Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Одна семья!

Adna Simya! One Family!

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

Trains, Buses, and Taxicabs!




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

Waiting.........


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.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Court Tomorrow!

It's finally here; our day in court! We will be in front of the judge at 9:30 a.m. and the children will be questioned around 10:00. The judge and the jury will be deciding tomorrow whether or not it is in the best interest of the children to be adopted by us. Please pray for wisdom and peace for us as we answer each of the judge's inquiries and for the children to be confident in their desire to become a part of our family. If all goes well, we will be posting our "new family" picture tomorrow (Wed.)!

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.
Refrain:
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.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday, Sept. 4th Zhelty Vody, Ukraine





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!
Chris