Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In Kiev and SDA Appointment

We had our SDA appointment today.  The ladies there were very nice.  We learned the name of the orphanage that the younger two sisters are in.   What the ladies told us about the adoption process from that orphanage made me realize that we would be jeopardizing the older girls' adoption if we proceed with the younger girls' adoption too.  We told the ladies at the SDA that we didn't want to separate the girls.  But we had no say in what happened.  The ladies talked for a long time in an adjoining room.  We could hear them talking in Russian.  Our facilitator sat with us and would get up every once in a while to talk to them.  They were debating what to do.  One of the ladies didn't want to split the family up.  She must have lost out because they came back with a referral for us to visit the three older girls.  For a while I wasn't even sure we'd get that, so I was very happy to have it.  It sounds like we'll go straight for separation.  We'll pick up the paperwork tomorrow evening and then head down to the girls' orphanage.  We'll be able to visit them on Friday.  We're excited about that!

We are enjoying our visit here.  We are two blocks away from a grocery store that is open 24 hours.  Across the street from the store is a huge mall.  You have to cross a very busy street to get to it.  You cross through a tunnel with many vendors.  We've had fun looking at all the things for sale.  We found another bigger grocery store in the same building as the mall but in the back and downstairs.  It felt like a Walmart felt like 20 years ago.  Except it had food too.  We have been able to buy any thing we have wanted to make up at the apartment.  The only thing I haven't seen that we would want is peanut butter which we brought along anyway!  I'm loving the many varieties of chocolate for really good prices!  In the mall there is a cafeteria with all sorts of Ukrainian food.  Last night we shared small amounts of a lot of foods.  It cost $12 to feed our family of four.  I forgot to bring my camera or I'd have pictures of the food.  If we eat lunch there tomorrow, I'll take some pictures.

We've made a few faux pas in the grocery store.  When you buy produce you weigh it in the produce section and get a sticker with the price to put on your bag.  The first time we bought some we didn't do that and they weren't sure what to do with us at the register!  People have been so helpful.  When we entered a grocery store after shopping at the other store we were holding a bag of groceries.  We didn't want to carry it through the store.  A man standing there told us in Russian that there were lockers just around the corner that we could put our bag in.  The only reason we understood what he was saying is because I had previously noticed those lockers.  We had experiences like that in France, especially in the subway, with people spontaneously helping us.

We're having fun learning more Russian and learning to read the Cyrillic letters.  Many times when we can read the Russian writing, we can figure out what it is.  Especially on buildings.  Many words are similar to English.  Food in grocery stores is a little harder.  We have to use other clues too like surrounding foods.

We feel very safe here.  In fact, much safer than when we have stayed on the outskirts of Las Vegas.  Things are really quiet here.  People are nice.  In Paris a lot of vendors spoke English.  Here, no one does, that we have run into.  We must not stick out as foreigners because people are constantly talking to us in Russian.  Jay is great at going along with it and figuring out what they are saying.  It is amazing.  We've had conversations where we keep saying, "okay" and I'm sure the individual we were talking to had no idea we couldn't understand Russian!  In France, someone even asked us for directions on the subway in French.

Cathedral next door to SDA office.

Entering SDA building
Entrance to apartment.  Scary looking, but really not bad.

Front of apartment building.  Was built in late 1800's to early 1900's.

Down the street of apartment building.

Just inside looking towards elevator.  We are on 6th floor.
We haven't gotten stuck in this elevator like we did in the one in Paris!

Front door of apartment building.
In elevator

Inside elevator.
Living room and kids' bedroom

Our bedroom

Hall to front door


Bathroom with small washing machine


Chocolate heaven!


Lots of different types of bottled mushrooms.



Smetana - very similar to sour cream

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