I woke up this morning feeling miserable. Our room was cold (the heat is off in the whole hotel except for our room and our facilitators’ room). It was still dark out, but terribly foggy. Just overwhelmingly cold and gloomy.
I was awake 4 hours before Aaron, so I just piddled around, mostly feeling unhappy about being here. I cannot imagine living here permanently, or particularly, being confined to Lyuda’s orphanage.
The cold and the gloom are two of the challenges. Another big one for me is the food. I’ve been a vegetarian for over half of my life– and Ukrainian food is big on the meat. This clip is 90% accurate, except that the chef/waitress/room service lady here at the hotel restaurant is nicer.
The third challenge that I’ve been dealing with today is that Lyuda really wants a phone. She has been extremely persistent about it… and it rather irks me to constantly hear about a phone when we’ve come over 6000 miles. She borrows a friend’s phone to post online and I have offered to pay for her friend’s phone balance while she’s using it. This is your average teenager battle, but it’s wrapped up in all of my other frustrations about being here.
Again, I just want to be real about what we’re experiencing and not sugar coat it. I think many of the frustrations have to do with this being such a remote place and not having any of the comforts we’re used to… or even seeing the sun.
Despite all of my frustrations, our actual visit today was fine. Mostly.
We picked up a different social worker to ride along with us to to the orphanage– I’ll explain why below. Anyways, when we arrived, a bunch of kids were walking up the road, including Lyuda and a friend of hers, O. When we went back into the building, we first saw a girl who had come for hosting. Oksana gave her a huge hug. I had a letter and photo from her host family, so I snuck that into her hands before any of the officials could notice.
When I went back over to talk to Lyuda, she said her friend, O, wanted to meet us. We got to our names, and then the regional social worker said, “you may not talk to other children.” Awkward. So, O and I stood there, smiling at each other– still waiting for the orphanage psychologist to show up, but not supposed to talk. Okay then.
I didn’t mention this in yesterday’s blog post, but I got sternly yelled at yesterday when I tried to take a picture of a boy who has a family coming for him. No one had explained this rule– I thought nothing of it, as I know families who have taken pictures of other kids here, but apparently this is a very serious rule. It is rather archaic, as most of these children are on social media and a couple of them have even talked to me on there. They share pictures, etc, there, so not being permitted to talk to them in real life is an odd thing.
So, once we had everyone we needed, we went back into the visitation room and it was time for Lyuda to write her official letter that she wants us to be adopted. It had to be just perfect, but she did it! This is why the social worker needed to come along– to make sure the letter wasn’t coerced.
Then, we played cards again, Uno this time. Oksana talked to the school psychologist for awhile– she told him about us and her own sister-in-law, adopted from Ukraine, and how well she is thriving. Oksana is so pleasant and positive that I’m glad to have her chatting their ears off about us and how American life looks post-adoption.
Our visit was short again, maybe just about an hour or even a bit less. I find some amusement that we have constant supervision, especially as we’ve hosted her three times. And we never had this type of supervision when we visited our other kids pre-adoption.
And back to our hotel, it was. Oksana and I talked quite a bit on the way back, about all kinds of things. Tomorrow, she and our other facilitator, Olya, will go back to Kyiv. I am going to miss having Oksana here, particularly for her positivity and fun personality. I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post that we had a choice about how long to stay. We will stay until early next week, which is as long as we can. It doesn’t feel right to leave when we could be visiting Lyuda, but the idea of staying isn’t a happy one.
Soon, groundhog day begins, where we visit Lyuda each day, and try to find other little things to fill our time. If you are praying for us, please pray that some of the gloominess of this place subsides and that this phone discussion doesn’t become a bigger issue. Thank you.