Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - We lost our Internet access on Saturday so this will be a quick catch up. We went to church on Sunday and I met David and LeeAnn Luke who drove in from Romny just to go to church. Things are not going well for them and they have yet to get a court date. What a difference a good facilitator makes as well as the willingness of the orphanage people to let you adopt their children.
Sunday we had 3 new elders there. There was an Elder Anderson from Norway who trained the son of a good friend of mine (Elder Devin Shumway). They asked Neil Milne and Todd Heiner to give the sacrament meeting talks and Tanya did the translating. They both did great jobs and there was a great spirit in the meeting.
Sunday we said good-bye to Valeria, fixed lunch back in the apartment and met the boys' Grandma and brother Maxim one last time. Artem and Maxim had a bet that if one of them cried, they'd owe the other $200. So both stayed strong. Grandma and Arri both shed some tears and I was holding back some emotion. We've asked Maxim to come see us in a couple of years as we would like to keep the boys in contact.
While eating, the boys started telling stories about growing up. They were laughing so hard it was really fun to watch. When Natalie translated, it was just silly stuff. They talked about the time they walked to their granmother's house, 30 km away and how during the walk they laughed and joked the whole way. They also talked about the time they had 10 Greevnias (their money) to come into town. When they discovered that only 2 of them could make it, they left Sasha at the village. I'm glad they all could laugh. I think they were trying to hide some sadness of parting.
We left grandma but Maxim walked back to our apartment. They acted like it wasn't a big deal but we could tell he was uptight about the parting.
On Monday, we picked them up from school around 3:00pm and they said good-bye to their friends. It was classic boys. They looked at their friends and said, "Bye!" and walked away. We walked over to Sasha and Austin's teacher's house (Maria) who had the day off. She came out to greet us and she shed some tears. She's a wonderful lady.
The boys just want to play games on the computers. We didn't have enough bed space in our apartmet but we made due (without blankets) and got up this morning around 1:30am to be ready for the bus at 2:30am.
We drove to Kiev and met with the Doctors at 8:00am. We joined the Hatch's and Alan Morgan. The exams took longer than we had hoped and depending on which doctor did the examination, a different requirement was given to each boy. No rules and no consistency. We then rushed to the US Embassy to meet the 12:00noon deadline and hit horrible traffic in the city. At one point, Vladimir hopped out of the Van and was directing traffic. The guy knows how to get things done!
So, we submitted our papers, took finger prints and we go back to the embassy tomorrow at 2:00pm. We all hope that it goes well and we're able to jump on our flights on Thursday morning for the U.S.
By the way, the apartment we got here in Kiev is a large 3 bedroom (they count the front room with a fold out couch as a bedroom) and they have free Internet! Nicest place we've seen here yet!
We're anxious to get home!