Your comments, emails, tweets and support have made this trip so much easier than our last.  I look forward to waking up in the morning and seeing the wonderful comments from all my friends and family.  You all rock!

We understand that circumstances in Ukraine have changed since we adopted Karen 3 years ago.  Apparently there are only about half the number of young children in baby homes as there were several years ago.  While that sounds fantastic, our agency tells us that it is because there is a foster program with attractive financial incentives for Ukrainians.  Needless to say, with the poverty and unemployment here, fostering a couple of children can certainly help clean living Ukrainians remain above the poverty line, heat their homes and feed themselves and their children. 

The downside to the foster program is that a child in foster care cannot be adopted (neither internationally nor by Ukrainians), and is relegated to the foster family unless the family at some point returns them to the State.  I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this information, but it matches stuff I’ve read about the growth of foster programs in both Ukraine and Russia.

We have agreed to fly to Lugansk so long as we are accompanied by our doctor this time.  Due to the weekend and a holiday on Monday, our next appointment at the “Department” can only take place on Tuesday.  The earliest we can fly to Lugansk is next Wednesday.  Our doctor will travel with us.  We may end up taking the overnight train since we aren’t too keen to fly a small plane into a remote landing strip in the bad weather.

Most importantly, we have spoken to Karen, who exhibits astounding maturity at times.  She will be happy with a baby boy.  Her criteria is the smaller the better.  She is desparate for a “baby”.  When we met the little girl in Priluky, Karen broke down in tears.  I think it will be easier for her if it is a boy.  There will be less jealousy, although I’m sure we will still have lots of tears and anger.

Meanwhile, we are making the best of our relatively well heated Kiev apartment.  It gets really cold at night (-20 C, -26 with wind chill factor) so all three of us sleep together in the Queen sized bed.  For Karen, it’s heaven :-) 

For now, we wait.  But Kiev is exciting, and we have plans to meet up with our facilitator from Karen’s adoption, with her family and new baby girl.  Christmas here is only celebrated in January, but the decorations are all up, and I’m excited for Karen to get the Christmas spirit that is all over Kiev.