Still adjusting to the time difference. Went to bed about 10:30pm last night. My body thought it was nap time (since it was 2:30pm back home) so I was wide awake at midnight. Probably fell asleep again around 4am.
Our driver Vlad was waiting out front for us at 8:30am. The snow was falling heavily, so pretty and wet! Unfortunately, packing light didn't allow for an umbrella, but no worries. As soon as Olga arrived, off we went to the SDA building. The entrance was quite non-descript and located in the back of a large building next to St. Michael's cathedral. We went inside and up the stairs to a small office where we met immediately with a government psychologist. She gave us the name and birthdate of our little one and asked why we were requesting this specific child. For those of you who may not know, yes... a certain child in our hearts has brought us here to Ukraine. We explained our journey to her and what we feel we will be able to provide. The psychologist then gave us some basic family background and medical information. Olga was wonderful about translating everything for us. We were asked if we had any questions and that was it. The meeting lasted about 15 minutes.
Afterwards, we went to the bank to exchange some currency and purchased train tickets. Tomorrow afternoon, we will receive our official referral document (allowing us to meet our little one and receive further information from the orphanage) at 4pm. Then, we will take an overnight train to Simferopol and hire a driver to take us to Sevastopol (about a 2 hour drive). We will rent an apartment and then go to the orphanage. Olga will travel with us and stay in our apartment for the first few days to get paperwork started. She has been wonderful and I am so appreciative of her!
We decided to try a little place called Potato House for lunch. It was recommended to us as a cheap restaurant with good food and some English speaking staff. Mark ordered a cheese burrito with vegetables and I ordered a "potato with meat, mushrooms, and green sauce." 2 Pepsi Lights and a dessert that looked like tiramisu. This cost 91 gryvnahs (sure the spelling is wrong on that) - about $12. The burrito was interesting... cold cubed cheese and Korean carrots (read: SPICY) in a flour tortilla. So... I traded with Mark. Mine was pretty much what it said... not sure what type of meat it was, perhaps lamb, beef, or pork, sliced mushrooms, and a cheesy type sauce with parsley over a baked potato. The dessert was similar to tiramisu although with less of the coffee flavor and more runny. Mark wasn't impressed - lol! He was ready to stop at McDonald's for a double cheeseburger, but they were packed so we just came home instead.
We're going to venture out in about an hour to meet up with 2-3 other adoptive families and have dinner at a Ukrainian buffet which is about a 20 minute walk from here. Hopefully, it has stopped raining.
Our apartment is located right off Independence Square which is the site of large public protests right now - related to proposed tax legislation. Even though our windows are on the back side of the apartment (away from the square), we can still hear the protestors. Crowds were small over the weekend, but much larger today.
All is good. Thanks again for your ongoing prayers and please continue them. I can not tell you how much peace that I have had over the past 24 hours - it is truly a blessing! Also, two other prayer requests. First, Kullen and the Sharp family. They are in Kiev waiting to go home and Kullen (little guy with DS) has a respiratory infection. We hear this happens often after kids leave the orphanage. Second, pary for Pat - one of the adoptive dads who arrived yesterday and has a GI bug.
More soon! Love to all of you!