Greetings from Artemovsk! We arrived early this morning via a 12 hour train ride from Kiev. It was the first time that Richard or I had ever been on a train so it was quite an experience. We actually really enjoyed it, although I wish it would've been lighter outside so that we could've seen the sights a bit better.
Our translator, Masha, met us at the train station and we quickly learned that none of the hotels in town had any vacancies. So, rather than checking into a hotel, Masha brought us to the orphanage and then had to leave for Donetsk so that she could take care of a passport for another family. The ladies at the orphanage set to work trying to find a furnished apartment for us to rent and it seems like we may have our accommodations sorted out! The orphanage director stopped in momentarily this morning and we had a short conversation using my Russian-English dictionary and hand gestures as well as the few Russian and English words we both knew.
At 10:30 we were finally able to go meet Evan. He immediately began crying when we walked into the room, which, believe it or not, is actually a good sign. He continued to cry and we let the care takers comfort him while we kept our distance a bit. I can only imagine how scary it must have been for him. After he had calmed down a bit we went into the room where the children sleep so that there was less commotion (we had been in the playroom with his whole groupa when we first met him) and we showed him pictures from the small picture album we brought which helped him to feel more at ease (boy I am thankful for the basic Russian that I know as I could tell it helped). Prior to leaving for Ukraine I had gone to Build-A-Bear and made him a teddy bear that says "I love you" in Russian and in English. I wasn't planning on giving it to him today, but Richard brought it up to us and it ended up being the perfect thing. He loved it when we pushed the button and after I pushed the button I would take the bear and say hugs and kisses in Russian and have the bear give him hugs and kisses. We had him smiling and asking for more in no time. He actually seemed a little sad when it was time to go.
He is a beautiful little boy and so sweet. He is talking (in Russian of course) and he just has the sweetest little voice. Every time he would say something to us we would just melt! I really felt like we were in the presence of an angel!
The ladies at the orphanage are wonderful. You can tell they love these children so much! The children in this baby house are most certainly well cared for and the caretakers do the best they can with what they have available. I am glad to see that Evan has been so well loved over the past three years!
We will get to see him again this afternoon! I'm not sure we will have much access to the internet while we are here (we are using the orphanage director's computer right now), but I will try to check in whenever I get a chance and maybe even post a few pictures.
We have had a wonderful day thus far and we are looking forward to many more of them!