The apartment complex we are living in. We are in the light blue row on top.

Today marks 2 weeks that we’ve been gone and I’m getting antsy for a court date. We still haven’t heard one (but are praying to hear from Violetta soon) so we’re just trying to find the blessings in being here. It is fun to get to explore another culture, especially one that is not touristy at all so we get to really see what life is like for the locals. This place is an odd mixture of modern Western-style buildings and businesses on one street (not modern toilets, just modern buildings!), but a mile over has extreme poverty with old women selling whatever they can to make it through the day (berries, peanuts, random personal belongings) and houses that are little more than a concrete shack. The rest of the city is a mix…you can tell there was money spent at different times in the past to clean things up and modernize, but it’s been a while. Clothing is important here, but costs about the same as at home, which is very expensive for people who are doing extremely well to make $200 a month. Food is very cheap here, compared to what we pay at home, but when I look in the babuska’s shopping bags I usually only see a loaf of bread, some pasta and Vodka. Almost everyone here would say they are Christian, but it’s hard to tell how many could be considered ‘born again’ Christians. From what I can tell many people are very devout in praying to a saint, keeping icons on their dashboards and kissing pictures of the saints in churches. Modesty is required/encouraged in Orthodox churches, which means women should have a head covering and shouldn’t wear mini skirts, but see-through blouses are fine. They have small families; 2 kids is a large family and we’ve gotten surprised looks each time we say how many kids we already have and that we are adopting another one.

We had a good visit with Grace today. Roger (from Ireland) was there visiting his daughter and one of the French families was there (and taught me how to do a proper French greeting) so we had a good time visiting and letting the kids play. We brought some clothes for Grace to try on so we have a better idea what size she is. I was pretty sure she looked like a 3T, which fits well enough, although the pants were pretty long. We had to go buy some shoes because her feet are so little; she’s actually in the same size shoes Little Grace is wearing at home. She seemed to enjoy trying on new things and liked that the shoes were easier to get on and off than her therapy boots.

I think we’re going to just take a slow evening here tonight as I’m not feeling so great. I’m pretty sure my body is not liking all the added fat that seems to be in the diet here and it’s hard to avoid when I’m frequently not exactly sure what I’m eating! We’re planning to head out to another orphanage tomorrow with Forrest and his family, which we understand is where Grace probably would have been going if we weren’t able to come get her. We’re not really sure what to expect, but we’re grateful for the chance to go. Violetta still hasn’t heard back from the judge about our court date…please be praying that we’ll get a date for next week!

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