We talked with our Facilitator again today and she was not able to get our second SDA appointment scheduled yet. She will check back tomorrow, but it looks like the lady who usually handles international adoption SDA appointments is on vacation this week. She should be back on Monday, so our facilitator will check in each day to try to get us on the schedule. She said most likely it will be Tuesday of next week. Not exactly what we wanted to hear, but we are trying to make the best of it. We got out of the hotel room today and went to Pecherska Lavra. It started as a Monastery made of caves in the 11th Century. It has grown into a large place where people come to visit museums and worship. It was great to walk around and see some of the museums on the grounds and enjoy the beautiful buildings. We even got to go in some of the caves where Monks were laid to rest. When we came to the entrance, a women let me borrow a head scarf and an apron to cover my pants so that I could enter the caves. It is a very holy place for them. We followed several people into the caves and watched them light candles and pray in front of the Monks bodies specially preserved and laid to rest in the caves behind glass. It was a very interesting experience. There were certain places in the caves that were set aside for people to say Orthodox prayers, that we did not go in. We tried be respectful of the sacredness of their religion to them. It was fascinating to see. Here are a few pictures of the beautiful surroundings in Pecherska Lavra:
Gate Church of the Trinity. We went through this gate to enter Pecherska Lavra.
Great Lavra Bell Tower.
A nut that fell from one of the trees inside Pecherska Lavra.
This is what it looked like from the outside.
Dormition Cathedral from the front.
Dormition Cathedral from the back.
A view of Kiev from Pecherska Lavra.
After Visiting Pecherska Lavra, we went back to the hotel to Skype with our boys in Virginia. Today was their first day of school and we wanted to catch them before they left for school. We had a good chat with them and we were able to have family prayer with them before they left. It was really hard today not being there for them in person. Today is the first day of Kindergarten for our youngest. Our next older son starts 5th grade so he will be able to help our Kindergartener find his way around. Our oldest is in 7th grade. I can't wait to hear how their first day of school went when we Skype with them tomorrow.
After our Skype session we hung out for a bit reading and I studied more Russian. For dinner we decided to try out McDonald's in Ukraine. I don't particularly like McDonald's in the states because my kiddos love to go there all of the time on road trips. I've gotten completely sick of it. We were told to give it a try at least once on our trip to see how it compares so we gave it a shot. I have to say it was pretty good and it reminded me of home. Everything tasted similar, but the sauces are a little different. They didn't have Ranch, Honey Mustard, or Barbeque Sauces, but they did have a cheese sauce that was pretty good! The fries were good, but they didn't have very much salt on them at all. Just a few changes to match local tastes here. The restaurant, which was a two story building, was very busy. It was hard to find a seat right away, but a nice young man tried hard to communicate with me to try to find us a seat while James was ordering our food. I didn't understand his Russian very well so he tried out his English. I swear he was asking me if I had a VISA. I told him no that I didn't have a VISA, but I did have a passport. He looked at me kind of funny and then showed me two seats. I guess what he was trying to ask me was if I needed two seats. It was a fun experience overall and brought us back to "America" for a bit.
With a long week ahead of us, we are trying to plan an outing everyday to make the most of our time here. Hopefully it will pass quickly and we will meet our kiddos soon!