Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Heavy Heart, the Binky, and Frozen Pizza

I was emailing another adoptive Moma who is working toward adopting a little boy from Zoya's orphanage.  I did not have intentions of writing the words I wrote, but they just came out.  There is so much sadness here and it is emotionally draining to see day in and day out.  Yes the children are fed and clothed, but are they loved? They have never experienced the love of parents, never.  Can you imagine your own child not ever knowing your love?  Here is part of the email I sent to her:

These children should not have to compete for attention or hope every day that someone will just pick them up or love them a little. It breaks my heart to see children who want, not toys or material things, but Love...simply Love. That just shouldn't exist in our world today with all of our resources:( I have wondered a lot since we've been here what God thinks of all of this. I picture his face painted with dissapointment for all the people he is calling to adopt that are ignoring the call....all the people who so greedily keep their financial earnings to themselves when they could help others....I picture sadness on his face looking down upon His children that He created to be loved and valued...all His children who sit and lay in cribs all day without anyone to call their moma and papa....all the children who may never know what it feels like to be loved....all the children who are in such emotional pain day after day.  So many needs and it is hard to not feel defeated and so totally helpless over this problem. For Zoya we are making a difference, and for Sasha you are making a difference and for Sofia, Jen and Hector are making a difference, but for all the other nameless faces, who will make their difference?  This is heavy on our hearts and that is part of the reason we are so emotionally exhausted! Selfishly, I can't wait to be home away from all this sadness just for a break. We are so lucky we can escape this daily sadness these children endure....even though we will leave here, the sadness for these children will forever remain in our hearts.  I have posted this song/video before....but today I'm feeling every word of it.  I have always identified with this song, but today, there are no better words than the words of this song.

And that my friends is what is on my heart today, and every day since we've gotten here. 

On a happier note, we got to take Zoya outside again tonight.  We had tried a pacifier with her before she she didn't really have any interest in it, or maybe she just didn't know what to do with it.  We tried it again tonight, thinking maybe it will be soothing to her since she really enjoys the oral/motor stimulation, and she really liked it.  It seemed to calm her down, which is it's purpose.  I think she might have been chewing on it at times instead of sucking it, but hey, it's better than grinding her teeth. 
This is Zoya saying, "That stinky butt smell is NOT coming from me, I swear!"

Swinging on the Swing with Daddy!

And just for fun......
Some of Shawn's laundry on our clothesline outside...we hand wash our things in the sink....we waited til there were no fires burning outside because we don't like to use the scent of smoke and burning tires to finish off our laundry!

Here is Shawn holding the jugs of water we buy at the Market.  We can't drink the water here and we go through about one and a half of these a day.  We go to the store every other day, sometimes every day, and buy 2 each time.  Tamara asked us when we returned...she pointed to the jugs and said, "America?" She was asking if we have to buy jugs of water in America to drink.  We used sign language to tell her no we turn on the faucet and out comes the water into our cup and we drink it.  She threw her hands up and said, "Oy" like she just couldn't even imagine being able to do that!  The things we take for granted in America!

And here was our dinner tonight.  Our facilitator said, "I see you looking at the frozen pizza.  Do you just put it in the oven and it cooks?" She thought that was odd.  The frozen pizza selection here is slim.  We have been looking for just cheese or cheese and pepperoni...this was the closest we have found...cheese, salami, peppers, and broccoli...hehe.  It kinda tasted like the Fox n' Hound Pizza...but then again I am delirious and dreaming of things from home so it probably actually tasted like cardboard but don't tell my brain!

Off to Dairy Queen to forget my stresses and soak in the heated hot tub outside...just kidding (about both of those), but we can pretend right?


Day 19 in Ukraine

Today is a new day. We’re still a little on edge from yesterday, but we are trying to make a comeback. I have been thinking a lot about yesterday. We took so much time to get ready and dressed up and look our best. Then we were picked up and dropped off at the court to wait on a hard broken bench and stare at a blue crumbling wall for about 30 minutes while our facilitator went with the driver to pick up the orphanage representative, prosecutor, and inspector/social worker. As we sat there we talked about how in the world we had come to be sitting on a hard broken bench in a deteriorated building in the middle of Ukraine about 5,000 miles from our home…from our friends and family and from everything we’ve ever known. We laughed a little at how God convinced us to do this because, let’s face it, on our own, we would have never done something this crazy. And yesterday I realized just how crazy we are. And what is crazy? Crazy is leaving everything you know to travel half way across the world with the intent of bringing home a child we’ve never met. But really it isn’t that crazy because this has been God’s plan long before we ever gave it a thought. We are amazed to think that God had us in mind when this child was born, and actually long before that, to be her parents. I wonder what we were doing on the day she was born. I wish I could look back in a magic glass ball and see what we were doing that day. Whatever we were doing, I do know that we had no idea what was in store for us. We had no idea that almost 2 years later, we’d be sitting in a court house waiting to become her parents. It seemed like we waited for hours on end, when in reality, we only waited an hour. That is a long time to wait when such an important event is at stake.

In our eyes, Zoya has been our daughter since we saw her picture almost 7 months ago. In God’s eyes, she has been our daughter since the beginning of time. In the court’s eyes she is still not our daughter. That is the part that makes my heart hurt. We know one day we will be home with our daughter and we will forget the way we feel at this moment because it will all have been worth it. But the “in the moment” times are hard no matter what advice or encouragement anyone gives. We are human and at times lose sight of the bigger picture. We have not had an easy time here but have mostly chosen to laugh about it and try to enjoy the storm instead of waiting for it to pass. Since yesterday, we’ve had a hard time enjoying the storm. Our patience is wearing thin and our “annoyance limit” as Shawn calls it, is lower than what it has been. We need prayers that we can continue enjoying the storm and keep a sense of humor about it. We are trying the “fake it till we make it” concept right now. For example, yesterday after court when we wanted to cry, Shawn turned to our facilitator and said, “So is now a good time to ask the judge about waiving the 10 day wait?” She got a serious look on her face like “are you kidding?” and then she realized he was joking and started laughing.

We will likely not be able to come home in between as we originally planned because even if court finishes Friday there are no available flights due to it being Easter weekend. Everything is booked until Tuesday. Imagining being here almost 6 weeks all together (another 3 weeks to go) is pretty daunting at this point. We are looking into a few other options, but need prayers for peace. We did not prepare to stay here one long trip and bring Zoya home with us the first time. There are a lot of things at home that need to be taken care of (like the jury duty notice Shawn received yesterday…don’t think he is going to be able to sign that within 5 days) and that makes us feel uneasy. BUT, this is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it! So we will try to keep the end goal in mind and learn a little along the way….about ourselves, each other, our faith, and what it means to trust completely. Afterall, the price to pay to save a child from a life in a mental institution? Not nearly the price God paid to save us.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Court Continues...... :(

Our judge was an hour late and so when court started he asked us our names and birthdates.  He read our rights and read our petition.  We sat, stood, sat, stood, sat, stood, sat, then stood one final time and walked out the door 20 minutes after court started.  Since he was late he couldn't finish (or barely even start) our case today.  He could have stayed later to finish it but he just didn't feel like it.  Angry, sad, emotionally fragile....those are three words to describe my current emotional state.  This moment is by far the hardest for me since we have started the process.  Our facilitator was shocked and she said this is the first time court has not been finished in one date for her.  We knew to prepare for this but all of us were thinking since we did everything and more that we needed to that we would only have one court date.  He even asked us at the beginning, "Would you like to have just one court date?" Umm yah.  Why the heck did he ask if he had no intentions of doing that?  Of course there are some theories that I can't share even on a private blog, but only God knows.  I have not heard of this happening to any other RR family.  We were really hoping to go home and recharge our batteries.  I feel like I'm running on empty.  Even if court is done Friday (please please please) we may not be able to get a flight home because of it being Easter weekend.  Whatever day the court decision is final....we will still have at least 2, if not 3, weeks left in country. 

In need of prayers and any encouraging words you may have.  All that comes to mind for me is "some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers" which doesn't make me feel any better at the moment. 

Prayer Requests

A friend of mine noticed that on the left hand side of our blog...some way down the page...under the "prayer requests" section....almost all the specific prayers we had listed were answered!! God is good.  I updated that section to reflect the prayers that are in our hearts this morning.  If you are praying for us before court today, please check out the updates.  We have so many prayer requests today...none of which are too big for our God! My nerves this morning are wacky and I just want 3:30 to get here fast so I can stop thinking about it!! I am praying that we will have peace with whatever the outcome of court is today but I already know that if it isn't what we were hoping for we are going to have a hard time.  I just keep telling myself that eventually Zoya WILL be our daughter and we WILL get through this....God already knows what day, hour, and minute Zoya will arrive home with we just have to trust.

Monday, March 29, 2010

T-Minus 18 and a half hours....

Tomorrow at 3:30 Ukraine time (8:30am at home) we will have our court hearing with the judge.  We need extra prayers tonight that it goes well and this will be our only court date.  If it goes well, and the judge does not request another court appointment, we are planning to fly home on Thursday!! If court is finished tomorrow like we are hoping, then we will have 13 days to wait where we won't be able to do any paperwork.  That will give us about 8 days home to get some things taken care of and try to cure our home sickness! It would be a nice chance to recharge our batteries before coming back here to bring Zoya home forever! If the judge requests another court date, that date will likely be Friday and then we will not return home as we would only have 10 days to wait, which would mean about 5-6 days at home, which wouldn't be worth it.  Please pray tonight and tomorrow morning around 8:00am that the judge will have all of the information and documentation he needs and we can officially become Zoya's parents! It is strange...when court is finished (hopefully tomorrow) we will officially be Zoya's parents but not be able to take her out of the orphanage until the 10 day wait expires (unless it is waived!! which would be a true miracle!).  That is just how it works here. 

Our visit tonight went well.  Zoya actually stayed in the stroller without crying for an hour! This strawberry vibrating teether has done wonders for her! I will give it to her for about 3 minutes and she will chew on it and look really really relaxed and spaced out! After using it just for a few minutes she seems to be very calm for the next half hour or so! Shawn says they should make vibrating pacifiers which I think is a fabulous idea.  Anyone know if they do? If not, we could patent that...along with the money shorts! I forgot to mention earlier that Shelly, who brought the bag of great things for Zoya and us, also threw in some SHOWER SHOES for us! yay!!! I've never been happier to have flip flops :) Thank you again Shelly!  Shelly also brought a coat and snowpants for Zoya.  This was perfect timing as her 2nd orphanage coat wasn't working out so well...way too big and another broken zipper.  We took it with us tonight and it fit great! She looked like a fat little purple snowman! Those of you at home wondering clothing sizes...she is right between 12-18 months from what we have tried on her.  I will probably buy a few 12 month things and then mostly 18 month things for summer, as I'm pretty sure she'll be out of the 12 month size soon. 

Here is a picture of Zoya in her great purple coat with her great purple pants and her great taggy blanket that Shelly and her daughter made for Zoya.  Zoya really enjoys sucking and chewing on the tags on this blanket...and one side of the blanket is textured with bumpy soft fabric that is so cool!  It even has a little "RR" embroidered on it for Reece's Rainbow! This blankie is so special and I think Zoya is already attached!
Prayers are very much appreciated!

All Systems Are A Go....Hopefully :)

So I just sat here typing that we hadn't heard anything about interpol and how I was preparing myself for bad news since we hadn't heard anything yet when I heard the phone ring.  It was our facilitator who said that our interpol clearance has been printed and we have the SDA approval that we have been waiting for!!!!!!! As long as they can get the paperwork from Kiev to here (about 5-6 hour drive) by court tomorrow at 3:30, then it will be possible to have court tomorrow and finish court tomorrow (that part is up to the judge).  It looks like all of our prayers for interpol clearance problem have been answered....just in the nick of time.  I tell ya, I've always been a "meet the deadline way before the deadline" kinda girl.  I'm finding out during this process, that is something God and I do NOT have in common.  His timing is always the best and he knows way more than we ever could, so little by little, we are learning to trust more. Our prayers now turn to the judge and hoping that he will be kind and only request one court date from us.  Please pray for us! We heard that the Italian family I wrote about earlier (the ones who were on their FOURTH court date) finally got the judge's approval but now the prosecutor plans to appeal...I didn't even know that was possible! Oh that poor family...they also need prayers!

This morning we got to the orphanage and the ladies told us to take Zoya outside.   I think they like to get us out of there. Her "new" coat they gave her was 3 sizes too big and didn't zip either.  We made do with it, but I can't wait until we can clothe her!  Big suprise...once we got outside she fell asleep in about 3 minutes flat...record time.  We found a good hiding spot and stayed there for about a half hour and watched her sleep!  Shawn stood guard and shielded her from any eyes that came our way....hehe. 

Another family arrived at our orphanage today...we are so excited to meet them and have a conversation in English! They met up with our friend Shelly in Kiev and Shelly gave them a bag full of goodies for Zoya to give to us!  This was one BIG bag! Clothes, toys, snacks for us...Shelly is so kind to think of us while preparing to come here and adopt THREE, yes THREE children! Thank you Shelly! Shawn said, "I feel like we live out in the wildnerness and this is our drop off." I had to laugh, because that is pretty accurate.  How comforting it was to receive this special bag of goodies! If we stay now we are all set to bring Zoya home with us! 

Zoya had her usual appetizer (fruit, bread, juice mashed up) except this time it also had noodles in it...interesting.  We gave her a bottle before we fed her today and I think I will do that once we are home to make sure she is getting her liquids.  She drank the bottle right down, as opposed to drinking the bottle after her huge meal....which she never wants to do.  Her main course for lunch was....mashed potatoes and stuffing (big suprise) with......BEETS.  I thought it was a little weird but I know beets have a lot of good nutrients in them so I was thinking that was pretty good.  On the positive side, I just kept thinking....well at least I don't have to change this diaper! Today was not a good day to wear a white sweater to the orphanage either! Oh well. 

Here is  a picture of her delicious lunch.  (Shawn almost had to leave while I fed her he was so grossed out). 

Here is her face before she saw her lunch:

Here is the lunch she saw:
(all mashed together....yuuummm)

And here is what she thought of it:
Seriously Dad? I have to eat THAT?

Moma feeding her the bottle before her yummy lunch.

Here is a vibrating teether that Shelly brought for Zoya.  She LOVES it and it calms her down right away! This will be a good "tool" to have on the airplane!  Anything oral/motor with Zoya seems to be calming...oral/motor self stimulation seems to be the way she has been able to comfort herself during her lonliness in the orphanage. 

Shelly also sent a sparkly pink ball (that matched her outfit perfectly today) and Zoya loved it! I had been saying to Shawn that I wish we could find a ball for her so this was perfect! She loves to throw her toys and this is one she is actually supposed to throw.  She loves watching it bounch and trying to catch it.  Thanks Shelly!!

Please keep praying for us.  Tomorrow is the big day....the next big milestone.  We are really hoping and praying that we will only have the one court date (one-because we only brought one nice outfit, and two-well that would just make things so much easier!!).  This journey has not been easy, but the reward is beautiful.  For the first time I let myself imagine taking off from Kiev in the airplane holding Zoya in our arms.  I will likely cry (if not from joy, then from pure exhuastion! hehe).  We can't wait to be home and let our guard down finally.  Maybe one day I will be able to put into words how difficult and emotional, but at the same time, absolutely exhilarating, this journey has been.  We have invested our trust in our God and jumped out of the airplane....we are still free falling...I can't wait to see what it feels like to land safely with Zoya in our arms.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Visit #24 :)

Our evening visit went well.  We were all excited because the care takers were trying to talk to us and they got out the Russian-American phrase book and pointed to........"When does your flight leave?" AHAHAHAH.  I'm happy to know that they agree we have been here TOO LONG!  We called our facilitator so she could explain our situation to them.  She asked them if there was any reason they wanted to know, because it was an odd question to be the only question they ever asked us, and they said, no reason...they were just curious!  We thought that was pretty funny.  Zoya is getting bored with the same old things though.  We try to be creative, but there is only so much we can do in a tiny little room and in the dark hallways.  We found a couch and did a little photo shoot tonight.
See her little pointer finger? She is always pointing! Better fine motor skills than we expected :)

See her spaghetti legs? She is sooo flexible...and floppy! Here she is using her finger on her lips to make silly noises. 

There's her pointer finger again!  And there is the sunshine that has been a much appreciated part of our journey!

We are praying that tomorrow will be the day that the interpol situation is cleared up, and that court will go well Tuesday....that the judge will see this adoption through rose colored glasses with a kind heart and to finish court on Tuesday.  The waiving of the 10 day wait would be an awesome bonus, but we aren't expecting that at all. 

Day day closer!

We forgot that last night was daylight savings time in Ukraine.  We woke up at our usual time, which we soon learned was an hour late.  We rushed to get ready and went over to visit Zoya for our hour visit.  On our walk over Shawn says, "Ohhhh THAT'S what Tamara (lady whose house we are at) was trying to tell me."  He said last night she kept making a sign for sleep and then holding up one finger and speaking in Russian.  She was trying to remind us that we were supposed to set our clocks ahead.  At least we figured out what she was saying for once....although a little late!  I don't think the rooster here knows it was daylight savings time because he is STILL cock-a-doo-dool-do-ing! Anyways, now we are again 7 hours ahead of our friends/family in PA and NY area.  We got some cute pictures of Zoya today!
Here is a hat we brought from home for Zoya.  One of the ladies that works in the cafeteria at my school brought them in to sell...her mom made it! Doesn't she look like a doll?

This was Zoya's face the second after she hit her Daddy on the head with her rattle! I told ya she is gonna be a stinker!

We are going to print this picture for the judge along with the others we printed!

Her sweet little hand on my head!

Just hangin' out!

Here is a video of Zoya trying to do her belly crawl off the blanket.  She knows she has to stay on the blanket but thinks it is funny to try to crawl off the blanket.  I think the only reason she does it is to get caught! I LOVE her little giggle!
Here is a video of me tossing Zoya in the air...she loves it.  We were sure to do this out of sight of the caretakers...hehe.  She just loves it though!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Normally on Saturdays and Sundays we are allowed to visit for only an hour in the morning (instead of the usual 2) and an hour in the evening.  Today we managed to whitle our morning visit down to 45 minutes because we got ready for this?......busted letting Zoya SLEEP in our arms.....oh my I know you're thinking how could they let that precious baby sleep when she was tired? haha.  When we got caught the care taker came out and took Zoya from us and said, "Dasvadayna," which means Goodbye! The woman was bouncing her and blowing really hard in her face to wake her up.  We kinda laughed, got our stuff and left.  In the future we will be more careful to shield Zoya's sleeping face from all.  I cannot stand to see her so sleepy in the morning and not let her sleep.  I know we have to do things their way while we're here, but I refuse to shake her and blow in her face when she starts to fall asleep.  UGH.  When we walked in, I peeked into the groupa room and saw Zoya in her play crib.  She was standing up in the corner of the crib, leaning against it (pretty impressed if she pulled herself up to stand) and she had her head tipped back and she was balancing a stuffed animal on her face!  At least we know she can entertain herself! 

We did get a couple of pictures in our short time today!

Zoya loves sitting by this window (and she loves her Daddy!)

We realized we only have one picture of the three of us since we've been here! So we tried (somewhat unsuccessfully) to get a few more.  If only Shawn's arm was a foot longer!

And just for fun....we bought a bagel looking thing that was bigger than Shawn's head :) Now if only we could find cream cheese he would be a very happy man!

Please continue praying about the interpol situation.  It *should* be cleared up Monday, but around here a promise is worth as much as a used toothbrush (sorry that's the first thing that came to mind...hehe).  If court is finished on Tuesday and the judge does not request to see us on Friday to finish court (and the interpol is good to go on Tuesday) then we will likely try to come home (if the wait is not waived).  If court finishes Tuesday, instead of a 10 day wait, it will actually be 13 days because of where the weekend falls.  During that 13 days we would not be able to do anything here in the area of paperwork.  We originally planned 2 trips so we are still somewhat unprepared for one long trip, but could make it work if we had to.  During our time home in between trips, we had planned to schedule some doctor visits for when Zoya does come home with us, get some early intervention meetings going, get her on our insurance, and buy some clothes now that we know what size.  We also didn't bring much with us for Zoya this trip because we were almost certain we would come home in between trips.  My great friend Shelly who just got here for her adoption was so kind to bring clothes and things for Zoya so we don't have to worry so much about that part.  Coming home would give us a much needed break and a cure for our homesickness and it would help us to feel more prepared for bringing Zoya home.  The only pro to staying here...and it's a big one...would be that we get to see Zoya every day and continue bonding.  Many parents who went home in between said that leaving for that 10 days didn't seem to make a difference in the bonding in the long run.  So we are praying for some clarity for what we should do, but are leaning toward coming home in between (if the 10 day wait is not waived..which again is unlikely, but not impossible as many of you remind me each day :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

2 Weeks in Ukraine!

Today marks 2 weeks that we have been in Ukraine! It seems like we haven't been home in months! I look at pictures of our house that we put in our photo album to show people here and I almost forget what it feels like to be there! We did get some potential good news today.  The head of the interpol department has told our facilitators that our interpol clearances should be ready today or Monday.  One thing I've learned from being here is not to get my hopes up.  So I'm having a little quiet celebration in my head hoping this will really be the case! If so, we will be able to have court Tuesday and hopefully the judge will finalize things on the same day.  If so, then we would either start our 10 day wait here (which would be more like 13 days because the 10th day is on a Friday and we couldn't start any paperwork until the following Monday) or the judge will say that our ten day wait is waived (still secretly hoping that is the case!)  We still haven't completely decided if we will come home to wait or stick it out here.  We have pros and cons for both situations and will just keep praying about that. 

When we visited this morning Zoya was happy to see us! She is starting to remember us more and more.  We took her outside and of course she fell asleep in her Daddy's arms! We always try to put her in the stroller but she usually cries because she'd rather be held.  Today she started crying in the stroller and we made her stay in as long as we could stand it because let's face it, going through the airports, she may have to be in a stroller! She is only 20 lbs. but she is 20 lbs of lead! So once we picked her up she fell asleep.  Once this girl is asleep you could do anything and it would not wake her up! So we put her back in the stroller and strolled her around for about an hour.  She got to wear a new pair of pants today....see?

Here she is inside right after she woke up.  She is usually a little slow waking up and confused at first, but then shortly after she perks up and is soooo soooo happy!  In the picture below she was a litle annoyed because her Daddy was laughing at her bed head! This is her, "I don't think this is amusing" face.

We told Zoya not to take herself so seriously and that she kinda looked like Ellen Degeneres with her new do.  She thought that was hillarious and you can see she was thrilled to be compared to Ellen!  See?

Sweet girl loves to give kisses!

And more kisses...

This is the face she made after she knocked her book off her tray for the third time.  She thought it was funny.  I tried not to laugh. Stinker! She will throw things and then look at us with raised eyebrows to see what our reaction will be!

For lunch today Zoya ordered this appetizer.  It appeared to be a piece of bread with some orange liquid, cabbage, and peaches...we call it GROSS! We mush it all up and then try to feed it to her, although all the orange liquid kinda just shot back out her mouth.

And for the main course Zoya ordered the Carb Feast.  She had mashed potatoes, stuffing, and some more cabbage with carrots. We also mash all this together until it's the consistency of baby food.

Here is the bottle they give her with the warm broth or fruit juice in it.  They cut the hole in the nipple really big.  They do this because they don't have time to sit with each baby and actually have them suck the bottle down.  This way it can be poured right into their mouth.  I don't think it works so well with Zoya.  She either gets too much or it all comes right back out.  The first day they had her use a regular bottle with a regular sized hole and that seemed to work better.  She was able to suck out of it with no problems. We tried a cup with her but she isn't ready for that yet.

I love this picture because both Shawn and Zoya are looking at that food like "seriously?"

Usually when we leave, Zoya gladly goes back with whatever care taker comes to get her.  Today when it was time to leave she did not want to go back :(  I had to pass her over with her still grabbing for me.  That broke my heart a little. It did make me happy to see the bond that is forming between us though. 

We are getting ready to go back for our second visit of the day with our sweet angel girl.  We are still in need of many prayers that things will go smoothly with the interpol situation and with our upcoming court date. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our Humble Abode

Here are the promised pictures of our current living conditions :)

The outside view....looks pretty nice right? :)

Here is the bathtub whose only purpose is to drain the water from the washing machine. (That little blue and white bottle by my glasses is travel Lysol...don't leave home without it!)

Our kitchen...I'm thinking this is the new style in know the "aged" look...what do ya think?

Here is our shower.  My creative way to not have to have my feet touch the moldy outdoor carpeting inside the shower! It is still prickly, even through the bags I layed down! To my friends who are waiting to travel for their adoptions...I'd invest in a pair of shower shoes :)

Here is the throne.  Since it isn't a squatty potty I will be thankful and not complain too much that you can barely close the door without your knees hitting it haha.  You kinda have to sit sideways :)

Here is our kitchen table and the place of many funny conversations between Shawn and I. The kitchen is in a seperate part of the house than all the other rooms.  It isn't heated like the rest of the house either.

The orange beast! Our couch. 

Although our accommodations are a little different than what we are used to, we are so very thankful to have a roof over our heads and be within walking distance to the orphanage.  This has saved us A LOT of money! We miss the comforts of home, but this is a small price to pay for our Zoya girl!  Hopefully soon we will look back at these photos with smiles about the memories we have made!

Day 13 in Ukraine

Still no word on the interpol situation.  We are really hoping this will get cleared up VERY soon!  We woke up this morning to no electricity.  We called Marina who called the woman whose house we are staying in and she said it was not a problem with the house, but with the whole area.  We waited but no power.  We needed to shower before leaving the house (we were kinda gross) but no such luck.  The house was very dark because it only has a few winows (I promise I will post some pics of the house soon hehe) so we coulndn't even see to shower.  Plus if I washed my hair without blow drying it, it would be wet for the next 2 days!  We saw some men banging on the electricity poles looking like they were trying to fix them. 

We decided we didn't want to miss our visit with Zoya so we freshened up the best we could and took off for the orphanage.  When we got to Zoya's room, it was unusually quiet.  I looked in and saw her just sitting in one of the wooden play areas.  She leaned her head up against the wall and just sat there.  That was hard to see.  I imagine she had done a lot of that.  I was happy to see she shares a play area with Sasha, another little boy who has a momma and daddy coming for him soon!  Zoya happened to turn around and she noticed we were standing at the door.  She just stared at us.  When they brought her out to us we got a smile and it was the first time I really felt she remembered us right away.  She held her arms out to me with a big smile!  It melted my heart!  She was tired again when we got there.  We took her outside where she again fell asleep while her Daddy was holding her! Every time we take her out she falls asleep! But then again every time we take her out it is 10:30 and maybe thats just when she needs a nap. After our visit we found a bank on our own to exchange money, picked up Zoya's visa photos, and ordered some prints of us with her to take to the judge and to the social worker.  We also went grocery shopping and bought some new things.  We are getting sick of eating the same old things.
Taking a break along the way.

People pay to have eyelashes like this!

This is what she looked like when we tried to wake her up! Haha. We tried to wake her up so she wouldn't get in trouble! Once inside she finally woke up while we were undressing her. 
We got to feed her lunch again today.  Here she is right before we fed her.  She was dancing to the music on a little toy we had.  She is too stinkin' cute!

And the mugshot pictures! Haha.  This is what we did yesterday...tried to get a good picture for her visa.  I think it's pretty funny we ended up with this mugshot! At least I put a bow in her hair for her picture :)

People here are burning piles of "stuff" everywhere.  Everywhere we go it smells like smoke and burning garbage.  Yesterday when we took the long drive we saw fires all over off the road.  I guess they are spring "burning" instead of cleaning.  We also noticed that there is garbage EVERYWHERE, like lots of it, all along the streets and in the grass.  Tamara, the woman whose house we are staying at, did our laundry for us so kindly and then hung it to try, except when she brought it in, the clothes smelled like we had worn them camping because of all the burn piles outside!  I really do feel like I'm camping here, it's pretty funny.  There are stray dogs EVERYWHERE too! You can see them mating in the is a real problem here.  The dogs are wild and we get a little nervous when we see a pack of them coming our way.  Our facilitator says every so often they will catch all the dogs and kill them....she said you can see they haven't done that in a while. 

Please keep praying for this interpol issue to be cleared up very soon.  There are several other families who have already had to cancel court because it has not yet been cleared up.  Thanks!