Open Arms

Open Arms
...caring for orphans and adoptive families...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Still Waiting....

Well it's Friday and no court date today, so we figure it will be Tuesday or Wednesday. Meanwhile we have stayed very busy.

Wednesday was Odessa's City Day. The birthday of the city. Quite a celebration. They certainly know how to throw a party. We had hoped to meet up with Lyonya's and Pasha's class in the afternoon but due to communication problems that didn't work out. They said they had a good time with their teacher and classmates. We headed out to spend the afternoon with Andrei at #9.

Even Jenna the dog likes us now and greeted us as at the gate as we waited for someone to unlock it. Of course we do slip her treats each trip as a bribe! Andrei was extra clingy today...of course we never complain.

He also wanted to take a lot of photos of his classroom. Seems to be sinking in that he will be saying goodbye to his life here soon.

We made it back to the apartment by 6:30 because Jenya called asking if we would be available to spend the evening with Marianna and him. Couldn't pass that up! It is so much fun to have young adults take us on a tour of the city. You know you will see more of the realities of life here that we would never otherwise encounter. It's great. We are so thankful they don't mind haging out with us old people! We went out in the massive crowd of people in the center for the celebration. After a few hours, they were both tired and knew they needed to be at trade school at 7:30 am so we came back to our apartment for a quick supper. They are both so much fun and we have a good time trying to share our hearts with our limited Russian and their limited English. Thank the Lord for dictionaries!

Yesterday we had Lena, her mom and brother over for lunch before we headed to #4 to sit in on a staff meeting for the boy's class and visit with the children just a little. The kids had a concert to attend so we didn't get much time with them. We are just thankful that we have had the opportunity to see a little of their world before leaving. It can only help us in the transition awaiting at home, to know where they have come from.

Lena came back for a little while in the evening so we could pray with her again and pray for her mother. Please pray with us for her family as they are facing a financial crisis and her mother is scheduled for surgery for a growth on her leg in 2 weeks. They are asking for the Lord's healing touch.

Today we hope to spend the afternoon with Andrei. It takes two bus rides from here...maybe an hour total ride time. At least the fares are cheap, only about twenty-five cents.

People have been asking a lot of questions...We will try to answer some of them and include them as a post this weekend. Please continue to pray for favor with all officials and the judge. Also for safety, especially on the cab rides! They are always an experience. Thanks so much to you all. We could not be here without your prayers and support.

Carol and Steve

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Every Day One Step Closer

Our facilitator/translator, Natalia, has been a very busy girl this past week. We are now waiting on our Court date. It will most likely be mid-week next week, but could be anytime after Friday. So we wait...and pray. Please pray for favor with the judge and for perfect timing. Natalia will travel home near Kiev tonight to visit with her husband for a few days and return in time for court.

We are heading to Odessa Executive Suites tonight to stay until it is time to return to Kiev with the children. There is also another family from SC arriving there this week. It will be fun to have someone from home to visit with.

Sunday we had a picnic with the children, some of their friends from Internot 4 and some of the women from the apartment where we are staying. It was the children's first day back at the Internot. They spent the weekend cleaning and preparing for FIRST BELL. The first day of school is a big event here in Ukraine.

Sunday was our wedding anniversary as well. We had a nice Greek Salad at the pizza place. No lettuce in it but their version of salad none the less. After we returned to the apartment the girls all came in with flowers and candy. It was a very nice evening.

Monday we had appointments most of the day to sign documents and receive final approvals from various officials. By days end, it was all finally accomplished! Thank the Lord! Natalia could forward documents to Kiev and pay court filing fees. One Step Closer.

During the morning we had to stop at #9 to pick up documents so we were able to spend about an hour with Andrei before we left for the next appointment.

It started to rain later in the day and the streets were a mess. It hasn't rained since we got here and everything was so dusty and dirty, then with the rain it was just muddy. The roads are paved and cobblestones so it's hard to explain why everything is so dusty, but you always have dirty, dusty feet and your khaki pants all have a ring around the hem.

For our evening meal, we all pooled our efforts and found the makings for a Mexican supper of burritos. Not quite as good as Monterrey's, but considering our location, outstanding! It was a nice evening of sharing how God orchestrated all the different puzzle pieces in our lives to bring such an eclectic group together.

Tuesday we hurried or as Steve says herded an apartment full of women and one man (Steve) thru the bathroom to arrive at school at 9am for First Bell. We stopped along the way to buy 6 bouquets of flowers. Two for each of the boy's teachers, two for Galia's teachers and 1 each for the secretary and director. It is customary for children to bring flowers on the first day of school but the orphans cannot buy the flowers. The contrast of all the flowers at the public school and so few at the orphanage is striking. Our kids were so happy that we brought flowers for them to give.

For First Bell everyone is dressed in their finest, songs are sung, speeches are made and the youngest/smallest girl rings the bell to start the school year. Galia rang the bell this year, but this year she had parents to watch her. It was great to be there for the kids and they were so happy. Our only problem was the battery on the camera went dead so we only have a few photos. So sorry!

We each had haircuts this week. Steve's flattop is not quite as flat as normal but it's pretty close. (See photo above) Pretty impressive cut for a young man that had never seen cut a flattop before or seen one for that matter! This particular young man is also an orphan that made it through the system. Natalia is so proud of him.

Tomorrow is again some big holiday. We will try to find out more and share soon. We will hopefully meet us with Lyonya's and Pasha's class at the center to celebrate then head out in the afternoon to see Andrei.

The Lord has been really encouraging us this week to just continue to trust him for the next step. To lay aside all that hinders and follow Him. Thanks so much for sharing our journey.