Room #6

Room #6: Icons and Artifacts

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Leeza  Leeza
Kyiv, Ukraine April 2003.
Leeza is the daughter of our facilitator, Sasha. Because our journey took so long, my wife and I were befriended by his family. Except for Sasha and ourselves, no one else understood English. Since our Russian was barely passable and our Ukrainian language skills were completely absent, it made for some interesting table conversations. Strangely enough, we were able to have long talks with Leeza. Though she is a very insightful girl, she never could understand why everyone couldn't speak Ukrainian as she.

   Khreshchatyk Street
Kyiv , Ukraine, April 28, 2003.
We walked the street of Khreshchatyk quite frequently. It was one of the most splendid streets we've seen. The events of December 2004 and January 2005 have brought back fond memories. Winter had given way to spring since we arrived. I took this picture during Orthodox Easter Weekend, a very special time for Ukrainians. People started coming up to us and asking for directions. They spoke to us in Russian or Ukrainian. We finally blended in with the crowd. We stayed too long.

Exhaust Vents  Exhaust Vents.
Kyiv , Ukraine, April 28, 2003

On this day, I was attracted to images with pairs. Subconsciously, we felt that if our third referral was not successful, then we would be coming home alone.

  Two Alone.
Kyiv , Ukraine, April 28, 2003.
This almost seems like a museum piece in Ukraine. Since cell phone service is cheap and prevalent, no one uses public telephones. This is one of the few technologies that seemed to have eclipsed our own. We were envious our facilitators phone. It was small and simple, but capable of much more than we had in the states.

  Brain Ball  Brain Ball.
Slavyanocerbsk, Ukraine, May 2, 2003
We have traveled to Luhansk, about 1000 kilometers from Kyiv. Geographically, Luhansk is the furthest east one can travel in Ukraine before entering Russia. About 50 Km away lies our son's orphanage in Lotikovo. This wrecking ball found its current resting place in front of this farm house. I have no idea how it got there since the road was nearly impassible. I was attracted to the barb wire crown atop the ball . It seemed to represent the struggle we were having with our adoption. Many opposing emotions were pressing heavy on our minds. While we were just seeing our son for the first time, we were simultaneously trying to finalize his adoption. We grappled with our decision to adopt, all the while we were thinking about our desire to return home.

tUkraine Landscape #2 Ukraine Landscape #2. Drink to my Horse.
Slavyanocerbsk, Ukraine, May 2, 2003

Coming from Kentucky, the Luhansk Oblast reminded us a bit of home. The rolling hills, the farms, and the mines resembled those of eastern Kentucky. This horse in the field clinched the familiarity and made us homesick. We had been in Ukraine for the past three weeks and our dreams of adoption were finally coming in focus. We met our son on our third and final referral. Still there was much paper work to do and our time was running out fast.

Exhaust Vents  Ukraine Landscape #3. Burial Ground of Angst.
Slavyanocerbsk, Ukraine, May 2, 2003
In the same field as the horse, I found this isolated structure, with what appears to be a grave site. This became the burial place for our angst. We finally met our beautiful son. Things were starting, albeit slowly, to turn around.

Apartment Building  Apartment Building.
Slavyanocerbsk, Ukraine, May 5, 2003

This apartment building lies across the street from the court house where we would finalize our adoption. Within the span of three days we had to find many documents about our son throughout the Luhansk region. Most of the roads were almost impassible and I think we developed saddle sores from the process. When the court date arrived, we were informed that we would have to wait three weeks until we could finally take our son home.

Boys and Pillars Boys and Pillars.
Luhansk, Ukraine, May 7, 2003

This was one of the final images from Luhansk. By this time, we finally made our peace with the whole process. This journey was a roller coaster ride of emotions. One frustrating moment, one dead end created opportunity, an open door, so long as we kept hearts and minds receptive. Had we left sooner, arrived later, or had we not waited for the third referral, we may have never met son.

  Boy Alone
Luhansk, Ukraine, May 7, 2003

I am not sure what this structure (pictured above) represented. It appears to have been an open air theater, which like of lot of things in Ukraine has been left neglected. This became a reminder to us that our journey was not over. We would have to return in three weeks to take our son home. After that, the real journey begins.

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