Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Skip to later. From the time we met back up after church, I could tell that Viktor was acting as if something was wrong. I tried several times to ask what was wrong and could get nothing from him. I called Zhenia and he agreed to come by on his way to train station that afternoon just to get a pulse check and allow for some communication to take place, that did not involve charades. We do this on occasion. Allow me to back up a little bit. Over the past four or five days I could feel Viktor migrating more and more to wanting to spend time with his friends only. All he wanted to do was go out with his friends, and they were here knocking on the door before he got up each morning and would hang around until it was time to get back to the hostel before the doors closed. I felt I had been reduced to little more than a walking billfold useful only when Viktor and the Entourage were hungry or needed rodent pet supplies. This was one of the things I wanted to address with Viktor when Zhenia came by. I wasn't wanting to cut ties with the friends, I just wanted some breathing time where Viktor and I could spend a couple hours a day Mano E Mano. I wanted the Entourage to hold off coming over until after a certain time of day. That's it, he could still see his friends each day, but I wanted us to have a little time as well. Now, enter Zhenia. I could tell right away that Viktor was not happy to see Zhenia. Zhenia and I talked before we talked with Viktor. I told Zhenia that I wanted to keep the conversation very positive and upbeat. It did not go that way at all. Zhenia tried but Viktor shut down on him immediately. For some reason he thought I was mad at him and that Zhenia was just there to relay my madness in Russian. That was it, Viktor spiraled in from there, head down, refusing to acknowledge any communications. After a while, Zhenia told him that he could leave because it was no use going forward. The one thing that Zhenia was able to understand before the communications collapse was that Viktor wanted the same freedom as his buddies in the trade school entourage. We talked a little about life in a family not always being about what we want individually but sometimes what is best for the family. He told Zhenia that he wasn't the type who liked this part of family life and that he would do what he wanted to do when he wanted. Zhenia confided in me that when he was in trade school he loved the freedom as well. All of that freedom is very attractive to a 16 year old who lives only in the moment. These kids who graduate the orphanages and go to trade schools are free to roam at will with the only exception being that they have to be back in the hostel before they close the doors at 10:00 pm. His friends come and go as they please with no one telling them what to do at all. Each trade school is structured differently from what I can tell. The school that Vlad, Denis and Valla attend give them 38 grv each day to live on. That is about $8 US per day. That covers food and anything else they may want or need. I don't know if they get a clothing allowance or not. Let me just say that I have gathered my information from talking with the kids themselves and since my Russian can only insure that I can find McDonald's and the nearest toilet, I can't say that my facts are 100% accurate. It's not gourmet, but they can eat three meals a day on that sum. Most of the kids I talk to only eat twice a day. A loaf of fresh bread at the market is a little over 3 grv. Other trade schools are set up to feed the students a breakfast and lunch and then provide a central kitchen in the hostel and ingredients so that they can prepare their own dinner.
Zhenia speculated that Viktor was seeing all of his friends roaming around free and that it looked good to him. Also, there is a young lady involved. Her name is Valla and she graduated with Viktor from O-21. I remember all to well some of the foolish things I did at 16 because of a girl. Remember, no girl is worth waiting 12 hours for by the Sun Sphere at the Worlds Fair, and the ones that are won't make you wait.
We were concerned that Viktor may go to court on Friday and tell the judge that he wants to stay here and go to trade school. If he does, it's over. If he puts his head down and refuses to acknowledge the judge, with this particular judge, it's probably over. I could not believe this turn around and how quickly it happened. I called Sharon completely baffled, not knowing what to do. Luckily she did. She put out the call for prayer warriors to pound on the doors of heaven on our behalf and they responded. One of the first responses we receive was from our friends in B'ham, AL who apoted Viktor's best friend Ryan at the end of last year. Ryan's mom said that he wanted to call Viktor. She said that she would let Ryan know what was going on with Viktor so that he, who had gone thru much of the same himself, could talk to him about it. Ryan and Viktor talked this morning. After the call, Viktor was a different young man. I was no longer on ignore. Ryan confirmed something we had suspected. It seems that his friends have been trying to convince him not to go thru with the adoption. I don't know whether its jealousy about not being one of the chosen ones or if it's just not wanting to lose a friend that would make someone try to talk someone else into giving up such an opportunity. Ryan assured me that Viktor loved us and that he was definitely going to go thru with the adoption and come to America. God gave Ryan the right words at the right time to calm Viktor's fears as well as ours. Thank you to all the prayer warriors who have petitioned and continue to petition our Heavenly Father on our behalf.
I am so thankful for the change in the situation here that I'm a little embarrassed to ask for even more prayer. Our good day ended on a bit of a sour note when my back went out this evening while cooking dinner. I have trouble with my Sciatic nerve on occasion and my last attack was about two years ago. Looks like it was time for another. I'm OK as long as I don't try to get up from the fetal position.
Viktor's best friend Ryan at home in B'ham AL. I took this picture just before we left for Ukraine in July. I can't wait to see Viktor and Ryan together in the states.
The ever elusive Valla. Please pray for Valla. I think she really likes Viktor and I'm sure she will be very hurt by his leaving. Viktor also told me tonight that she had to go to the hospital today. I couldn't understand the reason, the charade included putting his hand on his chest and coughing.
Viktor playing in a soccer match at O-21 this past Saturday, his Birthday. The opposing team is from a local High School. The match ended in a 1-1 tie.
The franchise players of the O-21 Futbol team and their coach. Sergey, Viktor, Andre and Martin (pronounced Mar-teen).
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Viktor is having huge doubts about wanting to be adopted and moving to the states. Unfortunately this is happening before our court date next week. Should we go to court and he tells the judge he doesn't want to be adopted - game over. Viktor has been living with us since September 2nd and court is scheduled for September 19th. Shortly after he arrived the kids from O-21 who were attending trade school near our flat started visiting our apartment. At first, they came over to watch movies, play games, and get fed. Then they started going on outings with john and viktor. Sometimes john would let Viktor go out with them and Viktor was very concientious to call and be home right on time. Viktor has seen the relative freedom the kids get after trade school is over each day - a drastic change from orphanage life and a very alluring life to a 16 year old. Of course, as a child he lives in the moment without very much thought to the future, or what life may offer after trade school for an orphan in Ukraine. He has no family what-so-ever to rely on when things get tough, as they certainly will. We have the option of cutting off access to his friends but don't believe that will help our case before court. We have expressed our understanding of his fears and our great desire for him to be in our family, but at 16 and before court, we are limited in what we can MAKE him do. With Zhenia today he was very disrespectful. We have expected this at some point (usually when they are denied something they desire- but that hasn't happened yet), but not before the adoption was finalized. I hate that john is going through this alone. As an adult we can see all the potential pitfalls and hardships he will face if he stays. Selfishly, we have already placed him in our life and feel like we are losing a child as his fears grow. On Tuesday Zhenia is supposed to meet with john and viktor to discuss the reality and try to figure out how to proceed. I fervently ask for your prayers (if you're not worn out from our constant request) and support for viktor and for my husband, alone in a foreign country and living with a resentful teenager. This has been such a long and frustrating journey to end in such heartbreak. The doubts and fears for these kids is VERY normal and something they all seem to go through, but many times it is closer to the time they go home and after the court hearing. We pray that viktor will have a change of heart, at least long enough for the adoption to go through and for us to work on his fears, and/or that God will show us how to proceed without the adoption happening. After all, we never had control of this situation, only God. John may decide to write later to give more info, but I wanted to get the prayers going right away.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The Odd couple enjoying a Fat House dinner.
Part of the entourage for the evening meal. The young lady is one of the teachers from the internat named Victoria. She visits the O-21 grads at the trade schools and helps with the transition.
Vlad, Victoria, Viktor and Denis
Denis's and Viktor's tray at the Fat House. Not a scrap was left when they finished. Keep in mind that Viktor is 5'3" and weighs ~ 125 lbs soaking wet. Oh...I forgot that they all went back for dessert when they finished eating plus we stopped for ice cream on the way back to the flat.
Monday, September 8, 2008
The next day, Viktor and I went and visited the Great Patriotic War Museum (WWII Museum). Ukrainians suffered greatly in the years leading up to the war under Stalin's communist rule, but it was nothing compared to the cruelty they experienced at the hands of the Germans. The images on display at the museum left an impression on me that will last a very long time. It explains what I see in the faces of the elderly I have seen in Kiev. If you lived in Kiev during the thirtys and the fortys you lost multiple loved ones either to Stallin and/or Hitler. And I think that a two month adoption process has been difficult. Sorry for the history lesson but it left an impression on me.
Anyway on the way back we stoped by the Mickey Dees on Khreshchatyk for lunch. As we left the McDonalds we ran into Denis again. He was with one of the teachers from O-21. We talked a bit and then we made plans for them to stop by the flat to visit later on in the evening. I thought to myself, there must be some reason that in a city of 6 million people, we keep running into Denis.
Skip ahead to the weekend. After a brief break from writing, I post a fresh blog. I look forward to reading comments from those who read the blog. Its kind of like fissing. You start by throwing a freshly written blog overboard and then let it soak for a while. I prefer to wait about 12 hours before I pull it up and see if I caught any comments. To think that someone would take time out of their busy lives to read what I have to say is somewhat flattering. Puts a lillte extra pressure on you to try and write something even midly interesting.
Anyway, as I was sitting at the lunch table I decided to check my latest blog for any comments.There was a comment from a lady who said she stumbled across our blog. She had read it and notices that we had mentioned our facilitator Zhenia. She said that she was looking for a child she had lost contact with from O-21. She meet this child when he visited the states a couple of years back. Zhenia was part of the group that brought the kids over to America.
I'll give you two guess which young man she was looking for? Yep you guessed it, she was looking for Denis. Wait it gets better. Guess who was sitting that the table with me eating lunch? If you guessed Denis again you are correct once again. I don't believe in luck. I believe in answers to prayers and this was clearly a case where God answered the prayers for help in finding a young man that had been placed on a someone's heart.
Pretty cool stuff to be allowed to experience. More great news. We play soccer Sunday after noon and it did not involve the much anticipated trip to the Hospital that I feared so. Viktor is the real deal when it comes to soccer. Tonight he was picking a sprite bottle of a post at about 75 ft. Soccer is second nature to him. Its been his escape for years.It will be fun watching him as part of a team in the states.
My thumbs are sore and its after two in the morning. Time to throw this blog overboard and let it soak.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Sharon had to travel home to deal with some issues with the home we are trying to sell in MS. Seems the upstairs AC unit has gone bad causing it to leak water and cause the ceiling in the kitchen to cave in. There is suppose to be an inspection performed on the house next week. And the hits just keep coming.She'll be back for the court hearing and then she'll stay until the process is complete, somewhere around Oct.8. I am catching the first flight out after the court hearing, hopefully the 20th. I am not looking forward to leaving them here. Therefore, it's just us guys right now.
It's very interesting getting to know our new son. We waited what seemed so long for him to be with us and now here he is. Now, I know full well about being in the honeymoon period, but my impression after four days is he's just a nice kid. He's seems to be pretty laid back. So far he has been very polite and helpful. I know, I know, this is a very artificial environment that we're in right now. Luckily I already have one great teenage boy so I know the drill. Viktor likes pretty much the same things that Phillip likes. Food, sleep, Video games, girls, cars, sports and cell phones, not necessarily in that order. He likes to play games and he picks up new games quickly. He's competitive but not in a take my marbles and go home kind of way. He is very organized. As I stated in the previous blog, all his worldly belongings were packed in one blue and black duffle bag. What I didn't tell you was how meticulously it was packed. All the clothes were folded just so and stacked neatly. Yesterday I went into his room to get him for breakfast and he was packing his things into one of the suitcases that we had brought with us. It was like he was saying OK I'm ready to go home, I've got all my stuff packed into your world now. I think we'll ditch the duffle.
On the first morning I asked him for any dirty clothes that he wanted washed. He brought me the Tennessee hooded sweatshirt that we brought him when we visited over Christmas. I just think he wanted to show me that he still had it. It's well worn but he still has it.
He likes a wide variety of things to eat. He has gotten something different each time we have gone to the Fat HOuse. He even mixes it up at the McDonalds each time we go. He'sa big chiken fan. I am happy to report that he is not a big dried fish fan. A lot of dried and pickeled fish is eaten in Ukraine. He's a compartmental eater. He eats all of one thing before moving on to the next. He'll eat all his potatoes before moving to the salad which he finishes before moving on to the chicken Kiev. It's all business at dinner. He's normally finished well ahead of me at meal time with his dishes stacked neatly in front of him, because I'm a circular/random eater and it requires much more wasted movement to eat.
OK, that's all I can type on this little keyboard for now. I know that a lot of readers of this blog have been calling and expressing concerns about the timeliness of the entries, so I promise that even if I don't have internet access I will endure typing on this miniature key board so you can continue to get your daily adoption blog fix.
Stay tuned for tomorrow I go to play soccer with Viktor and his friends and then Viktor will show me where the emergency room is.