Friday, September 12, 2008

Coming home!

We are cleared to come home!!!! After a hectic two days running around getting Dima's passport and then doing his medical and then going to the Embassy to submit his paperwork and then again the next day to do the interview, Dima has a visa and is allowed to leave with me!! We are so excited, to say the least! Today, Galya, Dima, and I walked around and basically just "hung out". It was so good and relaxing to not have to do anything! Tomorrow, there is a team coming from our home church to do some mission work in some of the orphanages. Dima and I will hang out with them sight-seeing and talking with them. It will be a great way to end our trip. Our flight will leave at 11.45 AM Sunday from Kiev, and will land around 10.20 PM Sunday night in Louisville. When you add in the 7 hour time change, it makes it almost a 24 hour day. But at least we will be home and seeing our family and friends.

Well, the weather here has turned really cold (high 40's-50's), at least really cold for sleeveless shirts and flip-flops! I have been wearing my one non sleeveless shirt layered with my one "I'm not going to need this for a summer trip but will take it anyway" sweater and my thin rain jacket for the last couple of days. Add to that a wool scarf I received as a gift the other day and I am sure I am making a great fashion statement walking around wearing this outfit with my flip-flops! I of course sent my socks and tennis shoes home with Dave thinking that I wouldn't need them! Oh well. I hear that it is nice and warm in Kentucky.

I hope everyone is doing well at home. I can't express how much I miss everyone! The last couple of days have been hard and very tiring. I have basically come home and gone to bed when Dima went to bed. Tonight, I had to do laundry and make one last batch of Borscht (yummy!!) and write this post. Otherwise I would already be getting my Zzzz's!

Well, I better be off to bed for now. Tomorrow promises to be a busy day with the mission team. But before I go, I will leave this funny story (at least it is funny for me now!). For all of you who know all the crazy and abnormal things that happened before we left and even while on this trip, here is another. Yesterday, while waiting for our interview at the Embassy, Galya and I walked along St Andrew's Street looking at Souvenirs. We stopped at one of the kiosks and looked at the things one of the ladies was selling. While looking, I kept feeling a sharp stinging sensation on my hip, but couldn't figure out what was happening or what was causing it. I even bent down the waist of my skirt to see if there was anything. Nothing. Finally, after yet another sting, I felt and then saw a bee crawling around under my skirt around my waist. When I tried to get it out by once again folding down the edge of my skirt's waist, I realized that the bee was in between the outer layer of the skirt and the "slip" portion. How in the WORLD did it get up there?!?!? After realizing that there was only one way to get this bee out along a crowded and very public street, Galya and the lady at the kiosk began lifting the outer layer of my skirt all the way up to the waist to let this bee out. Soooo, to those of you taking notes of things that have happened to us, you can now add getting my first bee-sting in over 20 years and also flashing the many passer-buyers along the souvenir street, both of which happening on a trip already filled with many firsts and "never been seen before"s. Oh well. I guess it wouldn't be me if it wasn't interesting!

Much love to you all!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Still in Kiev

Well, it is now two months and counting since we left Louisville, Ky to come to the Ukraine for our child. Dave left last Tuesday(Sept 2) to go home and spend time with our boys before returning to work on Monday. From what I hear, the boys were very excited to see him (but maybe didn't completely recognize him with his "long" hair!). I have been spending time with little Dima, running after him as he gets into everything here in the apartment. He is definitely a curious one and really keeps me on my toes! Our day usually consists of a "big" outing of walking to the nearest McDonalds (about a 20 minute walk), getting a coke for me and french fries for him, and then walking back. The nearest playground does not have any good equipment for little kids, so yesterday I bought him a shovel and pail set so that he could play in the sand at the playground. He had a lot of fun with the pail set and then also had to play with it in the bath tub that night! He LOVES baths! He squeals and plays like no other kid I know, and actually LOVES to dump water on his head. He gets a bath everyday now just to have fun, if for nothing else.

Well, I best be off. Dima has lost interest in what he was playing with and is now getting into things he shouldn't! Off to run after my little speed child!

By the way, we expect to get his passport on Tueday or Wednesday and then it will be off to do the medical and go to the Embassy for his visa. I hope to be on a plane this time next week! Please pray for no more delays. Much love to everyone at home.

Candace (and Dima!)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Gotcha Day!"

Sorry for the delay on the posting. Gotcha Day was actually 2 days ago, but it has been a crazy two days. When we went to the orphanage to pick up Dima, we were informed that he had a bad fever and throat infection. So, instead of celebrating with pictures and video we ended up going to a pharmacy and then home to put Dima to bed. Dima had several prescriptions. One was an inhaler to help with the throat infection (Probably Strep). He loves the inhaler. He opens his mouth really wide and takes it like a man. Another prescription is an antibiotic in tablet form. Dima is a pro at taking tablets. He just chews them up and washes them down with a little water. These are not flavored tablets either. These are adult tablets cut in half and we all know how these things taste, don't we? Interestingly enough, when we give him the grape flavored Tylenol for the fever, he almost gags on it.
Yesterday and today we were working on getting the paperwork completed for Dima's passport. They informed us that it might not be ready until September 8th. So, now we are back in the apartment packing our bags to head back to Kiev to wait on the passport and then get his visa. After that, we get to bring him to the U.S. Unfortunately, Dave will not get to stay the entire time because he has to go back to work. He is just about out of time to be off and needs to get back. This should make for an interesting journey for me to bring Dima back along with all of our luggage. We did buy a stroller over here so at least I won't have to worry about Dima running off. Of course that is just one more thing for me to haul around.
All in all, the last few days have been great, once Dima started feeling better. He is smiling a lot more and really opening up to us. He still has his shy moments but gets over them more quickly. One note...he does not like elevators. As soon as the door closes, he screams and cries until they open back up. Did we mention that we are staying on the 16th floor? That's a lot of screaming and we have heard comments from people saying that they have heard him scream all the way up. Today, the power was out in the complex so we got to take the stairs. Dima walked up the whole way without one complaint...though he did take a long nap afterwards!
Well, we need to get back to packing. We leave for Kiev in about 7 hours and still need to get some sleep. We will try to keep the blog updated but we are not sure how much internet access time we will get.

We're almost home so keep those prayers coming!

Candace and Dave

Friday, August 22, 2008

Playing around...

The last few days with Dima have been so fun playing around. He has really started to come out of his shell a lot more, and has also learned a few words in English: "Thank you", "Please", and "Fish" (you had to be there!). Anyway, it helped a lot once we added the sign language. He is a very smart little guy and doesn't appear to have the speech delays that the orphanage was saying he did. He loves to play hide and seek with us up in the room where the kid's lockers are. He will climb into the lockers and peek out grinning. He also squeezes into the corner in between the lockers and laughs and squeels when we "find" him! The other day Dima and Daddy discovered the jungle gym and Dima runs for it whenever he can (when he isn't swinging or playing in the sandbox). The little guy has great coordination for his size and does very well climbing up the rails of the jungle gym. We have also started feeding him bananas and baby food and juice. He loves to drink water out of a water bottle like a grown-up! He seems to be growing everyday and we cannot wait to get him out of there and take him home!

As of right now, we are on target for getting the birth certificate on Tuesday and hopefully to take Dima home with us. If we can not get him on Tuesday, then we should definitely get him Wednesday. From there, we will apply for his passport which can take about a week. We are leaning towards going to Kiev to await the passport, but we won't know until next week. We are still having a blast with our family here. The son in the family is actually now acting as our driver/translator while Galya has returned to Kiev. We decided that it would be cheaper for us to just rent a car than to try to depend on taxis and fight the language barrier on our own. I have been able to remember some of my Russian, but unfortunately I get tongue-tied whenever trying to communicate with people I don't know. But I can at least read the signs and listen in on people's conversations!

We hope all is going well back home. School has started again and so has MOPS. I hope all the moms had a great first meeting today! I sure wish I could have been there with you all to celebrate the beginning of the new year! Hopefully we will be back in time to attend the next meeting.

To Bennett and Samuel: Mommy and Daddy love you very much and cannot wait to see you. Bennett, I hope you had a great first week of school--you will have to tell us all about it when we get home. We are very proud of you and know you have really grown up this summer. Sammy, I know you are being a good helper to Nana Kaye and Pa and Grandma and Grandpa. Are you being a "big boy"? We are so proud of you and know that you are going to be a great big brother to Dima. Hugs and kisses to you both.

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers. We are very ready to come home and see our family and friends. We love and miss you all.

Candace and Dave

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pictures, pictures, and MORE pictures!

We had a fun day of work yesterday. Our host family works on a farm owned by their church to raise money for the orphanage their church runs. We decided when we came that we would like to spend a day on the farm working and seeing all that they do. When we arrived, it was neat to see how much they have been able to accomplish in only five years since starting the farm. The day began with our picking apples from the orchard to sell at the local market. Dave and I thought it was really neat that these small trees had so many apples on them. After picking the apples, we then picked all the rotten ones off the ground to feed the pigs. They have about 50 LARGE pigs with about 4 of them with piglets (they were the cute ones!). After working in the orchard in the morning, Dave worked hard moving hay bales and bags of wheat while Galya (our translator) and I washed large jars for canning. We also got to walk through their veggie patch and eat some fresh strawberries and tomatoes (I had never eaten a tomato like an apple before! Yummy!). It was a hard day of work, but was very rewarding to see the sacrifice our family here makes to support the church's orphanage. As a result of selling the apples and 3 pigs yesterday, they were able to raise over $2000. Plus they had free labor--us! We just found out that they had more piglets today! Thirteen from one momma--whoa! Anyway, we have attached some pictures from yesterday's adventure on the farm. Enjoy! Dave and Candace

Dave and me in the orchard.

Our facilitator Galya showing some of the apples we picked.

Our host mom Luda in front of her tree. The orchard is her baby.

Our host dad Valeri piling hay.

One bunch of piglets and their mom.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Court Decision...

Praise the Lord! We have a new little boy! After some nerve racking questions in the judge's chambers (court), the judge and jury decided that Dave and I could adopt little Dima. You cannot imagine the relief we felt when we heard those words! As part of the court decree, we were allowed to change his name and will be able to get a new birth certificate with his new name and with our names listed as parents. We have decided to name him William Dmitri Steyn. For now, his nickname will still be Dima. It will be hard to call him anything else! After looking through some name books, we decided on the name William for several reasons. The main reason we decided on the name was that we had been praying for God's will this whole time, and when we found out that we were going to get him, we decided that he is God's "Will". When we met him, we felt that the name really fit him too. He is definitely our little angel, and we cannot wait to be able to take him home and have him meet the boys! Our house is definitely going to be wild! By the way, I think we must have forgotten to mention, but his birthdate is March 18, 2006. Now all we have to do is wait the manditory 10 days for the court decision to be final. After that period is over, we will be able to go get his new birth certificate and then take him to the apartment with us as we wait for his passport. When we get his passport, we can then take him back to Kiev for the final medical exam and the visa to go home. This whole process we hear can take about 1-2 weeks. We are guessing that we will be able to travel home around the first week in September. Please continue to pray for safety and a quick end to this process. We love and miss you all!

Love, Candace and Dave and Dima Steyn!

Here is a picture of little Dima and proud Momma!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our Court Date

Hello from beautiful Odessa! Dave and I are having a good time (despite being really homesick!) here in Odessa and staying with our Christian Ukrainian family. They have really been a blessing to us and we have to say that we are eating REALLY well!! We are going to have to readjust to our plain hotdogs and macaroni and cheese when we return home! Thank you again for all your thoughts and prayers for us and for all your comments.

Today we had another good day with Dima at the orphanage. Every day that we go makes it harder and harder to leave him there at the end of the day. All we want to do is take him home with us! He is such a sweetie and has really been bonding well with us. He also seems to really enjoy the freedom he has to go all over the orphanage grounds when he is with us. His group tends to stay in just one section, while the older children can run all around. It is so cute to watch Dima walking around, swinging his arms like he is a "big kid"! Dima really enjoys reading books, coloring, and looking at the photo album we brought with us. He knows exactly where the cats and dogs are in the album and loves to look at them.

Well, our good news for the week is that we were able to get a quick court date. We have court tomorrow (Friday) at 12 noon (5 AM Louisville time). We are really excited and hope and pray for a smooth appointment. We will post an update as soon as we can after court. Take care and we will write again soon.

Candace and Dave

Here are a couple more pictures of Dima.