Adopting Grace

The journey to bring our little girl home

Browsing Posts tagged SDA

The Train

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We’re on the train right now and I should be sound asleep like Philip, but for some reason I’m up again. My body is still having trouble getting on this schedule apparently. This day didn’t go quite like we expected, but it all worked out in the end. We had the morning to find some wifi and try the ice cream, which we’d heard was fantastic (it was). We walked around taking pictures of things we found interesting and headed back to the apartment to let our computers charge before Niko was to pick us up. That time came and went and we didn’t hear anything. About the time we decided to call him we got a call saying we would be picked up by a taxi instead. We drug all our stuff outside and he arrived pretty quickly, but spoke no English and the best we could tell he was trying to take us to the train station and we knew we needed to go by the SDA first to get our paperwork. We had to call Niko to translate for us on the phone and finally got it all straightened out. The SDA was very close, but up a very old, very steep road that couldn’t even be described as cobble stone. It’s truly just a bunch of river rock that is sort of fitted together and in the rain that stuff is like trying to drive on a sheet of ice. Our driver did well until he had to stop because a car had decided to park partially in our lane (they park wherever they want) and when he started again the wheels just spun and we started to slide sideways and down. I’ve done this often enough each winter to know there was NO WAY we were making it up that hill. And there was a ton of traffic behind us and in the on-coming lane so we were in a bit of a mess. The guy was obviously nervous so we just sat there and prayed and he finally managed to inch up just enough to pull into a drive way and turn around, but he lost at least half of his tire tread doing it. The only other way to the SDA was a long loop around the city and when we finally got there Yulia was waiting and helped us tell the guy not to leave so we could leave our luggage there. We went int quickly and signed for our papers with several other non-RR families and then she told us to go to the train station and Niko would meet us there with our tickets. It took another 20 minutes of death-defying driving (seriously, they just sort of drive all over the place and with only inches between cars) to get there. For an hour of hard driving that poor man only charged about $6…that’s got to be a hard way to make a living. We waited outside McDonald’s where we were told to…and still no Niko. We called again and were told he’d be there in a bit and to go inside since it was still raining. We stayed there about 45 minutes…and still no Niko. About 20 minutes before our train was scheduled to leave Yulia showed up and practically ran us through the station and onto the train. Our coupe is very nice. We were advised to get a 1st class coupe so we could have space to ourselves; 2nd class is the same size with 2 more people with you (which would be pretty tight) and regular is just open seating. There’s no food on the train so we brought bread and peanut butter for dinner, forgetting that Ukrainian bread is fresh…ours was a couple days old and full of mold. So we ate some of our granola bar stash with peanut butter and reached for the water we bought at the station…only to realize it was their heavily carbonated stuff. It tastes like mouth wash, I have no idea how they drink it. Despite the odd dinner we had a good time and enjoyed just getting to relax together and watch a movie on the laptop. Tomorrow we’ll be in region!

I’m going to try this again…I just wrote a post and the wifi here at McDonald’s is so weak that it dropped me and I lost everything before I could save it. We’re just going to head home and I’ll write it up so we can try to post again in the morning…(the next day) This post has been really hard to get up. I’ve lost it multiple times and then the pictures gave us fits. I think we finally got it all done!

We had our SDA appointment this morning. Niko picked us up and we met Serge there. He took us upstairs to a tiny room with a tiny couch and table. A lady (Masha maybe?) pulled out a huge notebook with packets of info on a bunch of kids and found Grace’s file. We were told she had a spinal hernia and hydropcephaly (which we knew) and that she had 2 other sisters without special needs who had already been adopted out. Her mother was a single mother and the girls had been taken from her by the state for neglect. When I asked for more info I was told we would get more later. We did get to see a picture of her as a baby (we were allowed to take a picture of it) and were given another picture of her at about 12-18 months. The second picture shows her standing with assistance and it was encouraging to see that they had been working with her since she was that young. The rest of the time we sat there watching the lady and Serge talk in Russian. I think our business was over and they were talking about other cases and a child they wanted to find a home for. For such an important meeting it was over very quickly with no questions for us. We were then lead back outside and Serge quickly went over our travel plans to get to our region and made sure we were ok before heading off. I get the feeling the man might never sleep, knows just about everyone and can get just about anything done that he wants. He’s a little intimidating and yet very reassuring at the same time. We were told to be back at the SDA tomorrow afternoon to pick up our referral for Grace before going to the train station. That piece of paper will be the first official link between us and Grace as far as the Ukrainian gov’t is concerned and gives us permission to meet her.

We also got to meet another RR parent today. Chris has been with his wife and daughter at the same orphanage and was just passing back through Kiev to finish up paperwork before heading back home. It was wonderful to see another American and to talk to a parent who is a couple weeks ahead of us in this process. We showed him parts of the city we found yesterday and he took us to a restaurant they’d found here. It was very good…and very slow. We literally waited 2 hours for our food. I’m guessing they had to raise the chicken before they could cook it, but apparently that’s how all the real sit-down restaurants are here. Thankfully we had great company and weren’t in a hurry. :)

I’m tired and we have a long day tomorrow so it’s time for bed. We won’t be posting anything tomorrow (other than this) because we’ll be on a 15 hour train ride out to our region. Lord willing, we will get to meet Grace either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning!

Also, the last post had a comment from Sue and when I tried to reply to the email listed it bounced back as undeliverable. Sue, if you’re still reading could you send us another address? Thanks!