Thursday, June 7, 2012

Final Kherson Trip

Well I'm back in Kherson.  In my fab new apartment I might add.  They just don't get any better than this!   Well in Kherson anyway!  This one has just about everything a girl could want in Kherson.  Hot water, towels and bedding that looks clean, and wifi.  However I just noticed there is no bedspread on the bed, so hopefully it doesn't get too cold in here tonight.

Let me back track a bit....  4 days ago I left Michigan headed for Ukraine.  This trip I'm taking solo, no Todd and no Leo to slow me down keep me company.  It's my final trip and Anya will be coming home with me in 7-14 days.  7 is looking impossible, 14 is probably worse case scenario, so I am hoping for 10 days, which would get me home before next weekend.

The day I arrived in Kiev nothing too exciting happened.  I got picked up from the airport around 3pm, settled into my apartment (the same one we had the first time we came to Kiev).  I met Jake and Vova (who were on the last leg of their adoption journey) for dinner and was so tired from the traveling that I was sound asleep by 10pm, only to wake up at 1am WIDE AWAKE!  I did not sleep the rest of the night.  UHG!!  I considered taking some sleeping pills, but since I had to be up and ready to go at 8am, I decided I better not.  I just kept thinking I would fall back asleep anytime soon.

7:30am I was picked up by my driver, taken to the train station where I was too meet my facilitator for the day.  My documents from the court house had been sent from Kherson on the overnight train, so we picked those up too.  Then we were off to the town Anya was born in, Vinnytsia, which is 300km west of Kiev.  Which is about 190 miles and should take approx 3 hours to get there.  We got there in 2 hour and 15 minutes.  It was the scariest ride of my life.  It was misty rain, so the roads were not super wet, but wet enough to be slick.  A good portion of the way was 2 lane roads which in America we would travel about 50mph on.  My driver was pushing 90, and passing cars 3 at a time.  I wasn't sure if I should watch or try to sleep.  If your going to be hit by a bus, do you really want to see it coming?  So I did a little of both, and a whole lot of praying for safety.

We didn't see much of the town, we went to the marriage license office and applied for Anya's new birth certificate.  They said to come back in 1 hour, so we went for lunch.  I'm certain we went to the nicest restaurant in the city.

Adoption facilitators have a reputation for always wanting to stop and eat in the middle of doing adoption business.  We are told by our American facilitators that this is common and it would be nice if we and we are expected to pay for their meals occasionally.  So it's really not a huge surprise, we just didn't expect it to happen quite so often.  You don't even really get to feel like your doing something nice by offering to pay, because the bill is just pushed your way like its your job to pay.   Anyway, the food is cheap enough ($37 for 3 lunches at the fancy restaurant) that it's certainly not making an issue of it, but definitely noteworthy of mentioning.

Here is the view from the window at our table.
After lunch we went back to the office and picked up our documents.  The birth certificate was ready to go.  I was asked to check it for errors before signing.  However it was in Russian.... a bit of a problem.  So I said, assuming it says what you tell me it says, I guess it's correct.  I can't exactly check for spelling errors when it's written in cyrillic.

Then the long torturous drive back to Kiev, dinner with Jake and Vova one last time at Mafia Pizza... then I had to head to the train station.  They were heading out at 4am to the airport for America!  It was really great spending time with them.  Todd and I started our Adoption Journey with Jake and Judi and we think it made the whole process 100% more fun and enjoyable.  They are great people and we are so glad to have them as friends now!  Vova is a lucky boy as well, and I'm pretty sure he knows it!  I asked him at dinner if he wanted to go to Kherson with me and there was zero hesitation on his NO answer.

9pm I boarded the train.  I had a 4 bunk compartment all to myself.  When the train is stopped the A/C shuts off too.  Even though I was there 20 minutes early, I stayed in my cabin with the door shut.  I didn't ant anyone to know I was alone.  Creepy people take the train you know.  I had someone knock on my cabin door 2 times during the night, but I didn't open it!  I passed the 12 hours by sleeping, reading a book  on my iPhone, surfing Facebook, and texting to Todd.  Yes international data roaming charges were worth every penny on this trip.  (And for the record, as long as you pre-order the service, it's not that expensive.  $30 for 125mb which lasts me about 5-7 days of as much internet as I want.)

Right before the train arrived in Kherson I get a phone call from my Kherson facilitator (who I am pretty sure doesn't like me cause I was so pushy on my first trip.) called to tell me she was ill and sending a sup to help me today.  That was a relief for me as well, I'd had Oksana fill in for her on our second trip to (see a pattern here?) and Oksana is so sweet and helpful.  We went to the notary to sign some documents, and then to the orphanage to pick up Anya to take her to get her passport photo.  Then to the passport office where we waited for about an hour before it was our turn.

Then I was dropped off at my apartment, Anya taken back to the school.  I took a shower and headed to our familiar hot spot at the John Howard to meat Nathan and Christina Rhoar (from Ohio) for coffee.  They are here adopting their host son Kolya.  Christina and I have been FB friends for quite a while, so it was really nice to finally get to meet her in person.  She and Nathan are going to be great company for me during my stay here in Kherson, and we may even be on the same timeline for returning to Kiev and then the states.

We then caught a cab to the orphanage for a short visit with the kids, then back to John Howard for dinner.

Now I am officially up to speed on the blog.  Wifi is working great so I plan to keep the updates coming daily so they aren't quite so long.

Plan for tomorrow:  Pick up Anya for good from the orphanage.  She will stay with me here at my apartment while we wait for the passport  to be processed, which take 3-5 days, we're hoping for 3, which puts us at Monday before we can return to Kiev to finish up paper work at US Embassy.


A Room to Grow said...

Thanks for sharing your journey. I have enjoyed keeping up with you and others who hosted last summer. I am waiting to bring home our second daughter from Russia, hopefully in 5-6 weeks.

Annie said...

Thanks for sharing! That is quite some apartment! The decor would be enough to keep one awake.

You learned that hard way (maybe) that docile is the way to go. Something just told me to be very obedient, and that served us very well. I'm not usually docile! Just had some 6th sense, maybe.

Funny, our facilitators never once took us to eat - quite the reverse! We'd have to beg that they stop so we could buy a cup of tea. However, the driving style was just the same - scared the life out of me and my husband about died when we stopped to change a tire, and he saw that the tire was worn down so far he could see the threads. Guardian angels working overtime there.

Have fun with your beautiful girl!

Tina in CT said...

Is it possible to ask taxi drivers to slow down? No one ever blogs about doing that? I'd also have been a wreck in the back seat.

About the apt. Glad that it's clean with things you need like wifi, hot water, etc. But, the decor is quite "unusual".

Hope the short wait to be able to leave is what happens. You can enjoy alone time with your daughter and once you're back home, you know your schedule is busy.

Loved catching up. It'll be nice for Anya to have in the future too.

Rachael said...

Lori, you would have appreciated our facilitator. I was under the impression that we were supposed to pay for everything for them. But she was very shy about that. I had to convince her each time. (I like her even more now!) Hopefully you will get to keep Oksana!