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. 


  1. I bet I know who that little girl was. She would always come running up to us when we were outside with Oksana. She is beautiful!

  2. Congrats on finally getting Ruslan!! Now you know why we don't encourage adoptions in two different regions at once, can you imagine...
    hang in there, how nice to have Ruslan as a distraction!

  3. I can't believe you will finally get Rusaln. I have prayed for the day. The little girl you are talking about will be in the oprhan system forever. Her mother is in jail for a ver ylong time and they do no terminate parentla rights. she will grow up in the system, unable to be adopted unless the woman herself decides to sign off on her. So sad. She is bright and does not deserve to be a victim of the system. No family comes to visit her. She picked up English and sign language so quickly while I was there this summer. GIve her an extra hug from me please. ANd please take some pics of Ruslan leaving that place!!