GOTCHA DAY has come and gone. YAY! It was along day for all us. We had to make some changes to our plans, which made it even longer. Our original plan included lunch with Artem at the orphanage, then getting him ready to go, a car ride 2 hours away to the passport office, and finally the express train back to the capital city. But Tuesday night we learned that the passport office would be closing their computer system down at 1pm, which meant we needed to rework the schedule. On top of that, our facilitator had to head back to the capitol, so we would be on our own.
So, we got up early, finished cleaning the apartment, got in touch with our fabulous landlord, and headed to the orphanage early. Our trusty driver was taking care of some paperwork for us, while we worked on getting Artem ready to go, and we all met to begin the journey at 10am.
The car ride went well. He was terrified at first and did alittle crying but before we are even out of the parking lot he was asleep. We made it to the passport office with enough time to take care of everything, praise the Lord. He totally charmed everyone there, from the people in the waiting room to the ladies that took his picture, they were all loving him.
Then the train station.... Whoa. First of all, we have WAY to much stuff. And I thought we packed lite. I am really starting to hate all of our junk. I feel like we packed more than the average Ukrainian owns. I think Paris Hilton would have brought less. So poor Brandon has been dealing with our luggage everywhere we go, while I wrestle with Artem. And due to the changes in the day, our train didn't leave until 5pm, which ment we waited in the train station for 4 hours, way too long for Artem. So our wonderful driver and facilitator for the day Igor said goodbye and good luck. Ohh man was I afraid to let him go. And I think he was very afraid to leave us as well.
People kept trying to help us, and talk to us, until they realized we spoke English, then they would give up. Citizens here are very opinionated at times. They think they can tell you what to do, like put more clothes on your child, get your kid off the floor, or let him... So everyone had an opinion.
He was really tired too, as he was late for his nap time. So Brandon wrestled him to sleep, not without someone's lip being bloodied. He only slept for like 45 minutes, and then there was more wrestling. We finally made it to the train at 5pm. We were not in a sleepier this time because it was the express train. We were in a car with individual rooms of 6 seats. 3 facing 3. Brandon worked magic hiding all of our luggage, again. And off we go. The journey started with one young girl, who didn't seem to mind all the noise Artem was making. She got off, and then a young guy, who was a lawyer, got on. He handled it really well, especially since Artem decided they should be best friends. He thinks everyone needs to play with him.
He did really well considering his situation. I was very proud of him. He did fight off sleeping until after 9:30 and eventually just laid down on the floor of the train and fell asleep. It wasn't until we had to wake him up at 11pm that he really got mad. He was not happy to be awake, and back in his coat.
But I have never been happier to see someone as Niko our driver who meet us when I stepped off the train. I am sure Brandon was happy too, because he helped with the bags. Artem continued to scream until we got in the car, and the minute I sat down in the car, he was out again, dead to the world. He was out the whole rest of the journey.
So we made it to our apartment. Niko helped us with where to get food and how to work everything. He is excellent help. And Artem woke up a very happy kid this morning and has been eating everything in site ever since. He doesn't love bath time, but he really enjoys the Aveeno lotion massage and cuddling that follows. And now he is fast asleep. Beautiful.
This is Artem and Papa at the passport office.
Napping at the train station.
This is Artem fighting his sleepiness. He just wouldn't let it go.
And he finally sleeps, the end of a long day.