Sunday, November 29, 2009

counting down the days!!

Well, we are enjoying our time with Oleg we get to see him twice a day. He is getting more attached and of course he has already stolen our hearts. It is a very strange feeling to see your son being dressed and cared for by someone else, it breaks my heart we want to be the one changing him and feeding him.... but we need to patiently wait! We are enjoying our time with the Dehaans we love them so much and we are so blessed to have them with us. We have been cooking dinner every night, honestly the grocery stores are better here then in the States:) everything is organized better and even though we can not read it we can pretty much figure it all out, so it has been nice to cook and feel more like home. we have been so busy posting pics of Oleg we have not posted pictures of the very nice apartment we are staying in.

We were able to go to the soccer (football) game last night here in Donets'k the team is waxtap (that is the Russian spelling, our spelling would be shaktar) it was so much fun and great memories that we will be able to share with Oleg one day we also bought him a soccer scarf for his room!

here are some more pictures of Oleg he is starting to really listen to us and again I know that I am biased but he is sooooo smart he know which mama to talk to to get candy, and he listens so well to them! He loves to play super man and is enjoying all his new toys we bring. We just love him so much we can't stand it we are looking forward to getting him all to ourselves and being his soul care takers.

he is so cute he gets shy sometime and covers his face when we take a picture, it is soo cute!

this is a picture of his cubby at the orphanage with all his outside gear, but they never let us take him outside, the other picture is what him mamas put on him just to play in the room with us, he get so hot it is so funny we defiantly have to strip him down so he doesn't get too hot.

As far as the Dehaans they will be visiting the boy tomorrow and hopefully he has a change of heart and wants to come home with them, we believe in miracles so please say a prayer for them today that the boys heart is changed! we love you all very very much and know that you all a very huge part of this we could never do this without you!

Friday, November 27, 2009

2 in one day

2 posts in one day are we parents or what, we are very proud of him and can't help but post everything that he does!! we brought him his leap frog dog and he loved it it plays music and talks to him and he would just walk up and down the hall dancing it was sooooo cute. here are a few more pictures. enjoy Black Friday and know that Ryan, Oleg and I love you all you very much!!

Good News All Around

So overall things are moving along pretty fast. We have been visiting with Oleg as much as we can and although he is rambunctious and full of energy we are really bonding with him.  He calls us momma and papa but he is struggling with listening too us even in the little bit Russian that we have learned.  But that will come with more time spent with him although last night he has been better behaved toward the end of our visit.  Yesterday and today we were only able to visit with him at 4 PM because he has a cold and the doctor wants him to rest and get better in the morning so we have been a little limited with him for the last few days so hopefully that will be done soon and we can go back to twice a day.  He is still doing great even with his cold and is excited to see us when we show up.  He can say good-bye in english although it is sporadic and I am not sure if that is really english or just an imitation.  We do have internet full time now so we can post more often.  We signed the last of the court and orphanage paperwork to day and last night all of our paperwork from Donets'k went to Kiev and today it was successfully turned in to the SDA today.  So we should get that back Wednesday of next week and we should be in court on Thursday or Friday of next week.  The we have to wait ten days straight through (there was a possibility that we would have to wait ten business days, so more good news there) then back to Kiev for a couple days then finally we can be on our way home. Edward our translator has been exceptional and has moved the process along very quickly so a great thanks goes to him, we would not be here without him.   I was able to get some video up and converted today so I have a little up on youtube. And will post the links to that for all of you. We will continue to take video and post it there and I will post links to it here until I figure out how to put it right in the blog.  We are leaving to visit him here in a few minuets so we will do a short post later with pictures and more video.  We love you all thanks for all the support and prayer.  Also keep Casey and Janelle in your prayers as they are making progress with the children they are visiting.  It is getting better for them every day so keep them in your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

we are ready to come home

so the hardest part now is that we are only allowed to see him for an hour or two, two times a day and it breaks my heart to say goodbye I want so take him home!! today we were able to see him after breakfast it was so much fun. we brought his bronco gear to try on it is 24 months and it fit perfect, so for all the grandparents shopping getting a few 2T/24 months will be good though there is no doubt with a juicy hamburger he should be in the 3T in no time. by the way he was so proud of his new cloths he would not take them off. he walked around showing all is mamas (that is what he calls his care takers). he wore that sweatshirt and hat till he was sweating and we finally got it off of him. Today we brought some cookies for him and we learned fast that we should have given him one at a time cause he took that whole bag of small cookies and shoved almost the whole thing in his mouth it was so funny we have it on video, we will share. but we tried to take the bag away before he shoved the rest in his mouth but he did not want to give the bag to us he was soooooo cute!!! eventually he handed the bag to me. here is a pic of him and about 20 cookies in his mouth :)

every time we try to take a picture he closes his eyes he has mastered this task quite well!! He was definitely more active today. he doesn't listen that well to us but that is mainly cause there is a language barrier but he listens to Edward and his mamas. Edward is going to teach us a few phrases so we can communicate better with him, but I am certain he will catch on fast. We might be biased because he is our son but we think he is pretty smart, really smart. He has lots of energy but it is perfect hopefully tomorrow we can take him outside we needs to get some fresh air, and he loves to look out the window.

we do not have internet yet in the apartment but we will tonight we hope! so we will skype soon. as for Janelle and Casey they left at 12:00 to go meet there little boy first then they we will meet the little girl next, so please say a prayer that their process will go fast and smooth!! and please checkout their blog at and give them some words of encouragement they need it!!! we are blessed to have them with us. we will write soon and post pictures daily as we go through the next few more weeks. love you all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ready set go

this is for all the grandparents...... get shopping!!! woohoo we met the greatest thing to have ever happened to us today in a matter of hours off the train we saw the most amazing little man! Oleg Edwin Betz how amazing is that!!!! our little man holy cow OUR LITTLE MAN. We stared the day off by meeting Edward our translator in Donest'k and headed to the regional directors office to get a letter and then to the orphanage. We were greeted by a women telling us to make sure we wear our masks.... we reported to the directors office to meet him, then to another room were we met the lawyer and doctor and with in a matter of minuets in walks our little Bear wearing a pink jump suit soo cute he was shy and he had a car with him already so needless to say our small car was not interesting to him:) he warmed up pretty fast!! he was scared of the masks and at one point walked up to Ryan and gave him that look of what?? but Ryan pulled down his mask and gave him the biggest smile, Oleg gave him one right back that was the first smile I saw from him. after he left we were allowed to go see his classroom were his class mates were eating as soon as we walked into the room he yelled out mama!! really really I'm a mommy. We were told that we could come back and see him at 4, and we promised him we would bring him even a bigger car and candy. In short the rest I really don't care about cause our lives just changed for the better that all else after this does not matter :), but I am certain that you all would love to hear.  I have to admit that Ryan and I are the luckiest human beings in the world, not only did we get to share the train with a family (the Dehaans) that has been going through this process with us but we are able to share an apartment with them it is great to have each other. we are so excited to share this experience with them it is comforting to have each other, the Dehaans will be visiting their children tomorrow and we are so excited for them!!!

So we headed to the notary before we headed to the orphanage and Edward told us we needed to give his name there so we had 15 in to figure out his name. real quick we were wrong his name is Oleg just like it is spelled O leg and we choose Edwin after my Grandfather! in 15 min guess that is the best way to do it;) so after we figured out the paperwork we headed back to see his little face, this time he was soooo excited to see us mainly cause we had a huge car for him to play with.  He was just finishing eating and so he was not fully dressed, they put some overall on him and he was our for an hour only an hour but it was the best hour of our lives. we played and played he loves to laugh and really he is speaking really well and is sharp as a tack. it is not like he is missing an arm at all he does just fine without it, he called us mama and papa he was so excited but really I think we were more excited. ok here you go what you all have waited for pictures!!!!!!

we did get video and as soon as we get it figured out you will have video!! after the hour of playing he had to go back and he cried he didn't want to leave us and of course I balled and balled I made sure Edward explained to Oleg (FYI his nick name is olishka) that we would be back tomorrow, no worries mama and papa will be back!! WOW two years of labor and we are finally here we are the luckiest people in the world to be blessed with Oleg what did we do to deserves such an amazing little boy!! sorry I would say he is a true 3T so you can get shopping, we love you all thank you for the support!! you will see more pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just waiting till Monday

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the lack of posts lately but we have just been running around Kiev keeping busy.  We are well and have good news.  We will be able to travel on Monday.  And should be able to visit on Tuesday.  We go to pick up our paperwork from the SDA on Monday at 2 PM.  Then we are on the overnight train to Donest'k at 7:20.  Donest'k is about 800 kilometers or 500 miles from Kiev.  It is a little under 12 hours on the train to get there so we arrive at 7 AM.  From there we go to our new apartment and then off to the orphanage for our first visit with Bear.  So after two weeks we are now on the way.  Over the past few days we have been going to the local flea market.  While we were there we bought Bear some new clothes.

We have mostly figured out how to ride the Metro at least in part.  So we have been a little more mobile or at least equally mobile but with less walking.  So we have been to the flea market across the river which is a lot of fun. And also some good deals for Bear and some great food.  We got a kind of burrito.  It is a tortilla shell filled with a sausage, carrots, cabbage, pickles a sour cream sauce and a mystery red sauce. It is then grilled.  It is delicious.  But they have anything you can imagine there.  Today we went to visit the park of the great patriotic war or as we know it World War II.  It was a cool park and had tanks, old artillery pieces and some planes. Along with cool sculptures and of course the huge titanium plated statue that towers over the whole park.  It is a huge statue and faces Moscow and was built that way to commemorate the  bond between Ukraine and Russia.  We were happy that we were able to get there and back with no problems on the metro.  By the way the picture below is of one of the crazy long escalators that go down to the metro.  The deepest metro station is over 300 feet below ground. We have also been spending a lot of evenings with Matt and Tricia playing with their kids, talking and watching various American TV shows. It has been great to spend so much time with them and have some easy conversations in English.  We are greatfull to them and just so happy to have met them and blessed by their hospitality. So all in all we are great.  Just happy to be here and excited to go meet our son. Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Apartment day and more sights

So today we moved to a new apartment.  It is a little further away from the center of the city but way cheaper and it is still close to a lot of the central areas here in Kiev. And walking anywhere is fairly easy although we got a little crossed up on our first excursion out to meet our new friends Matt and Tricia here in town.  But we easily found our way back and got to where we needed to be today. Here are a few pictures of our place.

So it is quite a bit smaller than our old place but more than enough space for the next week till we can head to Donest'k.  And we have a washing machine now which is great as we were running a little low on clothes.  The rest of our day was spent hanging out with our friends and learning how to ride the subway which is quite cool but takes a little getting used to.  But I think I have it down now so we can move around a little easier.  But that is thanks to Matt and all of his local knowledge of the city and his ability so speak and read russian.  He has lived in Ukraine for seven years so that helps.  They are great people and we are very fortunate to have met them.  Yesterday we went to the Pechers'ka Lavra which is a very large Monastery.  Pechera means cave in and Lavra is the name given to the largest monastery in the Eastern Orthodox faith.

It was established in 1051 and it carries the name cave because there were  caves dug underneath the monastery used to burry the monks.  The climate turned them into mummies and they are very well preserved.  It a place that you can visit, although finding the entrance is very challenging as all the signs are written in cyrillic and there was no one around that we could speak with.  But we found it and bought a candle and went down there.  It is interesting to see all this very small monks with just their feet uncovered with shoes on and all of the people down there praying with the monks.  It is a beautiful set of buildings but we were only able to take pictures in a few places as photography is very limited there.  But it was great.  We ate some great pizza here too some of the best I have ever had and overall we have been having a great time counting down the days until we can go pick up our son.  Hope all is well with all of you and we will talk to you soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Jesus filled Sunday

Ryan and I had such an amazing sunday just what we needed to lift our spirits and see first hand how God is working in this country! Barbara, our amazing social worker, told us that if we had time, and we all know we did, to get in contact with the Mission Music Kiev. With some help from Barbara we were able to get in contact with them and what a blessing. we called and introduced ourselves and they were instantly warming! they invited us to church and expected us to stay for dinner, felt like family!! this wonderful family consist of Matt and Tricia and their three children. the family of five just moved here from the states about three months ago. Matt is in the process of "taking" over the mission from his father and mother Roger and Diane McMurrin. in short they work with orphans and widows. They are living the James 1:27 life!!!! they also started the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, when you get a chance please checkout their website, they have a cool program were you can support the widows, in away adopting them!! The church service was Beautiful with a full Orchestra and Chorus nothing that I had ever experience before. after church we enjoyed dinner and just sat and talked. we were able to meet another family that is visiting (they have family roots here) Uta and Katrina a mother and daughter, they will be visiting for 6 weeks, just wonderful, we will be going to dinner with them tonight! God is good!

there are things here that we love one being that they have the best flavors of chips in the world, not fare really why can't we have bacon flavored potato chip, there is even crab flavored. best of all the grocery stores are mainly packed with beer and chocolate can't go wrong there! the milk is even yummier than home.

this a a picture of our milk, we were not sure if it was milk at first, it is in a bag..... but it is yummy.

We are getting to a more normal schedule, last night was the first night I slept all night, felt good. we are going to the monastery caves today and see what else comes up. We will be moving tomorrow to a cheaper apartment a studio apartment, our apartment now is pretty big we really don't need the space, and the new one has a washing machine so we can wash our cloths, finally. we are getting excited!!!
we miss you all very very much and of course we are excited to bring Bear home, see you all soon!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

oops quick fix from earlier

We were wrong the statue is not of St. Andrew however it is of Volodoymyr the Baptizer he inherited the Kyivan-Rus (Kiev) empire from his grandmother and he wanted to unite the empire under one faith in 988. He united his Empire under the Orthodox Christianity unlike the questions that arise with Constantine faith and whether he did it for a stronger empire or because he truly believed, Volodoymyr the Baptizer believed!!! He led by example and soon his patrons fallowed. His statue was erected in 1853. I tell you there is just so much to learn, I love it!!!!!

Beautiful and perfect day

today was beautiful, we are still not sleeping well but we were able to get on a somewhat normal schedule. We spent the whole day in the park next to the Dnieper river that splits East and West Kiev. the park is beautiful the trees are covered with moss and the walk ways are cobblestone and wined through the hilly park. Kiev is hillier than we imagined. The weather was beautiful today it was cold but it was much milder than it has been, there was even a wedding going on in the park. Everyone is a lot more laid back then they seem to be in the city.  we walked a good 2 1/2 miles today it was great to get out and explore and breath the fresh air. there is tons to see in the park even a statue of what appears to be Saint Andrew. Ryan posted a picture of St. Andrews in a early post but here it is again with the picture of the statue.

The story is told that St. Andrew came to this location when it was only a hill and erected a cross where he prophesied that this would be the foundation for a great christian city, in later years Kiev became the center of the eastern orthodox faith. it has been so much fun to come home and research this stuff!!! as it stands now the church is undergoing foundation repair, the statue was in the park in a different part of the city however you can tell how important that history is to the people here....
during the walk we came across this bridge that was quite curious, it was covered in pad locks and pieces of fabric tied in knots, we came to the conclusion that it had to do something with marriage or love and we were right. It is so cool that something like that is universal, as the Beatles put it "All you need is love" it cool to see love in every language is the same!! as soon as we got home we looked it up it is the "the lover's bridge" if you kiss your loved one on this bridge your hearts will be forever locked together. I, of course am in search of a lock and you can bet we will be back there to share a kiss :)!!!!

And of course we had to find the football (soccer) stadium Ryan always gets a kick out of that!! We ended our walk by seeing parliament and finally getting dinner were we ate what I think was traditional Ukrainian food. I had trout wrapped in some kind of dough with barley as my side and Ryan had pancakes that were more like crepes with meat they were sooo good the trout on the other hand was not my favorite but I tried. I did get a bloody marry and that was a mistake I should have known better it was vodka and Ryan says vermouth with a splash of tomato juice it was strong, quite funny really. here is a picture of parliament. they are in the middle of election so it is cool to see.
We love you sooo much let you know when we can travel as soon as we know. thanks for the support!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Patience and Jet Lag Still

Hi everyone,

We are still here in Kiev and are waiting and waiting.  Our situation is still the same which is good and bad.  Good because the quarantine period has not been extended, bad because we still have to wait until at least the 23rd to get our paperwork and head to see Ogey.  So right now we are just relaxing and doing some sight seeing around Kiev.  But we are still fighting jet lag like crazy.  It is getting better but still sleeping patterns and amount of sleep at any given time has been a really hard adaptation for us. But we are trying to just relax and take it easy. So here are a few place that we have been in the last couple days.

So there are three different churches St. Sophia which is the green and white church with the gold domes and the lighter blue bell tower. It was founded in 1037 although it has been refurbished and reconstructed and almost completely destroyed on several occasions, so pretty cool to see a structure that old. The darker blue church is St. Michael  it was originally built around 1050 and survived until 1934 when most of the mosaics were removed and the structure was destroyed.  It was then rebuilt in a similar style to the original in 1999 and fully finished in 2000.  The other church with the darker blue domes and the sign on the gates is St. Andrew church it was constructed in 1754 and has had foundation issues which are currently being worked on again and right now the church is closed.  The yellow building is just an example of what some of the city looks like.  Very colorful and of unique architecture.  Our plans for now are just to continue to look at all of the history that is around us here take pictures and rest.  We are just trying to be patient and use our time here the best that we can.  More will follow.  Several people have asked if we have a picture of Ogey as of now we do not. We are not sure when we will be able to get a picture of him but when we do we will share it with you as soon as possible.  Just know that we are well and just hoping that the quarantine will be lifted soon.  Thank you for all the support it means a lot to us.  Talk to you soon.