Cindy and Voss woke at their usual time, 6:15. The cab driver was coming at the previously scheduled 8 a.m. so their was not enough time for Voss to do schoolwork this morning. After I showered with lukewarm water (not comfortable when the apartment only heats up to about 60) we received a call stating that the cab would arrive at 8:30. Voss helped me with the daily exercise program I have imposed on myself, 100 pushups, 50 situps, and 20 Voss curls. If I miss any then I make them up the next day. I am only behind 250 pushups right now ;-).
After the cab picked us up we went on to get Vitali. There was more paperwork to get at the orphanage and take to the local inspector. Vitali shared that the region were are in just happens to be the strictest region in Ukraine now, and toughest to adopt from. This is a recent development. A couple from Italy was adopting a child and after the courts waived the mandatory 10 day waiting period the child's bio grandmother protested after she was told the child's body parts would be sold. The Italian couple ran into snags as a result and wrote letters to anyone and everyone in Ukraine. Of course the result of letters isn't positive change in a country like this! So the point of this is that we cannot submit our paperwork to the court now until January 11th. From there we get an initial court date, wait the 10 working day wait period, andthen have the last court date. This all pushes our trip out a few weeks. This trip is different, we take it all in stride. Shoh toh boodeh, boodeh.
We arrived at the orphanage with a bottle of brandy and some cookies to give to the orphanage director. This was partly for entertainment and partly to grease the skids. We are asking to have Ruslan stay with us for the weekend. The director laughed and promised we would drink more but he was in a rush to leave. He also said there was another bottle to finish. He looked appreciative. The question was never asked about Ruslan so hopefully it is asked soon.
Word spread around the orphanage fast that we were there. Within about 5 minutes Ruslan popped his head around the corner. He was in school and I am sure didn't need much of an excuse to leave. We brought the sled, the one we got for Voss the previous day, so that Ruslan and Voss could play. One of Ruslan's friends joined them and they had a good time. There was a layer of ice on the snow so it made for good conditions. It was cute to see in the building across the field kid's faces pressed against the windows watching what was going on outside.
It's a mix of emotions visiting all these kids at the orphanage and you can't help them all. Most of them are beautiful kids and they seem to be so well behaved. I don't understand how these kids stay in the system for many years when they would be great candidates to get adopted. Something doesn't add up. ...but it seems like through experiences like the hosting program we were involved with (frontier horizons) these kids do get exposure and We heard the follow up adoption rate on these kids is something like 30-40 percent which is good to hear.
We couldn't stay long because the paperwork had to be back at the inspectors so we left after 15 minutes with Ruslan. Hurry up and wait is the name of the game. Ruslan gave us all a hug, he just loves hugging Cindy and saying bye to Voss. He does so well with Voss. We were talking afterwards about how he really helped Voss to "keep him in line" when Ruslan came to visit.
After we dropped off Vitali we took advantage of the taxi and went to the supermarket to stock up again. After shopping we asked the driver to take us to a place with something that resembled American food. We ended up at the same pizza chain that we frequented last trip. How can you beat a full pizza, a small coleslaw, 2 beers and a juice all for 50 grivna (6 bucks). Our experiences here in Melitopil are far different then what we saw on the last trip to Cherkassy. The people are friendly and helpful and they actually smile. For instance when I went to order the pizza I had no idea what to ask for since there were no pictures and I cannot read cyrillic. 3 girls behind the counter came to help and started laughing and poking fun at my mixture of English and Ruskrainian. The girl actually started talking to me in Ukrainian which seemed to be something out of the ordinary for her.
After lunch we walked through the outdoor market back towards where we are staying (about a 3 mile walk). We came across an old woman who commented that our girl's hair was nice. She was confused when we said his(her) name was Vosya. She said Vasylli? Who names a girl Vasylli? So she spoke to us in Russian for 15 minutes..... I returned in Ukrainian. It's amazing how you can have a conversation by just picking out every third word. She gave Voss Walnuts which he ate. So we bought a bag. Nearing the end there was a point where she started crossing herself like in church when she realized Voss was adopted from Ukrain but did not understand anything. We promised that Ruslan would reteach Voss to speak Ruslan and she seemed satisfied.
I was in bad need of a haircut so we stopped at a salon looking place. After waiting 10 minutes I received one of the best haircuts ever for $2.50. When I tipped her $1 she looked confused and probably though I was crazy.
After doubling back a mile to reach an internet cafe with dial up speed we made it home after dark.