December 20th, 2006
On December 20th we left Kiev for Svatove. We took the fast train that really doesn't go fast but it doesn't stop everywhere. It took us 6 hours to get to Kharkov. Our first stop Kharkiv was McDonalds, yes good ol Mickie D's. They are everywhere. We need something fast because we had another 2+ hour drive to get to Svatove. We took a few pictures of Kharkiv on our way out of town but I must admit the driver was going about 100mph on the city street so I was mostly holding on to the car for dear life. You all think I drive crazy, one day over here will cure you all of that.
We made it to Svatove in just over 2 hours. Our first stop was at the Inspectors office. We met her, and she then rode with us to the orphanage. We met with the orphanage director immediately and she asked us lots of questions like why we want to adopt, why Ukraine, how will the children learn English, do we own a house, etc. We found out later that we were the first foreigners to adopt from Svatove EVER!. Only one other adoption has happened and that was by a local Ukrainian family. So everything is new to everyone in this process, more on this later.
Note: As we understand it, Ukrainian adoption laws prohibit us from sharing photos of children that are not ours. We are not supposed to even share their names. Since we have decided to not change their name, we therefore cannot share them with you at this time. Once we get to court in mid-January we should be able to post more and then once the second court date is done we can post everything.
Before we even knew was was happening the director left and went to get the kids. The girl seemed very happy and excited and told the director bye bye (she was ready to leave with us that day), her brother on the other hand had a complete melt down. He cried and cried and wouldn't even look at us. Just before the children came down to meet us we found out that they had been in the orphanage for 6 years, the boy is only 7 so the orphanage is the only home he knows so we could understand him being so upset. The orphanage staff was wonderful with him. They talked to him about how wonderful it would be to have a Mamma and a Pappa. That didn't help him much.
The children took us on a tour of the orphanage, showing us where they sleep and play. The girl likes to embroider and has two of her things hanging in the hallway. They showed us some crafts that they did recently, the little boy had made some little birdies. :)
We left after about an hour at the orphanage as we needed to find a place to stay. This was the adventure of the day! As we leave the orphanage the inspector tells us that there is a hotel in town but it has NO HOT WATER. We go there and take a look, and decide that there must be something else for us! The Inspector and her husband own a Sauna business that is attached to their house. There were two places to sleep and they had hot water. We said PERFECT. Only problem is that the place (rented by the hour) was booked until 11pm that night.
At this point we finally let the Kharkiv driver leave us and go home. We hung out with the Inspector and her family photos on the photo page) and saw their family pictures and videos. The children are tutored in English so they tried to speak to us in English although they were too shy to really try it.
At about 6:30 we headed over to a local restaurant for dinner. This restaurant had a private party and was closed to the public but it was the only one the Inspector recommended. So he Inspector called her friend, the restaurant owner, and had her prepare a special meal for us in her office. It was a great meal and we really appreciated the thoughtfulness of everyone trying to accommodate our requests for things like water with no gas (bubbles) and sugar for my potato pancakes!
We ended up getting in to the Sauna area around 9:30 that night.