Sunday, July 20, 2008

Settling in at Home!

Sorry for the delay in posting. We arrived home on Wednesday morning. Our original flight was suppose to get us home Tuesday night but the flight from Frankfurt to Toronto was late so we had to stay the night in Toronto. Roman was much better than we expected on the flight home. He was getting a bit restless on the longer leg from Frankfurt to Toronto but eventually fell asleep and slept for 4 hours. This was a really good thing because the system for movies and TV shows went down so there would not have been much to keep him occupied. I can't tell you how good it is to be back in Canada and back at home.

Our family and friends had a wonderful homecoming for us at the airport. There were many happy tears shed that morning. Roman was really excited and greeted everyone with a smile and great big hugs. He walked into our house as if he knew this is where he belonged. Everyone just loves him and are amazed at what a happy little boy he is. He is doing great and settling into his new home life without too much difficulty. He really is a character and has a great sense of humour (even though we don't know what he is saying most of the time!). On the flight from Toronto our seats were in a row that didn't have a window. He was pretty upset by this and was giving Papa heck, pointing at the place where the window should have been and rattling off a big spiel in Russian. You would think Papa was the one that built the plane:) Then the flight attendant went by and he started all over again. It was pretty funny!

The day we got home, we were all asleep by 4:00 p.m. Roman woke up at 4:15 the next morning so Dan and I had an early start to the day. I have a Staples "Easy Button" that Roman found. He had it up to his ear and repeatedly played it. The next thing you know, he is saying "That was easy" over and over again and getting louder each time he said it. We had a pretty good laugh over that one... his first complete phrase originating from Staples.

Trying to buy him clothes is proving to be a challenge. He is pretty small, so even some size 3 clothes are too big. In spite of this we have managed to get a decent wardrobe started. We found swimming trunks that say Team Canada on the side which just seems so appropriate. We bought him some rubber boots, so he had to try them out while helping Papa wash the car.

I guess that is it for now. I will post again soon and let you know how things are going.

Monday, July 14, 2008

We are Going Home!!!

The day has finally come when we can go home. We are not looking forward to the 16 hour trip but we sure are looking forward to getting home and seeing our family and friends. In hindsight the time has gone by quickly considering that we have been here for 5 weeks. This is the longest any of us have ever been away. We all agree that we like Kiev much better than Donetsk.

Yesterday, we went to the zoo with our facilitator and her daughter. It was fun but it was soo-oo-o hot. The weather at home has not been great from what I am told but we are actually looking forward to some cooler weather. Let me just say that you don't want to forget to put on deodorant in this country (although I think a lot of people do:)

We spent this morning just hanging around the apartment and then went shopping in the afternoon to get some souveniers. Roman was pretty good but I think we have worn him out the last few days. He always wants to be carried (yes, this is the child that we kept having to chase after at the orphanage!) and we are convinced that he has gained 5 lbs. just since we got him a week ago. He eats really good and is always hungry. Both of our facilitators have explained to him that we are taking him to our home tomorrow and he is totally OK with that. His behaviour has improved a lot from the first day we had him. He now seems to understand that we are his family and he fits in really well. We have more and more of those moments each day when you look at him and your heart just fills up with love and pride. He is a great little boy and absolutely loves his sister; sometimes too much!! Now don't get me wrong, he is still really active but not in a destructive way (most of the time:)
Well I better go, he is snoring away so now the packing begins. We have to leave our apartment by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow and our flight doesn't leave until 2:05 p.m. I have always disliked packing but knowing we are coming home makes it so much better. I will add some more pictures once we are home. We have run out of batteries for our cameras so we can`t download any more pictures right now. I will post again in 2 or 3 days. Thanks again for following our journey and posting the comments; they really kept us going when things weren`t going as planned and when we were missing home.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Today Was a Good Day!

Today was Sydney's 12th birthday. She wanted to go to the beach so we hopped on the subway and away we went. It was a hot, sunny day and the beach along the river was beautiful. We stayed there for a couple of hours. Roman just loves the water. There is also a park with rides so Sydney took Roman on a train ride. Roman is always getting cuts and bruises as he is a bit accident prone, so being the good parents that we are, we put him on the bumper cars with Sydney. They had a great time but when they hit another car, Roman hit his cheek on the dash and has a bit of a bruise by his one eye. Lesson learned... too small for bumper cars!:) He is really well behaved when we are out and he is kept busy.
We went out for supper for Sydney's birthday, then went and bought Roman a couple more items of clothing. Tomorrow morning we are going to the zoo with our facilitator and her daughter and then start stocking up on souveniers.
I started adding pictures to the blog and will add more when I have more time. Have to run. Sydney and Dan want to watch the Simpsons on the computer.
I had to add a bit more to this post. Last night when I posted it was pretty late and I was tired. We weren't really set up for the beach. We didn't want to take the towels from the apartment, so the only towel we had was once small face towel from home. People were probably thinking we were a bit strange... 4 people and one small towel! We also didn't have a bathing suit for Roman so he just went swimming in his undies. Not really a problem seeing as a lot of the kids didn't have anything on. Taking the metro (subway) has become a great past time for us. We all really like it. Roman would ride it all day if we could. It really was a great day and Sydney continues to show what a great daughter and big sister she is.

Friday, July 11, 2008

We're Paperwork Ready to Come Home!

It looks like everything has worked out and we have a happy ending. I went to the Canadian Embassy this morning with the new passport in hand (our facilitator got back in time) and returned this afternoon and picked up Romans Visa. The lady I was dealing with came out and said she had a surprise for me. My heart just dropped. I said I hope it is a good one. She said that just after I left this morning from the embassy, someone came and turned in Roman`s original passport and photos. They found them on the street. I asked her where they found them but she wasn`t sure. At least I know it wasn`t right in front of the embassy which is the only place that I was. Anyway, we now have 2 passports but only one is good to use. Yahoo!
To back track a little, yesterday was cold and rainy here. We needed to get some food from the market so we didn`t want to drag Sydney and Roman out in the rain. Dan and I asked Sydney if she thought she could handle him for 15 minutes and she said no problem, he had actually been pretty well behaved yesterday. I had a feeling it wasn`t that great of an idea but we went anyway. Well when we got home 15 or 20 minutes later, we could tell by the look on Sydney`s face that it didn`t go all that well. Roman was trying to run away from her and ran across the front of the bed and somehow got caught up in the sheers and brought the whole thing down, rod and all. So now we have replaced a phone and have to replace parts for the curtain rod... hopefully, that is where it will end. So this morning, on the way to get more pictures taken for the embassy, I told `Y` about the curtains and she spoke to Roman for about 5 minutes after that. Well, when he was getting his picture taken he looked pretty sad. `Y` said `He definitely has something on him mind, I just gave him heck for the curtain incident.``Well you should see the picture, it is pretty funny because he was one sad looking little boy. I don`t know what she said to him but he was pretty darn good for the rest of day. I brought him back to the apartment to stay with Dan and Sydney before going to the Embassy and he was on the toilet and when he saw that I was leaving he jumped off, gave me a kiss goodbye and went back to finish his duties. These are the moments that keep you going.
We went on the metro for the first time today. It was actually pretty good except when we decided to come home, we took the wrong one and ended up on the other side of the river. We got off at a stop and backtracked to where we started. We eventually found the right one and got home safely.
Tomorrow is Sydney`s birthday so we are going to do our best to make it special for her. She is pretty homesick so we told her we would still do something tomorrow but really celebrate her birthday when we get home. She really misses everyone and so do we. We are so grateful for all of the support we have had and continue to have on our journey. The last few days have been quite stressful but knowing that we can come home soon and have many family and friends to be with makes it easier.
Not being able to read the labels on food continues to be a problem. We were trying to buy perogies and wanted potato ones. We finally decided on package and made them for supper. Sydney actually ate one, Roman wouldn`t eat his and Dan just about spit it out when he tasted it. He thinks it was liver at best but probably something worse than that. Thankfully I hadn`t gotten around to trying it yet. This label thing makes for a great weight loss plan! (This was the food we were buying while Roman was destroying the curtains.)
Oh yeah, we will try to post some pictures in the next day or two. Sorry for the wait.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Talk About a Bump in the Road!!

OK, so I am going to go back a couple of days to Monday just so you can get the jist of what it has been like the past couple of days. I forgot to mention in my last post that we woke up Monday morning to no hot water so none of us could shower. We went to visit "R", which from now on I will call Roman because he is legally ours, only to have him give us attitude for both visits. No hugs, quite defiant and all that goes with that. We started to think he didn't like us any more :) We left there to go to the internet to check on our plane tickets... and nothing. I tried to call my sister who has been the liason for booking our trip home (God bless her!) and got to talk to her for about 30 seconds when my cell phone lost the connection. I had just put a new minutes card in but apparently it didn't work. I couldn't call our facilitator, my sister or anyone to help with the tickets. The best part of this day was we went out for dinner with a couple we met from Manitoba (yes, English speaking halleluiah!) We had many good laughs over our adventures with the language barrier and trying to communicate with the children.
We got home about 9:30 and my sister called 2 minutes later on the apartment phone. I just started to say how glad I was that she called because my phone didn't work and we lost the connection. We waited and waited for her to call back hoping she would have good news about our tickets. She finally got through again and said our agent had 3 tickets booked but I had to call the RBC Rewards myself because my ticket was booked through them. Good in theory... except I couldn't call out on my phone. She called RBC and got them to call me on the apartment phone (which by the way I can't call long distance on). By this time it is 2:00 a.m. here and needless to say I am a bit stressed. RBC called and informed me that to change the return date on my flight it would be $3000.o0. I just about fell off my chair. She was very nice but said that was the best rate she could come up with. (By the way, this will be a very long post so feel free to stop reading anytime:) I asked her to call our travel agent because of course I can`t call out and she said she can`t make outbound calls. It could have been the fact that I was almost in tears and saying `You mean I am in this country and can`t get home unless I pay $3000.00`that got to her, so she phoned our travel agent. She still couldn`t get the price he did so she finally called Air Canada direct and got a rate of $417.00. Whew... another crisis under control. So, we wake up the next morning, and still no hot water. We boil some water and do our best at sponge baths (not so good compared to a shower). We do some final running around with our facilitator for paperwork, then go to pick up our little man about 1.5 hours before the train leaves. We get to experience the McDrive (McDonalds) again because that is all we have time for. We pick up Roman and he was pretty excited. We put his new clothes and shoes on and he is ready to go. The orphange director and deputy director say goodbye to Roman and of course, I cried. Roman was soo-oo excited about the train and was actually pretty good. He didn`t go to sleep until 11:00 but understandable seeing as this was his first train ride. Oh, by the way, as luck would have it there were no 2nd class train tickets, so we had to pay 3 times as much for 1st class (no matter what class you are in, the bathrooms are still disgusting). I have retrained my bladder since we have been here... 16 hours in no problem!!
We meet with our main facilitator and that goes pretty good. We get to our new apartment with internet (which is why I am doing such a long post) and a couple of English channels. It is really nice and the landlady speaks English and is very helpful. Well, we no sooner get here and the driver says he is suppose to take my to meet our other facilitator at the Canadian Embassy (keep in mind that I haven`t had a shower in 3 days) so I freshen up in 3 minutes and head out the door because only one of us goes to the Embassy. In the meantime, Dan and Syd are holding down the fort at the apartment with Roman who by this time is going beserk checking out all the light switches, plus ins and oh yeah, the bath tub. We get to the Embassy and if you can believe it, I don`t have our passports (again) as Dan always carries them and we are always together. Our facilitator gives me all of the documents before I discover I have forgotten ours. We get our passports and on the way back to the Embassy, I am looking through the documents that `Y`gave us and can`t find Roman`s passport. I call and she says its there but I am looking and it isn`t. We pick her up, go back to the Embassy as she thinks I may have dropped it but I know it wasn`t in the package to begin with. She goes home on the metro to check her apartment to see if she left it there and in the meantime the driver wants to know where I want to hang out while we wait for here and the tears start (not him... me!:) So he goes to where the market is by the SDA and thinks it would be therapuetic for me to walk around (he doesn`t know what else to do with this woman who is crying) and look for souveniers... wrong, that was the last thing on my mind. To shorten the story a bit, the passport was never found and `Y`is on the overnight train right now going back to Donetsk to get another one. Can you spell `MELTDOWN` In the meantime, Roman is slowly destroying our new apartment. He picked up the phone to talk, dropped the receiver and it fell apart. No more phone in the apartment. Dan goes out to find a supermarket because we have no food and can`t find one. In the meantime, Roman loves the tub so much he decides he`s going in again... clothes off in 3.2 seconds and in the tub. I say no and firmly hold the tap so he can`t turn it on. Well, 20 minutes later, guess who is getting a shower... yes, Roman won the fight. So after that, Dan, Roman and I (Syd opted to stay home for some reason:) head to the market to point and purchase the bare necessities for the night and head home. Roman is being really good now and is very tired so I gave him a piggyback home and Dan and I both thought he would be ready for bed soon... no such luck. He got into the apartment and got a new burst of energy! This time though, he wasn`t destructive and we played scary monster, hide and seek and whatever else we could think of in between. The little darling is snoring as I type this.
So, the bottom line is please say a little prayer for us that we get the new passport in time to get our paperwork from the Canadian Embassy, so we can make the flight that took 3 days to book on the 15th of July. Sorry for the long post but it has been an eventful past couple of days.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tomorrow is the day!

Well, we have made it through the 10 day wait. We should have "R" with us tomorrow. We will probably leave for Kiev tomorrow night on the overnight train. We are not sure how "R" will be. He has been acting up a bit the last couple of days, especially today, so we are not sure if he is aware that he is leaving tomorrow or not. I hope the adjustment won't be too difficult for him. He really seems to like it there and it has been his home for the last 15 months. We are hoping that it will be much easier once he is with us and we can get into a routine.

We have bought a few clothes but didn't have many options at the mall we went to. Everything in that mall was designer names. We went to the market today and purchased some items but we really need to find a department store which we will try to do tomorrow.

We are soo-oo-oo-o ready to come home. Our return flights are still not confirmed. It has been a challenge dealing with our travel agent at home with the 9 hour time difference. My ticket was purchased with credit card points, so I have to book my seat after the other 3 tickets are booked. I am worried that I may not get on the same flight which would be really terrible. Timing is everything, so we are hopeful it will all fall into place.

Well that is all for today. I will post as soon as I can to let you know how tomorrow goes.

Friday, July 4, 2008

4 Days to Go!

Well, we are still in countdown mode. We will get "R" on Tuesday and should be heading back to Kiev that night but are still waiting for confirmation. We are having a bit of difficulty getting our airlines return tickets changed. They were unable to do it from Ukraine so we are going through our travel agent at home and seem to be having email difficulties. We are really hoping to be home by July 15th at the latest.

We have met a couple from France, one from Italy and today we just met another couple from close to home, Manitoba, that are adopting from the same orphanage that we are. We had a good chat and will see them over the next few days until we get "R". We found a supermarket within walking distance and are going to a large shopping mall tomorrow. We have to buy some clothes etc for "R" before Tuesday. Things continue to go well except that we really want to come home. The time has actually gone by quite quickly since we have arrived and we really have a hard time keeping track of what day it is:)

"R" has learned a lot since we first starting visiting with him. He is counting, saying the alphabet, colours and a few other simple English words... one being "Please". He still runs off at times but we don't all chase him now. We have figured out that he usually has a purpose to where he is going so we wait and see what he does and then go to where he is at. Sydney and him get along great. She is such a good big sister.

Thanks again to everyone for your comments and keeping track of our journey. I wish we had a more exciting blog to view but like I said, I will add pictures as soon as I can.