I have been missing my children fiercely for the past two weeks (really since before I left for Uzbekistan as I didn't have much time to spend with them before leaving for Ukraine) and so Richard and I decided to head over to the market today for a little "retail therapy," an art that I have perfected during the past few stressful months! No matter what country you are in, a little retail therapy can go a long way, especially in Ukraine, where you can get quite a bit more for your money.
Between the "mall" (a three-story building with a grocery store in the middle of the first floor and small shops selling all kinds of goodies from clothes, perfume and jewelry to school supplies, toys and electronics, on each level) and the outdoor market, we managed to buy very nice "winter gear" (snow suits and nice winter boots, hats and scarves) for all of our children, as well as Christmas gifts for many of our family members. In the end, imagining my children bundled up and waddling through the snow in their Ukrainian winter wear brought a smile to my face and made me feel a little bit closer to home!
We did not get a chance to visit with Evan this morning as we needed to make arrangements to extend our hotel stay and book our flights home, but we had an absolutely FANTASTIC visit with him this afternoon. He has definitely become more comfortable with his new mama and papa and I would even go as far as saying he looks forward to our visits. Instead of greeting us with tears or trepidation, he greeted us with a big smile. . a smile that lasted our entire visit. He smiled, he laughed, he played with Richard (a nice father-son game of head-butting which they played for so long they no doubt both left with headaches, but Evan LOVED it) and he talked up a storm.
The best part of the visit came towards the end when he started talking TO us and mimicking the things we were saying! Since the first day that we met him we have played a little game we like to call "Hugs and Kisses" or in transliterated Russian, "Ob'yat'ya and Potsalouey." Today as I was holding him on my lap he looked up at me and said, "Ob'yat'ya!" He repeated it over and over as I gave him big hugs and then he proceeded to do the same thing with kisses or "potsalouey." He mimicked the silly sounds we would make while we played games with him and even tried to mimic some of our English words, laughing and smiling the entire time. I was just in awe of the change I saw in him!
Unfortunately, we were so busy laughing and playing that we didn't stop to take many pictures, but I can still hear his sweet little voice echoing "hugs" and "kisses" in my mind! It is a beautiful sound!! There is no doubt in my mind that he will soar once he is home and settled and that makes my heart sing!
Needless to say, it has been a wonderful day! We were able to book our flights home this morning and, if all goes well at court and at the Embassy (Richard needs to go sign some paperwork since he will not be returning after the 10-day wait), we should be on our way back to the great state of Ohio next Saturday afternoon!