St. Nicholas Day

Trip Start Dec 01, 2007
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Ukraine  ,
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Arno writing: Today is St. Nicholas Day! It is sort of the equivalent of Christmas in the U.S.The kids got some candies and a few small toys. We bought the class some Disney DVD's since the DVD's they had were of poor quality. We ate lunch at Mac Notis- a restaurant that has a McDonald's yellow "M". We got two pizza's (a little bigger than personal size) with three toppings and two drinks for under $10 including the tip. We also did some shopping for the kids in Anastasia's class. We will give them our gifts on 12-25.

Observation: The kids in Anastasia's class are very well behaved. They do chores, and listen well to their class "mothers". I also observed that they share well with each other. They get along with each other- no fighting. They have very little, but seem happy. They are adorable, and I would adopt many of them if the law would allow it. Unfortunately, Ukraine law will only allow you to adopt one child unless that child has siblings. In that case you might be able to adopt the brother(s) or sister(s). There are currently around 250 kids in this orphanage. only 8 children have been adopted in the past 4 years. Not all the children are available for adoption, however, as some kids still have parental contact. Some people can't afford to raise their kids so they put them in orphanages.

Tips for those planning to travel to Ukraine- Converting electricity for our electronics has not been a problem. Alot of U.S. electronics have a little "black box" that shows the voltage "range" the thing will accept. Ukraine has 220V. 50 Hz and you need a Type "C" Round Pin Plug. All we had to buy was this 2 prong adapter. I think we bought it at Target. Our PSP, Movie Camera, and Blackberry all have voltage ranges that fall within what Ukraine has.
In Severdonetsk we've seen three hotels, and stayed at two of them. I recommend the "Central Hotel" (translated name).

It snows here almost every morning, but hasn't been as bad as I expected. It usually stops snowing after a few hours. It's the end of December and the Winter hasn't been any worse than say Wisconsin. I wear wicking thermals, snow pants, a knit cap, gloves, thick wool socks, water- proof boots, and a down coat. I am warm on our mile and a half walk to the orphanage.  

Lancie writing:  Today is St. Nicholas Day. When the kids awake they find a surprise under their pillow. In the A.M., we were invited to their "St. Nick" program. We saw the children dressed in costumes, doing traditional dances, singing, and performing skits. Between performances, sponsors of the orphanage spoke to the crowd (the room was standing room only, between the kids and visitors). Some gave gifts of candy and small toys to the children. I believe others announced contributions to the orphanage.
  Christmas is actually Jan. 7th-this is the celebration of Jesus' birth. Between St. Nicholae Day and Christmas, I understand they celebrate "New Year's" for a whole week! I was told that on New Year's Day, Jan. 1st, that people exchange gifts.
  The big news is: We finally got our court date- Dec. 27th. We truly had hoped it would be before Christmas, but a kink in paperwork delayed us. Honestly, it would not have mattered because everything closes down (government wise) from 12-29 thru 1-7. So, no matter when the court date was, we would still have had to wait until 1-8 to proceed with the next step.
  Since Arno will not be able to stay that long, we will travel with Luba back to Kiev on the 27th, after court. In Kiev, we must visit the American Embassy to get paperwork initiated for the passport and visa, as well as get a Power-of-Attorney for me to act on future legal paperwork without Arno. We are hoping to get a little sightseeing in, before Arno has to fly home.
  Luba and I then plan to return to Severdonetsk on 1-8 to proceed with paperwork and claim Anastasia. She is not allowed to be released to us until 10 days after the court hearing.
  Arno and I remain busy wrapping Christmas gifts for Anastasia's class, exploring the town, and visiting Anastasia.  
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Comments

drsnow
drsnow on

Congrats on getting court date
Arno and Lancie,
Glad to know you have a court date set up so that gives you a firm date to shoot for. We have been following your journey everyday online and we are so very happy for you. Adoption is a truly blessed event and our hopes and prayers are with you each step of the way.

Arno: I also sent you a personal email to your personal email account.
Dave Snow

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