Our first picture with her. She was holding out her hands to get the camera back so she could play with it.

We got picked up from the train by Violetta (our translator/facilitator here) and Sasha (the driver). They took us by some gov’t building to pick up another piece of paper we’d need to get in the orphanage and then told us we were going there! We’d been told in Kiev there was no way to go until Thursday. When we got there we drove through the gates and immediately saw Grace being pushed in her chair with some other kids. We went inside for our meeting with the medical director and the social worker who had followed us over from the gov’t building and they went over her file. It was just a little paper book filled with handwritten notes about her. We found out she was the youngest of the siblings and that she was brought here when she was 14 months old. They say she has never had any surgery because her SB was internal and that she doesn’t have a shunt. They said she does have something wrong with her hip/lower back that makes her leg turn in, but they didn’t know what it was. We’re a little curious now to see what American doctors will say because we’d been told she would absolutely have to have a shunt and that surgery at birth for SB was very common. It could still be SB, but it could be something totally different. She was a preemie and only weighed a little over 2lbs at birth, but is now 28 lbs and while she’s not as big as Josiah, few kids their age are. :) She was born in this region, but quite a ways from this city and we or Sasha will have to go there to get a new birth certificate made (this is done for every child). After all of this they asked if we still wanted her! They are required to ask it, but it totally took me by surprise.

When we went outside to meet her her doctor came with us and was very sweet. He put her in her walker and apologized that they didn’t have anything better to continue her care and that she was at the stage where she really needed something else. Despite that, what they had put together has kept her legs with some muscle tone and she knows the motion to walk. She is also able to wheel herself in her chair and he kept making sure that we had the resources she would need because they believe she will be able to walk someday with the proper help. He really seemed to care about her. As we were talking about all of this she was just watching us and I asked Violetta to ask her if she knew who we were. So far she’d just smiled and happily showed us what she could do. She smiled and pointed to Philip and said, ‘Papa.’ She totally knew we had come to be her parents. She acknowledged me, but was very much more interested in Philip. She pointed to where she would like to play and wanted Philip to push her on the swing for most of our time while I tickled her as she swung forward. If Philip slowed down she would say, ‘push!’

WEEEEEEEEEEE..... This is fun!!

When she was done with that we put her back in her chair and asked Jenn (another RR mom) to take a picture of all of us. Grace spent the rest of the time excitedly pushing buttons on the camera and Philip’s phone to see pictures of herself. We showed her pictures of our other kids and she seemed to like that she was on there too. We’d also taken a short video of her walking and she got really excited seeing that. I wonder if she’s ever seen a picture of herself before. At any rate, the phone and camera should be fun toys to keep her busy on the way home.

So, what does this thing do again... Oh yeah, it has pictures on it... Can I see again?

After all this we were driven over to our missionary contact who had offered an apartment to us. Without his generosity we would be paying $50 a day for housing. This couple has been amazing to us. We have a large apartment with wifi (YEA!), stocked with a few necessities and a welcome basket. Forrest took us down to the bazaar for some produce and then over to the market for other food and explained what everything was. Without him we would have been so lost. Ice cream comes in tubes (like a sausage), there are chicken flavored peanuts (I bought some out of curiosity), all sauces, condiments and dressings are in little pouches similar to a Caprisun drink…they have most of the things we have, but it all looks so different that we would have bought some strange stuff without him. We get to go over to their house for dinner and he’s offered to let us come with him to the invalid orphanage on our downtime if we’d like to. They work with various orphanages and age-out orphans here and it’s just fascinating to here what all they do.

This is a book…sorry for the length. Forrest should be here soon to get us for dinner, but I’ll try to get some pictures up soon.

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