Today marks day 3 in Artemovsk! We finally found a place to stay on Friday. . .in a furnished apartment without a bed. The apartment building looked like many post-soviet buildings on the outside. . .old, worn and looking like it could fall in on itself at any moment. On the inside the apartment had been nicely refurbished. It was a decent place other than the fact that it had no bed (it had a couch that was much like a futon the way it folded down and was only big enough for Richard to sleep on). We found a small cot in the closet which is where I slept (on the cot, not in the closet). Despite the sleeping arrangements, I think we both slept like rocks that night!
We moved to the hotel yesterday. We are now staying in a small dorm-style room with two twin beds. The hotel is two blocks away from the orphanage which is less than a five minute walk. It has been especially nice being so close to our boy.
We have had the chance to visit with Evan twice a day each day since we have been here. He is still very hesistant around us and cries often, but he is starting to warm up to us and is more accepting of his new mama and papa at each visit. It has taken him longer to warm up to Richard, but that is understandable. The children in the orphanage rarely see men, so I can imagine that Richard is a bit intimidating. Evan is starting to open up to him however. We learned on Friday that Evan LOVES cookies, so we make sure to bring some cookies with us at each visit and Richard gives them to him. I think he has learned that Richard is where the cookies come from!
The bear that I made for him has turned out to be the best money I have ever spent! He LOVES it and it has been the source of most of the smiles he has bestowed opon us! He loves it when we press the botton and play our "Hugs and Kisses" game! Our last visit with him was a bit rough. This morning's visit went wonderfully. We got to spend some time with him in a small room right outside of the rooms where his groupa eats, sleeps and plays. Unfortunately the light bulb in that room was out and, since it gets dark around 4 pm here, we couldn't sit in that room for our evening visit. Instead we were taken to a large "playroom" (Kelly, you probably know what this room is called) that looked similar to a physical therapy room or a gym with lots of mats, a ball pit, etc. After we have been there for about five minutes he started to cry and continued to cry on and off for our entire visit. At first I thought he was still feeling wary of Richard and I, but I soon realized that he was most likely feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated by everything in the room. He would look around and then his chin would start to quiver and the crying would begin. He would bury his head in my sweater and the crying would subside, but as soon as he started looking around again, he would start to cry. I could tell he was feeling scared and overwhelmed so we decided to cut our visit short this evening and take him back to his groupa and familiar surroundings. It just broke my heart to see him so upset.
Overall, things are going very well. Our translator, Masha (Leanna, this IS your Mash and we LOVE her (and she loves you), brought her husband with her today so that he could help Richard establish internet connection through our cell phone. I think we both could've kissed him for helping us with this! We have yet to find an internet cafe in Artemovsk, so connecting through the cell phone was our only option and one that we could not have figured out ourselves (since everything is in Russian). We got several of our documents notarized yesterday and should be meeting with the social worker/inspector tomorrow and getting the orphanage documents signed and notarzied. Our goal is to have all documents signed, notarized and off to Kiev by Tuesday. We are hoping for a Tuesday/Wednesday court date for the following week (we may be pushing it a bit, but Masha and I are both hopeful).
Richard and I are really enjoying our time in Artemovsk! The people here are very friendly and we have enjoyed exploring the town together. We haven't ventured far yet, but we have been to the grocery store on several occassions, a very nice resturant named after moi (okay, so I doubt it was named after me, but the resturant and I DO share a name!), the market and an electronics store (where Richard managed to buy an electric kettle without speaking a lick of Russian). We are looking forward to spending more time in this little town!
Yes, we're having a great time, and although the start of our stay here in Artemovsk was a bit rough (not having a place to stay, not being able to communicate with the orphanage workers, not having a clue what was goign on, etc) we have settled into our new digs here in the hotel and are getting into a routine with the orphanage. Visiting Evan has been very fun, albeit a bit stressful. It's hard to deal with the fact that although we've "known" him for months, and we already have a degree of love for him, that he does not know us and has a hard time dealing with the situation. It is true, he does not like me the way he likes Val (which is hard to swallow) but I have a master plan that involves bribery and lots of cookies. Speaking of cookies - the cookies and other baked goods here in Ukraine are DELICIOUS. I just finished eating some chocolate covered cake balls with cherry jelly in the middle *drool*.
Today we went to the outdoor market and looked for a blanket for me to use on my bed. We found a nice blanket and in broken russian and lots of pointing we determined how much it cost and managed to pay for it. The gentleman and ladies managing the booth asked us where we were from and we said America... they in turn said aaaah... Canada! - We managed to correct them and we tried to explain that were from Ohio... yeah, imagine that! They asked us what we were doing here and it was all downhill from there. We managed to get across that we were here for a baby, but we were not able to communicate to them that we were here for an orphan. The older women kept making motions with their hands like a pregnant belly, we kept saying no, and they we all gave up, smiled and said goodbye.
Val's nagging me to finish up so she can get on the internet, so I'll wrap it up. We're having fun getting to know our boy. The rest of it is interesting.