Saturday, August 23, 2014

Nikolaev Ukraine Day Eleven: Heart to Heart

James is at the keyboard today.

This morning we received a call from our facilitator that our regular driver, Viktor, was sick and running a temperature. Viktor has been great to us and we were sad to hear that he was not feeling well. Thankfully, another couple that is out here for adoption had shared the contact information for their driving service. Natasha was able to get us a driver and we were able to get out for a nice visit with K and B this morning.

Today, we showed K and B some pictures of what our home looks like from the inside. Yesterday, when we had a video chat with our sons back in the USA, we asked them to take some pictures around the house and e-mail them to us. They did a great job! K and B were able to take a virtual tour of our home and they really seemed to enjoy it. After I explained the pictures to them, K took some extra time to look through the pictures again while B enjoyed playing some games on the phone.

Mary took an opportunity today during our visit to take some photos of the summer camp where we have been visiting the children for the last couple of weeks.

This is the dormitory where K and B live at summer camp.
This is the yard where we play soccer.

Today, we also had a heart to heart with K and B. Their relative has really been leaning on B to convince him not to get adopted but remain in the orphanage/boarding school. So, we sat down with them to explain why we came over to adopt children and helped them understand what their decision means as far as their relationship with us is concerned. This is certainly not easy for them but we hope that they see how much we want them to be happy and that we would love to have them in our family. We pray that the Lord will guide these children during this time. Our conversation was tender and, in some very real ways, we saw the children opening up to us even more. It was good to have a heart to heart with them.

Too soon, the time had come for us to go. Before we left, K brought out a picture she had drawn for me and B sewed a heart into a piece on paper with thread that he gave to us. These children are so awesome! We love them!

"To Papa from K"

B's heart.
After driving back to Nikolaev, we did some shopping and then relaxed a little in the apartment. As we were walking back to the apartment, Mary noticed this garden that used painted tires as planters and borders. She wanted to capture the local creativity that we are enjoying during this experience. 

This evening, we enjoyed dinner with some other couples that are here in Nikolaev for adoption. We decided to eat at the "Stargorod" restaurant that we have enjoyed for the last few nights. Previously, the restaurant had provided an ideal spot to enjoy dinner overlooking the river in a peaceful atmosphere. Tonight, however, there was a wedding at the restaurant. The groom appeared to be a rock musician and the music was very loud. As we were deciding to leave, the restaurant staff invited us to enjoy a private dining room away from the noise and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and shared experiences. It was very nice to learn and share the journeys that we are on.

To end on a light note, Mary certainly knows how to bring smiles to our faces as she courageously embraces learning as much Russian as she can. Before traveling to Ukraine, Mary learned to say "I love you" in Russian. Yesterday, as we were walking through the summer camp, she heard some of the older children yelling at each other. She turned to me and asked, "did they just say 'I love you?'" They had actually yelled "I will kill you" but to those familiar with Russian verb conjugation it is understandable how the sounds can be somewhat familiar. We had a good laugh together and enjoyed another fun moment on this incredible journey.

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