Nearing the End – August 29th – 10 Weeks in Ukraine
Slowly but surely I am transferring the posts from our private Facebook page here to my blog. Since we are home now it’s not so critical to keep our journey private. And hopefully it will help others who are on their own journey.
Busy day and that’s good. It’s getting very wearing being in a small apartment away from home with 3 teenagers. My days are spent keeping them busy and active so they don’t have time to think about what they are doing, the decision they’ve made and the life they are leaving behind.
We got up early (and BTW getting 3 teenagers up and out the door by 8:15 a.m. is not easy). Especially ones who are used to just lying around an orphanage all day doing nothing at all. We finally got out the door at 8:25 and walked to the metro under Maidan. It’s still fun to ride the long escalator and still amazing that it costs so little for this transportation. We in America could be doing better I think.
We took the 6 stops to the embassy stop (the metro is VERY crowded at that time of the morning and we watch ourselves and our bags very carefully) then walked about 10 minutes more to get to the embassy. Most people just take a taxi but I’m on a mission. I am loving all the walking we’ve done the last 10 weeks and I feel stronger than I’ve felt since high school. And it keeps these teens busy getting sunshine and exercise. Wear them out is my motto. We got to the embassy at 9:05. Can I say once again that I LOVE being in a little slice of America. I proudly show my American passport which gains us quick privileged entry into the embassy. Lines of Ukrainians stand outside hoping to get in for an appointment to apply for a visa. Most won’t get in. Most who do get in won’t be allowed one. We are so blessed to be Americans. Our new teens are so blessed although they have no clue yet and most likely won’t for many years.
The teens and I go through security. Dima is not allowed in as he is not a U.S. citizen. We have to leave all of our stuff including phones at the security booth. We go through the courtyard and into AMERICA!!! First thing I wanted to do was use the bathroom. American bathrooms – love them! The bathrooms are immaculate and even the clocks on the wall remind you that you are home, at least as close to it as you’ve been in 10 weeks.
Soon I am called to the window and a Ukrainian clerk starts going through my papers. Then she says, you had a conversation with someone at the embassy and you were told that you are not allowed to adopt Daniel. I said, what? (I stayed amazingly calm throughout this entire ordeal – where did I get that from? Yahweh of course!). I replied that the conversation was not that at all but that we would be able to adopt him. The problem stems from him already being 17. She said no you cannot adopt him. He is too old at 17. I said, yes I can and I have an email to prove it. She said where is the email. (Of course I don’t have a copy of it with me…….grrrrrr).
I (calmly) said, on June 24 we got a referral for both Anna and Daniel. Because he was 17 I emailed the U.S. embassy in Kiev to find out if it was possible to adopt him. The embassy emailed Washington D.C. The next day they sent permission to adopt him. You (the embassy) emailed me with their response. You should have a copy of that email from June 25th. She said, I don’t know. I have to check with my supervisor on this. Sit down and I will return.
So 40 minutes later she calls me back to the window. Yes, you can adopt. Yes, we have the email with permission from Washington D.C. Grrrrrr…..you would think that all communications would be in my file. A that point we proceed with their biometrics (fingerprinting) and other papers and I hand over $1410 for their visa’s. This is on top of the $880 already paid for visa’s in the U.S.A. This process is so costly. We finish up with the papers, I fill out a survey and we make an appointment for Tuesday at 11 a.m. which we know I’m not going to be able to keep but it puts me in the queue so we can just change it and not have to make a fresh one.
Our plan to get medicals are nixed when we find out the medical office is closed today. Dima will receive both Daniel and Anna’s passports today. Yuri’s is still in the system but not printed yet. Most likely it will be delivered to Sumy office on Tuesday. The Sumy office is closed on Mondays so another wasted day although we plan to get the medicals done that day.
The hopeful timeline looks like this:
Monday – medicals
Tuesday – Sumy and Romny to pick up Yuri’s paperwork
Wednesday – finish up at the embassy
Thursday – HOME
After the embassy I decided to walk back after taking a short ride on the Trolley. It was one thing we haven’t done that was on our list.
Dima was, of course, shocked at my craziness for walking all that way, but Tom and I had done it before and it’s not bad at all. Long, but not bad. I told the teens that if we walked I would take them to the American style diner we had read about in a magazine at the embassy. They had no clue how far it really was. Ha ha ha!! Got my walk in though. From the embassy back to the apartment is only about 5-1/2 miles. Not a bad walk at all.
Imagine our surprise when Daniel spotted this Michigan license plate so far from home. We had seen a California plate a few days before now one from our state! Very cool! The car had to be from home as well because the front license plate area on Ukraine cars are long and thin, not so wide as in America.
The YOLK diner didn’t live up the to the magazine’s good rating. The service was awful. Two of us got our lunch and completely finished it and we were still waiting for the other two lunches. The food was so-so and not worth it. Definitely not a place I would recommend to other Americans. There are much better choices, like The Burger, where the food is fast and good and priced right.
We continued walking back to our apartment and stopped at the Billa to pick up some veggies for dinner. Leftover chicken and rice. Did an hour of Arbonne, the teens worked on their English and now we’re heading out for another walk. My goal – wear them out. This being here this long with them is so wearing. If I had one piece of advice for adopting parents, leave them in the orphanage as long as possible and get out of the country as fast as possible once you have them. So much emotion going on in them and this wavering is hard on all of us. The upside is that we are walking at least 10 miles a day and that’s good for us all.
Thank you to everyone who is praying for us. That is one huge blessing on this journey. You get really close to Yahweh and you know He is listening to the prayers. It is worth all of the hardships and the delays getting to know Him better. He is an amazing God and worth all of our praise. He is near to me and for that I am so grateful.