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.
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!