Saturday, June 28, 2008

More Stories

Hey there, everyone! Just passing another day in Ukraine. We've got our daily routine set up, coming downtown to the internet cafe is the highlight of our day.

Last night's anniversary dinner was quite different. We went to the restaurant (more like a pub) with the english menu. First we ordered our drinks. I've been on a pineapple juice kick lately, so I was very proud that I could order it in russian. Terry wanted orange juice, so he pointed to the juice on the menu and then an orange square on the window. Our server understood. Then we pointed out in the menu fries, onion rings and 2 orders of chicken fingers (very healthy, eh?) Well, a couple minutes later, the server came out with Terry's OJ, but not mine. Then a couple minutes after that, she came out with the onion rings. We kind of wanted everything together, but started eating anyway. After we finished those, she came out with the fries. then we ate those. When we had finished eating them, I still did not have my pineapple juice. Terry motioned to the server and pointed at his OJ and then at me. She nodded and spoke something we didn't understand, I imagine she was just letting us know that it was coming. So......we sat, and we sat, and we sat some more. About 15 minutes later I got my juice. It was in a tiny little glass, maybe 6 ounces. And it wasn't even all juice. It was about half juice and half foam. I guess they made it fresh from a pineapple. It was OK... a little warm and I finished it in 2 gulps. Then we waited forever for our chicken fingers. We wanted to complain, lucky for them we don't speak russian. Finally they came out, they were very good (but a little cold) We didn't finish them all, (we had 4 left) so we motioned to the server to package them up for us. She did so. Then we finished off with our yummy apple pies.
When we got the cheque, I noticed something strange. They are difficult to read because they are cyrillic. But from what I could see, we got charged 2 different amounts for our juices. One was 18 hryvnas and the other was 74 hryvnas. Terry took it up to a girl at the front who spoke a little english. He pointed at the item for 74 hyrvnas. Yup, she confirmed it...pineapple juice! WHAT???!!?? 74 hryvnas for that tiny glass of pineapple juice??? Yes, she said, that's how much it is! That converts to $16 Canadian. It was the most expensive thing we paid for. That will be the last time I order pineapple juice in a restaurant!!!
Then when we went to eat our leftovers this morning, there were only 3 chicken fingers in our package, not 4. Don't know what happened to the last one!

Not much else going on around here. Just passing our time until we leave on Wednesday. Our friend is helping us to get train tickets. We will be travelling on our own, so we're hoping to get 1 compartment to ourselves (there are usually 4 people in a compartment and they are super-tiny) Our friend has reserved us some first class tickets (2 beds per compartment) but they are quite expensive...$120/each. But I guess we're willing to pay that. Especially when we won't have a translator with us. We will have someone coming to help us board the train and someone to pick us up at the trainstation in Kiev. Phew.

That's all for now. We've been spending some serious time in prayer and looking forward to our next appointment.

Terry and Tara

Friday, June 27, 2008

10 Years Later......we look better than ever!

Yup....We've Still Got It!! :):)

Happy Anniversary to Us!!!!

I can't believe it's been 10 years!!! Who knew back then where we would be now. Well, this will be a very memorable anniversary. We have a little date planned. Yesterday we found a restaurant with an english menu. The waitress did not understand us, but we could just point to what we wanted. It was a little expensive..but worth it. They had the BEST apple yummy! We're going there again tonight. We're also downloading a movie off of itunes, so we can watch it after we are doing dinner and a movie...Ukrainian style! :):)
Thanks to all of you who have been sending us emails and keeping us encouraged. It's nice to know that we are loved and that everyone cares so much. You really keep our spirits up. We know God sent us here to find the right child...and we aren't going to give up.
We've posted some pictures of our apartment. Not pictures of the outside...we didn't want to scare you guys! We like it there. Some things are a little strange. There is no light in the kitchen, so we can only use it during the day. There is no oven, no microwave, no toaster. It doesn't leave us a lot of options for cooking. We are also limited on pots, pans and dishes, but we make due. Our shower is finally fixed, so that's a good thing. It looks like it hasn't been cleaned in years, though. Wish we had some good ol' CLR. We do have a vacuum though.. and it's good. If we could fit it in our luggage, I'd be taking it with me!
You wouldn't believe the number of homeless dogs and cats around is so sad. We were at a bus stop waiting for our trolley yesterday. This cute little doggie was wandering around sniffing everyone's bags and looking up at them. We didn't have any food on us, but some people near us did. They skinned a weiner and ate it, and threw the dog the skin. He was so happy and content! He just laid down at their feet and rested after that. I tried to convince Terry to let us take the dog back to our apartment so we could have a little friend while we're living here...he didn't think it was such a good idea. There are so many dogs and cats around. And the sad thing is, lots of them don't look so healthy. Lots of them limp around. They look very sad.

We just got some great news!!! As we are sitting here typing this, we got a phone call from our facilitator. We got our second appoinment at the adoption center!!! YAHOO!!! It is going to be on Thursday, July 3 at 3:00pm Ukraine time (6 am your time). So we will probably be leaving Donetsk on Wednesday back to Kiev. That's super good news. That's less than a week away. It is totally answered prayer..thanks everyone...keep it up! :):)

OK...back to more stories.
Trolley rides are always an adventure. There is limited seating, so many people have to stand. When you're standing, you really have to be careful. The trolley takes off fairly quickly. If you're not holding on or your legs aren't in the right stance, it is very easy to lose your balance. Well, that happened to me yesterday. I was putting something in my purse when the trolley took off and totally lost my balance. I stumbled backwards and landed on some guys lap!! I felt totally stupid. I said I was sorry (which, of course, he didn't understand) He gave me a not-to-impressed look. Oh well. Terry says the guy probably enjoyed it!

That's about it for today. We are very excited now that we have the news on our next appointment. :):):)

Terry and Tara

Our Apartment

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another fun day in Ukraine

Well, we're still on our own in Donetsk. Life has been interesting to say the least.
The first day we were on our own, we went out for some groceries. Like I mentioned before, everyone just stares at us when we speak English. Terry bought some cereal (coco puffs...very healthy) and what he though was milk. It was white liquid in a glass bottle....looked like milk. It was not. It was like a liquid sour cream. Our Ukrainian friends had a good laugh when they came out yesterday and we asked them if it was milk. Thankfully, they took us to a nearby grocery store and showed us what real milk looks like (same bottle...different label) They do not do skim milk here. 2.5% seems to be the lightest milk.
Another funny thing happened yesterday. Our friends showed us how to catch a trolley bus from downtown back to our apartment. They showed us where to get on and told us how many stops until we get off. So, we hopped on...all proud of ourselves for travelling like seasoned Ukrainians. Everything was going fine and dandy until all of a sudden, the driver slams on the brakes and we hear a big commotion up front. The trolley had started on fire. So, we all had to get off the trolley. We were ok, though. We just walked to the next stop and caught a different one. We had to pay the fare over again though. Oh's only 50 kopecks...about a dime in our money.
Now that we've found our way to downtown, we are feeling a little more independant. We still have to do some exploring. We are having a hard time finding restaurants with english menus. They do not have buffets here like there were in Kiev. Here we actually have to order off a menu...pretty hard when you can't read it!! McDonalds has been quite the hang out for us...but I'm getting quite tired of it!
Our apartment is very tiny, but nice. Last night we had a lady come knock on our door. Terry opened it and she started speaking to him in Russian. He tried telling her that he only speaks english...of course, she didn't understand. She motioned for him to follow her, so he did (which totally freaked me out!) Anyway, it turns out she is our downstairs neighbor. She took Terry into her bathroom to show him that water was leaking into her bathroom from our apartment. Our shower was leaking quite badly. So we had to call our facilitator and have her call the landlord so he could come fix it. He was over a few times today. It made for some interesting conversation....lots of charades!! He was very nice, though, and we are crossing our fingers that the shower will be OK to use tomorrow....IF the water is still on. We have been advised that the water will be shut off for a 24 hour period, we just don't know when.
Other than that, we haven't had too many problems.
By the way dad, Donetsk is in the very eastern part of Ukraine. I know our map doesn't show it. We are on the exact opposite side of Ukraine from your family. They live close to Lviv which is the very western part of Ukraine. It would be a 24 hour train ride for us to go see them. But who knows where we'll end up after this.
Our facilitator turned in our petition for a second appointment. She tells us we should hear from the adoption center by the end of next week. Once an appointment is given, we will have to take the train back to Kiev to visit the adoption center again. At that point, we don't know where we'll be travelling. It depends on the location of the orphanage of the child we pick.
Please keep us in prayer. We would like to ge the appointment ASAP. The longer we are here, the harder it gets and the more it will cost. We know everything will happen in God's timing, though.
We are going to search Donetsk for some free internet. Chris was nice enough to do a search for us and found some it's just a matter of us finding those locations so we don't have to pay.

Terry and Tara

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Temporary Residents of Ukraine

Sorry it's been so long since our last post. A lot has happened since then. Unfortunately it has not all been good. The last we posted, we were leaving Kiev on a train to Donetsk.
We had to be out of our apartment by noon and our train was not leaving until 7pm. So we hired a driver to tour us around for the day so we could keep our luggage in his car. We saw several sights, including an outdoor "museum"...very similar to the Ukrainian Heritage Village at home. It was about plus 30 and sunny. I got a very bad sunburn...we were all sweaty and we were dirty from walking through all the dirt. Then we had to get on this train which our facilitator called a nice was not so nice. There was no place for us to clean up. The bathroom was pretty yucky. In fact, you can't even use the toilet when the train is in a city, as it drains right onto the ground.
So here we are all dirty, trying to get some sleep on this overnight train. Well, the ride was not very smooth or quiet, so we did not get very much sleep. The train arrived in Donetsk at 7:10am. We had an hour to get our luggage off the train, find a taxi, find our apartment, get cleaned up before we had to meet the orphanage inspector. It was a mad rush. Terry managed to get in a shower. I managed to get in a sponge bath and a change of clothes.
We got to the city hall to meet the inspector. She was a very beautiful, young woman. She only spoke to our facilitator. She did not acknowledge us in any way. She never spoke to us or smiled at was very strange.
We filled out some paperwork when we were there, and then it was off to the orphanage to meet the little boy.
Before we met him, we sat down with some ladies who went over his history and medical charts. His story was so sad, but we won't get into it now. Then we got to meet him.
He was the cutest little thing....very tiny. He did not look like a four year old...more like 2. He was very happy and vibrant. Unfortunately, we are not able to adopt him due to his medical conditions. We got to play with him for about half an hour. It was absolutely heartbreaking to have to say no to this little boy. I took it pretty hard.
After our appointment, we went for lunch to talk about our options. Our facilitator wanted to know if we were ready to go home, or if we would like a second appointment at the adoption center. We, of course, are going to stay for the next appointment. We have decided to stay in Donetsk until the next appointment because the rent is half the price than Kiev and the apartment is nicer. The sad thing is, we have no internet connection there. I cried when I found out (what a suck) Well, overall, yesterday was a pretty crummy day for us (Terry's birthday yet) Oh well. Now that we have had a day to rest, things are looking better. All we can do is look forward to our next appointment. This will be our final appointment, as Ukraine only allows 2. They tell us our next appointment will be within 2 weeks. They won't tell us when, they will just let us know when the time comes.

We are now living on our own in Donestk. We had our facilitator go home, or we would have to pay her daily to stay with us and be our translator. Life has been quite interesting. You should have seen the stares we got when we were grocery shopping yesterday! No one here is very helpful at all. One guy at the deli counter in the grocery store walked away from us when we asked him a question in English. Don't worry about us though. We will find our way. We had a friend come out and visit us today. He showed us where the internet cafe is (YAY) It's quite a way from our apartment, but he showed us how to take the trolley to get here. Donetsk doesn't
quite have all the amenities of Kiev, but now that we know our way around, we'll be OK.
So we may not be posting quite as often, but we will whenever we can. Like I always say, please keep sending us your comments and emails. It is our little piece of home!

Monday, June 23, 2008

We're Leaving Kiev

We've got 20 minutes to get out of our apartment, so I'll make this quick. We are leaving tonight for Donestk, so we may not update blog for a day or 2. Thanks for all your comments and emails...keep them coming....they keep us going.
Love you all and thanks for your encouragement.

Terry and Tara

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day 5

It was another beautiful day in Kiev today. 30 Degrees. We did some more touring today. We went shopping for some souvenirs on St.Andrews Hill near the adoption centre. We couldn't buy too many though...they are very expensive. We want to make sure we don't run out of money while we're here.

We also visited the WW II memorial. It was amazing. Everyone in Ukraine knows about their history. Every war, every battle, every date. Life has been very difficult for this country for a long time. We are getting more of an understanding of why there is so much poverty and so many orphans. It's heartbreaking. Now we can see why nobody wants to smile.

We found out how to get aquainted with Ukrainians very quickly today....take a public bus!! My goodness. We hopped onto a bus and I felt I might get trampled! People squish on the bus like sardines in a can! I was up against other people's body parts that I did not want to be!!! And the smell.....not so great! We managed to live through 2 bus rides and 2 underground train rides today. Public transportation is very cheap. All 4 rides today for the 3 of us cost 6 gryvnas...or $1.29 USD. Amazing, eh? Although I'd have to say you get what you pay for.

Another strange Ukraine fact....people drink liquor all over the place. Many people can be seen walking down the street drinking beers. It is totally legal. Cigarettes are sold on the street. Very different.

There are shopping malls here. They are all underground. Some of them are quite nice. I was surprised to see how much stuff is available here. Not all cities will be like this, but Kiev is quite modern. We were in a "beauty store" yesterday. Very similar to a drugstore, but with no drugs. Here we were able to purchase anything we would need...shampoo, soap, deodarant, etc. All the same brands we have at home. The only thing quite different here is toilet paper. We could not find any white TP. It is all brown or peach colored. And no nice 2 ply either. We brought one roll from home, but it's almost gone. :(

Another thing we learned today...our washing machine is also a dryer!! Ya! 2 in 1! Once your clothes go through the wash cycle, you just turn it to dry. We always thought there were no dryers here.

Well, this may be our last post for a day or 2. We have to be out of our apartment by noon tomorrow. Then we will do a little more touring. We have hired a driver for tomorrow. Then at 7 pm we should be leaving on a train for Donetsk. We have not been able to get train tickets yet, so we are keeping our fingers crossed. Please pray! The train will be an overnight ride. Our facilitator says it is about 12 hours to Donetsk. Then we will go visit the little boy on Tuesday.

So long for now. Keep sending your comments and emails! We will catch up in a couple of days.

City of Kiev in the Backroung...It's Pretty Huge!

Shopping For Souvenirs on St.Andrews Hill

Children Performing in Downtown Kiev

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Enjoying Ukraine!

Sam, your message last Sunday was fantastic....we are ENJOYING our time in Ukraine. We may not have all the luxuries of home, but we are making the best of it!
Today was a great day. It was our first not busy day. I was able to sort out our luggage and organize...I feel much better now! We're still living out of suitcases because we can not settle here, but stuff will be easier to find now!

We started our day with a nice sleep in until 10am. Then we went for breakfast and did some touring. The weather here was absolutely perfect today!

We went on the underground train today. That was very interesting. Their underground trains here are about 150 feet underground! To get to them, you have to take an escalator ride that takes about 5 minutes...and the escalator is extremely would have to see it to believe it. I kinda get dizzy going down it! We took pictures, but they do not do any'll just have to come to Kiev and see for yourself!

We had an AWESOME supper today.....PIZZA!!!!!! We asked for ham, pineapple and pepperoni....we got ham, pineapple and hot peppers...close enough! We just picked off the hot peppers. It was delicious!!! Then we had the best dessert. It was blackberries wrapped in crepes, drizzled with chocolate and berry sauce with ice cream on the yummy! By far the yummiest meal I've had since we got here...tasted like home. :)

Oh! I thought of more interesting things about Ukraine....there are no screens in the windows. Not very good when it's hot out and you want to open the windows to cool off!

Also, indoor shoes and outdoor shoes seem to be the custom here. For those of you travelling to Ukraine soon, be sure and bring some slippers for inside. I don't mind at all. The floors in the apartment aren't the cleanest.

Well, we're going to end our day by kicking back and relaxing to some DVDs we brought to watch. Tomorrow, our facilitator will be taking us to some of the bigger sights in Kiev. It will be our last full day here....


Touring Kiev!

Not-So-Beautiful Ukrainian Architecture (Our Apartment)

Beautiful Ukrainian Architecture

Underground Train

Friday, June 20, 2008

Life In Kiev

We ran into some problems with our paperwork today, so we will not be leaving Kiev until Monday evening to travel to Donetsk. We will be playing tourists for the next couple of days, as no work for the adoption can be done over the weekend. I thought I might share with you some things about Ukraine that are quite different from home.......

No fast food restaurants. (Except for McDonalds in on almost every corner) Instead they have these places that our facilitator calls "cafeterias." They are like buffets and are all very similar. One section of salads, one section of soups (borscht), a couple sections of meat/potato/rice, etc. One section of "pancakes" (they look like crepes and they all have different fillings), tiny dessert sections, and drink section. When you enter these restaurants, you grab a tray. You go through each section and decide what you want. Each thing you get is served on a plate that is weighed before being given to you. You then go up to the till and pay, go to your table and unload all the little plates off of your tray so you can return it. It is very cheap to eat in these places. Approx $30 Gryvna for the 2 of us (approx $10 US) McDonald's is the most expensive place we've eaten. Another funny thing about the restaurants is that when you walk in there are sinks at the front door for you to wash your hands (usually)

Laundry...we are fortunate enough to have a machine in our apartment in the bathroom. It is tiny. We did our first load today. I pair of jeans, 2 pairs of yoga pants, a T-shirt and some socks and underwear. We BARELY fit it all in. And it runs for about and hour and a half! I don't get it. There are no dryers in Ukraine. We have hung our clothes on the balcony to dry.

Ukrainian drivers.....oy!... You thought Edmontonians are bad! There are no rules here. No speed limits. No laws when it comes to driving. Everyone drives extremely fast. Lots of roads are not paved...they are like cobblestone. Makes for a rough ride. And people park ANYWHERE. The first day we got here, we had to go to a notary office. Several cars just stopped on the road and were parked there! Many people walk in Ukraine (we have walked for miles!) When you cross the road, you do so at your own risk. Pedestrians are fair game for drivers.

Ukrainians don't's true. When you walk down the street, no one looks you in the eye and no one smiles. Sometimes it seems very depressing. Our facilitator told us it's because life is so rough here and people are not afraid to show it. Once you speak to some people here, though, or ask for help, they are very willing to be helpful.

That's just a few differences between Ukraine and Canada. I have managed to finally post some pictures below. Maybe as we tour the next few days, we will post some more.

For anyone reading this blog who would like to send us an email, please do not send them to our shaw email address. We can not access it from here. Our address that you should be sending mail to is


Our Bedroom

One of the Many Churches in Kiev

Looking Down from Our Balcony

View from Our Apartment Balcony

Terry's Favorite Place in Kiev

Entrance to Our Apartment

Thursday, June 19, 2008

SDA Appointment

Today was another adventurous day. Last night we were informed by the airport that our luggage did not make it and that we would not be receiving it until late today. That posed some problems, as we had packed dress clothes in our carry on luggage for our appointment, but not dress shoes. Also, I could not plug in my hairdryer or curling iron as our voltage converters were packed in our luggage plus I had no hairspray. We found out very late that our luggage wasn't coming, so it was too late to go buy anything. We did end up managing with what we had, though. All I had to do was buy some sandals for the appointment first thing this morning. Now I have 2 new blisters. Lucky I packed a blister kit. Our carry ons were packed pretty good. As Terry would put it... I pack for every "natural disaster." Now I know this is not what you want to be hearing want to hear about the appointment......

The appointment at the SDA (state department of adoptions) was extremely difficult. We were told right off the bat that there were no young kids available as they are adopted locally. Also, they were aware of the strict health requirements that Canada has regarding immigrating children. They do not consider any child in an orphanage to be healthy. Every single child has a long list of diagnoses in their files, so it's a matter of picking out a child that you think has the least health problems. We were first shown 4 boys. All were between the ages of 3 and 5. The first one had fluid build up around his brain, another suffered from seizures, another had a very small head, which is a sign of mental retardation. You could tell just from looking at the pictures that all of them were very sick. The final boy they showed us just turned 4 two weeks ago. He has some eye problems (severely lazy eye) and some other issues listed on his file that we didn't understand. Then we were shown 1 little girl. She just turned 3. She was so precious. She had the biggest blue eyes and blond hair. Unfortunately, we could tell right away that she had a sever case of fetal alcohol syndrome. It was very hard to pass her up because we always thought we would be bringing home a little girl. It took us almost an hour to go through these files, and that's all the time they give you. We had to make a decision given the files we were shown or go home. We have decided to visit the little boy who just turned 4. We phoned the adoption doctor to go over what was listed in the file. He said it would be advisable for us to have a physical examination done on him as his file is not very clear. When we listed the conditions of the 4 other children we were shown, he advised us not to bother even looking at them, as they were all very ill. All the pictures of the children we saw, we could tell immediately they were very sick. But this little boy looks very normal aside from his lazy eye. He is quite cute with dark brown hair and very blue eyes like Terry. We phoned the orphanage to double check his condition. They told us that he walks and talks, which none of the other children we looked at could do.
This was still a difficult decision based on his age. We really did want a younger child. But we will go see him and have him examined to see if he will be adoptable. If he is not, we will have to make another appointment at the SDA to view more files, which will probably take another 2 weeks. We are really hoping that this little boy is healthy enough.

On the plus side, we did get our luggage delivered a couple of hours ago. On the minus side, one of our bags was broken into. We put big beefy locks on all of our luggage. It looks like someone took a hammer and smashed the whole zipper right off (we will not be able to use this suitcase again) The only major thing we noticed missing so far is our IPod docking station. It's disappointing because we wanted it to listen to music, but it's a very small problem in the grand scheme of things. We are just very grateful to have the rest of our stuff! Our laptop died earlier today, and we were waiting desperately for our voltage converters so we could plug it in. We couldn't get it working at first and I was very concerned that we would not have internet or email. But we've got it rigged up should see it, you would be amazed it even works!

We will only be in Kiev for 1 more day. We will be travelling to the Donetsk region to meet the little boy on Monday. Our facilitator thinks we will have internet there. We're crossing our fingers.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WE MADE IT......Our luggage didn't!

It has been a looong day! I've been up now for 30 hours and it'll still be a few more before we go to bed...a little scary considering our appointment at the adoption centre is tomorrow!!! Our flight leaving Toronto was delayed (BTW we had not problems at the airport in Toronto....very easily caught our connection), but due to the delay, we only had about 20 minutes to catch our connecting flight in Paris. Airport staff met as as soon as we got off the plane and rushed us through security so we wouldn't miss our flight to Kiev. Thankfully, we made our flight, but our luggage didn't. After standing in the customs line in Kiev for over an hour, we made this discovery. Then we were in the lost and found for another hour to fill out forms. They tell us our luggage will be here at 8 pm tonight. The unfortunate thing is, we had to give them keys to all of our locks for the bags to be able to go through customs. We're not very happy at the thought of them going through our bags while we're not there, but there's not much else we can do.
As soon as we went through that ordeal, we met our facilitator and driver. (who drives VERY fast!) They immediately took us to meet a special adoption doctor to help explain some terms we might hear during our appointment tomorrow. He was very good and spent a lot of time with us. Once we get our referral, he will travel to the orphanage with us to make sure the child's health is in line with Canadian immigration.
After the doctor, we rushed to get some documents notarized, then we went to eat. That was a little scary. We went to this little buffet place. I guess it was nice in the fact that we could just point to what we wanted. We had chicken, potatos and pickles. The funny thing was, we picked what we wanted, they put it on a plate for us, then they threw the plate in the microwave to warm it up...weird! But I'm happy to say it was very tasty. We were starving as the airplane food served once we got to Europe was not edible!
We just arrived a few minutes ago at our apartment. It is very scary looking on the outside. The elevator barely held the 3 of was really dark and rattled and banged up to the 4th floor. The apartment is quite big...2 bedrooms, a living room and a little kitchen. The decorating is very outdated, but it will do the trick. I'll just be happy to lay down in a bed tonight. Once our bags get here (which I hope they do, otherwise I'll be wearing running shoes with my dress clothes tomorrow) I'm going to bed!!
The culture shock here hit us a little harder than we expected. We just follow our facilitator around like lost puppies. Kiev is not quite the city I expected. The buildings are extremely old and run down. Although I've noticed that once you get in them, they are not so bad.
Tomorrow's the big day.....hopefully we'll have an update for you. We've scored some free wireless internet in our new pad, but the laptop is almost dead and we can't plug it in until we get the converter from our luggage. Sorry to ramble for so long...hope you're not bored reading all this!


Monday, June 16, 2008

We're Off!

The time has finally come. This past week has been a huge blur for us. We've been running around like crazy trying to buy last minute stuff and also trying to squeeze some time in to say our goodbyes to family and friends. It's been very emotional...we know it will be hard to be away from home.
Yesterday our church threw us a surprise lunch. The whole congregation came out as well as some of our family to wish us well. It totally made our day. There were many tears shed (not only by me!) I would really like to thank everyone who put that lunch together! And also for the generosity of all those who helped us with donations! It was a HUGE blessing for us!
I will post as soon as I can after we leave. We love and will miss all of you!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


For those of you who have been around me lately, you know that I'm pretty big into countdowns. This, however, is the biggest countdown of all. Life as we know it is changing faster than we could ever imagine! We are about to go on a journey of a Ukraine to adopt a child.
How it all started........January 2006
It was a rainy Sunday afternoon. Terry (my super hubby) was snoozing on the couch and I was channel surfing. I came across a program about orphans in Ukraine. It really touched me, and as I sat there wondering what I could do to help these poor kids, I heard in my heart "go get one......" After some logical thinking, I thought "WHAT?!?! That's the craziest thing ever!" and I tried to push it out of my mind. After that, Terry and I went out for supper.
We were at Joey's Only (that's right, Amy...our fave spot!) I was still trying to get the thought of adopting a baby out of my head. Terry and his super hubby intuition could tell something was up. So here I am in Joey's Only sobbing over my fish and chips as I tell Terry about my crazy idea. For those of you out there who know Terry and I, you would know just how absurd this idea was. He and I had discussed having children many times and always decided against it. Neither of us ever had a desire for children. Now, not only did I want a child, I wanted to travel halfway around the world and spend a boatload of money to get one!!!!
For all you wives out there, imagine springing that one on your husband! But, like I mentioned already, I have a super hubby!! Without ANY hesitation or reservations, his answer to me was simple...let's do it!!
Many people ask us why adopt? I, myself, am adopted and I know what a blessing it has been. I truly believe that God planned for me to be raised by my adoptive mom and dad. If no one had ever told me I was adopted, I would have never known. I fit in perfectly and can't imagine growing up anywhere else. One great thing about adopting from Ukraine is my Ukrainian background. My birth parents were Ukrainian and Russian and my dad (adoptive) is Ukrainian. In fact, he speaks Ukrainian fluently. (side you lots dad!! Hope you've figured out how to read our "blob" :):)
So here we are 2.5 years and 50 lbs of paperwork later! There has been a lot of red tape to get through to get this far. It's certainly been a rollercoaster....lots of ups and downs. But God has been faithful in giving us hope even when there was none. We finally got our invitation from Ukraine in mid April asking us to meet at the SDA (State Department of Adoptions) on June 19. We will be flying out on the morning of June 17.
What happens now.......
We will arrive in Ukraine on June 18. That day we will meet with our facilitator who I imagine will give us a little "coaching" session before our appointment. We will also meet with a doctor who specializes in international adoption. He will go through medical terms with us so we know what we're dealing with when we hear them.
The appointment......
Now, I'm only going on what I've heard from others who have gone through this already. Every appointment can be a little different. Generally what happens is you are shown 1 to 3 files on children that meet your criteria (we have requested boy/girl under 2) The file usually has a really ancient photo of the child and a medical writeup. Based on that information, we pick a child. We are then told what region the child is in (there are orphanages all over Ukraine) and make arrangements to travel to that region to meet them. Once we meet the child, they are checked over by a doctor to make sure they meet Canada's requirements for immigration. If everything is good and we decide to go ahead and adopt that child, we proceed to go ahead with all the legalities. We have to go to court and finalize the adoption in Ukraine. Once the adoption is finalized, there is a mandatory 10 day waiting period for us to remain in the country. During the entire process, we do not get to take the child from the orphanage. We will probably get to visit them about an hour a day until everything is finalized. It sounds really easy, but apparently it's not. If everything goes off without a hitch, we could be out of the country within 4 weeks, but usually, people are there longer. We are really hoping for 6 weeks max. But, we're ready to do what's needed to get our child home!
We will try to post to this blog on a regular basis when we are in Ukraine. We may not always have internet connection, but when we do, I will update. We will also post pictures if we can. There is a spot you can click on to post comments....comments would be greatly appreciated!! I know we will miss everyone so much and it will be great to hear from all of you. If you don't want to post a comment on our blog, but would like to send us a message, you can email us at
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all of our families and friends for their continued support. For those of you who have helped us financially....thanks so much!!! Every little bit helps!! And thanks to those who have been faithful to pray for us and who will continue as we go on our way!!