I know what you are here for so I'll just give it to you up front, with no strings attached. I met Maxim this morning and he is perfect...everything I imagined...and wearing the same danged sweater as in all his other photos!
Thursday I slept until after noon, and I'm very glad that I did! Early in the afternoon, my facilitator and I went to buy our train tickets. Thank goodness we were able to find 2nd class tickets as the roads were to slick to consider taking the bus.
With 140 grivna train tickets (so cheap!!) in hand we set out to do some exploring. Snow had given way to light rain and every intersection was deep with soupy slush. I felt so thankful for the waterproof boots that my mother bought for me a few weeks ago. They were not the cute boots that I had in mind, but all that I could find in my home city.
On the way, we visited St. Vladimir's cathedral. Google it if you can, I didn't take any photos of the place, but it is simply magnificent. I was so moved my the dark and mysterious atmosphere that even though I am not a Catholic, I bought and lit candles for two adopted children who recently went to live with Jesus.
We walked in silence for awhile after that. The light started to fade and I knew that it was almost time to pick up my referral. My feet started to complain. We started to get hungry, but realized that there was no time to sit down and eat a meal. After picking up the referral, it was quick but complicated, we took a taxi to pick up our bags and headed for the train station.
Our second class, bottom berth seats were in a old, old train car. Everything was made of wood and metal. The windows were wood. I find that fascinating. Two men slept over us, no big deal, they were quiet and respectful. However, I could absolutely not sleep.
The compartment was SO hot. I could not get comfortable. We slept with the door open. I felt safe because all my valuables were in the underseat storage. If anyone wanted to steal my bag they would have to get through me first! I just laid there with my eyes closed for eight hours.
We pulled into the station about 6am and drove the WORST streets I've ever seen to drop our bags at the apartment. We waited around awhile until it was time to visit the city inspector. Someone in the building was cooking mushroom soup. I could smell it. I saw a middle aged woman wearing white tennis shoes, that cracked me up!
The inspector was so friendly! We took her to the orphanage, quickly met the director and headed to the building where Max lives. The immediately brought him in to see me. He was obviously unsure of what was happening. He would not walk to me. I had to snatch him up to set him on my lap. I was really nervous with all the people watching me.
My facilitator and all the others left us along to try to get some paperwork done and fix some complicated issues. After they left, Maxim started to open up a bit. We played pat-a-cake, itsy bitsy spider, iPad flashcards and "walk to mommy." He really loved being snuggled, so we spent much of the time doing just that.
When the visit was over, I left Maxim in the "therapy" and we went hunting for a notary. Amazingly there was not a notary in this town willing to do our adoption documents. I was falling asleep in the car, so I got dropped off at the apartment for a nap. My facilitator was able to find a notary and I have an appointment in the morning to finish up paperwork to request a court date.
Since I have an appointment in the morning, I will not be able to visit the mental aslyum as I had originally planned. I will send the donations with the group that goes tomorrow, but do plan to visit them before I leave. We want to make sure that everyone there has a new pair of socks and underwear for Christmas.
I will visit sweet Max again tomorrow. If you like, please pray for his poor tummy. He has some significant GI issues, though I cannot say for sure exactly what is going on. I also hope to get more of his medical information tomorrow.