Ukraine Food…Yummy!

The food in Ukraine is so yummy! Our first day here Natasha our translator took us to an open market, kind of like a farmer’s market, and we bought raspberries, new potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage. It is remarkably fresh and cheap! There are ladies selling their produce, flowers, and such every where you turn. And with the exchange rate, the prices are very low for us. A huge basket of freshly handpicked raspberries were 25 ghrivna or around $3.00.

So each morning, Kevin and I make our kasha (oatmeal) with yogurt (really creamy) and fresh berries. This is beyond delicious and holds us over until lunch. Kevin’s hoping that the daily oatmeal will lower his cholesterol numbers just like they show on the TV commercials.

Natasha has introduced us to a variety of Ukrainian foods: salo which is salted pork fat eaten on black bread followed with a slice of garlic; borscht – incredibly good even if it is hot outside; shish kabobs which is really just grilled meat; vernikis – stuffed dumplings; chocolate; tomato, cucumber, goat cheese, olives salad with a little oil & dill (scrumptious!), cabbage rolls – we told her we call them “pigs in a blanket” and she laughed and said she had never heard them called that before!

Kevin and I have ventured to the grocery store by ourselves as well. Most of the middle aisles are filled with things to drink, mostly beer and vodka. I really like the Coca Cola Light which is their form of Diet Coke. It’s sort of like a treasure hunt to go grocery shopping when you can’t read the labels. Once I thought I was buying salt, but instead brought home citric acid. Definitely not the same! One night we made sausage, sliced new potatoes, and onions at our apartment. Very good! Then, we used the leftovers scrambled with eggs to make a sort of hash the next day for lunch.

We are wondering what Bella eats. One day we got to feed her a jar of baby food that they brought us. She ate that like nobody’s business! However, she has not like the strawberries or juice we brought her–she just nodded her little head and said “nyet, nyet” (no, no) Yesterday and today, the orphanage workers asked us, using their own form of sign language, not to feed her. They patted their bellies, touched their mouths, and said “nyet.” We are hoping to get to watch her eat at a table with her groupa soon. She hasn’t been able to drink from a juice box straw or from our water bottle, so we are very curious, as they told us she is a very good eater?

As you can see, food is a very important aspect of being a Burckhard. Ha Ha! I am sure our little Bella will fatten up in no time…

Here’s our Reece’s Rainbow Families together at a Mexican Restaurant called Tequila House. It, too, was surprisingly good!


Bella Melts Mama’s Heart….

Yesterday, Kevin and I arrived at the orphanage early in the morning. We glanced around the orphanage grounds to find her little groupa. When we spotted them watering the flowers, we noticed the kind caregiver point us out to Bella. When she saw me, she started running towards me on the brick walkway, arms outstretched, yelling “Mama, Mama, Mama!” As she reached us, I bent down to see her and she wrapped her little arms around my neck and gave me a hug! Melted my heart!

She is also very smart–She is learning signs as we teach them: more, shoes, and I love you (done as the peace sign). Her teacher had us observe her put two puzzles together. She can ride a tricycle, loves the swinging rings, and would stay on the swing the whole time if we let her. When we were walking around the paths, she heard a bird tweeting, stopped, listened, and flapped her little arms!

The Director of the Orphanage told us on the first day that she is a little star, and loves to perform! Grace will have a sister to sing High School Musical songs on the Wii with her! They can put on little shows for us!

Although we are having fun visiting with her, we are missing our other children terribly. We miss and love you three!

“Hair today, gone tomorrow”!

What can a little girl who is barely 3 feet tall and weighs less than 30 lbs do in 3 days that many grownups, including some of my best clients, my mother, Paula and my Managing Partner, could not do in over 8 years?!?!!?! Get me to shave off my goatee that’s what!

It is just one of many steps I am willling to take in hopes of winning her love, heck, in hopes of just getting her to stop running away from me shrieking “byuse, byuse, byuse”! Translation: afraid, afraid, afraid of your grey chin fur! Hope I can still convince the agents in customs that I am the same guy as in the passport picture !
Dasvee danya, (good bye)

More Photos….

Hello All!

Everthing is going well here with us. Thank you so much for your prayers. It is extremely hot here especially with no air conditioning. And, our electricity went out two times today which means no fan. Oh well, the fan does not work very efficiently anyways; we joke that it is breathing hot air on us!

Here are more photos of our Bella Bogdana….

Will post more tomorrow! Love & Paka, Paula & Kevin

Meeting Bella…

Hello Everyone!

We got to meet our little Bella yesterday! She is just precious! She calls me Mama (with some prompting, of course) but is very “afraid” of Kevin and his goatee. It is actually kind of funny. She will look right at him, touch her own chin and say “byoos” (phonetic spelling) “byoos, byoos” or translated says, “afraid, afraid, afraid!” She backs up from him and clasps her little hands behind her back so that she will not have to touch that thing! Needless to say, she has not seen many men, especially ones with white fur on their faces!

Finally here are a few photos:

In front of the SDA building, a Reece’s Rainbow tradition! Left to Right–Anatoly the facilitator, Natasha the translator, Paula, Kevin:

Here is a photo of our very first meeting at 10:00 am, Tuesday, June 23, 2009. She is clutching a little doll we gave her while she sports a big, beautiful Ukrainian bow!

Mama, Papa, & Bella outside playing on the Berizka orphanage grounds today, Wednesday, June 24th– by the way, Happy 16th Birthday to my niece Alex!

Tonight, four Reece’s Rainbow families got together at a “Mexican” restaurant. Here we are with our translator Natasha….

Best be getting to bed. It’s 12:20 am here and we are dead tired! I will write more details tomorrow and post more photos.


Hi from Ukraine!

Hello All! Coming to you live from a Ukraine internet cafe. We got Bella’s referral today!!!!! We get to meet her tomorrow after 10:00 a.m. We are so excited!

Our translator is Natasha and she is awesome! She has gone above and beyond the call of duty! What a blessing to have someone so caring, smart, and who even laughs at Kevin’s jokes. Ha Ha

If you would like to skype call or call us, you may do so at 38 067 169 7560. I think there is a small charge for the skype to cell phone charge, but not very much. Also, please note that we are 8 hours ahead CST.

We do not have internet access yet, so I will update with pictures soon. We are having a great time so far, but have not run into any other Reece’s Rainbow families yet.

Thanks for your continued prayers! Love, Paula & Kevin who will be meeting Bella tomrrow!