Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gotcha Day

Yesterday was officially Ruslan's Gotcha day!!! We are finally his legal parents!!!....now we just to get him out of that country. Another problem. Zenon calls home almost every day to let me know the 411 on all the usual drama in the South of Ukraine. Fortunately, with the time change, I am able to hear what all the problems were for the day and the final resolution within 5 minutes (or sometimes a little more) so that I don't have to ride on that emotional roller coaster.
Here was Zenon's e-mail from Gotcha Day;


Decree came into effect today, Tuesday March 30th.

So, we went to the court at 11 am to pick it up. They promised it would be ready. After an hour of just sitting there waiting, Vitali finally flagged the girl down and she said just wait. A few minutes later she appeared with the decree. Unfortunately it was not signed by the county inspector like they promised it would be. So, we had 2 hours to track down 2 signatures, buy train tickets, and meet the apartment owner to pay her.

Vitali called a cab and he was driving around like he was in the Melitopol 500. Luckily, both signatures, in 2 different places, only took 5 minutes each. That left of plenty of time to rush and get the tickets for the 2:30 departure. Only, it turns out the train didn't leave at 2:30 like they promised. It leaves at 5. No problem, we get in a little later than 4 am now, right, which is good? Nope, we get in at 2 am. great.

Anyway, hope you guys have fun at the zoo.
Love you.
Wish us luck in Sumi!

by the way, Vitali called on Sunday night at 11 pm and said his apartment that he just arrived to was already occupied. I said no problem, come on over here. He did. He slept in Voss's room. The next day i said Vitali, why dont you just stay with me if you need. He said sure and hasn't looked back.

He is always clearing his throat, and stops after climbing a few stairs and just stares into space. His eyes have a yellow tinge. I hope he holds up! ;-)


Humm...life is so much easier when I get to read about the days happenings and don't have to officially be there to live through all the grueling seconds of the adoption process. Zenon called this morning at 5AM to update us. I had a bit of a Zoo hangover, but me and Voss were able to wake up enough to talk. Zenon told us about the trip to Sumi and the story just keeps getting better and better! I don't think we could MAKE this stuff up!

Here is how is went...

(edited by Zenon and added to next post)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Morning

Vitaly called last night at 11 pm. "Zenon, I have a problem". "I just arrived in Melitopol and cannot find my apartment". Phew. Stop doing that Vitaly, you keep scaring me to death! Vitaly ended up staying the night at my apartment which is not a problem because there is an empty room anyway.

I picked Ruslan up on Friday. Up to that point I had spent the days mostly working on the computer, Learning how to use Dreamweaver to build websites, and spending some time each day to jog and work out at the park across the street. I told Henry to drop us off downtown so we could get some groceries and maybe walk home but Henry translated that Ruslan wanted to go back to the apartment to sleep. It was 1 pm. Of course as soon as we got back to the apartment Ruslan asked if he could use the computer to play games. There must have been a translation error in the car because Ruslan was in no mood to sleep

I talked Ruslan into going to the market to grab a few things for dinner. He obliged but was very impatient the entire time. I try to get him involved and I constantly ask him to either buy things or find things. He always says "ya zniyou" (I know!) as he rushes off to do something. Inevitably I have to step in clarify things more often than not. He was happy to get back and hit the Computer and Television and relax.

The next day we ate a big breakfast and gave it some time to settle before going out to the hockey rink.

We made it to the rink at about 11. Not sure if it was Ruslan's first time but he sure was shaky starting out:

He was having a blast and didn't want to leave. We were there for 2 hours and he sure picked it up pretty quick:



From there the plan was to head over to the outdoor market to get some gifts for Ruslan's friends for when he leaves. So we are walking down a side street on the way. As we pass a bus stop Ruslan walks up to this teenager who standing waiting for the bus and starts shooting the breeze. They talk for a few minutes and I really don't understand a thing but obviously Ruslan knows him. It's strange because this is not a small town, population 160,000 people, so the probability of Ruslan stumbling across someone he knows is not very high. They finish the conversation and we start walking away. I ask who was that. Ruslan responds "that was my brother Sasha".

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thursday March 19th Circus

Didn't have a chance to share. Last thursday Cindy, Ruslan and I went to the circus. Very interesting.

Getting Settled into a Routine

Saturday morning was rough. The cognac surely made my head swell because it hurt. It was a lazy morning and we watched about 5 episodes of dexter (chris burned me the first 4 seasons to keep busy). We went out for pizza and groceries. Cindy wanted to make me some food to make sure I would be ok after she left.

Henry came and we saw Cindy to the train Saturday evening. She was in a sleeper car and had a ticket for 1 bed. She was hoping to have the car to herself but apparently no such luck. From what little she has shared I understand her bunk mate was an older Ukrainian gentleman sporting Dill scented cologne. Nice.

Cindy spent the next day in Kiev then caught her flight this morning at 7. She arrives in San Diego at 9 pm.

I started into some semblance of a routine Sunday with a jog around the track (a soccer field across from the apartment complex) then met Vitaly for lunch. Yep, it was pizza. After wards he showed me an outdoor market that we had never come across. It is huge and I am looking forward to spending an afternoon there.

Henry had been talking about meeting up for drinks since out last trip. With Cindy gone he invited me out Sunday afternoon. He parked the car and we walked to the billiard bar. There they had these tables that are bigger than anything else I have ever played on. Apparently it is Russian billiards. The balls are larger than normal and the pockets are just big enough to fit a ball into. The real interesting part is that you can use any ball as the cue ball and sink any ball on the table you’d like. The object of the game is first one to sink 7 balls wins. Sounds easy. It wasn’t. Each game took an hour and I managed to win all 3 games. The best strategy is to hit all the balls as hard as you can and hope one goes in. Sloppy pool counts!

Henry ordered 2 beers (huge beers) and a bottle of vodka. No problem, I will only do a few shots right? Wrong. After we polished the vodka and beers it was off to the grocery store for more beer and more vodka. I was already in trouble at this point. We went to Henry’s apartment and I met his wife, Oyla. She was nice enough to make us a spread of lard slices and boiled shrimp to go with the beer and vodka. The lard looked especially appetizing last night. This morning my memory of last nights celebration has hazy enough that I thankfully couldn’t fully remember how much lard and shrimp I really ate. I made a pact with myself today – no more shots.

I finally made it out at 10 am for some pizza. It helped my condition enough. The plan was for Henry to pick me up at noon so I could visit Ruslan. After calling a few times to postpone he finally picked me up at 5:30. I have learned patience here and just went with the flow.

Ruslan was happy to see me and gave me a big hug. I brought some of the clothes and sporting goods we lugged from san diego to the orphanage and the boys were happy to see some fresh entertainment. We went across the street for some gum with his friends andthen I left. I told Ruslan I would be back in a few days and asked if he wanted to come stay for a night. He said absolutely. The problem is that he was so bored over the Christmas break staying with us in the apartment. I would rather he not get too bored right now since we will have plenty of time for that coming up soon. It’s best for him to spend some of his last days here with his close friends whom he will not see for a long time, if ever again.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friday Court

We went in to court hoping to adopt Ruslan. We came out with a girl as well:


Just Kidding, this was Yanna jumping into our first family shot together.
Ruslan was happy with the outcome:


We went out to celebrate afterwards at a fancy Melitopol Restaurant ;-):



Then back at the orphanage Valerie brought us in to celebrate some more:



These started full. The one on the right is the tincture disguised in the cognac bottle:



That's when things started getting blurry. I am a little foggy on what happened after that:



It's now 8:30 sat night, it's quiet and I am turning in. Cindy's train left just over an hour ago.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ruslan to stay with us for a few days

The next morning we rose early. Part of the battle these days is balancing the right amount of caffeine to offset the feeling of being tired.

We planned to pick up Ruslan at 2. This gave us a chance to walk around and grab some lunch. They had been building a new restaurant on our last visit and it is complete now, Mama Mia's. You guessed it, another pizza place. The decor is surprisingly Western and very hip. The pizza was dissappointly unremarkable. I had high hopes because it is located within a 10 minute walk and would be a great place to set up the laptop and do some work.

We continued our walk downtown and counted that we stopped 4 times for coffee in 3 hours. Oddly enough we bumped into Vitaly walking downtown. He acted as if it was planned and said "Hi, Henry will be right here". Sure enough Henry drove right up and he went for the 1/2 hr. drive to get Ruslan.

Valrie was excited to see us as usual. Not that I mind but Vitaly intervened and told Valerie that we needed to leave promptly so shots were out of the question. Valerie was dissappointed but upbeat when he learned I would not be travelling home with Cindy and the future held more opportunities ;-)

Ruslan was waiting in the taxi with 3 friends. Apparently he was ready to go! The friends got out and we got in. Henry drove us to the supermarket on the way home and we picked up Ruslan's favorite, a whole chicken. On the way home we passed a circus. It turned out that the ciscus had just come to town so we picked up tickets for the 3 of us for Thursday. Voss would have loved to see the circus!

Ruslan was happy to see I brought the pc instead of the mac this time. We already had a few racing games and movies waiting for him that we purchased earlier in the day. Needless to say he took over the computer for the night. This could be a problem fighting for computer time moving forward! ...but it's good to see him happy with something instead of sitting in front of the tv watching nothing.

Tuesday Court

The train pulled into melitopol at the scheduled 12:45. As we waited with our luggage for the train to stop the older lady who attended to all the passengers and kept the fir stoked asked us what we were doing in melitopol. We told her what we were doing and how we got to where we are. She soaked it in and her curiosity and preconceived notions got the best of her. She asked " do you beat the kids?". It's the same thing every time you explain what we are doing to those here who aren't involved with the process, they have been told these terrible things about foreigners adopting ukrainian kids and they need to find out for themselves if we are as bad as they have been told.

Henry was there on the platform when the train door opened. It was nice to see a familiar face and I am sure he had other things he could be doing at 1 am. Henry drove us to the apartment where we were met by the apartment owner. It was straight to bed after that.

The next morning we were picked up by henry and vitaly. Vitaly gave me a big hug and shook cindy's hand. Isn't that backwards? We went straight to the orphanage.

They called for ruslan when we arrived. He walked in with kiril and a huge smile. He had no idea we were coming. It was reassuring to see and even more so that he has no problem showing his love for us. We have really come a long way together.

There wasn't much to talk about so we went outside with a soccer ball. Soon all the kids were outside and we were kicking the ball around. I am sure they all were impressed with my kicking, I could tell because they would laugh whenever I kicked the ball. We were dressed for court but you can't pass up moments like these to save your outfit from a few scuffs. Cindy was dressed to impress and the cold was getting to her. She was in a spot blocked by the wind and commanding the attention of a dozen kids using her best russian (by the way she was all proud when she came back from the store earlier in the morning with some groceries. She said I bought some butter, eggs, and yogurt. I remembered to ask for myasoh (it's really supossed to be maslo). Since she really asked for meat I wasn't surprised that the butter was actually cheese blintz filling.)

After an hour of soccer we asked ruslan to take us across the street to the store for a soda. Kiril, vadim and another boy joined us. The store turned out to be a little restaurant with a bar. The boys were excited to order little bottles of pepsi. In fact they asked if they could order chips too. The lady offered that they had little pizzas and porogie looking things and the boys asked if that was ok. Sure. They ordered 6 mini pizzas, a dozen perogies, and 6 mini sweet loafs. That food was gone in no time at all! I was full after just one pizza (crust with ketchup, grated bologna, cheese, and mayonnaise), mmmmmm - not really.

It was noon when we walked back to the orphanage and court was 2 hours away. After I schooled the boys in ping pong we were summoned to the lunch room for a special lunch for cindy and me with valerie, vitaly, and henry. Glad we didn't just eat! A huge bowl of vegetable soup followed by beef and buckwheat. The portions were huge and we left a few pounds heavier than when we arrived. Valerie kept talking about cognac shots but apparently there wasn't enough time to fit them in before we left for court.

6 of us crammed into henry's small machina (yanna joined us for court) and we made it to the court house for 1:30. The wait wasn't long. We were summoned into an empty court room. The mood went from great anticipation to devastation in a heartbeat when vitaly explained that the judge is sick today, court has been rescheduled for march 30th.

Numbness set in.
What?

Let's just talk this through. We have waited months and just traveled 2 days specifically for this 1 appointment and just like that we were rescheduled for a date 2 weeks out? Well don't I feel silly for booking cindy's return trip to begin 6 hrs after the start time for court. What was I thinking? This is ukraine!

Cindy was devastated to say the least. This process has us away from ruslan and now voss! Poor ruslan just sat there emotionless. What now? Well we talked more and vitaly made a few calls. He managed to arrange a new court date for friday. Not the end of the world. Now to just break the news to voss and grandma and reschedule cindy's ticket to leave saturday. Also how to get cindy to the kiev airport for early sat morn when the new court appointment would end approx noon on friday? It'll all work out, right?

On the drive back to the orphanage vitaly shared a few words of wisdom and shed some light on ukraine.
1. Humor is the best way to try and deal with situations like this. Easier said than done.
2. Ukrainian's are used to disappointment. This is why no-one is surprised and why ruslan is not that upset. Disappointment is almost an expectation.

Valerie summoned us into his office upon arrival back at the orphanage. We weren't getting away without a birthday celebration of sorts regardless of what just happened. Needless to say that the tincture (a alcohol cure-all that valerie now stores in an old cognac bottle) went down like poison, but the pickled tomatoes help. It was a special occasion so valerie shared a plate of coleslaw that looked like it had been sitting uncovered in his fridge for the last month. What made the coleslaw even more special was it's contents: red cabbage, creamy wonderful mayonnaise, and herring. Cindy and I did our best to not offend our host. In fact, the coleslaw made me want to take another shot of tincture to drown the flavor! Needless to say this all helped put us in a little better mood. Valerie was excited to show us how the tincture would light on fire because the alcohol content was so high.

We got back home at 4:30 and cindy crashed. I spent the next 4 hours communicating with the travel agent. Deju vu set in when he explained that it is spring break. No tickets available for saturday or sunday. In fact he was skeptical about the next while. He left me to worry about the fallout and how to break the news to cindy. It was a good thing she was sleeping.

The good news arrived in the form of an email explaining that a seat had been found for a monday return. This was a small victory considering the alternatives of waiting another week like I was imagining.

So the adventure continues. We have once again come to terms with the news. Now to occupy our time with other thing like picking ruslan up today (wednesday) and having him with us for the next few days! :-)

I also have to mention that we are blessed with amazing family and friends. I know we can count on more than who are helping right now but it was nice to have jennifer and grandma ardith reassure us that voss was in good hands and everything will be ok (although poor vossy has to wait a few more days for mom to come home). Baba is also ready to fly out and take care of voss at the drop of a hat. Thank you everyone!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Road Back to Melitopol

2-4-2 was the pattern of seating on the lufthansa flight from LA to Munich. This was far more comfortable than the 2-5-2 we flew last time, especially when I was the one sardined into the 3rd seat in the middle group of 5. The day started with our 6:45 flight from san diego to LA being delayed. No problem because they booked us onto the earlier flight and we made it without any hitches. We actually needed the extra time because we ate up 1.5 hours of our 2 hour layover in LA just waiting to clear what seemed to be the slowest security line ever. It's great when things all seem to work out well and I am sure a sign of a great trip to come. It all started when they waived our extra bag fee of $35 when I mentioned the bag was filled with gifts for orphans. To top it off lufthansa was serving free alcohol on the flight. I ordered a 2nd glass of wine and didn't even want it. It's hard to turn down free.

We made it to Kiev just a little late and our ukrainian cell phone was ringing from the minute it was turned on. It's amazing it still held a charge after over a month considering it seems to only stay charged for a half a day when I actually need it. Dima was calling to explain that the taxi driver's name was Jyroslaw and he was waiting for us.

We made it to the hotel Lybid at just after midnight and decided on a beer at the 70's era lounge before turning in. We realized after a little while that the 6 ladies scattered throughout the almost empty lounge were actually working girls. By the time we left at 2 am it was just them and us. Apparently it was a slow night.

We got to bed at 2 and I for one was exhausted and looking forward to sleep. This plan was derailed when 4 am came knocking and wouldn't let me back to sleep. Cindy was up at 5 and we just read till breakfast opened at 7.

After meeting Dima to notarize some docs we headed for our train departing at 1 pm. It's 3:30 now and cindy has been passed out for over an hour. We get in at 1 am and I will try my best to stay awake and try to get over the jetlag.

Tomorrow we shall visit the orphanage and bring Yanna (the orphanage attorney) and Ruslan with us for the 2 pm court appointment. It will be great to see him.

Not that I am looking for acknowledgment but tomorrow is my birthday. Isn't it interesting that we received our approval to adopt on Cindy's birthday and are having court on my birthday?

***update: I fell asleep probably 2 minutes into my plan to stay awake for the rest of the day. We were awakened at 6:30 by a loud knocking at the cabin door. I thought it would be the train ticketer telling us some news but instead it was a priest all decked out in priest clothes with a long red beard. He was talking in russian and I cut him off saying "I don't understand russian". He was annoyed and responded "orthodox?". How does one respond to that. A little louder he demanded "Orthodox or catholic?". Um, I don't know what the right answer is. I chose one and said "catholic". Wrong answer but apparently not a problem. He said "toh nechoho" as he splashed holy water at both cindy and me, some right in my mouth, and walked away. What he said translates into "that's nothing" as if to say "I'll fix that" as he passive aggressively doused us with a paintbrush full of holy water.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ukraine's Got Talent

My neighbor sent this video from the show "Ukraine's Got Talent" and I thought it would be good to post on the blog. The emotion people display in the audience shows how they feel about their country's history. It has been a tumultuous one.

This video shows the winner of "Ukraine's Got Talent." Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II.

Her talent, which admittedly is a unique one, is mesmeric to watch.

The images, projected onto a large screen, moved many in the audience to tears, and
she won the top prize of about £75,000.

She begins by creating a scene showing a couple sitting holding hands on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear, and the happy scene is obliterated.

It is replaced by a woman's face crying, but then a baby arrives, and the woman smiles again. Once again, war returns, and Miss Simonova throws the sand into chaos from which a young woman's face appears.


She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled, and sad, before the image turns into a monument to an 'Unknown Soldier.' This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer were looking out on the monument from within a house.

In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside, and a man standing outside, with his hands pressed against the glass, saying goodbye.

The 'Great Patriotic War,' as it is called in Ukraine , resulted in one in four of the population being killed with 8 to 11 million deaths out of a population of (42) million.

Paste the link below to google to watch the video.


http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=vOhf3OvRXKg#t=00

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Plans Are Set

After a week of making plans we have everything in place. Looking back it would have been crazy trying to plan to leave last week, 5 days after learning the approval was in hand, I feel comfortable that everything is in place now.

We leave Saturday Evening flying into LA then onto Frankfurt finally arriving in Kiev 11pm Sunday evening. A cab takes us to the Lybid hotel just up the street from the train station. Our train leaves Monday at 1 pm and we arrive in Melitopol close to 1 am. Henry will pick us up and drop us off at the apartment where the apartment owner will meet us.

Checking the weather report nothing has really changed. Melitopol is a brisk 32 deg F and is set to fluctuate between that and the mid 20's. Rain and snow in the forcast. I can already picture the warm kitchen oven flame to keep me warm.

Hopefully we have a chance to visit with Ruslan on Tuesday morning before the 2 pm court date. Cindy's train back to Kiev leaves at 7 pm the same day so things are tight!!!! She arrives in Kiev Wednesday morning and will have to stay to cathc her flight at 5:30 am Thursday morning. Crazy travel for Cindy.

So we are all set. We also have $300 and a whole suitcase full of clothes for the orphanage! Thanks for the help!

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Meditation

We have been waiting at home now for almost two months and it is really getting on my nerves. My chiropractor told me that I have a lot of tension in my neck and my legs are uneven and my hips are off and my lower back is getting crinked and my cranial sacrial test came back as distressed. Man, stress can do a lot of things to the body!

So, I decided that I should try to take care of myself a little and do some meditation or yoga. I signed up for a vibrational meditation class that I kept getting e-mails about when we were in Ukraine. I thought, ok, maybe if I go, I can start to think positive thoughts and get somethin happenin over here.

It was at a yoga studio that I have only been to once. It is nice and quiet. Ahhh, the stress was already starting to dissappate as soon as I walked into the door. They said to bring a blanket to lay on since it is an hour and a half. I was thinking that it was a bit long for meditation and that I may fall asleep since it is Friday night and I usually can't last past 9PM...the party animal that I am. There were about 30 of us smooshed into this room with green starry sparkels floating all over the room projected from a funky lamp. There were lots of bongo drums, gongs, xylephones and larger drums scattered around the room. Ok, this will be interesting. He asks if we have any questions and the guys next to me speaks up, "Um, are we going to work within the OM frequency? (teacher looks at him funny)"Because last time I went to one of these things we worked on the Om frequency and afterwards I couldn't drive for like...three hours I was so blissed out."
(Ok, THAT guy needs more space and I just neeeed to moooove over a tad...)

He let's us know that the sound frequencies that we are going to hear are supposed to unlock different parts of our brain and open up areas of our body that may be blocked (that guy next to me has some work to do). I just want to meditate.

He tells us to lay down and close our eyes and just listen to the music. A really big drum noise starts and it feels cool because I can feel the vibrations on the floor. I try to meditate. It is going OK and I already feel like I am getting somewhere and then I hear, "Beeeerrrrwwwwwwmmmmm. beeeeeerrrrrrwwwwmmmmmmm." What the hell is that noise? What instrument is that? OK, get back to meditating. [picture my family all together smiling and as happ...."beeerrrrwwwmmmmm. beeeerrrwwwwmmm." Ok, what is that noise? Could it be him doing that with his lips? "Mmmmeeeerrrrrruuuummm. Mmmmeeeeerrrrruuuummm." Holy crap! He HAS to be making that noise with his lips! I have to open my eyes to see if it is true! Is this why he makes us close our eyes? So we can't figure out if it is his mouth or not? If I look, he will definately see me and...who knows? maybe he will stop the class or something? I amost start to crack up. I have to focus on my meditation [going to Ukraine and picking up Rusla..."bbbrrrruuuuummmmm. brruuuuuuummmmm." Seriously, if this guy is going to make these noises the whole time, there won't be any meditating going on! I will just lay here and wonder what his face looks like while he is making that noise. It HAS to look funny. I almost start to crack up again.

Mouth instrument is quiet and I think I am starting to picture our family together happy... and then I notice that the drum is right over my head!! All I could think was that he better not drop that thing because it sounded big. The drum stopped and a bunch of gongs and symbols followed. At this point, I am totally done meditating now and just wondering about the instruments he is using...the tunes he is playing. I swear one sounded like the theme song from Charlies' Angels. Funny, that was the same song that was going through my head for a month straight when we were in Ukraine. Woman next to me is snoring. Mr. Blissed-out is snoring.

I know I live in a hippy town ....and I love it. I am kindof a hippy myself, but this experience was not one I will repeat. It is really hard for me to find something that is too "Far out" for me, but that was way too far out for me. I was thinking how funny it would have been to have Marty in there with me!!! She would have gotten up and left to go laugh in the lobby.

Hey, maybe my bit of meditation did something because we are getting ready to leave soon. I am sure it also has a lot to do with prayers and good thoughts from all of our friends and family as well. Thanks everyone!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Canadian Clearance Finally!

It’s finally here. One of the last pieces to the puzzle. Dima has my Canadian clearance in hand and now I will work with Vitaly to co-ordinate a court date. It’s interesting because I recently got in touch with the Canadian Interpol department. They shared that I should expect to wait 120 days to receive clearance. Sometimes it’s hard to get a straight answer!

I can imagine that we will be leaving in about a week and a half but that is just a guess (UPDATE: I just got off the phone with Vitali and he has asked for a next Tuesday court date – he’s waiting on an answer!). I believe Cindy’s trip will be about 5 days and mine will be about a month. I better make sure I have some things to keep me busy! The plan is for Voss to split time between grandma and with our good friends around the corner, Jennifer, Noah and David (thanks!). Baba might even make the trip out here very soon but right now she is siestaing in Baja with Dido!

All this time back was very much needed to get bills back in order, to prepare for taxes, and get HeatLab back up to top shape. It’s amazing how far a month and a half will put a person behind. It’s good to have things organized again.

I must also say that I have been very fortunate from a work perspective. My immediate Boss has been very supportive and understanding. Up till now I have been living off of Holidays and Vacation. With some supporting paperwork I will be covered for the rest of my time by the FMLA (family medical leave act) which pays a certain percentage of my wages for up to 6 weeks. Normally I wouldn’t be covered until the adoption is finalized but in my case they were able to consider some paperwork from the Orphanage Director which stated that I was spending our time there bonding with Ruslan before the Adoption was finalized.