This is a view crossing a bridge. I thought it was a great shot with the bus coming the other direction.
This is a region of Zap that Vitaliy is from.
This is the marriage office where we got one of the birth certificates.
Just an apartment building in that region. It was about 20 minutes away from where we were staying. Sasha region was the region we were in...convenient for both actually!
Lucy took over the camera at the orphanage because I was very busy signing papers. It was really a complete rush and now kind of a blur leaving there. This is a picture of the director's office.
This is Vitaliy and his friends packing.
He was giving them some of his things.
This is Ruslan with a shirt from him and Alex with the Monopoly game.
The bed in the corner is his and they are huddled getting his things ready.
Fuzzy picture but I still like it.
Good friends I am sure he will miss.
Still packing...how come he has so much stuff!
The director, Larissa and Sasha!
Larissa and Vitaliy
Heading out to the van. The woman in front is Luba, our incredible facilitator!
Some of his friends called over to him and he went and shook their hands and gave one of those half hugs. It was a pretty cool scene.
Sasha finally gets to go, not wait at the gate...Yeah!!!
Dimitri was hanging on the gate waving goodbye. When he saw that we were almost gone he ran out to see us off. I will really miss all those kids!
In the train compartment with Yulia, Vitaliy and Sasha...beautiful family.
Here's the new family.
There were some very tender moments.
What a whirlwind of a day! I was told I could rest until 9 am and then I would get a phone call. Good thing I got up early and ready because at 9 I was told that I would be picked up in 15 minutes. I was ready to go to work…so ready! I was surprised at how smoothly and quickly we were getting things done. I was still under the impression that we would not be out of Zap until later that week and I was emotionally gearing up for that. What I was not prepared to hear was we were going to be done that day and on the train to Kiev that night! I cannot begin to express in words what I felt at that moment. I had planned on composing myself when I heard the news that we would stay in Zap for the week, I had not planned on how I would handle hearing we were leaving so soon…I worked hard to not cry but I still cried a little bit. Oh My Goodness!!!!! We are headed out of here!
The rest of the day was very busy. We finished part of the paperwork and went to get the boys. They had been told over and over that we were not leaving until at least the end of the week so they had no idea. I was SO excited to tell them. We met up with them in the hall and gave them the good news. You should have seen the look on their faces. They were thrilled beyond words. Literally with a spring in his step Vitaliy headed to his room to pack. As he passed his friends in the hall he shook their hands and told them that he was leaving to go to America. You have to try and picture the excitement on everyone’s faces. They followed him to his room and Sasha headed to his room. Sasha was the first one down with two little bags of clothes and things. Vitaliy followed next with the same bag we sent him back with and a backpack.
The director, Larissa, was there and we took pictures with both the boys. She had told me in her office that Vitaliy was very ready to go. I told her how much I appreciated all that she does for the kids. I also told her that I thought she was the hardest working woman I have ever met but she denied that and reminded me that I have 8 more children at home. She proceeded to tell me for the second time that I needed to be firm with the boys and make them work. I really like her quite a bit.
The big moment, we walked out to the van never to return again. When we got to the van I looked back and saw Dimitri hanging on the gate waving goodbye. We were leaving so unexpectedly and so fast that I didn’t have a chance to see any of the kids. It’s probably better that way, really. Although I was so happy that I got to go over to Dimitri and give him a big hug. He gave me a great hug back. Oh how I love all those kids!
Once again I had to pack and move out of another apartment in record speed. I had to lay across my suitcase to shut it. Lucy came with us to Kiev, lucky me!!! We were packed in about 15 minutes or less. One more notary and we headed to the Intourist Hotel to buy our train tickets. We had to buy first class unless we wanted to sleep on top bunks in random compartments separated from each other. Doesn’t sound appealing, does it? I have only taken first class on the train. There are only two beds instead of four and usually the first class car is not as busy, less smoking. I highly recommend it to anyone. It is worth the extra money. We stopped at a restaurant to eat dinner. Again the food was amazing.
When we got to the platform at the train station I saw Sasha, Vitaliy’s brother. I was very glad to see him. I had asked Vitaliy if he had had a chance to contact his brother. Everything was happening at record speed. When I walked near Sasha, I noticed a girl that looked familiar and it turned out to be his sister, Yulia. She is very blonde and very pretty. I had never met her before. Again, thank goodness Lucy was there with us. We gave each other hugs but they had only minutes to say goodbye. I was so sad about that. He hadn’t seen his sister in a while. We took pictures in the train and back out on the platform. Then the crying really started. I had Lucy ask if they wanted to come to Kiev and spend time with us while we were here. We were literally asking them this from the door of the train as they stood on the platform and tossing money down to them so they could come. Buying a train ticket for them would be out of the question and too expensive. I was thrilled that they wanted to come and they were very happy and grateful for it. His sister, through her tears, kept saying thank you, thank you so much! His brother and sister gave me huge hugs. I love these people. I feel so connected to them and I truly hope this is not the last time we see them. I would love to have them come out for a visit. Can’t say I would want to go back and visit them though.
We had an easy time on the train. Lucy and Luba get along really well. Sasha bunked with Lucy and Vitaliy bunked with me. We watched through the window as we said goodbye to Zaporozhye forever. I really enjoy sleeping on the train. The rocking motion makes you sleepy. It was quiet and comfortable. I could tell the boys were really happy to be on the way home.
I have started my 32nd day in Kiev but you will have to wait until later to hear about it. Love you all and can’t wait to come home. Hopefully we will find a flight Thursday, otherwise we have tickets reserved for Friday…CAN”T WAIT!!!!!!!!!