Monday, December 29, 2008

Together at Last

Saturday, we were able to take Sergey out of his orphanage and take him up to Andreyevo to meet Valya. It was snowing in Odessa for the first time we've been here, and we were unsure what the roads would be like on the way to Andreyevo. Other times we have gone it has been fine in Odessa but bad in Andreyevo. This time, however, it became bluer and sunnier the farther north we went, though colder. The cold, clear blue sky in Andreyevo, with the snow covered fields, reminded us of home. It was a nice bit of something familiar for a change.

The roads near Andreyevo, however, are still treacherous. On Friday, our facilitator had summoned our sometimes driver, Sasha, to go up there to get a document for us. He told us yesterday that there was a 3-car accident on the little road to Andreyevo. I posted pictures of this road a couple of days ago. On the way in, I noted that it had not been plowed or sanded at all since the storm a week ago Thursday.

We didn't know until Friday night that we would be going, and we didn't know that we would be taking Sergey. We had talked about wanting Valya and Sergey to meet before court, but had not set anything up specifically. Well our facilitator just said, you will go to Andreyevo tomorrow to see Valya and you will take Sergey with you. Sasha will be there at 9:30 to get you. Well OK then.

Sergey didn't know that we were coming. When we went to get him, we couldn't find him. It took about 1/2 hr. for someone to find him, turned out he was outside somewhere. We told him what was going on, and we were off.

Valya also didn't know that we were coming. When we got to the admin office like we usually do, Valya was summoned. When she came up we gave her a surprise introduction to Sergey. She knew who he was because we had already given her a picture of him. They did a quick hug, then we headed off to the playroom to visit before lunch.

I think it was about 120 sec. after we got in the playroom that Valya whacked Sergey on the head for the first time. Undoubtedly, he deserved it. They were talking in Russian and I suppose he was teasing her about something. And so it has begun. These two are both live wires, Sergey more with teasing, and Valya physically. Anyway it was all in fun and doesn't seem anything beyond what seems normal in these orphanages. At the end of the day, as we were saying goodbyes, I was standing there with Sasha and commented it was hard to believe that they just met, they looked like siblings that had been together all their lives. They were very comfortable around each other. Mark will need to get used to a new level of energy around the house.

Before we left, we got Sasha to translate for us so that we could explain to both of them the adoption situation. We told them that the SDA rejected our papers on Thursday and because of that it was very possible we would not have court next week. We told them that we will be going back to America next week, no matter what happens, but that we or I would be back at the end of January to get them. They were quiet but didn't seem to mind too much. Sergey seems more interested in court than Valya, because his classmate Karina Nasekos had court the week before.

Here are some pictures from the day.

Our driver, Sasha. He has two teenage girls of his own. He is a pastor that recently moved to Odessa with his family and is between jobs. We are working on him to show him the orphanages and the kids. Maybe he can get involved with orphans somehow.

In the dining hall at Valya's orphanage. There are five meal times. They have a 1st breakfast, 2nd breakfast, lunch, late afternoon lunch, and dinner. They served a cabbage soup with porridge (I think), lettuce salad, grechka (buckwheat), dark bread, and compote to drink. It was different than we're used to, I think you could say. A couple of dogs roamed freely, begging for handouts. Sergey and Valya sat at one table, while we sat at another. I caught Valya kicking Sergey under the table. I gave her that parent look like knock it off, and she did. I guess that translates in every language. Afterward, Valya cleared the tables. The dining hall is pleasant and light, with a large plant display and tapestry. There is a coat rack as you enter, and 4 sinks for washing hands.

Outside the dining hall. This dog has a name something like Pasha and he is the orphanage dog. The other ones are strays, I guess.

Valya's room. Four girls sleep in bunkbeads. There is a small table with a couple of chairs. Each girl has a very small closet. The Christmas Tree that you see will be put into their TV room. Each wing on every floor has its own TV room. Some of them already had their trees up and decorated.

We brought Valya a little Christmas gift. It is a diary with a lock and key. It is pink with valentines on it. Valya is the nickname for her full name, Valentina.

At some point Valya grabbed some vampire teeth and goofed around with them. Earlier this year, the kids put on some kind of play and she played the part of a witch.

Mark, I will always love you.

Our first picture all together.

Now for a picture of just the kids. HELLO?!! Can you guys please stand still for one picture?

Saying goodbye, but Valya finds time to torment Sergey one last time by yanking his shirt down under his sweater.


Conethia and Jim Bob said...

Your journey has been a long one. Try to stay strong. The end results will be well worth it.

Ashley said...

This whole post made me smile. I am so glad to see you all together and that the tormenting has already begun with Sergey and Valya...haha

I know it is hard on the children that you have to leave before court, but I pray you can come back soon and get everything finished up. May God give you extra energy and rejuvinate you for this next leg of the trip.

Anonymous said...

That is a great family photo . . . I am sorry for the difficulties you have come across! Looking forward to seeing ALL of you soon! :)


Debbie said...

I love that Sergey and Valya got to meet each other. They do seem like brother and sister already. :-)