Friday, January 30, 2009

Under inspection

Today we joined the early shift in the heavy coat brigade in Kiev. Our facilitator Y. called us a little earlier than usual, and so we weaved our way through smoky traffic onto a flat spot in the middle of endless 1960’s Soviet high-rise apartment buildings. This was the inspector’s office where we hoped to find more information about a referral to the orphanage where our boys are. We were right on-time for our 8:30 a.m. appointment, but our inspector was more in the mood for 10 a.m.

Because of the complicated situation with the sister, there was not much clarity about the requirements of the law since the boys and their sister have been separated since they entered the orphanages or maybe earlier according to some speculation. Not wanting to delay us any longer, the inspector gave us verbal permission to go to the orphanage to visit the boys, while she researched more about the situation. So at that point, we drove out, just figuring that plane has yet to land (so to speak).

Fast forward through some dirty industrial areas to the quaint area around the orphanage, where we made our entrance over the unchanged wood floors with some fresh roses and hugs. The director seemed thrilled to see us and we enjoyed our usual first time faire of tea and chocolate. After some great discussion, we were excited to see our 2 boys walk through the door to see us, looking all handsome in their school issued jackets and even wearing dress shoes. They seemed shy at first, but began to loosen up after a while. Little “k” maintained a nervous silence, broken only when our translator asked questions of big “K” that he felt like he should answer on big “K”s behalf.

All in all, it was a great visit where we shared details of God’s grace to us in our family and a few laughs as we began to get answers about some of the thoughts in the mind of these 2 boys. Quickly it was over and they were headed back to a late lunch and class time. So we rode back to our flat, incredibly hungry and dozing in the car as we bounced through the long series of potholes leading into Kiev. Here’s where it gets interesting,
… we got a call tonight from our facilitator Y. telling us he had made some calls to contacts near the location of the sister, and had found some very encouraging information about her. We will know more details on Monday, but for now, please be praying for His glory to be shown in Ukraine and in the nations through this process. We appreciate each of you and are grateful for your encouragement to us. We will miss our family worship gathering this Sunday, but we will be praying for each of you, and will give you more details about the sister and the entire situation as we learn of it.

Chris, Vickie, and Kole

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Appointment day

After the usual "wake up at 3:00 a.m. and can't go back to sleep" night schedule when you first arrive in Eastern Europe, we played musical chairs with the tiny bathroom and our 3 Floridian ladies this morning, then waited on the street corner for our facilitator to pick us up just like secret agents. O.K. so it was not just like secret agents, but it is as close as we will ever get, dressed in dark colors and looking for a car that has tinted windows (every car has tinted windows). We made it to the appointment in time, and met with the SDA lady without a hitch. Thankfully, everything was smooth with the papers, and we were out of there in 15 minutes.
The next step was to get a referral from the SDA to visit the orphanage to see the boys, and we were able to obtain this referral letter late today along with several fur clad friends in a small space. We are grateful to God for the progress to this point and after going to charge the computer battery, we will post a little more.

The Nichols

Continued for Thursday January 29th…

When we posted earlier, the cold weather had created a short battery life on my laptop, so we had to halt our story. We hiked to the nearest Metro stop and caught the subway to the center of the city along with several thousand of our friends also wearing heavy coats. Today it is not the temperature that gets you, but it is the wind that is so rough to deal with. We met our friend Igor for dinner and conversation, to which we found that he is getting married on Saturday January 31st and moving soon to Southeast Asia. A cold ride and walk led us back to our 3rd floor apartment room.

Tomorrow we will meet early to go to the inspector visit so that we can finally be officially authorized to visit the orphanage. It is possible that we could have gone there today but we did not want to jeopardize the process by our early visit.

Back to information about our appointment this morning at the SDA…
We knew that our boys had a 12 year-old sister, but we had been told this summer that she had been adopted to Spain. We discovered this morning at the SDA appointment that she had not been adopted, but was in a different orphanage here in Ukraine. Questions remain about sister, but we will find some of the information we need tomorrow when we go to the inspector. Be praying…

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gettin' started


You know the's dinner over NewFoundland and breakfast over Dublin. From Amsterdam, it is about another 3 hour flight to Kiev, and (by the way) I am really liking Northwest and KLM. We are thankful for no surprises with luggage or with our facilitator Y. picking us up at the airport. Guess what the weather is?? Surprise! Cold and grey-white and wet.  Looks like we are going to be in a portion of a 3rd floor flat near the U.S. embassy, which is the closest we have ever been to a metro station and to downtown Kiev. Three great older ladies from Florida are our suite mates for a few nights, and we enjoyed meeting them this morning after we were unconscious with sleep for the night. We are writing from a nearby coffee shop with internet access. Makes me wish I spoke better Russian so I could order something much cooler than just "adien cappucino". Tomorrow, Jan.29th, is our appointment with the SDA at 9:00a.m. We would be grateful if you pray that we will have a speedy referral so we can go tomorrow to the orphanage to visit the boys. We did get to call K7 & K8 (short for the new Nichols names they will have), and he(k8) was really excited that we are finally in Ukraine.
Today we spent the day shopping for a few supplies, eating lunch, and discussing plans with our facilitator Y. This sounds like a small amount of tasks, but those of you who have been through an adoption journey realize it is a really strong first day accomplishment! One positive is that the dollar is stronger, or the grevnia is weaker, so the exchange rate gives you a little more buying power.
From the discussion here, many Ukrainians are waking up to how fast money can go away. Many people who have real estate and cars are now struggling to keep them. Some of the things that haven't changed much about Kiev are fur, plastic bags, slush, and cigarettes.  We are grateful for each one of you and we are praying for you in the days ahead. We don't know many things but we know His word is good. Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Chris, Vickie and Kole