I am back in Ukraine with my brother Bret and my son Ethan. We arrived in Kiev on Monday and took the morning express train here to Kharkov early yesterday morning. We spent almost the entire day yesterday starting all the paperwork applying for Avery's passport and visa. Then we did some grocery shopping and settled into what I now call my "home away from home."
This morning Valentin and Tatiana picked us up to get Avery's passport and visa pictures taken. She was very happy to see us (as were the other children in her groupa). And Ethan was very excited to meet his new sister! He thinks she is very cute. He was very helpful in trying to keep her behaving during her first car ride, walking in the city, and being in public. Anytime we are walking somewhere, Avery is very good at holding hands and walking with us. She sat very still in the car, just taking everything in.
When we first sat down to wait in the passport office she became a bit nervous. I was anticipating she was going to have an "episode." I pulled her onto my lap and tried to keep her distracted. Thankfully it never escalated. As she became more comfortable, she started a bit of hyperactivity, but it was manageable. And just like Avery adores her new daddy, she seemed to warm up to Bret very well. We hope it isn't confusing to her that Bret is "da da" which means "uncle" and "papa" means father.
After we were finished in the passport office, Tatiana needed 10 more minutes to make sure the paperwork was finished properly. So we went ahead to the car to wait for her. We gave Avery a little blinky ball to play with. I am well aware of how much she like to throw things so she can watch someone "fetch." I relayed this to Bret and Ethan. We were all standing there around her waiting to intercept a long shot. But sure enough she managed to wing it passed us and down the street. It was a downhill slope, so it was rolling fast. Bret and Ethan went running down after it, stopping traffic in doing so. All the while, Avery was in stitches. It was pretty funny and I couldn't help but laugh myself. When they returned, the ball went in the car : ) All in all the outing was a success.
When we got back to the orphanage, we were able to stay and play with her for a half an hour. We took her on a walk up the street and then let her swing on the swing set. Her nanny, Luda, came out and told us it was time for her to eat. Luda is such a sweet lady and she knows enough English to communicate fairly well with me. Watching Luda interact with Avery warms my heart. She is so good with her. I get the impression she has spent a lot of one on one time with Avery. One day she showed me a folder of information some volunteer therapy groups had given to her to work with Avery. I am so glad she has had someone to provide some stability and therapy for her. Luda is very happy she is being adopted and tells me Avery has a lot of potential. We know this of course, but it is comforting to know there are nannies who truly care about some of these children and can see their worth.
Here are some pictures taken at the passport office this morning: