When I travelled to Ukraine last summer to adopt Theo and Zhen, I had a really unforgettable experience. The trip was hard, physically and emotionally, but I had friends to smooth the way and give pointers. Thank you Toby and Suzanne, and Ken and Nance. I was also warned about problems with our facilitation team, but I put this information out of my mind. After all, based on the dozens upon dozens of adoption blogs I had read over the years, I could completely trust Reece's Rainbow and their Ukrainian facilitation team. Besides, it was too late to find another facilitator.
Boy did I feel like an idiot when nobody was waiting to meet us at the airport in Kyiv! My husband trusted me to make these arrangements. In my sleep deprived and weary state, having let him down, I had my first nervous breakdown of the trip. Thanks to a friendly taxi driver who showed us where to change money and find internet, we were able to contact friends in the US and get help.
In our region, Crimea, we had the good fortune of renting an apartment by the month. This way we paid a little over $17 per night. Not bad, huh? I'm so glad we made our own lodging arrangements. We enjoyed Christian fellowship as well, making friends with local missionaries and Ukrainian Christians. We opted for public transportation and walking in lieu of a daily driver. This alone easily saved us many hundreds of dollars.
Never once, did I feel unsafe or threatened. Perhaps it was all the prayers being said on my behalf. Even walking through wooded areas where homeless men were camped, or footpaths between ugly, hulking concrete apartment blocks, or stepping over passed out drunk people, I felt confident and safe.
Out of deep appreciation for the people who helped us along in Ukraine and a desire to share my unforgettable in-country experience, I set up a private blog for the families who would be heading to Simferopol. Here I shared tips on riding the bus, where to eat, what apartments were available, site seeing and so on. Why shouldn't everyone have a great time in Crimea while adopting? It is a tourist destination, after all.