Friday, November 19, 2010
What a long strange trip it's been....
It has been several days since an update and it has not been with out adventures to post, just without the time or energy to manage the words. Even as I type I am practically falling off the bed tired...but here is a summary of the week in Kiev...We arrived Tuesday night this past week at 11:30 pm and the kids really got that second wind with a 2 hour train nap-- and even the time awake on the train was waaaaaay better than I had expected. It was as if Marina was born to ride the train and she sat around playing with cool floamy stuff that the facilitator had given us to keep the kids busy on the train ride. When I first opened the box of this weird stuff I thought it was a cruel joke to keep me busy writing checks for all we destroyed with mini sticky foam balls everywhere, but to my pleasant surprise it was actually very groovy as far as toys go. Buy some, it is too hard to explain but I promise you will not pick it out of the rug like playdoh. Anyhow back to arriving in Kiev. We had rented an apartment online (I have come a long way since we first landed six weeks ago and I could not buy bread by myself), and the apartment has been magnificent...it is huge and the mattresses are real, and the stove works and the tub is a miniature round swimming pool. At least according to the children. (Mel's son included...they are still here with us) I might add that Marina had her first bath at 2:30 in the morning because no kid has ever been so gleeful about the bath idea. She had her second bath the next morning, and one in the afternoon, and another one or two that evening. I have checked for gills and fins, they are hidden somewhere but she is surely part fish! Evan could not stand it, he finally realizes that baths are fun again and yes, you CAN get water on a 14 foot high black italian tile ceiling if you try hard. But I have jumped way ahead in the story. Did I mention I was tired? I do have to say that gotcha day was a fairy tale story as far as adoptions go. The plan was to pick Marina up at 3:30 right after nap time. We were invited up to her room which is a combo play room snack room bedroom kinda thing. The nurses and nannies were all there and helped us get Marina ready to leave. They had gathered her clothes that had accumulated with each visit where I wanted to see if something fit and Marina would never give it back digressing here and back to the play room) where the kids were all gathered around having snack and juice in these little ceramic mugs. It was awesome to see them all watching Marina get ready to leave. Everyone made such a big deal of her going, and how beautiful she looked and we said good bye to everyone we could find! I know Marina felt like a fairy tale princess...she sure looked like one! The photos are of the orphanage the last night we saw it, and the kids in the groupa, and Marina getting dressed and saying Good bye. We all cried when it was time to go, and the director came to say good bye once again, and good luck. These people are so incredibly good hearted! Anyhow the trip to the train station was less exciting and more scary, partly because traffic was horrible and also because Marina was bawling hard. Finally our wonderful driver Roman talked to her in Russian all the way to the station and when we arrived Marina was perfectly fine, and has been that way ever since! Of course we cried when we said good bye to the driver too, he was the same driver we had the whole time we were in Dnipropetrovsk and he was a great friend as well. So, back to Kiev we went. Thursday was embassy day and medical check up day. I found it odd that the doctor there was surprised that Marina followed instructions and understood what he was saying, but that in itself explains a lot. Anyhow this is a long day and a family day as well since everyone is required to be there in person. The kids were good but tired and hungry so it went as well as to be expected. We rewarded them with another bath when we got back to the apartment. I simply love this bathroom! Mel's son Timothy has come to understand that if he gets naked someone might add him to the tub as well, though usually he just gets sat on the potty so he is not always so happy about that turn of events. He is a little pistol and is really really cute but is really going to give Mel a heart attack on the plane as he grabs things faster than any kid i have ever met, and then moves right on to the next big idea of his before you get the first idea cleaned up. He can usually be diverted with food, but I fear he will one day simply explode, even though he is small. He can really pack in a ton of food! Speaking of food, Wednesday night we ate at Il Patio, a wonderful italian restaurant adjacent to TGIFriday in Kiev. We met up with two other Reece's rainbow families, Meredith and Mike Cornish and also Melissa Lorenz and her new daughter Liza, and of course Mel and Timothy were there as well. The kids were great but Marina feels it is necessary to personally tell each table in a restaurant "Dasvadonya" which is russian for Good bye. It must be accompanied with a wave, preferably a half an inch from the patrons nose. We left abruptly after several similar good byes to stunned folks we did not know and once on the side walk Marina broke into a dead run, the kind that is hard to catch in a pair of tall black boots, the likes of which I was wearing. Since we were to be at the embassy the following morning which required her physical presence, I gave it my best burst of energy and grabbed her laughing gleefully half a block away. I might mention here that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES do you ever ever buy the cheap stroller in Ukraine. And by cheap I mean 60 bucks US dollars. No such thing as an umbrella stroller here. Our stroller broke right away because aluminum pop rivets do not withstand 40+ pounds, and we won't even talk about Evan sitting in it, will we? I am still going to have to replace that thing just to get home. Marina has that leadership quality that will make for difficult travels without a chariot.
So we are really really winding down the journey. I can hardly believe it and echo Evan's sentiments as he occasionally blurts out how he can't believe we get to take Marina home and how he loves having her for a sister. And indeed we do too, love her being little Marina. Today we picked up her visa at the embassy and got to meet lots of other families as well! And that is the end of our paper chase, officially!
We bid adieu to Mel and Timothy around 3 am as they head to the airport and back to Iowa. We, the Bachmans, change apartments tomorrow as this one is rented to someone else tomorrow evening, so we opted for another studio apartment that we will find our way to tomorrow....we leave for South Carolina on Monday, also 3 am. so the next two days are ours to do with as we wish, relax and roam the city in search of a see saw and some swings. Our family once again has managed to complete a journey and embark on one all at the same time, yet again. God has been very gracious. More than I ever ever dreamed. Cay would love this gal. But with out Caylyn and her journey I can surely say there would not be a Marina Hope Bachman in our lives. As always, Caylyn continues to give, even still. Thank you for your prayers. We have been overly protected along the way. Cath & crew