(written by Cara)
This morning in Ukraine started long before than the girls and I woke here in Ohio. Nate picked Doug and Karen up and headed out to Loubityn to pick up Max. When they arrived at the orphanage, they found Max in his dormitory (which is untypical for our Saturday visits...we typically have to track him down!) Max's groupa Mama, Olga, who was working the last time we took Max out for the weekend was there. She told Doug that he could keep Max until Monday, since it is fall break. Doug signed the paper saying that he would care for and look after him while he was out of the orphanage (ha!). She wrote down Doug's phone number and the address where he was staying as well as taking Nate's number and address.
Max was proud to show Nate and Karen around the orphanage grounds. Around the back of the orphanage, they have a place to keep animals. When Doug and I were there in September, there was a herd of cows that would graze the grounds around the outskirts of the orphanage. Today when walking around, they stooped to see the horses that had returned. (Big, Percheron looking draft horses) There was a foal, so everyone stopped to observe for a while.
Once back in Kharkov, they stopped to look for a cell phone for Max. Nate had done some research on phones, and they were looking to get Max a cell phone from a particular company because Nate, Diana, and Anya all have the same cell phone provider, so it will cost Max little to nothing to call any of them. They looked several places to find the best deal, stores, open air market, and in a Metro station. While at the open air market, Doug found a couple large pots that a teacher had asked for and some yummy and cheap fruits and veggies.
After some shopping, they went to pick up Daina at the apartment and went to La Cucuracha for lunch. After lunch one more stop to look for the best priced cell phone, sim card (you have to buy the sim card separate in Ukraine, which have several options for plans depending on what Sim card you buy). Nate and Doug found the phone Max had wanted in the color he had wanted for a cheaper price. Max had waited int he car, so Doug was able to surprise Max. The smile on Max's face was worth all the searching.
Next stop was the Rost market to purchase diapers, wipes, baby food for Mr Elijah as well as some standard groceries. Then back to Nate and Dianan's for some lunch. Nate made pizza, and Diana and Max made salad. (Ukrainian salad is tomatoes and cucumbers). Beth Nate and Diana were impressed at how much Max smiled, how at ease he felt, and how well mannered he was. Nate took some time to put music on Max's phone--including Chris Tomlin.
Upon arrival home, Doug called home to tell us Max was super excited about his phone and I should call him. The girls and I finished lunch, then called. The phone rang and rang and rang. Finally, my son answered the phone. There was a lot of noise in the background. On the other end of the line, my son said "Hi....I'm in the shower. I can't talk!"
We then skyped with Doug and Max and Grandma. It was so good to see my handsome boy, by husband, and his Mom. We talked for about 30 minutes or better. They all seem quite happy to be together.
The girls and I spent the day cooking and cleaning. This morning we made spaghetti sauce to put in the freezer for future dinners, and enjoyed some for lunch. We cleaned the entire upstairs. We have been looking at our house from the eyes of a 17 month old. Hannah is a great helper. Mila....well, she doesn't go far from where I put her. We rearranged where diapers, shoes, and clothes were in their room are to get ready for a little brother. The girls were excited to tell Papa we found a new place for their television. It was a good day, spent together. We didn't even leave the house!
We're counting down the days until Papa is home again.
Tonight, as we said prayers before bed, Mila prayed first, then Hannah followed. Her prayers are sweet and expanding as she understands more and more of who God is. Tonight, she prayed for a wonderful day, a wonderful family, and thanked God that He lead Mama and Papa to Ukraine to bring home her brothers. She said, "A family is better with brother and sisters who have a Mama and Papa, and now Max and Eli have a family, and I thank you for that God." She thanked God for "this time that we can pray, praise you, and worship you....in all the glory you are." She was sure to pray to bring Papa and Grandma home safely, and to "watch over Max until he can home. I can't wait for him to come home, even though it may be a little while, but I really want to give my big brother a big hug..."
My sweet little girl, she couldn't have said it better. We can't wait for a 'big stinky brother' (Hannah's words) to come home so that we can give him a big hug!