Thursday, July 23, 2009

Last Day with Alexei, Christine, and Julia

This is Dad / Hubby / John blogging because Christine doesn't have access to a computer right now.

Yesterday morning when we got to Antoshka, one of the caretakers called a local news reporter back because she had been waiting for our arrival. Christine had mentioned this in her prior post but I think it pretty cool that she first saw Dennis when he'd arrived at Antoshka, then, a year ago, she wrote another article when she found out he'd been adopted by us, and she was so excited to see him for yet another "follow-up" article. She took her own pictures of our morning together and shared her website with us so MORE TO COME!

Yesterday afternoon, when we went to visit Alexei, for my last time, we first stopped by the store and got a wrapped package of pre-cut pieces of crunchy/flaky sweet bread. We were kind of early and when Julia and I got to his orphanage group's room, they were actually all waking up. We asked the caretakers if we could share the sweetbread and they of course said yes so all the kids quickly got to their chairs and Julia proudly passed it out.

Then we thought we would take Alexei out of the group to play and visit with Mom and Dennis down in "the sport room" like we usually do, but they insisted that he eat first as they quickly served him a nice large cup of milk and large bowl of zeppikanka. He ate it fast and it was nice to see him express his thankfulness.

After our visit, Christine made a fantastic 'going away dinner'--leg of chicken, rice pilaf, etc, and then my journey back began. This time it is impossible to say "smiling all the way back". Leaving Julia and Christine there was VERY hard. At first I was leaving them with a Ukrainian cellphone that my phone couldn't even call!!! But thankfully our facilitator helped that within a few hours (by switching local carriers) and now I can keep in touch.

Not only did I have the sadness of leaving two incredibly special young ladies, but I had, and am still in the middle of, the challenge of taking back two large bags and my 2 year old, Dennis. This requires driving, walking, 12 hour train riding, and tomorrow the 20+ hour plane journey and drive. The eye-cleaning and diaper changing is rough enough, but I'm on the 4th story of an apartment in Kiev with no elevators too.

On the train ride Dennis was great. He really slept for 90% of it. I was supposed to also. But couldn't. It was smaller than a twin mattress that we shared and he couldn't be touched because it was so hot. No air flow at all in the compartment so I regularly opened and closed our compartment door to let in the air flow, but it also let in light and noise to our room mate. If I did touch him, it quickly lead to loud fussing. If I didn't touch him, he seemed to sleep pretty well, especially when I fanned him by waving the towels (or pillow cases) that were included in the cabin. What really kept me from sleeping was Dennis's strange habit of needing to, at random times, karate kick in all directions--whether it was a front snap kick to my shin, or a heel pound to my other areas, it was a force to be reckoned--I closed my eyes in the sitting position.

Once we landed in Kiev (exactly 12 hours later in fact!), it was so nice to see our facilitator help offload Dennis and my bags from the high steps of the train. It was so crowded near the train station though that we had a long walk to his car. We then immediately drove to the U.S. Embassy (which by the way had been closed the prior day due to US VP Joseph Biden's Kiev visit) where I did all my necessary signing to enable Alexei's return to the U.S. with Christine later.

Dennis and I then napped at the apartment and then went out to eat.
Dennis and I shared a nice ketchup-soaked Bratwurst on a toasty roll, orange juice, and peanuts (and then we had the Ukraine Summer staple, the vanilla ice cream cone). What Dennis loved most was the fact that the pigeons loved the peanuts! So he'd toss them and hundreds would gather then he'd run out as they'd swarm up and around him as he'd laugh readying his next toss. The passerbyers must have thought how wasteful. And they'd be right! But Dennis was thrilled and that's his souvenir.

He's asleep now. I'll hit the hay soon. Driver will be here after 9am to take us to the Airport.
Good night all. Thanks for your prayers, well wishes, and support.


mommytoalot said...

Sounds like you did pretty well dad!
Hope you get some rest
God bless

Milena said...

I hope the two of you will have a safe and calm journey - or as calm as it can be. I hope Dennis will slepp a lot and that you'll be able to get some sleep too!

Mindy said...

I'm really so far behind on commenting - life gets hectic :( but I wanted to take a moment to say I've been following Alexei's journal since day 1. It's such an amazing experience and it brings back fond memories of anxiously waiting for updates on the Ukraine Train not long ago!

Thanks so much for picking up the reigns and posting while Christine is internet-less! I'm not sure what I would have done had there been no updates while she was gone. Your post is awesome too :) Its so neat to see the perspective from Dad's eyes and hear your words as well.

Hurry home everyone! and please keep us updated!!
Prayers and Peace~

Laurel said...

John - thanks for the detailed post. I enjoyed reading it. We'll be praying for you and Dennis on the way home.
Christine - Sorry I couldn't call today - my Ukraine visitor consumed my morning and then it was too late to call you!

The Combes Family said...

Praying for the entire Reed Family; whether in Ukraine, in the air or in Calif, you all are in my prayers!

Michelle said...

praying for a safe, smooth journey HOME to your family! i'm sure the kids back in the u.s. are thrilled that you will be there soon... and they probably miss their baby brother, too. :-) you, John Reed, are a very blessed man.

- michelle

Mountain Girl said...

Loved John's summary of the events. It sounds like he is ready to get home! Just think the girls and Alex will be home right behind John and Dennis. Safe travels!

TylerandBrianne said...

Hope the rest of the trip is great and you are home with the kids soon. I know you will be glad when all the family is safe and at home. I can't believe you will soon have a complete family.

Jamey & Catherine said...

Sounds like you sure had an adventure on the train, and I hope you get more sleep on the flight home. I can imagine how hard it must have been to say goodbye in Ukraine to Christine, Julia and Alex. Before you know it you will be picking them all up at the airport and driving home again with all the kids together for the first time. Good luck on the journey home. Can't wait to hear how it went.
Catherine, Jamey and Oksana

rachel j reed said...

ihope you get some rest dad i love you .

BoufMom9 said...

Busy day and I am sure sad to say goodbye :(
Looking forward to photos and praying for a safe flight home.

MamaPoRuski said...

Safe journey home, praying for restful sleep or really strong coffee!
Can't wait for the photos! God Bless!

Terri-Anne said...

Yay! Thanks for posting John :o)
I can just picture Dennis feeding the peanuts to the pigeons...sounds like fun!

Sally- That Girl! said...

Thanks for your post. It is always a pleasant surprise when our hubby's get on and post. It is a different perspective of something already familiar.

Praying for your safe and easy flight home with Dennis. I am sure your kids at home will be so happy to see you guys! Makes a nice transition for when Julia, Christine and Alex come home too.

Chris and Mary Malone said...

We are so happy for you guys! It's such an exciting journey and bittersweet as it comes to an end. Praying for smooth sailing through the end of the process! God bless you...

Annie said...

OK - John, I take back what I said about you taking the computer. You're a wonderful, loving dad and as good a blogger as Chritine. Can ALL men do this? You're a prize.