Wednesday, December 5, 2007

More Errands Under Our Belts

We purchased our airline tickets. I think you need a million credit card reward points to actually get free tickets for international travel, but 2 out of 3 free ain't bad.

We have some wonderful neighbors that volunteered to water our plants while we are gone.

I"m printing out as much reference material as I can find to bring with us. I don't think we will be learning much Russian or Ukrainian before leaving. We will have lists.

Ukraine is a cash economy. They want new crisp $100 bills when you pay the "fees". The bank employees look at your cross-eyed when you order a large amount of new $100 bills.

I wrapped Aiden's Christmas presents last night at a MOMS Club wrapping get-together. How much fun will it be to wrap presents for two kids (maybe three?) next year.

I'm sure I'm forgetting to post something but it wasn't written down.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gotta Buy the Airline Tickets

The project du jour is purchasing the airline tickets. First we will try to use our credit card points. Let's see how far that takes us. Aerosvlit (Ukrainian Airlines) and Delta are the only airlines with a direct flight out of the US to Kyiv (JFK). With Aiden in tow that sounds like a good choice to make. Sometimes just a few choices makes it easier then too many choices, particularly when your brain is full of other things to think about.

We have to get most of our documents updated and apostilled again. Several documents will expire in March 2008, and we will be in the middle of our adoption.

I only have to find a pair of gloves for Aiden. This will be my third attempt at getting gloves for him that aren't too big. We are taking 2 backpacks and 1 check in item.

It is Thanksgiving Week. We have so much to be thankful for now and so much to look forward to being thankful about next year.

I have dozens of crotons to put into the ground before we leave. I'm not sure what to do about the tropical oasis I've created in our yard. Our travels come during the dry season here in Florida. I will have to find a kid to water our yard every week or so. How smart was it for us to be water thrifty and not install a sprinkler system???

Our lovely neighbors offered to take our cat, Bella, in during our trip. We are so thankful to have her in someone's house and not in a kennel for boarding. Perhaps a blessing in disguise, we had to put my beloved 19 year old cat, Coty, to sleep on Saturday. What a difficult decision to make. Her health was on a rollercoaster ride for the last year (thyroid issues, mental health issues) and now a very low red blood cell count. She had all but stopped eating and weighed only 4.3 lbs. This time I could not get her eating again. It was her time and she will not have to stay in a kennel now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

When It Rains It Pours

Our hands are full. Our adoption trip is not the only project. Mom is recovering, slowly but surely, in the skilled nursing facility. I hope and wish she is home before we leave for Ukraine. It would be a gut wrenching choice to make to leave before she is home. We have to resign ourselves to just accepting what is and what will be.

Since we live in Florida we are spending every last dime we will save on winter travel airfare on purchasing winter clothing. An upnorth friend was kind enough to mail us a size 4T winter coat for our son to wear in Ukraine. We hoped to travel with just our Rick Steves travel backpacks, but now realize that we will need a checkin bag for some of our stuff. Fleece clothes may be warm and light weight, but they do not squish down very well. I think we now have a handle on the clothes to take.

Next is the paperwork and reference material. There is so much information to have with you, particularly for an information junkie like me. I can see where the advantage is to using an agency - let them worry about all the little stuff. Well, it is our worries to bear at this point. It will be ok. I contacted Dr. Yuri for his medical services and he has responsed that he will be available to us. He will be worth his weight in gold. We have no doubt that we will use him, if only to have some initial information to give to the pediatrician here in the States.

I cannot think of much else to post. We just have to get everything together now and purchase the travel tickets. It would be great to be able to use our reward points from the credit card company. Otherwise I think we will call Lonnie Rowland.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We Have An Appointment in Kyiv

February 13, 2008. It will be cold. Whatever we are saving in airline ticket costs traveling in the winter we are spending on winter clothes. Thankfully Drew is approved to use just about every day off he has coming on the trip. We expect it to take 5-7 weeks, and hope it will be shorter. IF everything goes perfectly, which it rarely ever does, it can be done in 4 weeks. Court is a huge time factor, as is processing paperwork. We do not dictate when we need things done, but rather are told when they will be done.

Mom is getting stronger by the day, and we all think she will be back home by the beginning of December. That will be the best Christmas present we could ask for this year.

We hope to find a girl Aiden's age or a little younger in Ukraine. We will be delighted with a boy as well. The primary factors will be health and age. Aiden wants a boy. He wants someone to play with. He doesn't realize he will have to share toys and mom. He is a quick learner though. I wish we could bring a dozen kids home with us. Drew would have to work until he drops over. Perhaps I need to become a teacher one day.

This blog will be our primary form of communication while we are gone. Mom will get a phone number she can call us on. Everyone else will probably need to communicate with us via email. We expect to bring a laptop with us. The best way to get information on what is happening will be to read our blog. Some stuff we won't be able to post or discuss publically until we get home, but everyone will know where we are in the process.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Our Dossier was Finally Submitted

Monday, September 17, 2002.

We were told that there was NO way our dossier was going to be submitted before it hit the 6-month mark (and when the SDA won't accept a dossier). I was completely taken aback when we received the email from our wonderful faciliator, Valentina. I am very nervous about the date we will have our appointment in Ukraine. We know it will be in December or January. I am hoping it will be January. Mother has been in the hospital since August and will be recovered by January. We hope this will all come together.

Now we need to gather up winter clothing and do our best to take as little as possible in the middle of winter. What a challenge this will be. Drew and I are determined to take only our Rick Steve's backpacks. Aiden will get a rolling carry on bag. I have lists and lists of advice on what to take to travel light, and including all the items would fill several check-in bags. :) It seem surreal right now, and I am still back and forth at the hospital. When we get our date I will have to hop to it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Just Waiting and Hoping We are Submitted Soon.

We are waiting for our dossier to be submitted to the SDA. Our facilitator Valentina said we are one of the first families in line to get it submitted. We are not sitting on pins and needles. It will happen when it happens. It is easy for us now to be patient. The age restriction laws that everyone was so worried about were vetoed by the Ukraine President. Since their parliament is also being dissolved, it seems to be a moot issue at this point. That isn't to say that it may not resurface in the future, but we hope it will be after our adoption is completed.

I am dreading having to redo paperwork for the "six month rule". The SDA wants all the documents to be valid for another 6 months when they are submitted. Because you don't know when they will be submitted, you are on continuous alert for dates of documents. Depending upon how long it takes to get them, you have to start working on them in advance so that you can replace the prior document before it hits its 6 month mark. We will begin to update documents at the end of July. Hopefully our dossier will be submitted by then so we won't have to do it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Paperwork is on its Way

I am delighted to report that our documents were FedEx'd to Ukraine on Monday, May 7. They should arrive next Tuesday. It took 10 days to get the documents to the Florida Secretary of State for apostilles and back again. I mailed them out the next business day. I feel as though I am an expert at the paperwork now.

Our main translator is Valentina. I have heard nothing but positive things about her.

We are just over $5500 into the adoption. We expect it be come in under $25k total.

Now we wait to have the documents translated and submitted to the SDA. The SDA takes only a handful of dossiers per week, and then only on Mondays and Thursdays for dossiers from Americans. I spoke with our stateside facilitator, Cathy Harris, today. She guesstimated that we would be traveling in September or October. Of course that could change tomorrow, but if all stays on track as is then that sounds about right to me too based on what I have read on timelines. We will be pulling out our cold weather clothes early for Florida standards, but we will certainly be sick of the heat by then too.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

And Yet We Continue...

We are nearing the end of the paperwork process. I am optimistic that we will have everything completed by end of April. We no longer have to worry about the various licenses being valid for six months after submission to the SDA. The medical certificates will be updated next week. I think, based on what I've heard, that we will have our I171H back in mid-April. It looks like it is all coming together.

Unfortunately, there are some possible changes coming for Ukrainian adoptions. UA is considering closing off adoptions to single parents (this breaks my heart for those that have been waiting for so long), and limiting the age spread between adopting parents and adoptees to 45 years. As it stands, it would apply to the oldest parent. We'll see what actually happens long term, and we are adapting our plan to work with the worst case scenario (not that we couldn't and wouldn't love an older child then we initially planned to adopt as much as a younger child).

More to follow.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Still doing the paperwork chase

We are updating our medical tests for the medical certificate portion of the dossier. We are getting fingerprinted on March 30. Drew is updating his employment letter so that the date on it is more current. I am sending the State of Florida Criminal History form back in to be more current. Our home study agency's license isn't renewed until mid-May and expires at the end of June. I have to get a letter from the state licensing department about this as nothing can expire in less then 6 months at the time our dossier is submitted to the SDA in Ukraine. Blah, blah, on and on. But I feel I have a handle on all of this, and it will come to be in another month.

I have learned about "expedited fees" in Ukraine, and am learning about medical and psychological issues that could surface with a child we adopt. We'll also have to learn a little Russian so that we can at least communicate with our children.

We purchased a twin bed for our future child yesterday. I'll let them pick out the sheet set they want after they come home.

There isn't too much more to report on this front. We are hoping and hoping that we will not have to travel in the dead of winter, or even worse, just before everything in UA shuts down for the Christmas and New Years holidays. Rita

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Time Marches Slowly

I'm just waiting for Drew to get his paperwork from the health department so we can conclude the homestudy.

I'm mailing the I-600a application to USCIS (US Customs & Immigration Service). I think USCIS is now called, or at least is a part of, the Department of Homeland Security. This is basically the application to get the form we need to be able to bring a child back into this country after adopting it in Ukraine. The adoption will actually be finalized in UA in their court system.

We are doing all our paperwork in order to adopt two children. We actually prefer to adopt one child, but many people on the Yahoo message boards I read regularly end up adopting a sibling group unexpectedly. If this happened to us, and they met our age requirements, we would not say no to them.

The homestudy and waiting for this application to be processed, (we will be fingerprinted and our FBI records checks) is supposed to be the two items that take up most of the time to collect. While waiting for the USCIS application, I've been advised to work on collecting the remaining documents. We will then submit all our paperwork to a state-side helper to review for completeness and accuracy in detail. The paperwork then goes to UA to a translator/facilitator and finally submitted to the State Department of Adoption (SDA). The SDA has 20 days to review and approve (or decline) our dossier. We hope we will get an invitation to travel to UA shortly thereafter.