Monday, December 6, 2010

Alright already!



After getting much grief, I am updating the blog with some new pictures of Zach and Logan. Hopefully, these will keep everyone calm and not jumping all over my back :o) Enjoy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

COURT DAY & THE WHIRLWIND THAT FOLLOWED


ZACH READY FOR BED ON THE TRAIN

THE NEW PARENTS IN OUR TRAIN CAR

MARINA-OUR TRANSLATOR & CO-FACILITATOR

SERGE-THE MAN! HE IS THE PISTON THAT DRIVES THE ENGINE. WE LOVE YOU MAN!

UNCLE NIKOLAY-OUR RIDE & THE MAN WHO DOES THE LEGWORK.
Here are some pics from court day-the guys with us are our facilitator team. They are awesome. Without them, our process would have taken longer (yes, imagine that-longer). Court day was long, as was almost every process that takes place here. After court Robin had to drive (on horrible roads) to Zach's birthplace, a 4-hour drive. But when you're going 160+ kilometers per our, it only took 2 1/2. So she had that going for her. Needless to say she was a little nervous. Logan and dad stayed behind per her request. After that fun day and another interesting fish-story to go with it (we'll post that later), the next day we had to go to a notary office, then to the bank and close out our child's account, then to the passport office to file for a passport. Finally, we got to go to pick up Zach (around 4:30). Had a snag there as Robin gave the ladies our "take the boy away" pass, and they were shaking their head no. After talking to our facilitator, the paper said we were visiting, not taking. "Are you kidding me, we have a 7 pm train to catch". Turns out Robin had our original visitation slip as well as the pick up one. Anyway, problem averted after 15 minutes. Catch train & back to Kiev. This is where we are now. We will be here for a few days and hope to catch a flight then. Don't have internet in our room so this post is rushed. I have a fussy 2-year old who wants to play. Hope to see you all soon.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

HERE HE IS! PRESENTING ZACHARY ROBERT WEBB

You wanted pictures of him, you got them! We had court today and Robin Renee & James Robert Webb became the proud parents; and Logan James became the brother of Zachary Robert Webb! As of today, the courts have awarded us the parental rights of the little boy. We still have some paperwork stuff to tie up before we can leave the country, etc, but hopefully there won't be any major issues with it. Robin is presently traveling with Serge to Berdyansk to get his new birth certificate. (We need that to secure his passport, which is the next step on our little journey) Hoping everything goes well so we can get home next week.



These first 2 pictures are of Zach's first meeting with us. He had an infection in his mouth, that's the reason for the redness around his lips. (he was on antibiotics-poor little fella) His first encounter with us was not a happy one for him. His entire world was the small little room he slept, ate and played in. And his only human contact was with the ladies who worked at the orphanage. So when he first saw us, he was a little curious but when left alone for our first visit, which was only 20 minutes, he was not thrilled, thus the tears.






These next two photos are of day 2. We actually got to meet with him alone for several hours. Again, he was curious but not comfortable as evidenced by his forced smile and more tears. Warming up to us will take a little bit of time.








ALL SMILES NOW:



After several more days of visiting, Zach really took to us. He came to look forward to our visits and became really comfortable with all of us. His whole demeanor changed and he was all smiles all the time. Outside of being fussy around snack time, we didn't hear or see him cry at all. At first, he sat in mom's lap most of the time (she was the safe one for him to go to), after several days he felt comfortable getting up, playing with Logan, walking around, and even playing with dad (don't think he had much male contact before we came into his life). Zach has been a delight. He has adapted well in many areas. One big one is when it comes to eating. Most orphanage children have issues with worrying about their food and if someone will take it, thus they usually are very protective of their food. They over eat, they put a death-grip on the food they are given, etc. All of this initially happened with Zach, but after several days he quickly trusted us and reversed most of those habits. It was good to see. We cannot wait to get him home and on our schedule so we can put him on a healthier eating program and also get him in normal clothes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TICKLE ME ZACHARY

Here is a short video of little Zach's first slide with his big brother holding him. Turn up the voulme because his laugh is awesome, he sounds like Elmo. Enjoy!
video

ODE TO DAVID BOWIE


It seems the ladies at the orphanage are huge David Bowie fans because they put our boy in these lovely red shoes. Makes me want to break into the lyrics from the 80's hit song Let's Dance. "Let's dance, put on your red shoes and dance the blues." Don't worry Zach, I promise you won't have to wear anymore crazy clothes like this.

AN AFGHANISTAN WAR MEMORIAL





Another unexpected benefit of riding with Alexander. We got to drive by this war memorial on our way to dinner. Logan and I jumped out and ran up to take some pictures. I will say that the Ukrainian people do build impressive statues.

DAM, THAT'S IMPRESSIVE!





On our way to dinner one night, we got a "10 minute" excursion compliments of Alexander our taxi driver. The ride actually took about 25 minutes, but hey we're on Alexander time not real time. He took us on this long bridge, pulled over and put his hood up like he was checking his engine, we then proceeded to check out the dam. It is massive and I must admit that looking down gave me serious vertigo. On the otherside of the bridge people were bungi-jumping-crazy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

OUCH!



Ok, this is a picture of a local children's hospital. Why are you viewing this you ask? Well it seems the parents of the year had a small mishap. Our boy was playing outside on the orphanage "playground". The equipment is not what we would call child-friendly and the boy lost his balance and whacked his head on a concrete wall. There was blood, crying and then an ambulance ride. Another cultural shock-we're in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, and none of us are secured by seatbelts. Well at least we are heading to the right place.


So, here we sat as they took the boy into the next room and they proceeded to clean his wound. There was no anesthetic used and the crying from that room was heart-piercing. He was a brave little trooper though. Thought he would be receiving stitches, but they only put a butterfly bandage on him instead. We'll see how it all heals up. And the results:


Well, at least we got to put our stamp on him.

LENIN MONUMENT


This is a large square located in downtown Zaporizhzhya. It is a tribute to Vladimir Lenin, who is basically the founder of modern socialism. He led the political revolution in 1917 that transformed Russia from the control of the czars to that of the socialist party. (a little history lesson, free of charge)

Many people here in the Ukriane still believe in the socialist economy, mainly due to the lack of jobs under the current democracy.

Despite any political views, the entire park and monument are quite spectacular.

RETURN TO LANCELOTS

When you find a place around here that is fun (and that won't kill you), you like to go back to it. Well, after the birthday celebration excursion to the dungeon layout at Sir Lancelots we knew we had to take mom back there so she could see it. And since another family from Minnesota had just arrived in country, we needed some good pizza. The really cool thing about this place is that we went a little farther down the hallway and discovered an entirely new section of the "castle". There are all these little rooms sectioned off with different castle decor. It is really cool, and of course Logan just wanted to get his hands on the sword.

The boy loves to cut mom and dad up. What does that say about how we raised him?

Check out the wall behind Robin's head. They have cannonballs imbedded in the walls-COOL!


And what can I say about this picture? Did they raid Mrs. Nancy's closet to get this wonderful article of "clothing"? Possibly, but that's her personal business so I'll leave it alone. Anyway, this picture, for those of you who don't know what this is, is of a chastity belt. This object was worn by young ladies during medieval times to ensure they stayed...ummm pure. This was hanging in the ladies water closet (which yes, I accidentally used because there was no clear sign for men's and womens, but whatever). I do know a few ladies back home that I can bring this home for. You know who you are, heh, heh.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES PART 3




Ok, most of us are familiar with Chicago and the dreaded potholes our winter weather brings. Well, let me tell you they are NOTHING compared to the roads here (and sidewalks, but we'll get to that in a minute). I am not sure how harsh the winters are here, but I can tell you that the roads must suffer something fierce because there are potholes as deep as wading pools in this region. Riding in a cab everyday can be hard on the body due to all the bumps, but couple that with the fact that they do not wear seatbelts and there really are no "lanes" as we know them. Basically, if your vehicle can squeeze in that spot to pass, pull over, etc., then you do it. There's nothing like flying down the road and then having your taxi driver whip the car to the right or left to avoid one of these monsters, all the while your son is flopping around in the backseat. It's just surreal.
And if you look closely at the bottom picture, that is not a street, that is a sidewalk. Their sidewalks are just as bad as their streets in many cases, filled with potholes. What is more amazing to me is the number of women wearing high heels or 5" stiletto heals who maneuver these streets with no trouble at all. They must have some of the strongest ankles in the entire world. Heck, today I just twisted my ankle stepping in one as we entered the weekly bazaar, and I'm in gym shoes. Thus endeth today’s lesson.

AS PROMISED, FULL BODY & FACE SHOT OF THE BOY


What? I never said it'd be in focus. Man you people are picky. Complain, complain, complain, that's all you do. "We can only see his finger, we can only see his feet, we can only see his ear, the pictures not in focus," all you people are awfully bossy. Fine, I'll try to get you a better picture soon. Sheeesh!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

LIVING THROUGH OUR STOMACHS





Yes, I know most of our blogging revolves around food but what else are we going to focus on if not food? It's not like we can go catch a show or go to a sporting event. So, we are left with one of man's basic needs-food. Fortunately we're good at eating so we've got that part covered. Mrs. Nancy found this place by passing it as she was accompanying her daughter for a hospital visit. It's sort of like an American fast food diner, but not exactly. Of course the menu is in Russian/Ukranian and the staff do not speak english. What to do? Simple, we call Marina (one of our facilitators) and explain what we're looking for and then she translates it to the waitress. Not very fast, but effective. The girls get some pork shiskabobs and the boys get a chicken breast, with FRIES! Not American french fries but close enough. Overall, the whole meal was good and the decor was kind of cool. The entire inside is laid out like a train, including the booths. One of the booths pictured above had a screen in it that had a landscape whizzing by. It was really cool. Except when the train "sped up". It went so fast, it made you feel dizzy. After we were finished, our waitress told our facilitator that we could take a picture inside the special train car, which we did. It was nice to eat something a little different and actually walk to the place rather than drive. And for the girls the beer was cold (you see a pattern with these two?), but for the boys we got a special treat. (see above picture on the right) BTW-Boy picture update tomorrow! It will be a good one, I promise :o)

MORE SIGHTSEEING STUFF



Last night we decided to walk around and find a new place to eat. We wandered among the locals and wound up at some park in the downtown area. Here we found something amazing! No not the tank and war memorial, we actually found a place in the city with grass. Another interesting thing about this region of the Ukraine is there is very little grass throughout the area. Suffice it to say that Eternally Green Lawn Care would not thrive here. The added bonus was this large WWII tank. Logan of course wanted to climb on it. I thought that might be a bad idea so we settled for a picture of him in front of it.

Friday, March 26, 2010

SIDEWALKS, NOT JUST FOR WALKING HERE IN THE UKRAINE


Yeah, that's right another culture-shock lesson, and one that could be painfully learned if you're not alert. This is a sidewalk that we walk everyday to go places on. There are stores and banks, etc located up and down this street. Hundreds of people walk this everyday. Well it also seems a few occasionally drive them as well. And it's perfectly legal! That's one way of maximizing your infrastructure I guess. Beep, beep look out. Coming through. I guess the bigger user has the right of way????

NOT SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY





The day before yesterday was our new son's 2nd birthday and yesterday was my (Jim) birthday. Neither event was what the Webb family wanted. First, the little guy didn't get a cake or any presents (except of course if you count his cool new family), but that will happen when we finally get home. It was just another day, outside of mom, dad and Logan singing him happy birthday in a language he doesn't quite understand. Dad's birthday was yesterday and I did not get what I really wanted. Now I am thankful for all the blessing, Robin, Logan, Zach, extended family, health, etc., etc., but the present I really was hoping for this year was a court date so we can finalize this adoption. It didn't happen, and right now it is in limbo for no one knows how long. (I'll spare you the details because I'm trying to stay PC) We would have had to still stay in country over the weekend, but at least Zach would have been with us and in our custody. Now we will still be in country, repeating the same routine the entire weekend, waiting for some silly document to get processed.
Second unwanted birthday present-Robin got sick. Seems she had what I had a few days ago, some stomach bug that completely wipes you out. (Pray Logan doesn't get it-ugh) She mustered enough strength to go to the orphanage but that wiped her out for the rest of the night. Since they all had plans to take me out for dinner, that kind of stunk. So she stayed back and slept. My stand-in "wife" became Nancy the Patriot fan. What lesson is God trying to teach me here? That I have to get along with everyone, even Patriot fans. Fine, fine whatever I'll do it. We did have a good time and got to see the cool part of the Sir Lancelot Restaurant that we've never seen before. (Due to some country band thing going on upstairs, we were sent to the basement. It rocked! It was layed out like a castle and decorated so cool. I LOVE knights and all that type of stuff, and our waitress spoke perfect english-she's actually from America). So we had a good dinner and also took some fun photos. Then Nancy tried to give me a birthday kiss, but I reminded her I'm taken and though I am trying to accept all people for who they are, I just can't get past the fact she roots for the Patriots. Guess I'll never change. Oh well, who cares the Patriots are big stinking cheaters anyway, and they're fans should receive abuse heaped on them in large amounts.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

FULL BODY SHOT OF THE BOY


That's right, you've asked for it and now you've got it. Is it everything you expected? What do you mean no? Were you hoping for something else? Hmmmm, it seems you people are never satisfied. Well, I'll take your requests into consideration and see what I can do with the next picture update. Until then...