The Internet is spotty at best in our apartment so I am unable to post as we would like. For what ever reason I cant sleep and I am tired of tossing and turning. It's about 4 am and I thought I would get up and start journaling. Yesterday, Valentin meet us at our apartment at 830 am to go to our SDA appointment. Turns out our appointment was an hour later so we head off to get coffee. I will say we have been enjoying some of the best espresso drinks I can remember. Valentine continues to be our historian and guide. He let's us know that many of the streets we are walking on today were completely demolished in world war 2 which is surprising because some of these buildings look a heck of a lot older than that. The city has an eclectic look with it's architecture. It looks old and ornate. Many of the buildings are beautiful, even in their various degrees of decay, you can see their unique beauty. Valentin goes into a brief description of the atrocities of Stalin and Hitlers terror and the close to 50 million who had died in former soviet union during these horrible years. The number is mind boggling and he explains that it is roughly the size population of Ukraine today plus an additional 4 million. The history here is intense and I am amazed at the resiliency of this people. Valentine, like all other Ukraine citizens, had to serve 2 years in the military when he turned 18 and knows how to speak Russian, Ukraine, English and German. All of them are challenging languages but Ukraine the most difficult. He explained that a glass has 7 different ways to describe it and then another 7 was due to the fact that a noun turns plural. So there is a potential of 14 ways to say glass in Ukraine. And many nouns have a male or female noun. At least this is how I understood him.
After coffee we headed back to SDA and we were quickly escorted into a tiny office and asked questions of why we wanted to adopt and a little bit of history of us. We stumbled through that and then they began to show us children in our age range about 8 different sets of children. I would like to say that a holy light from heaven shown down on one set of pics but no such luck. We had to work our way through 3 sets of children and logically take into consideration there history, region, relatives, directors etc. In fact, in what was probably a very generous lenience to us they allowed us to leave undecided and talk about it for a half hour longer. Even still an hour and a half goes real quick when you realize that this is a decision that will affect you and all those around you for the rest of your life, and theirs. Mucho stressful !!!! I won't go into all the decisions and why they were made but we do feel there was really only one choice after we looked at all of the info presented. The next hour or so was a huge blur as Valentin rushed us off to find a taxi to some unknown place and again drive crazy around the streets of Kiev . We eventually realized a document needed to be notarized and we had to promise to keep in touch with the SDA and do paper work until our new potential children turned 18. The rest of our day was spent sight seeing and pushing our way out into kiev. We looked at, you guessed it, more churches and old buildings, wondered down ancient cobble stoned roads, browsed vendors selling there goods, and ended up on the shores of the river Dnipro that divides Kiev. It was like walking in a movie set. People were friendly and we were able to somehow communicate with them. We decided to find Monique a more summery and colorful shirt which was entertaining as the three ladies giggled and laughed at us for unknown reasons as Monique tried on shirts and we made our purchase. Monique now fit in better and was much cooler as she traded her black t shirt for a light blue cotton blouse. She refuses to buy the 4"+ high heeled dress shoes that most of these ladies wear here. It is an amazing thing to watch these ladies dressed to the hilt, navigate effortlessly these cobblestones and ruined street and sidewalks of this city. Continuing on, we walked along the old stoned boat docks and decided to venture across the river to beaches we saw on the other side. One of the things I have been using here to judge safety is the people we see in the areas we are traveling. I personally think human nature is pretty consistent and so when I see young couples with there children, kids out on dates, and nicely dressed couples, to me it indicates it must be a relatively safe environment. In America, I would be very concerned venturing into areas like these full of decay, ruins and disrepair but here these are very common. We walked over a large bridge to the best we could tell, an old park area with beaches and venders and if I was to guess a place that poorer people came to relax. I would say it had a gypsies atmosphere as even the music changed its sound and feel as well as the people. These were just your average looking people young and old. After wondering the beaches and forested paths Moniques mothering instinct kicked in and we decided to get the heck out of Dodge. Jeremiah and I didn't feel any threats but Monique could sense the immorality and seedy stuff that must go on around and about this area. So off we headed back into town. We took the fNicular train up into town at a cost of less than 20 cense each. The train goes from the banks of the river up to the top of the bluff were the old town resides. According to Valentin a giant statue of Stalin was to be erected here over looking this beautiful view but WWII started and that ended those plans. It was here that Valentine called and let us know that he had secured a business class train car for the three of us and our new facilitator who would be traveling with us to Donetsk, the city were our kids are. We were very happy because it would cost about 80 bucks total for all four of us. We leave today at 730 pm and arrive sometime in the morning on Friday. Valentine also said the president has made it official, the move of the SDA to the new ministry and we had 30 days to complete everything or we would have to go home and come back after 2 or 3 months when they reopened. Please pray that everything goes smoothly as that does not give us much room for delays and the many unknowns that can come up. Before ending this long winded blog post, let me describe the children we are adopting. The boy is 10 years old and the girl 8 years old. He has brown hair and been described as completely healthy and a good kid. She has red hair thin and has a lazy or crossed left eye. She is healthy but will probably need corrective surgery if natural treatment for her eye doesn't work. We have been told this shouldn't be an issue but time will tell. Their mother died in 2007 and then the father in 2009, for unknown reasons both died. Their grandmother then raised them till she passed away just last year They are separated in two orphanages (why? I don't know) and have just become available for adoption. There are no relatives pursuing them and Monique finds it a comfort that it is possible they were raised in caring homes interrupted by death. These children can say no to us if they so choose and it does happen. Please pray that this next stage goes according to Gods desire and plan for them as well as us. Jeremiah has been a great travel companion and does an excellent job in assisting me in keeping his mom safe and out of harms way. I suspect this is and will be a life changing journey for him. We feel blessed to have him be apart of this adventure.
Ps: if your traveling with us via Internet these are some of the sites we have seen or visited in kiev which you can google:
St. Andrews church
St. Sofias cathedral
Central train station
House of teachers
Mickhaiilv'ky gold domed monastery
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Vision for the Children International (VFTCI) is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to bringing hope to at risk children and their families. It is our belief that children need to have a vision for their futures. This cannot be fully accomplished without also providing hope and a future to parents, families and the communities they live in. Without this vital aspect of hope, a child, parent, family and community cannot begin to see past their present circumstances to be able to pursue a better future. At VFTCI, we deliver ministry through a combination of indigenous local support, community, Christian leaders, government officials, US and International supporters and volunteers. VFTCI believes in putting faith to action as expressed in Mathew 25:31-40. For many, it is impossible to see a future without first helping them through their current needs and circumstances. Vision for the Children International is focused on preventative action. We are dedicated to breaking the cycles that a hopeless environment creates by providing opportunities for the creation of healthy families, education systems and communities. To Learn more visit: www.VFTCI.org