OK. It gave us the opportunity to see our potential son, and it was fun…so we thought.

I have to stop here and tell you how amazing the Ukrainian people are. Anna is a perfect example. She’s the kind of person who, when you look at her, gives you that Ukrainian look. But when you get to know her it doesn’t take long for you to realize she’s one of the sweetest, most patient and giving person you’ve ever known. Then there’s the taxi driver, who was the same guy that picked us up with Anna from the airport. He wanted to give us the taxi ride as a gift! We paid him a little, especially since he waited for us at the apt for 40 mins!!

When we got to the train station we were so excited. It was probably about 6pm, but since neither of us brought a watch, that’s just a guess. Anna stayed with us until Igor met us at around 7pm. We sat in the waiting area until our train was called, took all our luggage up and down stairs, and then hoisted it on to the train. We ended up with first class cabins because second class was booked, and third class wasn’t safe.

I can’t stress the importance of packing light. If you’re gearing up to come here, this is my suggestion: Pack your luggage, walk a mile or about 20 minutes carrying your luggage. If you can do that, you’ve packed light enough for the Ukraine.

OK, back to our fun. We had a chance to get to know Igor a bit more while sitting with him. He loves history and politics. He has lived through a lot in the Ukraine. He was here when the USSR had control, and then during the revolution, independence, etc. He’s seen and experienced a lot. He’s also quite a funny guy. He told me that during the USSR, the one hockey team he followed and liked was the Buffalo Sabres…my husband’s family is cheering and screaming right now!

The train is cool. We read for a while and hit the hay around 11pm. We had a 6am wake up call…woohoo. All I could think about is meeting this sweet little boy. So many questions. Would I know right away? Is this my son?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Waking Up...just a little

We had our first power outage last night for about 3ish hours. Not a big deal. We were watching a movie on our dvd player, so we just laughed and waited it out. If you're planning on coming, bring a reading flashlight. It may come in handy. We ended up using our cell phones as flashlights. It works, unless you want to read!

We had our SDA apptmt today, which explains why we're so tired...I could hardly sleep last night! Anna met us at 11:30am and we walked, since it's relatively close. Wow, what amazing history is here! I love the history of WWII, so to hear that none of the churches here made it through the war, but have been restored, just blows my mind. They are so magnificent and you can see them from miles. One church is bright yellow, another pale blue, and yet another is pretty pink. And these three historical churches are located close to the SDA. We also passed a very regal government building.

The meeting was quick (only an hour). We were called in to an office after waiting on a staircase for a few minutes. Constantine was our translator. We met with someone who first asked to get to know us better. We told her who we were, what we do, and that, yes, we do want to adopt. She then explained to us that there are no healthy children available for adoption, which we said we knew. She showed us lots of kids! And they were all precious. We even saw two sets of twins (can you believe it). One set was diagnosed with FAS, and the other set has a child with a history of epilepsy, which is being controlled by meds. While all the children were very sweet, one little boy stood out for me. He had this look on his face that screamed trouble. I can just see him being the kind of rough and tumble child that gets in to everything and is somewhat fearless. Yes, I know. That's a lot to draw from a one year old photo of a 3 year old. We travel tomorrow and see him on Friday. He has some medical conditions we are preparing to evaluate. He walks on his toes and needs orthepedic surgery. No big deal. He also has a slight cross eye. Not a problem. But the one thing that concerns me is that he needs to have fluid drained from his brain. Apparantely this is something that will need tending to for about 6-12months, and then disappears. Unfortunately I don't remember any of the official diagnoses.

All together we were shown about 6 single children, and two sets of twins...and only 2 were girls. If you're hoping for a girl, pray hard! There are many more boys available for adoption here. Not an issue with us because we don't have any children yet. So next time we'll hope for a girl.

Dave has been going through WIFI withdrawls...he just has to have it. But I've convinced him that paying 12 grivna an hour is nothing (that's $1.50USD). We'll be in another big city soon, so it doesn't make sense to worry about WIFI here.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention...most of the people here are very friendly and used to us crazy Americans (as well as other countrymen) being here. Kiev is a very international city, espeically with all the international adoptions. As long as you make an effort to say something (even as simple as spasiba - thank you) you'll get a smile and very positive results. I even had a cashier tell me that I had water with gas, and she exchanged it for water without gas. I'm very impressed.

Prayer Requests
1. Safety
2. Wisdom for Friday
3. Health - we're taking all the precautions, but you never know what may getcha!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dream Land

Well, we made it here without incident. I expected to walk off the plane in to another world, but it wasn't as different as I thought. We are in the process of getting a phone, since my husband's international phone doesn't work here.

The trip: We flew out of Detroit at 10:15pm. I expected the almost 8 hour flight to Amsterdam to be boring and monotonous, but it was really nice. Northwest has a TV for each passenger, and you get to pick whatever you want to watch. I watched two movies, then tried to rest. It was fun! We even got to our gate a full 30 mins early! We caught our next flight in Amsterdam to Kiev. Just an FYI if you're flying in the area...they had security checkpoints at every gate! At least that we saw...but it was very efficient. We were a bit delirious at this point and took a few goofy pictures...I'll have to upload them later. Flight in to Kiev, no problem. Even a bit early. The airport is a bit intimidating. You ride a bus to the main building, and then go to a booth with a Ukrainian officer, who was very serious the entire time. We tried to fill out the claims form, but were told that we didn't have enough money to claim, so we went straight through.

We were met by our facilitator, Anna, who has been absolutely wonderful. She is very cautious with us, and patient, which is a big credit to her :) She showed us the mall and some of the Square, but it started rain/snowing, so we stayed inside most of the time. We had our first Ukrainian fast food...I had what we call perogis...potato...Mmmmmm. My grandmother used to make them from scratch. Mmmmmm.

The culture here is a lot different than I expected. There is a big European influence here, and you see it in the younger generation. I see a lot of jeans, tight pants, boots, boots, and did I mention boots? Women wear every color, and style of boot imaginable. You can tell this is an international city. I've heard a British Accent, and some sort of Asian language. We're near Independence Square, which has lived up to its reputation. It's beautiful! And very busy all the time. The metro has stops here, and forget about going anywhere during rush hour! (OK, that's really just a big city thing). Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that they speak a combination of Ukrainian and Russian...some sort of mix.

We're on our own for the first time, and plan on being back pretty early tonight. We'll probably watch a movie and hit the hay. Tomorrow is our big day, and I'm pretty nervous about it.

Prayer Requests:

1. That Dave's cold doesn't linger much longer.
2. Wisdom for tomorrow
3. Safety for us and our things

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Good Bye!

We are less than 30 mins away from being picked up to go to the airport. What a great feeling! I hope I'm as prepared as I think I am.

I know you're dying to know what happened with the check. I woke up on Friday morning and stayed in bed praying for a while. I got up, took a shower and checked my email, too nervous to eat breakfast. At 11am I thought I'd check the mail, which normally doesn't come until 12:30 ish. Gasp...the mail was there! I took the mail from the box, and sat down and prayed one last time. "God, I know you provide, so please provide for me today." Nope, that isn't it...nope that isn't it. My heart dropped and I laughed. The check was not in the mail box. However, one of the couples in our AFG told us they would loan us the money until we got back if the check didn't come. They ran to their bank, got a cashier's check and I picked it up, went to my bank and got the money. After well wishes, and texting my husband that it was all taken care of, I sat and thanked God that, although not the way I wanted it, He provided for us.

A friend is staying at our house while we're gone, and he's already got the keys and instructions. Our friend Shannon is picking us up in a little bit, and then we're off.

I don't know when we'll have access to the internet again, so I'll chat with you later and try to keep you posted as much as I can.

Prayer request:

1. That we get there without incident
2. My husband's health...he still has a nasty cold
3. Wisdom in choosing a child to visit

Thanks to all my friends and family who have been sooooo supportive. I'm amazed at how loved I am!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Well, we're running in to a bit of a problem...nothing I'm not too concerned about, sort of. The check from Dave's 401k loan hasn't arrived yet, which is kind of a big deal. If it doesn't arrive tomorrow I'm not really sure what we're going to do for cash. And if it does arrive, it will be in his name, and he won't be able to sign it because he's on his way to Tulsa, Ok right now. Thankfully I know many people in my bank, so hopefully everything will be OK.

I almost feel like God is giving us one last test before we leave. He's reminding me that He is. Period. He owns all I have, including me, and will provide for me. You see, I've been somewhat of a wreck this week, completely overwhelmed with everything going on. And maybe this is God's way of reminding me that HE IS IN CONTROL, not me, not my husband, not any government, but just HIM. What is that familiar saying? Let go and let God...

On a lighter note, I'm almost starting to get excited about leaving for the Ukraine. This morning, the moms from our church's mom2mom Bible study prayed over me. And they and the other volunteers from the morning signed up to pray for me every day while I'm gone. What peace knowing that I'll be covered in prayer!! (BTW if you'd like to specify a day to pray for me, email me the date and I'll add you to my calendar to thank God for you that day.)

And I realized today I'll be gone for Easter for the 2nd year in a row! How funny! Last year I got to experience an Ecuadorian tradition of eating a very protien packed soup on Good Friday, which was VERY delicious and filling. This year I get to experience the traditions of the Ukrainian people. I've attended a few traditions with my grandmother. She would make an Easter basket with a boiled egg, some breads, jam, and a few other things. Then we would head over to church, where the priest would bless the baskets and sprinkle them with holy water. Very interesting. I wonder what traditions are pure Ukrainian, and what traditions have been altered through time.

My mom came to help me on Tuesday, and I don't know what I would have done without her. She brought some clothes for me to borrow, since the Ukrainian people aren't nearly as casual as we are. They don't go to the grocery store without nice clothes and makeup. I'm hoping some of this will rub off on me...I know I tend to be way to casual at times.

Dave is sick. He started with a scratchy throat, and is now stuffed up and coughing like a champ. Pray for him. With his Crohn's, his immune system is somewhat suppressed, so colds tend to linger longer than they would for us regular folks.

That's all for now...I'll update you tomorrow that the check came in and we have the cash at home. I'm claiming God's promise of provision as we follow in His path and His will. (Breathe in, Breathe out...)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 25th

Ah, the times of peace and calm are gone. We found out this morning that we have an appointment with the SDA on March 25th, which means we have to be in the Ukraine no later than March 24th, and leaving March 23rd. We were told we'd have 2-3 months to get everything together, but apparently things have changed! We've been given less than 2 weeks! But God is good and He will provide for us. Our money is on order and should get here by Wed. We are in the process of getting gifts for the orphanage workers, and money belts, and clothes. And I need to find time to go to Buffalo and drop off our dog and cat at my mother-in-laws. Phew! It's going to be a busy week!

I've been following a few blogs, and I may get a chance to meet a few of the families while we're there! How fun would that be!

What do I need now? We need prayer and lots of it! Pray, pray, pray...then pray some more!