Day 8 (Saturday March 19)

Day 8 of our journey (Saturday, March 19th)

Gabe was up bright and early again this morning. I sure wish he would get up so bright and early when we are at home. I stayed in bed as long as I could. I have been sleeping with my eye mask (it is one of the really nice plush ones) on every night since we have been in Ukraine, it has been great! One of the first things I noticed when I took my eye cover off was that the noisy clock on the wall was no longer there. I did even notice how noisy it was the our first night here because we were all so very exhausted from not having much sleep on the train and spending a very long day before arriving here to our apartment. Last night as I went to sleep I noticed how loud the clock was and wondered how I have missed it the night before. Apparently, it was really bothersome to Tony at some point during the night, so he hid it away in another part of the apartment.

The Ukrainians do not use dryers. We have been using a nice front loading washing machine that is in the bathroom. We tried hanging the laundry out on the clothesline in the small, enclosed balcony, but the clothes were taking too long to dry. I was nervous to even walk in the little balcony since it sounded and felt like it was not very sturdy. Well, we decided to just hang the clothing all over the cabinet doors, hooks, etc. throughout the apartment. They are drying quite quickly now, a few of the shirts have large dimples from the hooks that Tony hung them on, but none of those shirts are mine. 🙂

How many of you love your washer so much that you would give up your only bathroom sink to have a place for it? I guess I would have to say that if that was the only option, I would probably give up my bathroom sink as the lady in this apartment has done. Actually, I think she just moved her bathroom sink to the kitchen, because her single bowl kitchen sink sure looks like a bathroom sink. I am very grateful to have a washer, kitchen sinks, AND bathroom sinks. The people do great a making do with what they have. I am enjoying the houseplants in this apartment and hoping that mine are all doing well at home under the care of Tony’s mom. (By the way mom, the two thirstiest plants are the big ones in the master bathroom tub. You may need to water them more frequently. If any plants die, please don’t worry.)

Our facilitator, Victor, called this morning to let us know that he has some kind of stomache flu. Tony and I decided that we should go ahead and drive out to the orphanage without him. We needed to talk with the children about new American names so that the names could be put in the papers that Victor is preparing to submit to court on Monday. Victor called the taxi driver that drove us to the orphanage yesterday and asked him to go ahead and pick us up today to go to the orphanage.

When we arrived at the orphanage, we went looking for the children. Since it is Saturday, they were not all in the first main building where the school is. Tony, Sam, and Gabe headed to the field behind the school where the boys play soccer with the hopes of finding Yuri. I headed to their dormitory building next to the school. One of the children had already run to alert Zhenia and Luba of my coming, so they were already on the bottom floor shortly after I came into the building. They wanted to take me on a tour of the building. I was not sure if that was okay with the women in charge of the dormitory. I pointed to the office door at the ladies trying to make sure that they ask the women before I went upstairs. The ladies just looked at me as I looked questioningly at them. They did not appear to object, so I proceeded to follow the Luba, Zhenia, and one of the older girls as they lead me on a tour. I didn’t have a camera to take pictures, which is fine, because I would need to have permission to take pictures. I am hoping that I will be given permission to take some photos of our children’s rooms, bathrooms, cafeteria, television areas, etc. so that they can put them in their scrapbooks to remember their orphanage family.

The bedrooms had many beds all lined up, neatly made, with a towel folded and hanging over the headboard. The beds were all the same as were their small night stands. Some of the nightstands had several things on them, but most had nothing. Our children did not have anything on theirs. I did not see where they keep the clothes or where their drying racks are for their socks and underwear that they wash each night and hang to dry. Our three children did that when they were at our home. I was told that they usually wash one pair of socks and one underwear out each night and leave them to dry for 24 hours while they wear their second pair of socks and underwear. This way they only need two pair. I am thinking that this is a pretty good idea and should impliment this at our home. This one thing would probably help our boys take better care of their socks which we are always finding strewn throughtout our house and, in good weather, the yard.

After my tour of the orphanage dormitory, we found Tony in the downstairs entry. Tony decided to begin our conversation with Luba and Zhenia about choosing American names for them. There were several older girls that were privy to our conversation that understood what Tony was telling the two children. One girl whispered in Luba’s ear. Luba then said, “Julia.” another girl whispered in Zhenia’s ear. Zhenia said “Brad.” Tony and I then proceeded to ask these older girls if Julia was from Julia Roberts and if Brad was from Brad Pitt. They giggled and nodded in assent. We were warned by previous adopting families that if we left the choice totally up to our children for their new names, they we all return to the States named after the latest movie stars.

We decided that we had better continue this conversation in another location without the help of these older girls, so we first set off to get Yuri from the soccer field. Tony decided to play a little more soccer with Yuri, Sam and the other boys for a bit longer. I had brought a rocket launcher with four foam tipped rockets. Gabe, Luba, and Zhenia got it set up in the field next to where the boys were playing soccer. We had a grand time with our children and some of the other orphangs stomping on the air stomper that launched the rockets. It was great fun. After quite a while, we disassembled the small launcher and put it all back in the box and decided to find a warm place inside to talk with the children about their names.

After cleaning the mud off the bottom of our shoes, we all went down the hallway in the school building and sat on the floor. Tony and I decided to have Ryan, who at the time was soundly sleeping in his nice, warm bed in his apartment in Provo at 8 a.m. on this lovely Saturday morning, help us talk with the children about their names. It is very expensive for us to call the United States with our phone, so we called David Howick to see if could help us. He was able to Skype to Ryan’s cell phone for cheap asking him to call us directly. Ryan then called us through our calling card. While we were going through all this, one of the ladies at the orphanage saw all seven of us sitting on the floor at the end of the hallway and offered us a nice room for us to meet in across the hall from the office. That was very kind of her and we relocated our family meeting. After speaking to each of the children, they all seemed very content with the first names that we chose for them. We helped them choose middle names. Would you be surprised if I told you that Luba chose Julia for her middle name?! We will tell you their full names at a later date.

We then gave the children hugs and told them that we would NOT be back on Sunday, but we would come again on Monday. We were really glad that we chose to go today and look forward to seeing them on Monday.

We stopped by the same diner as we did last night for dinner. I, again, had the cabbage salad and a plate of buckwheat. The others, including our taxi driver had some pork and mashed potatoes.

On our way home, we stopped by David Howick’s apartment so that we could make a post to our blog since we have not been able to do so for the past three days. We decided to make the drive to church tomorrow. We will be leaving for Zaparozhye around 8 a.m. to get to church that begins at 10 a.m. We are trying to make arrangements to meet up with our friend, Lucy, some time on Monday.

It is getting late, and we are getting up early so . . . good night to all!


March 19, 2011 By Tony

To paraphrase a line from Moby Dick: “Call me Stupid”. One of the reasons I was in such a panic last Tuesday with the train tickets and all was that my phone was going out of batteries and for some reason my phone charger wasn’t working. I was on my last moments of battery life and frantically trying to make sure we had train tickets before it went dead. The phone did go dead right at the moment we were assured that we did indeed have train tickets.

Eventually, we met up with the other families still in Kiev and I was able to switch batteries with somebody else and use their charger to recharge my phone battery. Fortunately, we had enough time so that the battery was fully charged before we had to leave for the train station.

The problem that I still had was that while the phone was good, it was limited as I had no way to charge it. We used it sparingly for three days having it turned off most of the time. Finally today we were able to take it to a phone store to buy a new charger or maybe find out that it was the phone with some type of short in it. We walked into the store and I called Victor, our facilitator, and handed the phone to the lady so he could explain our problem. She indicated to him that it would be no problem and that it would cost 20 gryvnas (just under $3). I had Victor explain to her that I had to physcially see the new charger work before I would buy it. Well she whipped out the charger and plugged it in to the bottom of the phone and I thought, “What the heck is she doing, there isn’t a hole down there. Any idiot knows that the charging port is on the side of the phone.” Turns out that the side port is the earplug jack and any idiot knows that the phone won’t charge by sticking the charger in that port. In a sudden flash of brilliant intuition I indicated that we would be right back.

We walked out and back to our apartment (about 50 yards) with Anne and the boys questioning what in the world we were doing. “Trust me I’m a doctor, I know what I’m doing,” or some such blather came out of my mouth. Well, when we came back to the apartment we rummaged around to look for the charger hoping that I wasn’t quite so Neanderthal to have actually thrown the charger away. Fortunately, it was in my bag and I plugged it in to the wall and into the bottom of the phone (I swear there was not a hole there before) and wonder of wonders, it worked! The only kudos for my most brilliant deduction was from Sam who said, “If you just would have asked me to look at the phone, I could have figured it out in about one nanosecond.”

And off I drifted into the vast sea of dots, dashes,bits, and bytes clinging to a coffin, being the only remnant of my shattered sense of technosavy.

One Response to “Day 8 (Saturday March 19)”
  1. Stephanie Holbrook says:

    I’m so glad you were able to post:) The rocket launcher is such a great idea. We do take for granted our many bathrooms, sinks, washers AND dryers, etc. It sounds like you are having a great time with your kids. I hope that you are doing well and that things are going smoothly for you. You are in our prayers.

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