Monday, June 21, 2010

It Keeps Getting Better

Since we can visit the orphanage anytime and we found the best time to be from 11-2pm, we have been able to sleep in every morning. The only thing about our stay is that the "outhouse" thing is getting old--- and yet every night a new boarder is here and they get the regular bathroom since their bedroom is connected to it. Oh well, for $25 a night, I shouldn't complain too much. When we were ready to go this morning we first went and exchanged money. That was interesting. Right now the rate is about 7.9 grivna to $1.00. That is not too bad considering it was as low as 5 or 6 grivna back in 2008 when we adopted Dennis. However, last year the rate was a little better at 8.2 grivna to $1.00 so our facilitator contacted a local man who exchanges money better than the bank rate. We met him standing outside the grocery store and John exchanged our money with the guy no problem for 7.95 grivna per U.S. dollar. I guess he is well known since there were two people waiting to exchange money with him after us. Then a quick stop by the Inspector's office and then off to the Internat.
When we met up with the kids-- we were a little surprised at what Nastya was wearing--- it looked like a set of Underoos that my kids wear back home with a sweater over it. She was all leg and though we wanted very badly to say something-- we didn't. Just a few more days.... just a few more days.
We brought beads to make necklaces and bracelets with A and P. I was surprised that P wanted to make them as much as A did. Even John worked on a necklace with Nastya for a while. Notice the Giants shirt John is wearing-- on the back it says Reed on it with the number 14! We explained to the kids that the number stands for 14 kids because it already includes them!

Pasha enjoys drawing and we tested him on a few math facts. He got one right and was off by one on the other two-- but we can tell that he is a great student! He just finished up the 2nd grade so we are thinking of putting him the 3rd grade with Andrew next year. We'll see.
I took the leftover beads and cut string for all the other kids in the Internat. The beads were a huge hit with all them--- even the boys! And while I felt at times like they would start looking in my pockets for the beads, they were very honest and even returned my nail clippers that I used to cut the string. It made me wish I had brought much more.
Once we ran out of beads, I took the rest of the string and showed them how to braid bracelets. That was not as popular but the string got finished up nonetheless.
When we first got to the Internat, Sveta a 16 year old girl we befriended yesterday who took a liking to Caleb, brought him a letter. Our facilitator translated it for him. We encouraged Caleb to write back and make her a friendship bracelet. She is so sweet.
Here is Caleb with Sveta.
As I made bead bracelets with some of the kids, I got to watch a few boys play soccer. They were really good-- too bad they don't have the right shoes or the right gear. The building behind them is huge---- and abandoned. It needs tons of work and will probably be torn down before it gets fixed up but of course my mind ran wild with the possibilities.

I have to say that today's visit was better than the last and they only keep getting better. Is that possible? The kids are warming up to us and it is such a privilege to be with them--- I sure hope that many of the kids get adopted from this Internat because they are all terrific--- all of them!
Back at home, the owners of the house washed our clothes for us and even hung them up! What service! When I tried to take over the task, the woman shooed me away.

The yard is amazing. From the street I would never in a million years envision what is behind their gates---- but I got to see it in person and I will show you too!

Every vegetable you can imagine seems to be growing in this garden.
Lots and lots of tomatoes!

Rachel enjoyed all the different fruits and berries-- brought make many memories for her.
After the shashlick marinated all night, it was skewered with onions.

Then it was slow cooked out in the back under all the trees surrounding the owner's beautiful garden. The property even has what looks like a little man made creek running through it when it rains.

When the meal was ready we were invited to sit down and feast on shaslick, roasted tomatoes and cucumber, and bread. The Inspector and her husband joined us too. It was very special.

For dessert, Caleb and I made cinnamon rolls. When I asked for a measuring cup, the owner brought out an electric scale in grams-- not sure what good that was going to do me. So..... I eyed all the measurements and prayed. After seeing my Smiles and Trials book with the cinnamon rolls, expectations were high.

Praise the Lord-- even though the owner told me to eye the gas fire for the oven because the temperature gauge didn't work-- the rolls came out okay. A little burned on one side of the pan because the fire cooked unevenly-- but we ate those. Topped with Powdered sugar frosting-- the rolls turned out quite good--- at least our Ukrainian friends thought so!
Who would have thought that shopping for yeast, powdered sugar, brown sugar (which they did not have), and cinnamon would be such a challenge? It was-- but it was a fun one!


Jill said...

We made apple pie when we were in Mariupol, Ukraine. I remember having a lot of trouble trying to find cinnamon at the store! ha ha!

standfortruth said...

I am so impressed that you made cin. rols. What a woman!! I am determined that we are going to meet someday. with all our kids it would be an even 24. I am impressed at your great attitude too. I hope your journey here is quick and fruitful. Every one of your 14 are very beautiful!! Das vi don ya. (sorry I just write the way it sounds.)

A family being transformed said...

Thanks for allowing us to walk this journey with you--each day I love seeing the new photos. These two children are blessed, it makes me happy just thinking about it.

Hugs from the North,

Just Another Day In Paradise said...

$25/night including laundry- sounds like a deal to me!
And youre the second person in 2 days to mention not being able to find brown sugar! LOL!
It looks like everything is going great, and that all of the kids are benefiting from you being there! Sveta is so sweet- I love that she wrote your son a letter!

The Combes Family said...

I am really enjoying reading about your visit! You do such a nice job of explaining what is happening. Praying that the rest of your trip goes as smoothly!

The McEacherns said...

So glad it's all going so well. I looked at the map, and I think you're less than an hour from Artemovsk, where we adopted Isabel. That whole area is lovely. And you've got to love the one day passports of the Donetsk region!

Jefferson Hunt said...

We stayed along the Black Sea when we were there, and near a potentially wonderful beach. It sounds like it could have been a much more fun trip if we had taken family with us, too. About the sugar, I understand that Ukraine makes its sugar from sugar beats. I wonder if that has anything to do with there being no brown sugar?

Holly said...

Sorry I was so behind...long story! LOVE living vicariously through your postings!
Your new children are precious!
Great is our God!

MyLinda said...

It sounds like things are going very well, so happy for your family!

Kevin and Pam said...

I am so impressed that you are able to bake anything while you are in Ukraine. We had such a hard time finding any kind of spices. Are you able to tell us which city you are in?

Pink said...

Christine, I am so glad that things are going well with the kids! I have been praying for you! I also wanted to let you know that you WON my give away! Once you are back and settled, let me know where I can send your CD.

Shari said...

I have read all the posts now and I am in tears! Why you ask? Because my attitude toward adoption overseas has been sour lately. For no reason really. I apologize to you for the bad attitude. Seeing these precious babies that need homes has pricked my heart. I need to do more! I failed you guys by constantly forgetting to send the money for the scarf and hat. I feel awful! Please forgive me!

Sally-Girl! said...

Love hearing all your adventures! What fun you bring to the people of the Ukraine!!!

Yes, I need to get packing!!! 24 hours to go!!!

Blogging Friend said...

Glad to hear that all is going good for you guys.
I know when you guys get home that things will be so much better and that A and P will feel so loved and happy. They really are cute kids, and so very lucky.

You need to post the recipe for the cinnamon rolls, they looked really good and I am hungry now. LOL!!

Have fun and praying that all keeps going good and you will be home with your new son and daughter very soon.


Annie said...

Yahoo for those cinnamon rolls.

One cool thing about Ukraine and Russia is that there aren't such stupid lines drawn between what is OK for boys to do and what is "girlish". Ilya loves needlework, but soon learned that it isn't "done" by guys here. And both Sergei and Maxim have gorgeous voices, but there is too much baggage with boys singing here in the US. Such nonsense!

living4him5 said...

Hi Christine,

I've been so touched by your journal entries, it seems like such a sweet time. Your new additions are precious!!! They are so blessed to be joining the Reed family and I know you all will be blessed by adding them to your clan.

Praying for you all!!

God bless,

Jamey & Catherine said...

Hi Christine,
All of your posts are wonderful to read and it actually makes me miss parts of Kazakhstan too. Playing with the kids was always a highlight for me too! We're thinking of you and praying!

Expat Mom said...

What a lovely spot to stay! I think it's interesting about the brown sugar . . . I've lived in Guatemala for almost 9 years and still can't find brown sugar! :D Molasses is sometimes available, but only once in a while. Next time you'll have to bring some with you.

Martha said...

Beautiful! Everything, even the cinnamon rolls. Next time we'll have them with coffee. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear mom and dad,
that is so coll thay you guys got to do things with the kids. I am so exited for them and you and I can not wait for you to come back with them. I love you all and please tell Caleb and Rachel that I said hi and Ican not wait for you to get back!!!!!
Annalyn Reed

Anonymous said...

hey mom I read your blog it was terific. I want to tell you that we are going to VBS.It is very fun and exiting cant wait till you bring the kids home.I love you so much we also go a free shirt mine Ginas Doms and Williams are orange.Today we learned about Nohns Arck. It was so much fun.I just want to tell you we arent siting and watching T.V all day.I cant wait to see you dad Caleb,RACHEL,imjust going to call her Nastia,and Paul. I love you all.
Anna Reed

Anonymous said...

by the way i forgot to tell you what color Annalyns shirt is it is blue.


Anna Reed

Rachel said...

I'm having so much fun reading about your trip and your kids, that I feel like I'm constantly checking your blog for the newest news. Keep it coming!