Friday, April 30, 2010

We have a court date!

Our coordinator and translator were able to get us a court date for May 6th. We were so happy for this date because Monday and Tuesday are holidays in Ukraine and we were afraid they would not have any openings with this short of notice for the remaining three days of the week. Whew, God is AWESOME! After the court hearing we will remain in Melitopol for the 10 day waiting period (that is 10 actual days, not 10 business days). Then we will travel by mini van to Sasha's birth city to request his new birth certificate and passport which will have his new name, Leighton Sasha Rogers. This should only be a one day process. And then, I think, we will travel back to Kiev for about two days for his US Embassy doctor appointment and Embassy interview. Once that is complete, we can come HOME! Our flight, as long as things continue to go well, should be somewhere in the 20's of May. We have really enjoyed our time here, but are anxious to get Sasha home to America.

Thank you for praying for our Interpol clearances, we found out today that the clearances have been done and just have to be mailed to Kiev. One more prayer answered!

We traveled back to the orphanage today and had another meeting with the director. He is such a special man with an wonderful love for the children in his care. He granted us custody of Sasha until May 12th. We were beyond thrilled and so was Sasha. He has told the translator several times that he wants to stay with us and not go back to the orphanage. We, of course, want the same thing. Xan and Brennan have adjusted very well to having Sasha with us and Xan even said he did not want Sasha to go back to the orphanage. God is knitting their hearts together.

Well, my food just arrived, so I better go. Thank you again for your prayers!

We have a court date!

We have a court date!

We have a court date!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Julie and the boys are asleep in the apartment, so Sasha and I went out on the town to find some wifi! We finally did, so here's Julie's latest update to the blog. Keep praying for us, as the process is not over.

We have arrived in Melitopol, Ukraine! We arrived at the train station in Kiev at 5:00 pm (10 am Spartanburg time) and boarded our train. Our family had a private compartment with two sets of bunk beds. It was VERY small for those of you who may have never traveled on an overnight train. Bucky and I joked that it was smaller than a jail cell, but larger than a coffin. Xan and Brennan nearly drove us crazy with their excitement over the train. They were so hyper! Our translator and coordinator graciously offered us cake so, couple the excitement of a train ride with the sugar in cake and you get several crazy hours until the sun went down. Brennan slept very well on the train. Xan did great too, but he did not sleep as long as Brennan. We arrived in Melitopol, Ukraine around 5:00 am (10 pm Spartanburg time) and were driven to our apartment.

Melitopol is much smaller than Kiev. Kiev has about 4 million residents and Melitopol has only 150,000. Our apartment is much bigger than the one in Kiev, not as new, but very clean. Once we got settled into our apartment, we went and got breakfast/lunch. Bucky and I had a calzone and Xan and Brennan got chocolate and banana crepes. Both were very yummy. After we ate, we bought a soccer ball, chocolates and candy to give to Sasha tomorrow. By this time we were exhausted, so we went back to the apartment and took a 3 hour nap. After the nap Natasha and Svetlana took me grocery shopping. That was fun! Their markets are different than ours, everything is behind a counter and you just speak your shopping list to an attendant and she gets everything for you. The only thing that I have not been able to find here is cereal for the kids. They do have cereal, but not Cheerios and Rice Krispies. For those of you who wanted the address, I will try to get that tomorrow.

We took the boys to a nearby park to play. They are having a fun time with daddy while I am typing this. Apparently they accidently interrupted a child’s birthday party and the mothers were so excited to hear Bucky’s English. They said they preferred American English to British English. And we were given a huge piece of birthday cake. Very nice people.

We are bringing some culture to this small town. I doubt they have seen a Latino or African American in some time and couple that with the fact that we are Americans, and we are starred at everywhere we go. I don’t mind, I am pretty used to it.

Tomorrow will be a busy day. We will meet with the Inspector (not really sure what an Inspector does, but we must meet with her and she will take us to the orphanage). Once at the orphanage, WE WILL FINALLY MEET SASHA! We can hardly stand ourselves, we are so excited. Sasha will have to speak to the Inspector and the orphanage director that he wants us to adopt him, then more paperwork will begin. Hopefully, we can get approval from the Inspector and orphanage within the week. Then we can apply for a court date. Please pray that Sasha is not shy about his wanting us to adopt him and they he speaks it clearly and quickly.

Well, it is almost time for dinner. Bucky and I treasure your prayers! With love, The Rogers

Melitopol Update #2

We are sorry that we have not been able to update you as often as we would like. Melitopol is a much smaller town than Kiev and although we have the necessities (hot water, food, bed.), we don’t have many of the extras living in a modern city offers (wi-fi, washing machine, McDonalds).

On Monday, we had a meeting with the Inspector. The Inspector asked us a few questions about our motivation to adopt, why we wanted Sasha and if our income was enough to add another child. That interview went well and she joined us on our adventure to the orphanage. Although the orphanage is only about 7 miles outside of the city, it took us approximately 30 minutes to make the trip because the road was full of potholes. Xan and Brennan both fell asleep on the way because it was so bumpy.

As we approached the orphanage, Bucky and I felt we were in a dream. We could not believe we were moments from seeing Sasha again after nine months apart. We pulled in past the gate and just ahead of us was a two story white building and standing outside were a couple of boys. At that distance, we were not sure if one of those boys was Sasha, but as we drove a little further down the lane we quickly realized it WAS Sasha. As we got closer, our mini van (taxi) passed him in order to pull into a parking space. Our eyes met with his and a huge smile came across his face. That made our hearts leap! Bucky and I could not get out of the taxi fast enough. Bucky got to him first so he got the first hug and then I got a hug too. Sasha was surprised to see Xan and Brennan. Xan was quick to give Sasha a hug, which we were very glad about. Sorry, I can’t remember Brennan’s response. All of us were quickly ushered into the office of the director of the orphanage. He was a very nice, older gentleman and he smiled almost constantly, which put us at ease. He offered Xan and Brennan cookies, chocolate, and juice which they, of course, gladly accepted. The director asked us many of the same questions the Inspector asked. Then, the director turned to Sasha (keep in mind this is all in Russian and being interpreted for us) and asked him if he wanted to be adopted by us. Sasha immediately answered, “Of course I do!” We were so happy! We were praying that he would answer this way and leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that he did indeed want to be a part of our family. Whew, sweet relief! Sasha had to write a letter stating that he wanted us to adopt him. We enjoyed the director’s company for over an hour and then Bucky and I were excused to go play outside with Sasha, Xan and Brennan. While outside, the boarding school let out for a break and we drew quite the crowd. Everyone wanted to see Sasha’s new family. In all, we got to spend about 2 hours with Sasha. While we were outside playing, our coordinator and interpreter were negotiating visitation with Sasha. Then it was time to go. We hugged Sasha and promised to come back the next day. As you can imagine it was torture leaving him again, but it was necessary because we had a lot of paperwork to complete. The rest of the day was spent going from place to place collecting and signing paperwork and sitting in the taxi while our coordinator and interpreter worked on our behalf. At one point, we had time to run by a local supermarket. The supermarket was just like a grocery store in the US. It was a LONG and exhausting day and we were so glad to get back to our apartment.

On Tuesday morning, we were taken back to the orphanage to meet with Sasha and the director again. Again the director was so nice. He again gave the boys a snack. We were told that we could take Sasha back to our apartment for FOUR days. We were beyond excited. Our time at the orphanage that day was about an hour, but Sasha got to leave with us. That was AWESOME!!

The orphanage in which Sasha resides is very nice. The campus is gated and hundreds of red tulips are in full bloom. Although we were not given a tour of the campus, every building looked clean and well kept. The director is a very special man and we have really enjoyed the brief time we have had with him. The runaway rate at this orphanage is very low (no runaways in many, many years) and it is no doubt because this man loves these orphans so much. The director was very recently recognized by the Ukrainian President for his many years of service to orphans. He will be retiring in the Fall, please pray that he is replaced by someone who will love these kids just as much as he does.

The rest of Tuesday was pretty uneventful. We came back to the apartment and Xan, Brennan and Julie took a nap while Bucky and Sasha played card games. Tuesday evening we went to the local park and hung out then went and got some pizza. It was nice just being with Sasha again.

On Wednesday, our interpreter and coordinator took us shopping at a local open market. We were looking for clothes for Sasha. This proved to be quite an adventure. We quickly realized that Sasha’s taste in clothes vastly differs both our taste in clothes and that which is popular among teenagers in the US. But, we decided to allow him to get whatever he was comfortable with. All that he considers normal and comfortable is changing, we can at least allow him some normalcy in his clothing. I am sure he will adjust to American culture far faster than we want him to.

I had forgotten how much this kid can eat. You would never guess he could eat so much if you could see how skinny he is. I don’t know if he eats so much because he is actually hungry or because he is just not used to having the freedom of going to the refrigerator anytime he wants to get something. But whatever the reason, he eats non stop! This does cause problems with Xan because he doesn’t understand why he can’t have a snack everytime Sasha has one. But, we also don’t want to tell Sasha he can’t eat whenever he wants. I am sure eventually we will have to limit his snacking, but for now, we are allowing him to eat whenever he wants.

Prayer request:

Please pray that our Interpol fingerprints are received in Kiev soon. These fingerprints were applied for over 30 days ago and the results have not been received by the appropriate authority. We cannot be assigned a court date until these are received. Thank you again for praying for us. With love, Bucky and Julie

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday April 23, 2010

It is 12:55 pm in Spartanburg and 7:55 pm in Kiev....
Today has been a very wonderful, relaxing day. We did not have anywhere to be or anything to do until 2:30 this afternoon. At that time our coordinator and translator met us outside our apartment and we stopped and had a snack at a Ukrainian eatery. Bucky and I tried Ukrainian Cabbage Rolls and we really liked them. It is so nice to have a translator with us, she is able to explain the new foods we are about to try. From there we went to the Center for Adoption and picked up the paperwork they had prepared to show that they have approved us to adopt Sasha.

After our appointment at the Center, we went sight seeing (but forgot our camera). But that is ok because we will have a few days in Kiev at the end of our time here. We walked and walked and walked but got to see so many new things and it was good to get out of the apartment for a few hours. While we were out, we stopped by the ticket office to purchase train tickets. There were no train tickets for tomorrows train, but our coordinator was told that several train cars were reserved, but the people who made the reservation had not called to confirm the reservation or paid any money for the tickets and in one hour they would lose their reservation if they had not called. So, to occupy the boys during that hour, we walked and got Italian ice cream at one of the local malls. Xan and Brennan got to eat blue ice cream. They really liked that! After the hour passed we walked back to the ticket office and there just happened to be the exact number of train tickets that we needed. God provided for us again.

Then even after all that walking we walked some more and found a little pizza shop and ate dinner. Now we are back to the apartment.

Tomorrow we will have another relaxing morning and then around 4:30 pm our coordinator and translator will pick us up and we will head to the train station. Our train leaves at 5:50 pm and will arrive in Melitopol, Ukraine during the early morning hours on Sunday. Xan and Brennan are so excited to get ride and sleep on a train. Our first meeting with Sasha will be sometime on Monday. We are so excited to see him again.

Well, that pretty much sums up today.

Pictures of our apartment in Kiev

My friend Laura requested pictures of our apartment and that I document the time that I post so that you all can see the time difference. So this one is for you Laura: It is 2:17 am in Spartanburg and 9:17 am here in Kiev.

This is our living room.

This is the view from our balcony. The yellowish color building is, I believe, another apartment building. The building with a gold roof is a monastery.
This is our bathroom.
This is the eat in kitchen
This is our bedroom. I did make the bed today, Bucky took the picture before I had the opportunity.

Today (Friday) is a real slow day for us. We don't have anywhere to be until 3:00 when we have to go pick up some paperwork from the Center for Adoption.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day One, April 20, 2010

I really need to begin with what happened on Monday. As of Monday, the ash cloud was still causing a lot of problems with European flights and to the human eye, the chance that we would get to go to Ukraine was slim. Bucky took Brennan to school that morning and I was having a really hard time getting motivated to do any more house cleaning. I just kept saying to myself, "this is useless, you are not going to leave for Ukraine in the morning." But, everytime I would sit down on the couch to have a pity party, I kept very plainly hearing a still small voice say, "Just get up and DO IT!" So, I continued to pull myself out of my pity party and "just do it", just kept cleaning the house. Late Monday afternoon, we received an e-mail update that the ash cloud had significantly decreased and many of the airports would begin reopening. We went to bed Monday night still not knowing for sure if we would leave for Ukraine the next day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
All morning we kept ourselves updated on what was happening with the ash cloud and things seemed to be progressing well and according to the computer our flight was still on schedule. Stephen Timmons picked us all up at noon on Tuesday and drove us to the Greenville airport. We get to the airport, unload all of our stuff, walk up to the ticket counter and are told that a list of cancelled flights has just been released on our flight from Charlotte to Munich has been cancelled. We were in shock to say the least. I kept thinking to myself that this could not be true because I know God is not cruel and this would have been a cruel joke to get us that far and "shut the door" so to speak. We pulled all of our luggage to the side and Bucky pulled out his computer and we tried to make several phone calls to reach our airline agency and had no success. We went on our airline agency's website and their website said the flight was still on schedule. By this time about 15 to 20 minutes had passed and we walked back up to the ticket counter and explained that our airline carrier's website said the flight was still on schedule. So, the man at the ticket counter reluctantly pulled another list and low and behold that list said the flight was still on schedule. Whew relief...well only briefly...then the man at the ticket counter said that our flight from Munich to Kiev had not been cancelled yet, but that it was on a list of flights that were expected to be cancelled. He cautioned us that he did not recommend we continue our journey to Ukraine at that time. We very kindly thanked him for his educated opinion, but explained that our son was waiting for us in Ukraine and we were wiling to risk only getting as far as Germany on plane. We were confident God was opening doors for us and asking to trust Him and go on. So, we did!

The flight to Charlotte was short and smooth. We had a few hour layover in Charlotte before our flight to Munich left. The boys did great during the layover and we were able to keep them entertained and out of trouble.

The flight to Munich was awesome too. We got very little sleep, but Xan and Brennan were such troopers. There were no temper tantrums and no crying. They were wonderful! Brennan did end up taking a brief nap on the plane, but Xan just could not get to sleep.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
We arrived in Munich about 8 am Munich time, that was about 2am Spartanburg time. We had to pick up all of our luggage at this point and poor Xan fell asleep on the luggage cart. I have pictures of that, it was so funny. He was so tired! We found out after we arrived in Munich that our flight to Kiev had indeed been cancelled. While we were waiting in line at the airline's ticket counter (a huge line I might add), we were approached by a lady from our airline agency and she asked us what our final destination was and we told her Kiev, Ukraine. She told us to continue to wait in line, but that she would go ahead to a computer and figure out a new flight schedule. She came back a few minutes later with our new flight from Munich to Frankfort, then Frankfort to Kiev. That lady was a blessing to us and obviously sent from God.

By the time we got to our gate, Xan has already been sleeping (on our luggage) for about an hour and then we all napped during our 3 or so hour layover. I have pictures of that too. We looked like a bunch of homeless people sleeping on benches. Brennan ended up sleeping through that whole flight. That flight was only about 40 minutes, but he slept through ticketing, boarding, and the entire flight. He was sooo tired!

We arrived in Frankfort and had a 7 HOUR LAYOVER!!! Bucky and I were thinking what in the world are we going to do to keep these kids entertained for 7 hours. But we did it and they again did awesome. No fits or crying!! We spent a little while just sitting at our gate while Xan colored and Brennan and I played on the toy laptop computer. Then we went and got some lunch/dinner at McDonald's and McDonald's just happened to have huge windows overlooking all the "excitement" going on outside of an airport. So, that took up about another 1 and 1/2 of our time. Then, we went and found an outlet and let boys watch a couple of movies, did various other little things and before we knew it, 7 hours had passed and we were on a plane headed for Kiev, Ukraine. That flight was about 3 hours and both boys fell right asleep and slept the whole time. We arrived in Kiev about 1:30 am Kiev's time and got through Immigration and customs fairly quickly and we met up with our in country coordinator and he daughter. They had a van waiting for us and took us to our apartment.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Today is my mom's birthday, I love you! Well, right now I am sitting in the floor of our apartment, it is about 7 a.m. here and I have already had a shower, fixed my hair and put on makeup. Awww, what a difference a shower can make! As I right this all the boys (Bucky, Xan and Brennan) are asleep. Our apartment is AWESOME! It is really clean and the water pressure in the shower this morning about knocked me off my feet. God is great and He has provided all that we need and so much more. The boys did GREAT in their new "beds" (they are actually sleeping on couches) last night. Xan was a little apprehensive at first, but did great once we assured him we were not leaving and he would see us first thing in the morning. We turned out the lights and still have not heard a peep out of either of them. They are wonderful little boys and have coped with lack of sleep and new environments so well. They have done so much better than I ever imagined and I am so proud to be their mom.

Well, that is all for right now, I have to get the kids up and fed before our babysitter comes to watch them while we go to our first "big" appointment. Keep praying, God IS answering! I will post pics later when I have a little more time

We love you all!

Me, Xan and Brennan on our LONG flight from Charlotte to Munich, Germany.

Xan asleep on our luggage.

We were all so tired!

Monday, April 12, 2010

We are headed to Ukraine!

We finally got the call today that we have been invited to Ukraine. We will leave next Tuesday (April 20th). Here are some specific prayer requests for our family...

-He will adjust to Sasha and eventually enjoy Sasha's presence in our family.
-Sensory Processing Disorder - Xan REALLY needs routine, security, and familiarity and there will be none of that on this trip. He also has issues with smells. Things that most people can ignore, Xan simply can not. For example, the smell of Pine Sol makes him gag, therefore, he is not able to eat his food. So, please pray that his little nose won't be so sensitive to new and different smells in a foreign country (like a yucky public potty, body odor, cigarettes, etc). He is also a picky eater, please pray that we can find something he likes to eat.
-He will be able to adjust to our apartment in Ukraine and be able to sleep well at night.

-If you know Brennan, you know he is WILD and on the go unless he is asleep! Please pray that we can keep him entertained during long flights and layovers.
-He will be able to get a good night's sleep on the plane ride.
-He will adjust to his new sleeping arrangements while in Ukraine and get his needed "beauty" rest.
-He will remain calm during court hearings and other vital appointments.
-That we will not experience any racial hatred while out of the USA. (You can pray this for Xan as well)

-That he will mesh with our family and come to love all of us deeply.
-His transition to the English language would start immediately.
-His heart as he mourns the loss of the orphanage he has called home for the last 3 years, the older brother he will leave behind (he was too old for the orphanage when their mother died and no one knows where he is now), and of the place that holds all the memories he has of his birth mother.
-His salvation. Bucky and I, above anything else, want to see him come to know Christ. To become a man after God's own heart. To become a man of integrity, wisdom, and honor.

Our family in general
-Safe and peaceful flights
-Safety in public transportation
-That our court date will be scheduled within a reasonable amount of time, therefore, making our trip shorter.
-That we would remain healthy.
-Patience and long suffering with each other.

Let me thank you in advance for praying for us. We love you all!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter 2010 Part Two

We had a wonderful day today and the boys just had to spend a little more time outside when we got home from dinner this evening.

Easter 2010 Part One

Here are some photos from our fun filled day....

Brennan was really excited about the Easter egg hunt.

Xan was terrified of the Easter bunny. He did not want to participate in the egg hunt after he saw the bunny. He is such a funny kid.
The picture above is Xan keeping his eye on that scary bunny.

The spoils of the egg hunt.