Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Praise the Lord! Kathryn, Clayton, and Kevin came home with us tonight from the orphanage, and are now are permanent members of the Chris and Lisa Booher Family! There are still lots of documents, passports, visas, etc. to finish up, but we will live together as a family from now on, and before we know it we'll be home. It's been a long journey, but I believe that it's been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I know my family echoes that sentiment. We can't wait to share all the details with you all at home, we love you and miss you!
See ya soon!
Chris (for the Booher Bunch)
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Monday, at 10:00 PM, Lisa and I boarded a bus for Kiev. Since Lisa will possibly be leaving before all documents are finished for the adoption, she needed to sign some papers for the US embassy which are necessary to bring Kathryn, Clayton, and Kevin into the U.S.
The bus ride to Kiev took almost 8 hours (about 400 kilometers), and was extremely rough in many places. Road maintenance is not a big priority here in Ukraine, as evidenced by the many potholes, broken pavement, etc., which caused the bus driver to alternate between swerving and braking, so sleep for me was not easily obtained. Lisa, on the other hand, was able to rest without much trouble, and I need to add that she did fit better between her seat and the seat-back in front of her! We rolled into Kiev about 6:00 AM, where Yuri (our translator/facilitator) met us and took us up to his beautiful apartment on the 23rd floor, which gave us a spectacular view of Kiev sprawling below us. After a real, American-style shower, (and several mugs of espresso), Yuri took us downtown to a really great cafe for breakfast, which consisted of Americanos (Espresso and hot water), omelets, juice, and some very tasty cottage cheese pancakes-plus another Americano! Then we went on to the US embassy where we signed documents, and met some very helpful people. Next was a stop at the notary's office to have the children's new names officially recorded in order to procure their new Ukrainian passports. Upon leaving the notary's office we realized that we were only 25 minutes from our train's departure! Earlier, we had decided to take the express train to Dnepropetrovsk five hour ride), and then a taxi on to Zheltye Vody, especially since Yuri was able to get us first class tickets on the train-and we thought the train might be a fun experience! Upon arrival at the train station, a very large and beautiful place, we ran into the McDonald's located in front of the station, and quickly ordered some food (our first hamburger in almost 2 months--yummm.) Yuri walked us through the beautiful old terminal with its ornate columns and domed ceilings, through the throngs of people, down the flights of stairs to where the trains were, then found our car, walked us right on board and into our little stateroom, then left us to enjoy the experience. That's Yuri, first class all the way!
In Ukraine, nearly everybody travels by bus or train-unlike in America. The rail system here is quite elaborate, and a train can get you to within an hour or so of most destinations in the country. Our train car consisted of cabins (or staterooms), each designed for four adults; two long seats, or berths, one on each side, with a small table under the window at the end. There was an older Ukrainian couple already in the compartment, so we introduced ourselves as best we could as the train began to pull out of the station. It turns out that the couple was just returning from Israel, having done some kind of bus tour there, and were on there way home to Alexandria, Ukraine. Although they spoke very little English (just a few words), we were able to communicate a bit with them using a pocket Russian-English dictionary. They told us they were Christians, were really amazed by the number of children we had, and expressed a lot of enthusiasm about our adoption. They shared phone numbers and addresses with us, and gave us a warm invitation to visit them at their home and have borscht and salo (pig fat!) They also had bread and cheese, which they insisted that we share with them, along with large mugs of hot tea (chai) and cookies, which were provided by a woman who seemed to be the "conductor" in the car. (I think the older Ukrainian gentleman must have secretly payed for them, because she never asked for money, and wouldn't take any when I offered.) This was definitely the most pleasant traveling experience we've had to date, and the extra few Grivna (Ukrainian currency) was definitely worth it!
We arrived in Dnepropetrovsk around 11:40 at night, and after calling Roma, (we have our very own Ukrainian cell phone) we found the cab he told us would be waiting, and started the nearly two-hour trip across the very rural Ukrainian countryside to Zheltye Vody. There are very few road signs on Ukrainian roads, I guess they expect you to know where you're going, so the cab driver made a few wrong turns on the way, but corrected our course quickly when he realized we were headed in the wrong direction. Another note--men are not afraid to ask for directions here, the driver simply leans out his window and yells at the nearest listener, "Where's the........!" and almost always receives a helpful response. Another note about driving here: folks are a lot less irritable with a driver's etiquette (or rather lack of it!) Most people don't seem to mind at all when a car (mashina) cuts them off at a cross walk, they just wait for the car to speed on by, then non-nonchalantly continue on their way! We arrived in Zheltye Vody around 2:00 am, and knew that we were in town when the country road we were traveling on became a street lined with dark buildings. (There are very few lights on at night in smaller Ukrainian cities, also unlike the US, where we feel the need for our towns to be seen from outer space at night!) As we drove through the dark streets, I realized that I had no idea where we were, and neither did our cab driver! Suddenly Lisa, who was riding in the back seat, said, "There's the bank building!" In the darkness ahead loomed the large, unfinished four-story structure, black holes where windows should have been peering down at us like gloomy eyes, an icon for a bygone era. A few turns, several more blocks, and we were safely at our apartment, Ericka greeting us at the door, a quick check to see our smaller children sleeping peacefully, and then, at long last, BED!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Previet friends, sorry, we have not posted in a while; but we just haven't had much happening with our adoption. We have been visiting with some wonderful friends here and have been attending two bible believing churches, though, and we are so excited about our new friends here. It will be difficult to say goodbye. Regarding our adoption, we are in a waiting period now and have sort of settled into a schedule with school in the mornings, lunch, naps, orphanage visit, dinner, and bed. We are looking forward to returning home and getting back to a "normal" life. (Those of you who know us well are probably chuckling about our "normal" lives.) We have one more week until we can take the kids out of the orphanage and begin our life as one family. Although Kathryn, Clayton, and Kevin are legally Boohers, there is a required 10 day waiting period which allows other family members to appeal. Although the 10 days end on Saturday, we must wait until Monday for the court to issue the documents needed to obtain their birth certificates. Kathryn and Clayton were born 2 hours away, so we will have to travel to that town's city offices and then back to Zholti Vody. This town's offices are not open on Monday, so we must wait until Tuesday. Before we can take the kids from the orphanage we must give the Director their birth certificates and other papers.
Yesterday, Clayton asked when we would take him from the orphanage. We told him, "In one week," and he was very excited! Then he asked when we would be in America- which will be in 2 1/2 to 3 weeks. Kathryn (Katya) was amazed at how long we still had. Clayton just sighed and kept smiling. After we take the kids from the orphanage we will go to the town of Dnepropetrovsk. The kids must get both country documents and passports ( this will take about 4 days, not including weekends.) Then we go to Kiev, where they will have medical checkups at the U.S. Embassy (2 more working days). After that, we can fly home. We are praying that we get to fly home as a family, but if we are not finished with all the paperwork, then Lisa, Bethany, Kenneth, Scarlett, Samara, Hannah, and Eliana will fly home on our originally scheduled date, Sept. 26 and Chris, Ericka, Kathryn, Clayton, and Kevin will leave a few days later.
Today, Kathryn, Clayton and Kevin are in another town having fun at a festival in Dnepropetrovsk. All the orphanage is there, so we will will not see our kids today. Tonight Mom and Dad will take the 10pm bus to Kiev, and they will return early Wednesday morning. They will sign papers at the U.S. Embassy, so Mom won't have to do this before her plane leaves on September 26th.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Here's an old hymn that we sing at fellowship occasionally, and I was reminded again of these comforting, encouraging words today...
The mercy of God is an ocean divine,
A boundless and fathomless flood;
Launch out in the deep, cut away the shore line,
And be lost in the fullness of God.
Launch out, into the deep,
Oh, let the shore line go;
Launch out, launch out in the ocean divine,
Out where the full tides flow.
But many, alas! only stand on the shore,
And gaze on the ocean so wide;
They never have ventured its depths to explore,
Or to launch on the fathomless tide.
And others just venture away from the land,
And linger so near to the shore
That the surf and the slime that beat over the strand
Dash over them in floods evermore.
Oh, let us launch out on this ocean so broad,
Where floods of salvation o’erflow;
Oh, let us be lost in the mercy of God,
Till the depths of His fullness we know.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Hello Family! We just came from a wonderful church service here in ZV, Ukraine. The pastor taught on the priesthood of the believer, and how Jesus is our high priest, using Hebrews chapters 1, 8, and 9. Of course it was all in Russian, but Sveta, who's husband Pasha is a super keyboard player, composer, and arranger, sat behind us and interpreted the teaching for Lisa and I. They invited us up to share and sing a couple of songs, so we said a few words about why we were here in ZV (with Sveta interpreting) and then sang, "Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying," and our "Create in Me/He Touched Me medley." Then the whole church prayed for us, and told us they were going to be having a prayer meeting the same time we would be in court on Wednesday, and that they would be praying for us. It was difficult to hold back tears as we felt their warm sincerity, and we realize again that God, who created all things for His praise and glory, hears the praise and prayers of His children, no matter what language we speak! May God bless you today, no matter where you are, and we are so thankful for the sweet fellowship with His saints, and that He shows us His love regardless of what country we find ourselves in! This is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Lisa and the kids have already left for our afternoon visit with Kathryn, Clayton, and Kevin, so I'd better be on my way!
Friday, August 26, 2011
We are continually amazed at what the Lord is doing!
Firstly, we've had the pleasure of meeting some of the Saints here and have very much enjoyed fellowshipping with them in their homes. They have been such a blessing to us; feeding us, speaking English with us, sharing music and ministry videos with us, showing us around town, and just generally being available to help anytime we have a need. These same special people have even managed to procure a 3 bedroom apartment for us, completely furnished and with a kitchen and washing machine, 2 necessities when you have a crew as large as ours! The apartment belongs to a beautiful lady named Nina who was happy to move in with a friend just so that we could stay in her home for the remaining 3 weeks of our stay here at ZV. Thank you Jesus for shining your light on us, through these people.
Secondly, we HAVE received our COURT date; Sept 7th is the BIG day! We were hoping for something a little sooner, but when we looked at the calendar and worked out the dates, we discovered an extra surprise. The court date is the date that we go before the judge and he reviews our documents and questions us. He will then officially deny or approve the adoption at that point. But, we still are not allowed to remove the children from the orphanage until a 10 day waiting period has expired. The ten days are an allowance for anyone who wishes to file an appeal to the judges decision. If no one appeals, then the children are officially Boohers and we can start the exiting procedures. We will be able to take them out of the orphanage and they will live with us from the first working day after the 10 days have expired. That same day that we will be able to finally all live together as family just happens to work out to be on Lisa's birthday. What an awesome birthday present!
Thank you all for your continued prayers and a special thanks to all of you who are taking care of our home and animals etc. We couldn't do this without you supporting us. Now all we do is wait until the 7th and continue to build our relationship with the children and our new friends here.
Thank you Jesus, for your grace and love abound!
Chris and Lisa Booher and Family
Monday, August 22, 2011
We went to the orphanage today to meet Rema (the orphanage director) and discuss our desire to adopt the children. It was a little intimidating with her behind the desk and all of us in row, being asked question after question; but we knew that the Lord was in control. We answered her questions via our interpreter, Roma, and then she called the children in. They spoke for a time (all in Russian of course) and then we left. As we were walking out the door, Roma asked the children if they wanted to be part of our family, they said yes, then we filed out to the playground at the orphanage where we awaited the city inspector (Ukraine's version of a CPS officer.) When the inspector arrived, she took the children into an office, where they stated to her their desire to be adopted, and were then required to write a handwritten letter stating the same, all while we waited outside. It seemed like forever, when....
Finally, here came Sasha with his big grin. He played ball for a time and then out of the blue he held up three fingers and said, "Tre Das!" (3 yes!)
Next Katya and Shurik arrived, and Katya said excitedly in English, "We are all 1 family!" What a happy day!
Now we move forward with the paperwork and court procedures. We are praising God for His wonderful blessings! Thanks again for all the prayers and encouragement.
Chris, Lisa, and family
Friday, August 19, 2011
Lisa and Marina prepare the fish (picking off the heads and other unwanted parts)
Lisa prepares herself for that first bite of delicious fish!
Here goes nothin!
A moment of uncertainty...
Not so bad, after all!
We continue to be amazed and awed by the way God works, and we are so blessed! Roma spoke with Rimma (the orphanage director) today. She seemed very favorable towards our adoption and has agreed to allow us to see the children again this Sunday from 10:00 till noon. So, we are going to rest up tomorrow, and if all goes well, we hope to know something from the kids by Monday. If all goes well, then the next phase of the process will start.
Blessings to you all, and thanks for continuing with us!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Here it is Monday the 15 already, and looking back on the past weeks' events I can only think what an incredible week it's been! First the amazing trip from Kiev to Zholty Vody, then on to Berdyans'k, then back to ZV for one day (two nights) and finally back to Berdyans'k (300 miles, 6 hrs driving one way) where we have been enjoying sun, sand, surf, and most of all, interaction with the children we hope to adopt; Katya, Sasha, and Shurick. It's truly something that only God could have brought to pass! All the details that fell perfectly into place in order for us to have this wonderful opportunity to be with the children in this amazing setting could have never been scheduled or orchestrated by us! It's been amazing to Lisa and I how quickly our children have bonded in spite of the language barriers: truly, love knows no bounds! I spent some time today teaching Sasha and Shurick some chords on the guitar, which they really seemed to enjoy, then Sasha picked up Kenneth's fiddle and sawed away like there was no tomorrow... Marina, the assistant orphanage director, and Lisa went down on the street in front of our hotel and bought dried fish from one of the numerous vendors there. After bringing it back up to the room, she showed us how to pull the heads off and pick the little salty, dried chunks of flesh off the carcass, a really tasty treat, apparently-if you can just get past the smell! We have been enjoying meals at "The Potato House," a restaurant that serves, of course, baked potatoes any way you like, plus a great burrito with all sorts of goodies, and topped off with a ultra-strong espresso-or americano-your choice. The espresso here is excellent, and is served almost everywhere-many hotel lobbies have a machine right in the cashier's area, and for a little over a dollar they'll whip you up something that'll put some pep in your step... Usually just two shots in a small cup, unless you specify something else. However, we have run into some difficulties due to our inability to speak the language... Yesterday Lisa ordered burritos with a variety of stuffing, but instead we received four baked potatoes, topped with all the ingredients she had ordered for the burritos... Not quite sufficient for our large family! A rather inebriated gentleman from Belarius (who spoke fairly good English) struck up a conversation with Lisa and I this evening, and upon finding out that we had six children here in Berdyans'k with us, slapped his leg and informed me in an incredulous voice that we were "completely insane!" I'm assuming he was referring to the idea of bringing a family of six children to Ukraine, but I couldn't be sure... We didn't dare tell him of our intentions of adding three more to our family! Well, guess that's all for now... Friday we leave for ZV, where an uncertain future awaits, but we know we are in the Lord's hands, and are constantly in amazement at the way He takes care of everything! I was reminded of that wonderful verse, Romans 8:28 this morning: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Stephen and Karina, our neighbors, who have graciously volunteered to look in on our place every day, sent these pics today of our new kittens. We are always amazed by the beautiful things God gives us to enjoy, even when we are thousands of miles away from home! Thanks, Stephen, Karina, and kids, for taking the time to take these great pics and send them-you really made our day!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
We started out our day today here in Berdyans'k (near the Black Sea) with a walk to find the nearest supermarket. After stocking up on some bread, cheese, moloko (milk) and cream (slivka) we headed back to our hotel and proceeded to get ready for the beach. We're staying only about 3 blocks from a sandy beach here so we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful spot to bide our time until the afternoons when we are allowed to visit the children. The water was a little chilly since it was morning, but the kids didn't seem to mind. They had a wonderful time swimming and splashing around. The beach was quite crowded, and there is a lot of skin showing, which we are not used to. I think we probably stick out with our modest swimwear. Of course if we were hanging out in LA, it would probably be no different. While we were at the beach, we noticed some other "white" people (being from Oregon, we haven't had much time in the sun and everyone here is tan) that walked up, got in the water for about 5 minutes, then stood up and gradually turned in all directions with their eyes closed and their heads bowed. We think they were covering the beach with prayer. It was a neat thing to experience. After the beach we came home, cleaned up, had lunch, waited for 45 minutes for a taxi then finally made our way to the camp to see the children. We had an amazing time with them, first walking for a very long time back to the area where our hotel is to hitch a ride on a boat. The children really enjoyed the slow ride around the bay, making shadow figures and feeling the wind on their faces, and then when the boat took off and zoomed through the water, it was a joy to hear their squeals of delight. After the ride, we headed back to the camp walking arm in arm, just enjoying the time of closeness. We don't have an interpreter with us now, but we have managed to communicate fairly well using gestures and by looking up words in our Russian phrasebook. Sasha (10 yr old boy) loves taking pictures, in fact he has taken most of the ones we have of all of us. We ended our day by visiting with a local here that speaks English. She showed us where another grocery store was (bolshoy) a "large" one, directed us to the internet cafe, then showed us how to order pizza, not exactly what we're used to, but delicious nonetheless. We love experiencing new things, so we are having a wonderful time here. There are fruit and vegetable stands lining the streets here and all the produce is deliciously fresh from the farm and inexpensive. We have enjoyed melons (dinas) and watermelons (arbus), cucumbers and tomatoes so far. We haven't worked up the courage to try the hanging, dried fish, yet but we are working towards it. We'll let you know how it tastes. Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement! We are blessed beyond belief!
Sorry, we forgot to post to the blog, but posted only to Facebook, so we are backtracking for those of you who don't have Facebook.
We got to meet the children yesterday! We are in love! After a 5 hour drive from Kiev to Zheltye Vodi to pick up the social worker (It is amazing how things work here. A social worker would never up and leave the office to travel round trip 10 hours, not to mention spend the night in the car with us) and a 5 hr drive to the camp where the children are staying we were able to meet and talk with them and the their liasons for about an hour. It was a little awkward at first, but pictures and our little Eli broke the ice and by the end of the meeting, we were getting hugs and preparing for our next visit. After the initial meeting, we got back in the van and drove the return trip, another 5 hours, back to ZV to pick up the part of our group we left behind at the hotel and set to work arranging for transportation and lodging for all of us to travel back to the Sea, where we will continue to visit the children for the next 10 days. We'll be playing and visiting and just having fun together. Please pray that we will be able to bond with them and for them to be able to open up to us during this special time.
Things are going "ochen harasho" (very well) here in Berdyans'k with our children. We've visited the local zoo, seen a dolphin show, ridden a boat, walked the beach, ridden in little electric cars, and seen a 5D movie show. We've been busy, but today was wonderful to just hang out as a family in our hotel room; playing games, eating watermelon, playing with clay, teaching guitar and fiddle to the children, and eating the FISH!!! (We've finally got up the nerve to try it. We know that these are our children without a doubt, and I'm pretty sure they know it, too. Katya is calling Lisa, "Mama," and our girls, "Sistras." It's such an overwhelming feeling to know that after all the paperwork and waiting,wondering and anticipating, we are finally here, about to bring our children home! Now, all we're waiting for is a written letter of consent from the children stating their wishes to be adopted by us, and the orphanage director to return from the States so that we can begin the paperwork process. This should all happen around the 19th, which is when the children return to their orphanage, and the director returns as well. We pray that everything will go smoothly with the courts, and that the process will be expedient. We love Ukraine; the culture, the people, the food; but we are beginning to miss America, and are looking forward to returning and sharing our home with our new children. We have so many wonderful pictures to share of our kids and our time here, and can't wait to share them with you when they are officially "Boohers."
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
We are in Kiev!!. We arrived yesterday around 12:15. After going through Customs, we were met by our adoption facilitator Yuri, who took us to our apartment. Our apartment has a living room, kitchen, master bed and a loft. The kids slept almost all afternoon, while Mom and Dad bought groceries. We got a really yummy watermelon for only $1.50 .
We flew out of Portland to DFW, where we had lunch with our friends the Wallace family. They are loaning us their daughter Bethany. Kenneth's 10th birthday was Friday, so they made him a birthday cake.
From Dallas, we had an 8.5 hour overnight flight to London. We arrived in London very tired, but after napping in our hotel, we rode the "tube" to Piccadilly Circus. It took us about 45 min. but the kids had fun watching out the windows. We were very brave and ate dinner at Macdonalds.
We awoke the next morning at 3:00 took the wrong shuttle to the airport, so we waited about 30 min. for the subway to open so we could go the terminal 5. We rechecked our bags and arrived at our gate just in time to board. British airways is very family friendly, they even have a security check line especially for families.
Now we are getting ready to walk around Kiev a little. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is our appointment. After our appointment, we can travel to the town where the kids are.
So Dasvidanya for now. . .
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Our appointment in Kiev is on Aug 2 at 12. The appointment is extremely important because this is the time when we will find out if our requested children are available. We will have the opportunity to view their medical records and find out about their history. If we choose to pursue their adoption, then we will be given traveling papers giving us permission to VISIT them. We have been hearing conflicting reports that the children we requested may not be at the orphanage until 2 weeks after we arrive. I'm not sure how all this will affect our referral. Please pray that the Lord will give us wisdom and will lead us to our children; whether it be the group we requested and have loved and prayed for for 9 months or another. This can be a difficult decision; accepting a referral or not, please pray that the Lord will firmly shut the door to anything that we may consider that is not of Him and that he will open those doors, without room for questioning, that He would have us walk through.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
PHEW! All those documents finally DONE! Now we are officially announcing that we are (Lord Willing) bringing home a sibling group from Ukraine. Our packet was filed with the Ukrainian courts May 31 requesting a specific group consisting of 2 brothers (ages 8 and 9) and their sister (age 14.) We have loved them for over 7 months now, but they do not know we exist...yet. We've heard that we may be traveling to meet them in as little as 5 weeks! The process takes about 4-5 weeks in country with a 10 day waiting period in between trips. We are excited, nervous, joyful and most of all just waiting on the Lord.....for everything. Trusting Him with all the details and just trying not to get in the way of what He is doing through us.
The remaining processes are so unpredictable. The children could say no, in which case, we would be referred a different sibling group, or the judge could just shut the entire process down if we don't find favor with him/her. We will have to be in country for extended periods of time: leaving some of our children here, taking some of them with us.....
What I'm saying is that we really covet your prayers right now. Please pray that the Lord's will be done and that we will have the patience, the flexibility, the trust and faith to just let the Lord lead, and that the remaining funds will be provided as needed. Please pray for our children that will be staying at home and for those of us who will be traveling, and that our Ukrainian children's hearts will be prepared and open to us and the adoption, and that they will be kept safe at the orphanage.
Thank you so much for your prayers, we will keep you posted on our progess as we should have a travel date in the next few weeks!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
How many fingers is she holding? Four fingers, because yesterday was her 4th birthday. I think she broke the world record for opening gifts. Grandma and Grandpa B came over to help celebrate. After supper, cake and gifts, Grandpa B. popped popcorn and we watched part of Where the Red Fern Grows. Look at all those candles! Happy Birthday Hannah!
Here is the largest egg we have ever seen. Maybe it'll be a triple yoker?
It is HUGE and I am not eggsaggerating.