Backtracking to Day 3-Friday as I intentionally didn’t publish anything during the last couple of days because we weren’t ready to share until coming to a more firm conclusion. This is how it went:
We woke up uncomfortably early in city called Zaporosha, Ukraine. We still thought our goal was to leave ASAP for the next city (due to maximizing our time in each city regarding their differing hours of operation), but in the end, decided to start where we were by visiting little bro (age 4) first. We had to go to a local office to get another official document, then onto finding the orphanage, finding the correct office, being briefed by the nice doctor on his file, and finally to meet him. A very formal process which they followed to a “T”.
He greeted both Chris and I with a hug. Adeline was allowed to come since she is big. The other three were on the playground. We were escorted to a small play room with a couch, kids table and kid sized chairs. He was truthfully more interested in all of the new toys than the strange visitors, but was compliant with his teacher and she did a lot of quizzing him to show us his knowledge base, etc. Our other three kids were then invited in too since it was just us in the room. It felt rushed and artificial with all of us watching him in the little room, but that is how it is done.
After a reasonable amount of time we said we should get going so we could still meet big bro (age 9) and sis (age 7) while it was still a business day (Friday) since we had to go to the office and collect another document in that city too. The director invited us into her office for routine pleasantries and then let us be on our way since we still had a 2+ hour drive to Berdyansk, Ukraine for their orphanage.
We made it, collected the proper document and this time a lady who is likely the social worker type to supervise the process rode along with us too. We were escorted into the director’s office (all six of us), the lady we brought along, our attorney/facilitator (traveling with us all the way from kiev), orphanage director, and their doctor. What a group! The doctor briefed us on each file. Our attorney translates everything as the orphanage staff are not speaking English. Chris picks up lots, I know, but not the finer details, and I need every word.
They eventually invite the kids we are here to see in too and I feel like it will be too intimidating of a room for them to walk into, but the director is skilled at making them each comfortable. She is a grandmother aged woman, warm to the children. She embraces them and keeps an arm around them for security. They did very well. My older three kids would have been much more closed under the same circumstances. She helps the conversation begin and continue by bragging on them and asking them questions, have them preform, etc.
After a short while in this setting they want to show us their classroom. We follow them to a pleasant classroom setting. They take seats behind a desk and we sit across from them. Our kids are around in a circle type seating. A new teacher comes to supervise our visit. Again, the teacher helps draw things out of the kids. We ask questions and try to make conversation telling them about us too.
She determines it is time for us to leave and wants to know what we think. We say we will need to talk and that it is too soon to make any decisions. She says we can return the next day, Saturday, to visit between 10-12. We thank her, look for a place with food and wi-fi. It has been a long day and finding a room for a family of six isn’t easy.
After dinner we walk and talk. Such a big decision and it isn’t obvious whether or not this sibling group will be ours.
We end up with two wretched Soviet era dungeon rooms, but it can’t be helped at this time of night. I feel tearful at the high price for their condition.