Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Homeward Bound!

Well, we've just about come to the end of our journey.  Hard to believe that a month has gone by since we arrived in the Ukraine.

Today we'll be picking up Ben's visa at the American embassy in Kyiv, and then stopping by the State Department of Adoption so that Ben can visit with his lady fan club.

Tomorrow we head to the airport for a 6:45 am flight.  Ben, of course is very excited to be going to America.  (He, of course, won't be quite as excited when we wake him up at 3:30 am to get ready).

On Monday our interpreter surprised us by taking us to an amusement park with Ben.  He loved the rides and had cotton candy for the first time!  We think the swings were his favorite...or maybe it was the big green  slide.  :-)

Right now we are packing and Ben has his own backpack that he is filling with all kinds  of important his bear, cocoa puffs, his picture album from the orphanage... He doesn't want to sleep now and is playing with our phone.   

On our last outing in Kiev, Ben (who had a little money) decided he wanted to buy some flowers for "Babushka" (Grandma) and we didn't have the heart to tell him that we couldn't take them on the plane.  So Ben bought his flowers and carried them around the square.  He would dip them in the fountain occasionally to water them.  (So sweet!)  And then, he found another vendor who was selling a variety of toys and asked how much was the plastic machine gun.... oh brother!  We have a handful but has is so much fun!  

See you all soon and thanks for your notes, thoughts and prayers!


Deb and Giles

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sorry about the lack of recent blog activity.  We've been without internet access for the last few days and just recently were able to get to an internet cafe and get caught up on e-mail.

Tuesday was "Gotcha Day!"  We drove all around town to finish the paperwork and then arrived at the orphanage with candies and juice to have a party with   he children before taking Ben home.  There were about 15 kids from ages of 3 to about 14  and everyone had a good time.  Benjamin took a lot of pictures with our camera (he's a good photographer!) and then finally he said, "Let's go! Let's go!

So Ben took his belongings out of his locker (stuffed animal, books, and a few papers)and danced out the door!

We stayed at the director's house overnite and returned in the morning to Paltava to do the passport.  We are in a  nicer flat now which is convenient to parks and places to eat.  

Ben is now learning what it means to have parents.  As Giles puts it, our parenting is kind of like pushing a shopping cart that has a funny wheel and goes in different directions sometimes!  Ben is great and we love him very much...he just has a strong will that we are helping him with.  The language barrier makes it challenging but we are doing what we can.  It's amazing how our motivation for learning Ukrainian language has increased even more!   We are trying to help him realize our role as parents rather than just playmates.  And that takes some time.

We took him to 2 different parks had a nice merry- go- round , which he enjoyed for the first time, and the second had these electric cars for kids.  He rode 3 different cars...the first was slow, the second was larger, and the 3rd was big and, of course,  faster!  He drove around the park (sometimes wildly!) while we tried to help him go straight and not run into people.  He tries to figure out how everything works rather than look where he's going!  

It's fun to see what Ben thinks   of...he spent 15 minutes yesterday just messing up my hair and showing me what it looks like in the reflection of a CD! (And laughing every time!) 

Right now, Zhenya is teaching Giles all kinds of Ukrainian phrases while I am writing this.  He also helps to explain what it will be like on the plane which is a big help!

We have 4 more days here, then 2 days in Kiev, and hopefully we'll come home after that.  We think it will be about July 16th or 17th.  

Blessings to all!


Monday, July 6, 2009

We are traveling back to Gadach today to do more paperwork for the next few days. We may not have access to the internet.  

God bless!

Deb and Giles

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dodging Raindrops but Not Puddles!

Dark clouds loomed on the horizon...sudden downpour... thunder!  And then blue sky 5 minutes later! It was like this all day and we managed to escape the rain each time.  But rain makes puddles and everybody knows little boys love puddles!  Ben stepped in a small one first and then looked up at us... when he saw us smiling, that was his ticket to dive into the big ones!  (I guess we better watch our expressions.  :-)

Ben is taller than Giles here... he made sure we knew that!

Irina took us to 2 different malls to find clothes for Ben.  They are less that 3 years old and look just like ours.  Here  we are playing chess on a table they have set up in one mall.  the other mall has an ice skating rink and a large play zone for children.  (And great pizza!)

Zhenya, our coordinator is here with us as we visited with Ben.  

Irina helps us with interpretation each day that we go to see Ben.  She is such a blessing!

Today we told Ben that he will be living with us in a few days and he smiled!  

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Flying Frisbees

Ben is improving his skills at throwing and catching the frisbee.  We think Irina, our interpreter has just as much fun as the rest of us!  

A babushka was watching as we played and every time Ben caught it she would smile and say, "maladets!" which means basically, "great job."

Ben was bug-eyed as he had his first taxi ride today.  (He has never ridden in a car before, only public transport.)  We drove to the photo place where Ben had his passport photo taken.  He did a great job as the photographer was telling him to straighten up, turn slightly left, no right, now up....  

Tomorrow we will go to a mall to find Ben some regular shirts.  Then, Zhenya, our beloved coordinator will accompany us to see Ben.  Zhenya has a great command of the English language and will begin preparing Ben for coming home with us to the States.  

This Tuesday marks the end of the 10 day required waiting period and Ben will officially be ours!   Next week promises to be busier with trips to the notary, passport office and such.  

Be well, everyone!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Who doesn't love a teddy bear?

We started off the evening by giving Ben a teddy bear which he loved very much!  He became Ben's buddy and accompanied us to the park after playing some frisbee.  It's fun watching Giles lunge after somewhat misguided throws from his son.  :-)

We just happened upon this park in our explorations of the area.  It has a nice playground including swings.  His orphanage doesn't have swings so we think this was the first time he's been on them.  (He started off sideways!)  A nice girl was swinging next to him so the competition began...each one was prompting their pushers to go higher.  We kept hearing, "Higher, Papa, higher!"  We both agreed that we would have been sick if we'd swung half as long as Ben did!  But he kept smiling.  :-)
He started off with some imaginative play at the top of the slide area, saying this was his house.  So I entered his world and he offered me to come in.  Ben made me some tea, supper and then told me it was time to sleep.  (The bear slept too.)  It was good to see his imagination at work! 

We had printed some pictures and I asked Ben, "Would you like to see some pictures?" to which he responded, "Da" before the translation was given.  So we guess some English language is getting through! 

We would like to bring him some McDonald's tomorrow so we'll see what he thinks of that!

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and prayers!  This has been a special experience for all of us!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Shishkabobs and Sweetbread

Another hot one!  It must have been 95 degrees again.  But that didn't prevent us from buying sweetbread and popping the plastic bag at least 7 times.  That was a trick that Ben showed us which amused Giles immensely!

The bread had cherries in it so Ben would spit out a pit every so often.  (Not used to  seeing that when someone is downing a piece of bread!)  

The shashleek (shishkabob) was

 excellent(chicken, pork, and beef) and we had some good fellowship with the folks from Calvary Chapel by the river.  

Ben picked me a wildflower for the first time!  (His father taught him to do that last week)  How to make a girl smile!  :-)

Giles and I hunted for and found a frisbee today. (There was one frisbee available after looking  in 3 toystores here) So we taught Ben how to play and he loved
(no pictures because we all were playing)  

Upon arriving home to our flat, a sweet Babushka was sitting outfront and proceeded to speak with me about some issues.  I listened and nodded, and she seemed satisfied.  Then when we went upstairs Giles asked me what she which I replied,
 "I have no idea..."   Giles could barely keep in the laughter until we entered our flat!  This is what it means sometimes to "get by" with my Russian language.  :-)