Friday, October 1, 2010


Since the court day, we have had a lot of stuff going on. We've been busy. Before it was waiting, waiting and waiting. Now we are going, going and doing. We went to Julia's school for the last time to say "good bye" to everybody and invite Julia's friends for her going-away party at the orphanage. When we came, all her classmates surounded her and wanted to be invited. It was interesting to see how she enjoyed it: before she was an orphan-girl with no family and now she is the center of attention and she is going away to live with her family in the USA. We had her party with cakes, drinks and a fruit salad. Julia's brother and his wife came to say "good bye" also. We had a good time with everybody. When it was time for us to leave some caretakers had tears in their eyes. In traditions of the orphanage, we bought a plant in a pot and called it "Julia", so, they will have some memory of her. Also Julia wrote a letter to her biological parents telling them that she needs to leave the city so she wouldn't grow up living on the streets or become a drug user. She said, "they love me like their own daughter and I love them too." Her bio parents were telling her she'd have a family of strangers, but she said, "In America I will not have a family of strangers. I will have parents, a sister, grandparents, and aunt and uncle who will love me." "Thank you that you let me go". It was sweet of her to leave a nice message after all the bad things they put her through.

On Thursday night we took a train to Balta in Odessa region. That's where our Anastasia is from. We stayed at the same place we did 2 1/2 years ago and it brought back a lot of memories. We visited Anastasia's orphanage. We saw the director and showed her our family pictures. She looked very happy to see how one of her kids is growing and progressing. She was so touched that started crying. We asked her to say something on the videocamera for Anastasia. She agreed and said a very nice message for her. We also saw Anastasia's teacher and a couple of other people we met two years ago. We tried to find some of her friends but found only one boy.

We didn't stay in Balta too long and on Sunday morning we were in Kiev. Our driver met us at the train station and took us to our apartment. That morning we were invited to go to church. We have a couple of good, christian friends in Kiev (Andrei and Olga Murzin) and that morning Andrei was supposed to preach. He asked us if we could share our adoption experience with his church. We know that his church prayed for us when we had problems and we wanted to meet these people and thank them. It was so nice to be in church and worship God with other christians! We miss it. We spoke after Andrei's preaching. Julia was up front with us. I think she didn't like to be in the spotlight. When we sat down she started crying. I asked her why she was crying. She said she was missing her brother. I don't think it was exactly true. She was taken out of her comfort zone and put into the spotlight in front of a couple of hundred of people. She is counting days before our flight and she is ready to start her new normal family life. At the end of worship we had the Lord'supper with real bread broken into pieces and real wine. It was different but very special! When we were leaving church a lot of people wanted to talk with us and say something encouraging. One lady even told us if we needed a prayer we could tell Andrei and he would tell his church. That was so sweet of her! It was a very special Sunday.

Guess what? Sunday evening the water line on our street broke! We didn't have water for almost two days. It looks like wherever we go - water pipes break. I hope Brandon pipes are better qality then Ukranian. We couldn't just sit at the house without water. It is cold outside but it doesn't stop us from exploring the city. On Monday we visited a world famous monestary that has a nickname as the 2nd Jerusalem. Underneath are catacombs of dead saints from the past. They're encased in wooden caskets with glass tops and sides. Their hands are sometimes sticking out for people to see. You can touch them with your forehead or lips only. Some are stated to provide so-called healing with a touch. We had a young tour guide. She told us about their main saints and kissed all of them. I guess she is super-healthy. At the end I challenged her asking why we need to go through dead monks when there is one mediator with the name of Jesus Christ. She said because they are holy and we are sinners. Then I asked her what the purpose of Jesus dying on the cross. The tour guide answered that we'd have to ask the head priest that question. Bob tried to give her one of Joe's gospel tracts, she looked at it and gave it back. There's all kinds of beliefs out there.

On Tuesday we did Julia's medical exam and filled out a visa application at the American embassy. Today we have to be there for our intervew and we will have Julia's visa!!! Thursday morning we are LEAVING UKRAINE!!!!!!!!!!!! Our final flight from Charlotte, NC arrives to ,October 7 at 6:18 PM, United Airlines 2590. See you soon!!!

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