As I mentioned earlier, my cousin and his wife are here to adopt three children from Kiyv and just outside Kiyv, involving two separate court appearances to adopt all three kids.
Their first court appointment was surprisingly soon after they officially received the referral, and while the 10-day-waiting period wasn't waived for them, when Arik explained to the orphanage director that their eldest son is here because kids get a week off school in Israel for Sukkot, she let them take the kids out! She also thinks it's best if the kids can visit their new sister in the other orphanage, too. So the kids were picked up yesterday, and they had the joy of celebrating Sukkot with their new parents. The elder child, Alissa, has some memories of celebrating Jewish holidays before their mom died, but her brother, Daniil doesn't. Their new sister, Galina, is not Jewish, but she was Alissa's best friend before she got moved to a different orphanage about a year ago. Her court date is on Wednesday, and we hope that the 10 days will be waived.
So far things have been going well with the kids, the whole new family went to see Galina today. Hopefully she can come to Kiyv soon and start to get immersed in the language and culture. Good thing is that Svetlana teaches ulpan (language classes) to newcomer teens and young adults, she will be able to teach her children the language. She also speaks Ukrainian and Russian, and is a certified Russian and Hebrew teacher. The kids are already picking Hebrew words up and use them with Arik (who speaks no Russian) and Alissa speaks surprisingly good English for an 11-year-old, even if we consider she was in a hosting program two years ago. The couple who hosted her wanted to adopt both kids, but Alissa didn't want to become Christian. Being Jewish is often very deeply engrained in children.
By the way it's cold here. It's too cold to spend too much time in the sukkah (tabernacle) without wearing long johns and a coat, which defeats the living in the sukkah idea completly.