Hinkson Family Circle

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Mall!!! We are giddy with delight

We went to pick up the boys to go and see their school but they both had fun activities planned to celebrate summer break until 1 and obviously they would rather go once a year events with their peers and so Dave and I decided to go on a walk. I have to say first that I have been wanting to take the bus that goes around our side of the river for awhile now to see what else is here but we haven't. Well.... we walked down past the pizza place we have gone to a few times and there is a great big outdoor market (renik) and then a huge store called Rainford It is about the size of half o a walmart. We went in and they had a huge grocery store with so many more things than ours has. There is a sports store, a toy store, a place to buy clothes, cosmetics, etc etc. They have a play area like at the skating rink in SLC with the soft climbing toys (like extreme adventure used to have) and air hockey tables and sit in video games and things our boys will love. We bought a memory game that has English words on the pictures and some Lego sets and some other flash cards and sparkly pens. I want to take the boys back after the luncheon today following the Corbett's court. I can not believe that we have been missing out on this almost American type of place. Now we are almost ready to leave we finally have a nice place to shop. HOORAY

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I don't know if these pictures can even do justice to the beauty of the landscape here. We were on a train rushing past but I hope you can get a feel for the people out working in their fields. The soil looks so rich and they don't have to irrigate or water :)

pics for Horans


We took the bus to church in Dneproprotrosk again. After we had taken a picnic and so we went to the town center and ate our sandwiches made with sausage, cheese, tomatoes (pomadora) and cucumber. We were visited by a number of beggars and gave them some of our food. We started to walk to the bus station and it started POURING rain. We ran the 2 blocks and were drenched even with an umbrella. It was pretty funny and kind of refreshing actually. When we got home Vitaly actually asked to take a shower and so hopefully that will spread to Oleg and we will have clean children. While their hair was wet on the bus they gave each other a fo-hawk (not sure of the spelling) this made us miss Daniel even more. We hope our boys have fun at Encore camp this week.

We came home and made chicken and homemade noodle soup and baked potatoes and played games and looked at pictures etc. The boys seemed really at ease today and teased us and kept unplugging the internet and goofing off. It was fun. We decided to go to Russia after Dave goes home during the 10 day wait. We will visit Moscow and 3 locations in Tyler's mission in Siberia. He called his Mission president and he is excited to see him again. We will also be there the same time as Elder R G Scott and he told Tyler that he would sneak him in the meetings.

I am going to post some more pictures. If a picture paints a thousand words there will be absolutely no question that I am a blabbermouth.

All is well
The Hinksons

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The girl in yellow is Lira (Kate and Alexi's sister) She is gorgeous
Oleg in the program practice. In the show he held a real balloon
Outside the orphanage, Vitaly playing "football"
Our court invitation YAY
kids dressed up for graduation. They wear these sashes all around town and then walk the street all night until sunrise the next day. It signifies the dawning of a new era of life. I told Oksana "That's good" and Tyler said "Staying up all night is good?" He never misses a beat.
The long awaited program at the school. We watch rehearsals and saw it about 5 times.
Ty and the caretaker/manager of our 2nd Kiev apt. (not the one who recycles the sheets) she LOVED Tyler.
Fooling around. The orphanage is in the background.
A ride at the Beloved Park.
The famous stairs at the SDA. This was where we spent hours for 3 days standing and waiting.
The letter of referral from the SDA that we waited 3 days for. Finally we can officially see Vitaly.
The Cobblestone streets that women walk across in high heels. What Tyler calls a sign of bravery more than a sign of beauty.
St Michael's Cathedral in Kiev

Tyler and the man who sold us his shoes. Also the first African Ukrainian we saw.

2nd Kiev apartment. We liked this one. However we are wondering something. When we left the first day and told the land lady that we would probably not be back she cleaned the apt for the next guests. When we had to check back in we found the same sheets and towels unwashed and ready for the next group. Kind of made us wonder how many people had used the towels and sheets since they had been washed. Kinda yucky Huh?

Not sure how this snuck in. This is when Alina still wanted to be our daughter.

Saturday in Dnepro

We went to pick up the boys in the morning and they said Oleg was gone to the forest. Turns out they took a group of kids there and went swimming. While we waited for him to come back we chatted with the kids at the orphanage. We took pictures of Kate and Alexi's younger brother and sister. I have always thought that the little sister Lira is the cutest little girl and so when they said that she was in Oleg's group I thought "What if she is the cutest little girl in the orphanage" and sure enough she is. It was actually kind of a relief to find out that she is not available for adoption because she was one of the ones that I will always remember as so friendly and always smiling at us. I think that they are officially available to be adopted but are loyal to their parents and they said that they come and visit them every weekend. I hope that we get to see them sometime because they have to be handsome people to have such gorgeous children.

While we were hanging out waiting for Oleg we took 2 kids with Vitaly to get an ice cream at the store. We also bought them a snickers. One of the boys was Sasha who really wants to go to America. He said that his little brother was adopted to America 8 years ago. He was the narrator in the program and sang a solo and is really a stand out awesome kid. I will post a picture of him soon. We told them not to tell their friends about the ice cream. I don't know if it is that or because the Corbetts took ice cream to all the kids the other day but all day there was someone asking us for Ice cream (Mer o sh nea) They would pantomime eating an ice cream cone. I even met some boys in the grocery store tonight and they literally followed me around asking for ice cream. It was crazy. We used to be known as the gum people but now it is ice cream they want.

When Oleg returned he was covered with sand and so we took him home and had him shower. I made lunch which was chicken and rice, sour cream (smit tonna) and chicken gravy and I made it because it was what Vitaly had described as his favorite dish. I guess something got lost in the translation because when I served it to him on a plate he made a nasty face and said "NE" he wouldn't even taste it. He put ketchup on bread and ate that (yuck) Tyler tried to explain that that it kind of hurts Mama's feelings when he won't try things and he said that he didn't care. I don't know the Russian word for "twirp" but between that little encounter and us telling them that we were not going to the park AGAIN and wasting $30 on dumb rides Vitaly started to pout. We told them that we were going over to Igor's side of the river and maybe to a movie everything we suggested was met with anger and "NO....PARK" We prepared to leave and everyone went out the door and Vitaly was gone. We had told them that if they didn't want to go that we could take them back to the orphanage and so we wondered if he had gone there mad and so we walked over there and no Vitaly. We came back and there he was pretending like nothing had happened. I put my arm around him and walked to the bus and he didn't push me away. We decided that we need to decide every day what we are going to do and and not ask them for input because it will always be "park."
We took the bus and I met up with Oksana and Sonya and we got a pedicure and a manicure. The whole thing was under $15 and I would have paid much more for the relaxing conversation. It was so fun to not worry about what was happening for a little while and let the Dad's take charge. They played soccer and had a fun time. After we went to potato house. Oksana and Sonya got a cappuccino and I was introduced to Ukrainian Hot Chocolate. OK this suddenly made this my favorite day in Ukraine. In total I had 3 of these in the next couple of hours. I will describe this treat but you have to try one to truly appreciate it. It is a little cup like they serve espresso in and it is melted thick chocolate not like a drink but like a fondue that you would dip things in. It is like warm pudding with more chocolate added. It was so good. You eat it with a little spoon. I am going to be going back for more. This is living proof that chocolate can change things!!
The guys joined us and everyone had pizza and baked potatoes and then we headed home. The boys both took a shower and I washed their clothes in our washer and hung them to dry.

We also ran into Alla (the mother of the village family who had us for dinner) She said that she was planning to go to the 7th day adventist church tomorrow (but don't they meet on Saturday) and talk to the pastor and the family that is trying to adopt Anya and Ruslana. She is convinced that they need to come to America and she kind of sees herself as kind of a prophetess or a seer or something and is not inhibited when it comes to telling others what God's will is. I hope she has good luck. One interesting thing is that she talked to Ruslana and said that Ruslana had a dream that she and Anya were on a plane to America and the plane crashed and that Anya was killed. She thinks that this has scared them into not wanting to go. She said that this is not a true interpretation (she also interprets dreams) and said that they need to go. So take that for whatever it is worth. We will see what happens. They said that they fasted for 2 days for Anya and Ruslana. It didn't work for Alina but maybe she can help to dispel the rumors that seem to be spoiling that little group of girls.

All is Well!
The Hinksons
PS Thanks for the post Margie and Wendy we are always chuckling when we read your posts. Here are some pics.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday- Court Date for sure and decisions

OUR COURT DATE IS THURSDAY JUNE 3. We are very excited to have this decided. Dave changed his ticket to come home on June 4. This is the day that I had tickets for Tyler and I to go home and so it is a little depressing. We tried to get Delta to let Dave take Tyler's seat since they have the same first name but no doing. We were planning on the 250 dollar change fee but were disappointed to also have to add on the 455 dollar change in rate fee. What a mess. Dave was of the attitude "anything to get home."

We spent a lot of time at the notary and then took the bus back to see the kids program at the school. It is the one that they have been rehearsing and it was great. They do it to celebrate the end of school (sko la) and they invite important contributors and government people to come. It was good. Then we took the boys to the big park in the rain but it stopped enough to open some rides and so they had fun (finally) We also ate some pizza with the Corbetts and enjoyed their company. In the moments in between, we tried to decide it we should jet off to Russia in the time we have between now and court. Since Dave is leaving in less than a week, it was his last chance to go. We did a lot of contemplating and decided to stay and Tyler and I will probably go during the 10 day wait. At one point Dave said "I feel nervous" I responded with Silence....then "I really wish that I could say something to comfort you but I can't really think of anything." We have seriously been trying to look on the bright side here but there are moments when it is pretty dang dark.

Vitaly just came and knocked on our window. He and a couple of his cute friends are wondering when we are coming to the orphanage today. Tyler is still in bed and Dave just got up. It was heartwarming to know that he is eager to come and be bored with us. We have already done everything here that we can find to do. We are going to ask if Dave can do dental exams or something. It is sad that life in the orphanage is not as good as our pitiful life right now. I can't wait to get these guys home. They will be in 7th heaven. If they ever get homesick we will take them to a poverty stricken place in SLC and let them kick a beer can around to remember Ukraine.

I am posting some pictures of the beautiful countryside of Ukraine. If I had to live here, It would have to be in the country. It is really beautiful.
Some of the not so beautiful things we see here on a regular basis are:
*People digging through trash cans for some kind of something.
*Old people selling sunflower seeds or other things (Tyler said "a row of about 20 grandmas trying to sell the same thing."
*Trash on the ground (including used syringes used for drugs and broken beer bottles all over)
*Drunk people and poor people using their last money to by alcohol.
* Beggars
*dilapidation of almost everything. Anything new is a novelty.
* Old tires in big holes in the road to prevent death by joltage.

Things I doubt that I will ever see in Ukraine:
*a dishwasher (after we use our total of 3 forks, I instinctively reach for the dishwasher..and then realize "oh yeah I am in Ukraine."
* a dryer (hang it or dry it with the hairdryer.)
*a garbage disposal
*Doritos or a tortilla chip
* peanut butter
* clean air
* a good bed (Dave thinks serta should expand into Ukraine)
*Clean water
etc etc

Dave just said "is today a good day for us to decide what I am taking home..or am I getting too anxious?"


A note to those with Questions


I will post the pictures that I found with Kate in them. I will take more. I will try to find out who the little brother and sister are. I feel like we have seen and kind of know each of the kids here i this orphanage. We will make a point to talk to Alexi and Kate and tell them you love them. When I talked to our boys about them, they said that the parents visit them regularly but I can tell that they are not happy here (at least Alexi and Kate) I can't think of a more awesome family that they could have gone to and so I admire their tremendous loyalty to their parents. We will find out more. We are so incredibly bored here that anything that anyone can think for us to do to find out about kids etc. is extremely welcomed.

I cannot believe that such an amazing person is following my blog. Is it true that you have 12 children and are coming back for more in June. We will still be here and I would love to meet you if possible. We will probably be in Kiev after June 14-15. Our boys are 11 and 9 and this will make 10 children for us. Do you know who you are adopting? Do you have a blog? It would probably cheer me up :)

New Names

To answer Arri's question: Vitaly wants to be called Vitalyand is not really excited about any American name. He wants the name David Beckham but we already have enough Davids in the fam. Oleg wants the name Michael Jackson, but that is not going to happen. We are thinking of Spencer for him. We will probably call them by their current names but for the passport it will be good to have an American name too. I am worried about people (teachers) being able to pronounce Vitaly. I personally love the name but already people can pronounce it pretty creatively. Lots to think about.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More on last day in Kiev (Thursday)

We went to another market in the morning because we couldn't pick up our paper until 4. I didn't like this one because it was all covered (it reminded me of the huge market in Istanbul, Turkey) and it was more professional looking but everyone smoked inside and all the cig smoke was making me sick. I kept looking for a hole in the roof so I could get some fresh air. We bought more belts and a toys for the kids and Tyler got new shoes. They keep asking him to do backflips at the orphanage and it is more difficult in his big heavy missionary shoes.

This allowed us to meet the first person of African decent that we have seen in Ukraine. He was from Nigeria and we took a picture of him it was such a novel thing. The races are not diverse here at all. It seems to be about 99.9% Caucasian and I decided to keep a count and so far we have only seen 4 black people (all men) and all at the market. There are Michael Jackson T-shirts here but he was kind or wannabe white so I don't know if that counts. The security guard at the orphanage the other day tried to tell Tyler a joke about a black man and a white man and I didn't catch the joke because it was in Russian but he told our cute little friend of Oleg's who looks like he has ancestors from India "now don't be offended because you are kind of black." When Tyler told us this I had to chuckle. Maybe this man has never even seen a black person.

We checked out of our apartment and Kostya picked us up and we went to do some more waiting at the SDA. We were first in line to get our paper and a smooth talking facilitator tried to cut in line before us but we stood firm because we had to catch a train. They didn't start passing out the papers until a half an hour late and we were nervous about getting done in time for the train. While it was our turn, the guy said to his family, "we will be next after Obama's children." We were so happy to be done with the SDA!

We made the train and I was tired but couldn't sleep because the scenery was so Gorgeous and I had to take a ton of pictures. When we got to Dnepro Oksana met us to get the papers that she is talking to the judge this morning. She said we may have court on Thursday which is even better. She asked for a huge amount for the bribe for the judge. We are pretty disappointed that the dishonesty and corruption in this country is so alive and well. I can't help but think that all the bad things that they do here are keeping them from enjoying the blessings that could be theirs. That sounds judgmental but I have been trying to figure out why this beautiful land is in such a struggling state.
Back in Dnepro now.

on the way back to dnepro

We got the paper! We are on the train back to Dnepro! It looks like our court date is unofficially on Friday June 4. Dave will plan to stay until court. We will probably go to Russia soon and be back for court.

More details later. The train is leaving in a minute.
The Hinks

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

pics of Kiev

My "new " shoes from the market (cost $6)
and the cathedral right next to the SDA. We think it is St Andrew's. We are probably going to give Vitaly the name Andrew for his American name (not because we love the SDA so much.) We do love Andrew Garrett though.

pics of Kiev

This is the market where all the used clothes were. It really gave Dave the creeps. He had to wash his hands after just talking about it last night. He said it was "like watching people digging through the dump"

This is cute Anya wearing the hat that I crocheted for her. She is adorable. I made some dumb little wrist bands for our boys and I keep seeing them on other kids at the orphanage. It is kind of fun how they share everything.
This is our landlord/realtor and family. They visit us often and are really nice and are intrigued that we are from the U.S. It is refreshing to be liked for being American.
This is the church on our side of the river. Isn't it picturesque?
on the bus. It puts you to sleep bigtime.
McDonalds in the Big Dnepro
At the park

Day 2 in Kiev

We had a busy day in Kiev. We had the morning to kill and so we went to a couple of open markets on different sides of the city. For the first one we took the bus and someone got on that smelled so bad I had to try hard not to throw up. It was a combination of Alcohol, B.O., and Smoke and something else really strong. We enjoyed the market and got some shorts for Oleg and some belts for the boys. The 2nd Market we took the subway and it was really easy to find.

I had been noticing that most of the clothes here in Kiev that everyone is wearing on the bus and around town are things that were really popular in the US about 5-10 years ago. A lot of denim jackets and leopard prints etc. At the 2nd market we found out why. They had tons of 2nd hand booths where they were selling used clothes. You could see the bundles of clothes like they send out from Humanitarian in SLC and they were piled on tables and sold really cheap. Dave was kind of creeped out but I told him, "these are probably fresh from the states" He said he now understands why they are called"flea markets" It explained by the things that are worn here are out of style in the US. Don't get me wrong (unless you want to,) Kiev has plenty of young women on the cutting edge of fashion but I now know where the locals shop. I was hoping that the clothes that they are selling weren't donated by a charity and rather than distributing them to the poor, someone is making a profit on them.

We found a few Tommy Hillfiger shirts for Oleg that hopefully he won't reject and I had to buy some shoes because my shoes broke right before we entered the Subway. I also found a booth that sold super glue and so now I have 2 pairs of dress shoes. We were expecting to go the SDA yesterday and go in and get Vitaly's papers and go back on the night train. We only brought dressier clothes and I didn't bring my "going to the market" shoes and so I am not surprised that they gave out with all the running and abuse.

After our shopping spree we went back and grabbed McDonalds and went to stand on the stairs at the SDA. They still didn't have the paper. Kostya got a little mad at the people (which apparently he doesn't do often and so when he does it gets some action.) They got us in after waiting 2 hours at about 4 pm and we had Vitaly's meeting in about 10 minutes. One of the ladies in charge mistakenly thought that we had not wanted to adopt Alina instead of Alina not wanting us and so this may have been why she was not very anxious to help us earlier. We get our paper (invitation) tomorrow at 4 and then take the express train back and get to sleep in Dnepro.

Our apt here is nice. It has 4 separate rooms and a shower that actually hangs on the wall above our head and so I loved that. The water heater is smaller though and hangs above the toilet like in Dnepro. So we have to wait a little while between people showering. The apartments in this area are about $75 a night and back in Dnepro they are only $20. We are stuck here one more day. Dave and Tyler went to the Opera tonight. I wanted to stay here and rest. Something about running for busses and trying not to throw up and standing on stairs all day, really takes it out of you. Dave also found a hair place that does good massage. His back was really needing some help and he said that they did 90 minutes for only about 30 dollars yesterday, after he found out that we couldn't leave. He is taking all of this SDA stuff pretty hard. It is amazing how much power they have and so little regard for the adoptive parents. We are grateful however to have that appointment behind us and Dave is glad that after tomorrow we never have to go back again. He actually started washing the wall on the stairs because it was so boring to stand and wait.

We went to the potato house for some dinner while waiting to try to get train tickets for tomorrow. I ordered a baked potato with Chili. It turned out to be a tiny potato and a little cup or chili sauce like salsa. Oh well, I actually saw some lettuce today at the open market and so I take back my statement that there is no lettuce in the land. We should have grabbed it . We haven't seen the T G I Fridays here yet. That is on my list for tomorrow.

I have to mention what a blessing it is to travel with Tyler and Dave. Tyler is so giving and doesn't feel imposed upon like so many his age would feel. My camera won't charge here and both batteries are dead and so I have kind of "taken over" his camera and he hasn't said a word like "hey Mom, don't forget that that is my camera." He just keeps tromping around with us translating everything and making sure we make it home safe at night. Dave is also a trooper. He has been at the end of his rope for a few days and still seems to find enough strength and kindness to persevere whatever the next step may be. It is hard to be torn between a love for Oleg and Vitaly and the love for our family at home and the responsibilities we are neglecting there. He is worried about his patients and if he will still be in business when he gets home. We are grateful for the patience of patients as we embark on this once in a lifetime adventure.
All is well

PS Amy, I had a thought. Maybe the reason your girls turn up their noses at cinnamon rolls is because they experienced the desserts in Ukraine and think they will be utterly disappointed. Or maybe they think that they will have a little surprise in them like a sausage or a pickle. Who knows.... just a thought.

pictures of fun with the boys

Vitaly and Soccer ball tricksThe kids always ask for gum when we go. I think Vitaly is looking for the Ipod. The purse rule is coming up soon.

We have to be creative with trying to exercise here. It is not really important in the culture. I have not seen a gym or even a jogger in all of Ukraine. They weren't really lifting very much weight with Oleg, but he enjoyed it.

Outside the church in Dnepro the big city.