Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ukrainian Breakfast Sausage-- you can run, but you can't hide

Days 35 and 36

Vitals:   Nothing…Neither Oleg nor Nadya called on Friday, so we have no idea whether they got the paper and the court date for Roman.  I called Friday about 4pm, but no one has called back.  And so we wait....

Non Vitals:  So Bill woke up Saturday morning with visions of sausage links dancing in his head.  We found breakfast sausage at the Ashan and he and the kids had been craving it for three days.  He cooked it about half way and then woke me up so I could make French toast. Bill doesn’t make French toast.  He cooks bacon, sausage, Zatarains Red Beans and Rice, and fried egg sandwiches.  All other cooking is outside the scope of his interest.  Therefore, it is my job to make the French toast. 

I have to say before I go into this, that I am not a complete whiner.  My first summer in Ukraine (back in 1988) included caviar (not actually tasty) warm beer and dried fish.  I spent a summer in Turkey where I traveled on hot buses surrounded by Turks who didn’t use deodorant and had clearly never heard of dental floss.  I spent two weeks in Africa where actually, the food wasn’t too bad but still, there are some unique smells in these places that you just can’t produce in America.  Not only that, my dad is a veterinarian.  My first job was cleaning dog cages in his small-animal clinic the year of the first Parvo outbreak.  I spent every morning for a whole summer up to my elbows in bloody dog diarrhea and vomit.  I have five kids.  I have eaten dried leftover hot dogs, day old baby liver and Oreo cookies dipped in ketchup and shoved into my mouth with chubby, slimy toddler hands.  I have eaten kidney, sheep brain, cow tongue (complete with tastebuds) fried blood and Aunt Rachael’s meatloaf.* 

However, nothing prepared me for the smell of that Ukrainian sausage. OH MY GOODNESS.  I can’t tell you what it smelled like in polite company, but it was AWFUL.  I am certain they wasted NO body parts in the making of that sausage.  I walked into our kitchen and walked right back out again.  Bill followed me waving his spatula and gesturing frantically --hoping to make sure I didn’t comment in front of the kids.  He needn’t have bothered.  He took one look at my face and then opened the apartment door and the balcony window to get a cross breeze and air out the kitchen.

I hid in the bathroom.  He came after me a few minutes later with another plea for French toast, so I went back into the kitchen. I have to admit, it did smell better, but still not good.  I closed the door so the smell wouldn’t waft into the living room where the kids were, which may sound stupid but we couldn’t leave the door and windows open since it was frigid outside.  Bill asked me again about the toast, but we only have one pan, so I had to wait.  I sat at the bar watching him and wondering how many different body parts were sizzling on my stove top.  Then Bill, who up until this point in our marriage has appeared to be a fairly rational human being, cut off the end of one of the links and tasted it.  “It’s not bad,” he said, chewing thoughtfully.  “It tastes like bratwurst.”  Well then, that’s the last time I’ll ever eat bratwurst.  He offered me a taste.  I couldn’t do it.  If this had been some peasant woman gleefully handing me sizzling, mixed organ pieces, I would have eaten it for the sake of the gospel, but this was my husband.  Nothing Doing.  

Bill served up the sausage.  I made French toast.  We aired out the kitchen one more time and called the kids.  The good news is: they ate it.  The bad news is: they are going to want us to buy more.  Bill insisted that once you get past the smell it’s not so bad.  All I can say is that next Saturday, they can eat that sausage with fried egg sandwiches.  I’m staying in bed.

We had the kids do half a day’s worth of school because we are getting Ruslan on Monday so, of course, that day will be shot.  Then we went out to the center of the city to look at a war memorial (that huge statue that we saw from the other side of the river) and a monastery that advertised some caves—catacombs-- that we never did find.  We found the monastery, but all the signs for the “caves” just took us to other little chapels.  It appears as though people took it as a pilgrimage. They walked a certain path, easily two miles, to all these different chapels and lit candels at each one. 

The kids wanted me to tell you that at one point, right when we were in the center of the city, by a McDonalds, I sent Paul to time out.  This happens often, so much so that I don’t even have to explain a reason anymore since “generally annoying” has enough meaning to keep him quiet.  So, anyway, I sent Paul to stand next to a light pole in the middle of a paved eating area with umbrellas and some tables.  The light pole looked like one of those Victorian, cast iron lights, about 12 feet tall with three decorative ball lights on the top and it was bolted to the stone sidewalk.  Just as the rest of us prepared for five minutes of peace, Paul leaned against the light pole.  We all stood with our mouths open as the entire light pole started to lean from Paul’s weight.   It turns out those bolts were decorative also.  I felt like a cartoon character, frozen mid stream with my arms outstretched.  I think it got to about a  70 degree angle before I finally got out the sound, “AHHH!” --about the same time the rest of the family started screaming, attracting the attention of the whole square.  Paul’s eyes lit up and he grabbed the pole and slowly pulled it back into a standing position.  I told him to go stand next to a cement pole, and STOP LEANING!

We finally got home around 6:00. That was Saturday.  Today is Sunday and it’s about 2:00 as I write this.  We have been goofing off all morning.  I keep thinking we will go check out a church somewhere, but by the time Sunday comes, we are all wiped out.  We’ll probably stay in the apartment until about 5:00, when everyone else goes home and then head out to do some grocery shopping.   Sunday evening is the ONLY time that the stores are not PACKED, so we’ve been doing our shopping now. 

Wish us luck!!

*Name has been changed to ensure family harmony.  But to quote my cousin, “That was the most awful meatloaf I have ever put into my mouth.”  We all still remember it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Big Lots and Building Repairs

Day 33 and 34

Vitals:  We hit another delay.  Oleg filed our Petition to Adopt Roman on Monday. The judge wouldn’t consider it on that day because the “destroyed” papers were missing.  We got that corrected on Tuesday.  However, the judge STILL will not consider our petition without another certain paper from the SDA.  Apparently Oleg went three separate times (T, W, Th) to ask this judge to get the process moving without the paper, but she will not do it.  So, we have to wait until the SDA gets the paper out.  I thought Oleg would have it today, but it’s 7:00pm here and I haven’t got a call back from Oleg nor Nadya, so there is no telling.

Not So Vital:  We went to see Ruslan Thursday morning and he is fine.  One of the caregivers has been teaching him English and he said, “Hello” when he saw us which was very cute.  As usual, he dug through our backpacks for most of the visit.  We make him put things away before he can open another zipper, and he was very particular about putting it all away properly.  We also brought candy for the other kids.  Ruslan was just beaming as he brought the bag over to them. 

There were three other girls in the orphanage today.  They were sitting around a table watching one of the caregivers sew some bibs.  As soon as we came in, two of the girls just lit up with smiles.  We walked over to where they were sitting and they started touching us and finally the older one just couldn’t stand it anymore and she got up and gave all my kids hugs.  Then she gave them all hugs again until one of the caregivers made her stop.  I was holding Ruslan up at the time, but it was all I could do not to put him down and scoop her up.  She’s probably about three or four.  Please pray for abundant hugs in her future.

We left in good time and saw the Lutz’s at the bus stop.  It was so nice to talk with an American!  That made the bus ride go quick.  Small compensation for our realization that they arrived here two weeks after us and will probably leave here two weeks before us.  Sigh.  We got off the bus early to go to a Wal-Mart/Sams type super store called Ashan (AWAH in Cyrillic). That was the first public building we have been in that was not packed to the gills with people.  We were actually able to move through the aisles at a reasonable pace.  It’s amazing what a difference something as small as finding an un-crowded store can make.  Both Bill and I mentioned it again and again. It’s a huge weight off, to know it’s possible to get food without fighting a crowd.  I think we’ll be going back there as much as we can for food. 

Our apartment only has dishes for four people and they are breakable, so as soon as we got here, we bought some plastic cereal bowls that we have been eating from all month.  Ashan had plastic plates!  We also got  more school supplies, a few toys for the kids, and Bill found Tabasco Sauce, mustard, and breakfast sausage (I’ll have a full report on that on Saturday).   We went outside and found our bus right away, but the driver was sleeping with his head on the steering wheel and the door was locked.  So, we just sort of hung out until we finally found a schedule and learned that the bus leaves every hour.  By that time, it was 2:30 and Bill was starving.  So, I ran back inside for some snacks.  Usually, when you buy produce here, you put your stuff in a flimsy plastic bag and there is an attendant nearby who will weigh your food and punch in a number code.  A sticker comes out with a bar code and (presumably) the amount and price of your produce and they attach it to the bag.  At the Ashan, there was no attendant by the scale. I grabbed some bananas and sort of hung back hoping to catch the number code people were punching in for bananas.  In the end, all I had to punch was the button with a picture of bananas on it.  Such are the benefits of living in a country with a questionable literacy  rate!

One of the things that make it so very hard to live here is that you have to watch a whole country continually self destruct.  It’s just amazing what a large percentage of their time is spent on self-destructive activities. The most glaring is their construction practices.  For example, our building is probably one of the best looking in Ukraine, but that is only because they covered their brick work with some sort of tiles.  Someone ran into a corner of our parking garage, exposing the brickwork underneath.  The cement was full of bumps and huge gaps and holes.  Bill walked past this on our first day here and practically had a cow. He said, ‘How can they not see that water will get into all those cracks in the cement, expand when it freezes and ruin the integrity of the structure?”

After 100 years of crumbling buildings, you would think that someone would catch on, but the evidence is ALL OVER that they still don’t get this.  All the cement work is shoddy and all the buildings are crumbling.  The other day, two men repaired a cement building right outside our window.  I  think the pictures speak for themselves: 

Anyway, on that note, there are a few simple repairs that we wanted to take care of in our apartment, so Bill bought some tools.  The first thing he tackled was our refrigerator door.   The refrigerator is in a corner of the kitchen.  The door opens with the handle by the wall and the hinge on the counter side.  There’s just no reason for this, since the hinge can be easily switched so the door can open toward the room.  Bill bought a set of Phillips screwdrivers and tried to unscrew the door hinge.  The screwdriver was stripped in about five seconds and that was the end of that repair.  I've seen stripped screws, but never a stripped screwdriver.  It’s like we’re living inside a massive Big Lots with no way  out! 

Today (Friday) Bill took Matt to see Roman and I stayed home with the other kids. I’ve noticed that about every four to five days, I’m either starving or exhausted.  This morning it was exhaustion. I got up in good time, but couldn’t stay awake.  I laid back down and slept till almost 9am.  The problem with this is that everything takes so long to get done and I started very late in the morning.  By the time we shower, pick up the kids beds, get them dressed, sweep the floors (no vacuum), do the dishes by hand, while intermittently filtering water, and washing/hanging/folding laundry, two hours easily has passed each morning.  If I make a big breakfast, you can add another hour. 

Laundry is a huge time-sucker. The laundry machine is about 1/6 the size of American machines, so we do three to four loads every other day.  There are NO dryers here, so it all has to be hung.  This was a huge problem at first.  There is a clothes line in the bathroom here, but that was ineffective, since it is also the wettest room  (HELLO!).  I moved it all to the sunroom until it got too cold.  Then I had it all over the apartment until we got the heater to work in the kitchen.  Now I have it in a corner, just under the heater.  This was a huge step since now it will dry in about 24 hours, but laundry is an ever-present task, as is filtering water, making ice and sweeping the kitchen (bread here is REALLY crumbly).  None of them are difficult, they just take time. 

So, we ended up doing school most of the day.  Now we just have to get through the weekend and on Monday, we get Ruslan. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Weapons and Welcome Mats

End of Day 31

Vitals:  Cold and Rainy Day.  We decided to stay home and catch up on school.  When the kids were done, I sent them out in the hall to run laps  (we have a LONG hallway).  Out by the service elevator were two huge boxes.  One held a refrigerator, the other was for a desk or closet of some sort. Anyway, we took them inside.  The girls spent the rest of the afternoon making a house, complete with cardboard furniture, curtains, paintings and a welcome mat.  The boys took the leftover cardboard and made weapons. 

Sadly, the social scientists, university professors and child development specialists who insist, “there’s no difference!!” (between girls and boys) were not around to document the results.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Quivering Couple

End of Day 30

Vitals:  We moved back our plane tickets AGAIN, and our house sitter is going to kill herself, or the dog, or both, if we don’t find a replacement.

Not so much:  So, when we first came here (last year), we went to a dinner with all the other adoptive parents at a local TGIF here in Kiev.  We met a couple there who were practically quivering with angst over the length of their stay here, the way they had been treated, and all the incredible  hurdles that they had to jump-over in order to get their boy.  They had good reason to quiver.  They had made three trips, stayed in a small village while they were here, lived on homemade cabbage/amoeba soup, contracted dysentery, dealt with a hostile judge and spent quite a few months and dollars getting their boy. 

We think of them occasionally...or I should say often...usually whenever we hit a (nother) delay.  

Here’s the deal. I really wanted to make it home for Thanksgiving (for obvious reasons).  I was certain we could make it.  It’s over 8 ½ weeks from our arrival here.  It just never occurred to me that we wouldn’t make it home by then.  Sadly, we talked it over with Nadya this morning.   The “destroyed” papers turned out to be a small matter.  They originated in Ukraine, so she just made some more yesterday and we signed them this morning.  Since our tickets were for 10/28, I knew we had to move them back and so today I asked her how long things might be.  The bottom line, we still don’t have a court date for Roman and, to make matters worse, his birth certificate is in another district and this will cause another delay.  She thought it would be at least two weeks after we got him before we could travel.  Thus, pounding the last nail in the coffin of our dead Thanksgiving turkey.  

We talked this all over on the way home, recapping the two lost siblings, the very important man, the destroyed paperwork, the birth certificate, the delayed tickets, the missed holiday... suddenly the realization dawned; we have become just like the quivering couple in the TGIF….  We’re that couple....We are Quiver-ers!  And, if we aren't careful, our children will soon be quivering too.

To combat this, we played a variation of round robin over dinner, asking the kids to name things they LIKE about being here: one item at a time, no repeats allowed.  We got around the table twice before everyone ran out of stuff.  I was the last man standing, since I found spices in the local market.  After my sweet victory they all went drudgingly back to eating their buttered noodles topped with organ meat and bone chips.

It was very quiet….

We finally gave in and told them we’d play again, this time listing things we HATE about living here.  Well, that sure perked them up.  We kept going around and around the table until well past 7:00.  I’d say we achieved some real family bonding.   The kids finally quit to go watch a TV show and it was just Bill and me going back and forth, listing item…after item…after item… until the dishes were done…

Bill finally got out a 1/4 liter bottle of vodka that he bought earlier for 1.4 grivna (about 20 cents) and mixed a little of it in with his AMPIKAH Orange Juice.  I told him that for all his disdain for Ukrainian culture, he was certainly embracing some of their most distinctive traits.  He told me not to mock the "wodka," since it is a well known cure for inexplicable quivering and then he took his cocktail into the living room to share it with the kids. 

That was pretty much our day.    

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Very Important Man

End of....Ok.  Whatever...

Vitals:  A very important man signed our papers today.  Tomorrow, we'll sign papers again.

More information than you want to know:  So, this morning was our appointment with an official for the Boyarka District.  We needed his signature on a paper in order to get Roman.  I asked earlier why we didn’t have this extra step (appearing personally in order to get a signature) with Ruslan and Nadya explained that this official wanted to meet us before he would sign the paper.  Now, I have to say here, that so far, all the other Ukrainian officials have been great. I wouldn’t call them punctual, but they have been kind and done their best to keep the adoptions moving along reasonably well and working in the best interest of the children involved. 

Unfortunately, this official is a very busy, important man.  He could not possibly meet us or sign the paper two weeks ago, when we first agreed to take Roman.  So, we have had to wait almost two weeks for his schedule to clear so he could squeeze us in. 

Our appointment was for 10:00 this morning.  Nadya arranged for a taxi to pick us up at 9:30.  We got the kids ready, packed the essentials: DS, games, TP, water, books and gave the now familiar, “YOU MUST BEHAVE” speech to the kids and went down stairs.  The taxi company actually sent two taxis, because they didn’t have a car that could  hold all six of us.  So, I took the girls in one cab and Bill took the boys in another.  We had a female driver and as soon as we turned onto the street, she pushed hard on the gas pedal and pulled out her broken English to ask me the address.  Well, I had no idea what it was, so I texted Nadya, our translator.  It was a little difficult to text, because the car was jerking and jolting in many directions at once.  I’ve never been in such a jerky car ride.  She was a really nice lady, but a horrible driver and she was FLYING.  At one point, I looked up to see another car coming directly at us from the other direction, plenty close enough to give me nightmares.  She was about to take a left turn, but, thankfully she decided against it.  I decided not to look up any more.  After I hit “send” I started to look around for seat belts. I found them easily for the girls, but mine was nowhere.  Reilly finally found it on the ceiling behind me.  I put it on.

So, we hung out in the taxi for about ten quiet minutes, me feeling confident in my ignorant assumption that a car accident was the scope of what I should be worrying about today.  All the while we were bouncing up and down and jerking side to side in the back seat (this is your hint) when Sharon turned to me and said, “Mommy, I don’t feel too good.  I feel like I want to throw up.”  I told her to look out the window, since she can occasionally get motion sickness and we were definitely in some sort of a nightmare carnival ride.  But, Sharon is also lactose intolerant.  I started to ask her what she had for breakfast that morning, when I realized I didn’t need to ask anymore, since she had spit up. 

It wasn’t too much. Just down the front of her coat.  I thought I could probably salvage it, but then I remembered Bill had the back pack (with tissues) with him in the other car.  I started digging in my pockets and looking around the car for some tissues, paper towels, trash, anything.  Just as I spotted some widow cleaner, Sharon spit up again.  This time, there was a little more volume, but definitely still just confined to the coat and now a little on her pants.  While I was trying to assess the damage, Nadya called.  She confirmed the address and I asked her if she could pick up some tissues somewhere.  Nadya said she would look for some and also mentioned that I needed to pay the driver $50 grivna for the ride.  This was definitely the cheapest taxi ride so far.  They usually cost around 200 to 400 grivna.  So, that was one nice surprise for the day. 

Anyway, I hadn’t packed any extra clothes for Sharon, and it was cold out, about 40 degrees. I was really hoping to save her coat.  Nadya seemed a little skeptical about finding tissues, so I decided, since I had on several layers, my extra shirt had to be the sacrificial lamb.  I took off my jacket and prepared to take off my top shirt when Sharon spit up for the third time.  Mopping it up with my shirt still seemed like my best option.  I had just got the top of her coat looking presentable when out came the mother load.   It went everywhere: down the jacket, over the shirt, onto the pants and then slid between her little legs, onto the seat and down to the floor. 

Sharon looked up at me with tears brimming in her little brown eyes.  This is when, out of necessity, I lied to my child.  “Sharon, look at me,” I said. “Look in my eyes.  You are OK” (lie).  “It’s only a little bit of vomit” (lie).  “Mommy knows exactly what to do” (lie).  “Mommy can handle this” (lie).  I took the one dry corner of my shirt and wiped off her mouth.   “Mommy can fix this (lie) and it will be ok” (probably also a big fat lie).  “Do you understand?”  She looked at me with the trusting eyes of a six year old hero worshiper, nodded yes and wiped away her tears.

There was nothing else to do at this point but turn my sacrificial shirt inside out, sop up as much as I could, then take off her jacket (also inside out) and stuff the shirt inside.  Had I known we were going to lose the coat all along, I wouldn't have used my shirt, but it was too late now.  They both were lost.  I was wiping her pants with her jacket sleeve when we pulled into the parking lot.  The driver gleefully told me that we had beaten the other car!  I wasn’t surprised.  Nadya came over and handed me two handypacks of Ukrainian wet wipes.  I pulled Sharon out of the car and stood her on the sidewalk.  She was coatless, but she seemed Ok.  I hid her coat and my shirt under a bush (I didn’t want to take them into the meeting with me). Nadya was worried that someone would steal it, but I was certain if they did they would get what they deserve.  Then we went over to grab my fleece and talk to the cab driver who had discovered the vomit-seat.  Nadya translated.  Among other things, was the inevitable, “you will have to pay for the dry cleaning, 200 Grivna so 250 total for the ride.” 

We finally got into the building and found a bathroom.  In case you are wondering, this bathroom was a “2” on the Wetzel Bathroom Rating Scale.  Two points for the flushing toilet, and one point for COLD running water.  I know that makes three, but we took a point off because it was not heated.  The room was cold.  The water was COLD.  Sharon’s pants were such a mess that I finally just rinsed them out and Reilly and I wrung them to the point that they were not dripping.  I put my fleece on her and it was long enough to cover well past her knees, then I rolled up the sleeves and used her fanny pack for a belt.  Thank God her shirt, underwear, socks and shoes were all OK.  I told her she looked like she was wearing a very fashionable fleece dress, Reilly gave her the thumbs up and we walked out. 

Are you tired of reading yet, because it’s only 10:00 am at this point.  …Run while you can.

So, we waited.  First we were in a hallway by one of the offices.  Our appointment was for 10:00. About 10:15, I tried to hint around and discover a cause for the hold up.  There were some really good food smells coming from down the hall and a lot of people walking in and out.  Nadya finally said she thought there was some sort of party in there.  One of the girls we needed to see kept walking back and forth between her office and the party area.  At 10: 20, they moved us closer to party central.  We were in an 8x8 foot alcove with four doors; one to the hallway, one to the important man’s office that we needed to see, one to an empty office and ONE to the party office.  The door was opening every minute or so as people went in and out to get food and party.  Did I mention that I missed breakfast?  About 10:30, Reilly’s DS ran out of power.  At 10:35, all the kids had enough of sitting still and we played “rock, paper, scissors.  At 10: 40 we started twenty questions.  From  10:45 to 11:00 we played every school/camp game that I could think of that wouldn’t make too much noise. 

Finally, over an hour after we arrived, the very important man ushered us into his office.  We sat around a table and he started off by offering the children chocolates and apologizing for making us wait.  Now, you must understand, his “delay” has easily pushed back our return trip home at least a full week. We couldn’t file for a court appointment without his signature.  If he had signed the paper right away (like the other official did for Ruslan), we could have filed for a court appointment about the same time we filed for Ruslan (two weeks ago) and had our court date a day before or after Ruslan’s.  That way the ten-day waits would have overlapped almost completely.  As it stands, we just got his signature today, it will probably be tomorrow or Wednesday before Oleg files and our court appointment will be late next week, just as Ruslan’s ten day wait is ending.  This time is also costing us money: rent for the apartment, charges for pushing back the dates of our plane tickets, and 300 grivna in taxi fees so we could wait for an hour to meet with him.  Of course, we accepted his apology graciously. 

So, now we learned why the important man wanted to meet with us.  He wanted to ask us why we weren’t also adopting Roman’s older brother.  Certainly a rational question.  Roman’s older brother is 16.  Ukraine doesn’t allow children to be adopted after 16.  They age out of the system. Plus, the INS only approved us for two boys.  Even if the Ukrainian government approved, the US would not. I wanted so badly to smile and sweetly ask if the brother was available, and ask why the important man suddenly had concern for the welfare of a boy that he and his countrymen have kept in an institution for the last 11 years, but I let it go.  We explained to Nadya why it was not possible, omitting the fact that his brother was 16, which everyone in the room was fully aware of, and she translated.

Then the important man’s phone rang.  He was holding his phone in his hand on top of the table the whole time.  He answered the call.

When the important man finished, he asked Nadya if we were going to teach Roman Ukrainian.  I wanted to say, “well, we were, but the money we might have put into Ukrainian lessons has gone toward this friendly meeting instead.”  But, I didn’t.  We said “sure.”

The important man’s phone rang again.  We sat in silence while he took the call and asked the caller to be sure to call back in 30 seconds.

Then the important man wanted to know if we would teach Roman about Ukrainian culture.  I wanted to say, “oh yes, and we’ll be very careful to explain to him this particular meeting.”  But, we didn’t.  We just said ‘yes.” 

After two more phone calls, which he took while we and our children waited silently, the important man signed the papers.  We said, “thank you” and left.

We had sent the taxi’s on their way, so we needed to take the metro home.  The nearest station was at least a half-mile away and Sharon was still in her ‘momma fleece’ coat, with bare legs.  I put on Bill’s Carhart jacket and picked up Sharon. I had her wrap her legs around me and we zipped up his coat and tucked it up under her legs.  She was heavy, but I definitely got the better end of the deal, because now Bill had no coat, and he was carrying a plastic bag with the wet pants and vomit clothes.  When we got to the metro, we bought a pair of leggings and I put them on Sharon once we were in the train.  Throughout the whole morning, Sharon never said one word of complaint. She never sobbed or wailed or said even once how cold and uncomfortable she was, but after we got those leggings on her, she looked SO happy.  All the tension left her face and she sat by herself on a metro seat smiling and swinging her little legs back and forth.  From now on, I’ll be lugging extra clothes wherever we go. 

We got home at 12:30.  We had lunch, a nap and school.  I made potato soup for dinner and we debated (again) about what to do now because our plane tickets need re-scheduled and I am no longer confident that we will be home by Thanksgiving.  I realized today that, since there is such a gap between the two boys adoptions, one parent could take Ruslan and the other kids home and the other could stay here with Roman while we wait for his passport.  I thought Bill would jump at this, but he wanted to wait it out together.  All the kids wanted to stay too, except Matt, who is dying, but once he saw that he would be in the states with only one parent, he agreed. 

So, the day was done.  The decisions were made, papers signed and we were just finishing up the kitchen and getting ready to watch a movie when Nadya called.  She had somehow accidentally ‘destroyed’ our paperwork for Roman and we need to make a new set of papers.  The cell phone I have here is not very good and I can’t always make out what people are saying, but she said she knocked something over with her dress and that the papers were destroyed.  As I posted on FB, please pray that the word “destroyed” is evidence of a limited English vocabulary rather than an extensive one.  Knowing how particular the officials here have been about paperwork, I can easily see how a minor flaw can cause a problem.

We are meeting at 10:00 Tuesday morning at the Notary to re-sign some papers and find out the extent of the damage. And so it goes...