Sunday, March 29, 2009


I know there are many questions out there, so I'm going to do my best to answer as many of them as I can. I'm paraphrasing some of the questions to hopefully make this as concise as possible. :)

Are you taking the boys with you?
Yes. This was a huge decision for us, and one I've been going back and forth on for a few months. I finally gave up and just asked the boys what they wanted to do. We had a good discussion about it (as much as you can discuss with a 5 and 6 yo) and they decided they wanted to go. In fact, Dima spent the next two days reminding me not to forget to go get the two girls. We've had a hard time convincing them that they still have several days of school left before we leave.

Who will take care of the boys while you are busy in Ukraine (SDA appt, court, etc.)?
My mom has offered to go with us, and we have gladly taken her up on that. She has been to Ukraine before and is familiar with a lot of the cultural differences, and the boys also know her well. She may regret her decision to go, but I don't think we will!

How long will you be there?
That is an excellent question. Originally, we were told to plan on 2.5 weeks for our first trip. We would then come home for a couple of weeks (during our 10-day wait after court but before we have custody of the girls) and then go back for a second trip. Mark's mom is planning on coming out to stay with the boys for the second trip. However, we recently learned that our timeline may be a little different. I can't share much more than that right now as we don't know much more than that, so you'll have to follow the blog to know exactly where we're going to be when. ;)

What is happening with your flights?
We fly out April 7 and are scheduled to return on April 27. We were able to get flights on Delta that are only one-stop (at JFK in New York) from St Louis to Kyiv. I was very happy about that! We are planning to only use carry-on luggage. Wish us luck with that. ;)

What do you still need?
--A ride to the airport that can accommodate 3 adults and 2 children, and that can get us there at about 7am on a Tuesday morning.

--We are still looking for a house/dogsitter--someone who can stay at our house and watch the dogs while we are gone. We have a couple of people that we think are going to be able to do it, but we're still trying to solidify that. It doesn't help that our house will not have internet, phone, or cable while we're's like asking people to live in the Dark Ages. ;)

--Our money situation has worked out, although not in the way we expected! The insurance company is holding the check so they can add on an additional dividend. Not a bad thing, except we need the money! LOL Someone has graciously stepped up to cover those funds for us and will be repaid when the check arrives. Thank you so much for your prayers over this!

--Our local bank is working on ordering "new" money for us. They are not sure it will arrive in time. Please pray that it will arrive on time, or if not, that they will have enough good quality bills for our very large withdrawal.

--Prayers. We are taking a 5 and 6 yo on a very long trip to a country that they may or may not remember. Regardless, it will be a lot of new experiences for them. The boys and I had a discussion about what happens after we fly to Ukraine and get the girls, and Zhenya said "We get on a big plane and come back home." I want to make sure they understand that we will be coming back home, so we will probably we emphasizing that a lot in our conversations about the trip over the next week (and after we're there). Please also pray for our relationship with the girls. We don't have a lot of information, but I anticipate having more bonding and attachment issues with the girls based on what we know of them.

How was the move? How is the new house?
Hmmm...I'm not sure I want to talk about this. :)

Everything is out of the old house. I need to go over tonight and finish up a bit of cleaning. The new a disaster area. About the only room in the house that is in normal working order is the boys' room. We tried to make this move as easy on them as possible, so we got them set up first with their beds and toys and everything else. Zhenya's had a hard time sleeping the past few nights, but that seems to be getting better. They love their new room and love how close we are to the big playground across from their school (3 blocks). We walked there several times last week while they were on spring break. I am absolutely loving having a bigger kitchen. The smaller one didn't bother me, but I feel like I've been given a luxury kitchen with all of the space we have now--even with boxes everywhere and stuff piled on the counters! And we got our washer and dryer hooked up this weekend and I tried them out yesterday. They are super fancy and oh-so-fun to use! I think Mark thinks I'm a little weird for being so excited about a washer and dryer. :) :) We're still in the process of painting a few rooms; namely our bedroom and the girls' room.


Diana said...

You are very fortunate to have your mom going with you! We took our dauther with us and took her everywhere with us in Ukraine as well, including the SDA, court, etc. In fact, she ended up having to testify during court, as did our older son.

Essential things to take when traveling with kids:

1. A TON of baby wipes. We took 2 big refill packs and they were all gone within 10 days. You can buy them in Ukraine, but they are $$$ and the selection is poor. We used WAY more wipes than hand sanitizer, BTW.

2. A portable DVD player and several movies. We watched 1 movie the entire time we were in Ukraine - the day we were all sick. But our kids watched them every day while we were doing other "big people" adoption stuff.

3. A few English story books with lots and lots of pictures - these will be good for your boys as well as your new girls. Those paperback scholastic ones the kids get from the school book orders are great because they're short, colorful, and light weight. Sticker books are good, too.

4. A big jar of peanut butter if your kids like it. No matter what your accomodations end up being (we were stuck in a hotel with no kichen for a month!) you can still make PB sandwiches. We took a costco size jar and used the whole thing while we were in region. Definately throw in some handy snacks as well for those days when you don't have time for meals and kids get hungry along the way. Some good options for us were protein bars and fruit leather bars - both from Costco. The fruit leather had no sugar in them and packed nice and flat and the protein bars didn't melt. Our Ukrainian friends enjoyed both by the way. :-) I've heard several people saying they were really glad they took some boxes of mac and cheese (comfort food) for their kids as well. It wouldn't have done us any good as we couldn't cook it, though.

5. Comfort items for your boys - a favorite teddy bear and a blanket are awesome. I made each of my kids a fleece throw blanket and to this day, they all love them. I gave the boys theirs in Ukraine and my daughter really enjoyed having hers on the plane - sometimes to snuggle in and sometimes to fold up and sit on because the seats got so uncomfortable.

Good luck with the house and travel prep!

Tonya said...


I came over here to see what the boys were up to and find out that you have an appointment in a week and a half! OH MY WORD!

What a difference from the long, drawn out journey to the boys:):):). Okay, We're praying for you. Can't wait for updates and pics!


Tina said...

Hi friends! I loved this update; thanks for it! We are leaving for NYC (I have a work trip) April 7-9 (coming back early evening April 9). I was going to leave my car at the airport on April 7, but it's a two-door Honda Civic...

Hmmm... Perhaps we could help with the animals when we come back? Just let us know. We don't mind at all taking care of them from April 9-27. It will be nice for you guys not to have to worry about the 4-legged furry creatures. And we love them. I don't know that we'll live there, but we'll stay and visit with them each day if that's cool with you guys.


KO said...

I look forward to following your journey. We hope to travel in May or June, and wonder if we should take our 2 boys (5 and 6). Congratulations on the SDA appointment. We will keep you in our prayers. Our blog is Have a wonderful trip.

Passanita Family said...

We wish you safe travels on your journey and that your process will be as glitch free as possible in Ukraine. The girls look like cuties!
We took our boys with us on a missions trip last summer (4,6,8 yrs old)and they did great! They and only been home 1 year at that time but knew we were ALL coming back home after the trip.

Sarah Halter said...

Thanks for taking time to update us all. I'm so excited that the boys and your mom will be able to go.