Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kharkov Ukraine Day One: We met with the kids.

Mary is posting today.

James and I left our apartment this morning around 5:30am to catch an express train to Kharkov. The train car we rode in was made up of maybe 10 rows of two to three seats on each side of the train with an aisle in between. James and I sat in a row with only two seats. The train ride was about 4 1/2 hours long. Our new facilitator, Tatyana,  and her husband met us at the train station in Kharkov and took us to our apartment. They left us for about 30 minutes to settle in and then picked us up again and we headed out to the town where the orphanage is. The drive is about 50 kilometers away or just over 30 miles. During the drive to the orphanage our driver pointed out the window and said, "There is Russia"! We were driving about 2 miles from the border of Russia a lot of the way. We stopped at the District Social Worker's office and Tatyana gave them our Referral and a representative got in the car with us and we drove the rest of the way to the orphanage. The roads were a little rough and the orphanage was located pretty far out near a bunch of farms. The grounds of the orphanage were very beautiful. We got out and headed into the orphanage. When we entered we were asked to put shoe covers on to protect the pristine floors. Everything was very clean! We were lead upstairs where we met with the Director of the orphanage along with the Medical advisor and a couple of other people who worked at the orphanage. They all were very kind to us and let us ask all of the questions we could think of about the kids. They were very good at answering our questions completely and if they didn't know something they told us instead of guessing. It was a very positive experience. One of the many questions we asked was if the kids knew we were coming. We were told that they did not know that we were coming. After we were done asking questions the Orphanage staff asked us a lot of questions too. We were then shown a little bit of the orphanage. We were shown a lot of bedrooms. Each one had anywhere from five to seven beds in them. Each child had a small cabinet and a shelf in a wardrobe. I couldn't believe how neat and tidy the kid's rooms were! Each bed was made identically down to the placement of their pillows near the center of the bed. After our small tour, the 3 kiddos arrived at the orphanage. They were taken out of school early and picked up by a car so they were really confused why they were there early instead of riding back on the school bus with the rest of the kids. When we were introduced, they seemed pretty reluctant and shy to find out that a couple had come to see them about adoption. We were the very first couple to come to see them. They were really cute, but again, extremely shy. We sat down and showed them our books that told about our family and they patiently listened. After we were done we asked them questions to get to know them better. We found out that they had all traveled to New York last summer as part of a hosting program. They showed us a book that their host family had made for them. Most of their answers were really brief. After that we gave them some gifts that we picked out for them yesterday, a hat for the boy and small jewelry boxes for the girls,  and they put them away in their rooms and then they showed us around a little bit. We finished our visit and asked if we could come back again tomorrow. They seemed okay with it, but not super excited about it either. I'm not sure what to think about that. The Director showed us outside and told us that the kids are probably just being shy, etc. I guess we'll see tomorrow.

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