Thursday, December 25, 2008

Showing Off A Little

About two year ago I started quilting. More precisely, I enjoy designing the quilt top, piecing it together, and sewing it. I am not a fan of the actually quilting, meaning stitching the quilt top, the quilt back, and the batting together. I let someone else do that. I'm posting a picture of the body of the quilt I just finished for Drew for Christmas. It is supposed to have an "ocean" feel to it.

A Little More

Our blog has been mostly about our adoption journey. I am adding a little more to it, mostly for our benefit.

We are a family heavily focused on education and knowledge. Most of the books our son has are classical children's literature, or have a math or science focus to them. I have now added educational blogs and websites I like to my blog.

Maybe Some Good News?

I heard through the adoption grapevine that there may be movement in Kyrgyzstan after the holidays. That is the middle of January. It isn't anything official. We are hopeful nonetheless.

I added some questions for a mother's journal to my blog. I have a couple years of Wondertime magazines, and the questions come from an insert. I find the questions different than most lists I have seen. I hope they will be of interest to someone. I will keep adding topics to consider as I go through the magazines. After several years I am only now getting around to reading them.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What Does the US State Department Post Mean?

My understanding of this post is that Kyrgyzstan officials are not yet saying when they will begin processing adoption paperwork (they have been addressing IA issues internally since summer). The DOS is not saying that adoptions will not continue, or that the country is closed to international adoption. The DOS says, in a subsequent post, that they do not recommend families to start adoption in Kyrgyzstan because there just is no information available from Kyrgyz officials right now. We are waiting until the Kyrgyzstan government has addressed the issues they chose to address, and waiting until they are ready to tell us what they want to tell us. This is all not new information, although when Kyrgyzstan stopped processing adoptions this past summer everyone thought it was just for a few weeks or a couple months.

It is hard to wait. Yet there are families that were in Kyrgyzstan on trip one in spring, met their children, and are just waiting for paperwork to be signed so that they can go and pick up the child. Please send positive thoughts for those families.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


December 3, 2008 - Joint Council has confirmed that the U.S. Embassy
in Kyrgyzstan has been requesting further information on the current
state of intercountry adoptions from the Kyrgyz government. At this
time, it is our understanding that the Kyrgyz Parliament has concerns
regarding the governmental control of Adoption Service Providers in
the republic.

In meetings with Kyrgyz officials, the US Embassy stressed that the
current actions are causing fiscal and emotional distress to potential
adoptive parents. Kyrgyz officials have been unwilling to comment as
to the processing of cases already in progress. However, a
governmental working group will be forming in the coming weeks. We do
not expect any official statement to come from this working group
before the end of 2008.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Disjointed Blog

We removed a great deal of travel details from our trip to Ukraine. In summary we had three appointments, but did not find our child. We knew this might be a possibility because people talked about this happening to them. There were no administrative problems, no paperwork problems, or anything odd about our experience. Ukraine is encouraging domestic adoptions, and they have recently publicly announcing that there are very few healthy children available in the somewhat younger age ranges. We found this to be true, even though we were open to a relatively wide age range, no preferred sex, and did not expect a very healthy child. If anyone wants any details they may leave a comment and I will gladly email them directly. I personally advise those that are planning to adopt from Ukraine to educate yourself so that you know what to expect and what the outcomes may be. Nobody should adopt with their head in the sand, or think that this cannot happen to them.

We are extremely excited and optimistic about our plans to adopt from Kyrgyzstan.
We find Kyrgyzstan to be a very ethical and child-centered process. From all I learn the children are loved and cared for in the care facilities.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Minor Comments

We received our one-time-free I171H reissue a couple weeks ago. It said we are approved for one child when in fact we are approved for two children. It is being reissued again to reflect two children. USCIS was very fast acknowledging my inquiry. I considered leaving it be since we are not requesting two children, but decided to go ahead and make the change because you never know what can happen.

I found out that we are approx. 12th in line for a referral with our agency. They wouldn't give a specific number. It is where we thought we would be.

I have considered opening my adoption blog up to other topics. I am amazed by the number of blogs some people maintain. Adoption blogs, family blogs, homeschooling blogs, etc. We have one private blog about our son, Aiden, and is meant to be a journal of his life. I'm not very good about keeping it updated. This is our second blog. I may consolidate the two, or at least add other topics to this one and keep the private blog as is.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blog Award

Amy! Thank you for the blog award. That is way cool. This blog is so boring I can't believe anyone even reads it. Rita

We are Registered In Kyrgyzstan

I verified with our agency that our dossier is registered with the Kyrgyz government in Kyrgystan. Our dossier will remain there until we have a referral. At that time it will be legalized and translated. We are just waiting now. The courts are not granting any adoptions right now anyway, so there is no point in wondering how long it will take. We do hope it will be within a year. We will need to get the rest of the money together. I'll think about that tomorrow. We are content with the progress at this point.

On another note, we should have our one-time-free reissued I171H shortly.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Older Child": A Matter of Perspective

Our request to the Kyrgyz government is for a female child under 3 years old. We hope they view us favorably and grant our request. We are aware that very few people request a child this old, and we will therefore be near the top of the "older child list". Most families adopting from Kyrgyzstan are hoping to adopt infants. Some referrals are so young that PAPs cannot go to court to adopt them because they must be 3 months old.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ukraine Still on Our Mind

Our now five year old son, Aiden accompanied us to Ukraine. He loved it and there was not a moment that we wished that we had left him behind. He asks almost daily about going back to Ukraine. I ask him what he liked about it. He says he liked the apartment. I liked the apartment too. It had good bones, and I feel as though it had some stories to tell. We spent five weeks, give or take a few days, in that one-bedroom apartment. I think I liked experiencing the basics of life in that one-bedroom apartment. It had a very slow washing machine, and no dryer. We didn't miss the dryer. We didn't miss an oversized refrigerator and freezer stuffed full of food. We didn't miss too many clothes from which to chose to wear that day. We did not miss the excesses we live with on a daily basis. I surely don't want to say that life was simpler because I can see many obstacles to overcome living in Ukraine. Yet too many choices can also disturb the mind.

I am sorry we won't spend a great deal of time in Kyrgyzstan when our time comes.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What Happens to a Dossier Anyway?

This is our process as far as we know. Dossier goes to Kyrgyzstan for approval and registration. Dossier comes back to the US and is kept by the agency or the Foundation. At some point it will be translated, and probably authenticated but it isn't clear where this happens in the process yet. We may or may not have to get it state certified. We don't have to keep updating the documents like for Ukraine. We will have to update some if not all documents just before getting our referral or at least prior to traveling on trip #1 to meet our referred child. As more recent adoptions are completed with our agency we will have more details.

I read that the new adoption committee in Bishkek has been created and should be meeting soon. Things should be picking up shortly in Krygyzstan. I am very grateful to the folks on the KyrgyzstanAdoptionGroup for posting what they are finding out.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Dossiers and Mindful Consumption

Our dossier was received and approved this week by our adoption agency. I received an email last night that our dossier is ready to be shipped to Kyrgyzstan. I'm not sure what happens with it when it gets there, but I've asked the question and I'm waiting for the answer.

Since things are moving along on the adoption path I focus again on funding. I found this wonderful meditation group that meets on Wednesday evening. August is the month that participants may wish to consider their consumption, which isn't necessarily defined by just that which costs money. I have personally given this some attention in recent months and feel as though I made some personal progress reducing my personal consumption of "stuff" (the money factor)and hope to realize more opportunities to reduce my financial consumption. I still have a lot of work to do with regard to consumption of information and knowledge, as well as of time.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Few More Blogs

I added a couple more blogs to my list of Blogs Worth Viewing. It is moving to read of the work these folks are doing for the less fortunate in Kyrgyzstan. John Wright is an amazing man. I hope I am fortunate enough to meet him one day. See his work on actofkindness.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pictures from Ukraine

I thought I would take a few minutes to add pictures of our trip to Ukraine. I still communicate with a family or two that go over to adopt. Thankfully families are still finding their children, but I know of too many that did not.

This is a picture of me and Aiden hanging out in the livingroom. I had to clothes-pin his pants since they were too big for him.

This is the standard adoption photograph most families take after their appt. We were still optimistic at this point.

How cool is a snowstorm for a four year old boy from Florida?

Our favorite place in Kyiv, and not listed in any travel guide. Pocrofsky Church. I hope I spelled that correctly. It is a functioning church and monestary. The nuns living there are delightful. The courtyard is a sanctuary within a large city. We walked it daily to get to the St. Michael's area. the nuns sweep the snow away from the doorways with Ukrainian style brooms. These brooms are everywhere, and we purchased two at an open air market to bring home with us.

We took about 1000 pictures. Many are off the beaten path. I wish we had taken 1000 more. Kyiv is a fascinating city.

Now We Wait (Again)

Ho Hum, we have been here before. Our dossier is in the mail to our agency. Now we wait (again). We will keep updating the documents (some expire after 3 months) but we don't really know what is next. For a control freak like me that isn't an easy pill to swallow.

I'm not much of a blog reader. There are a lot of good blogs and this Mom doesn't have a lot of free time. I did find one that I found worth viewing. It isn't about adoption. It is filled with pictures of Kyrgyzstan and brief thoughts regarding those pictures. Please take a moment to look at it. I don't think I will add any adoption blogs to the blog list. The are worth viewing of course, but there are plenty of adoption blogs that contain other adoption blogs and I don't need to repeat what is already done.

I hope to add some pictures to this blog soon.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Paperwork Almost Together

Boring time. We have the updated I171H. We will have everything in a few days except the medical forms unless the doctors don't take their time about it. Maybe they won't. We are just about there.

Instead of waiting to get our dossier together until closer to referral time we were now told to put it together and the families that have them together the soonest are the ones that get their referrals first. Maybe that is good and makes it all happen faster for us. Maybe it puts us farther behind than before. I'm sure we won't know and I won't think about it.

I don't know what more to write. We will be adopting from the Bishkek orphanage. There are only two orphanages where our adoptions happen, at least at this point. Tokmok is the other city. Bishkek is the capital of the country.

I hope I get to travel around the country a bit. I cannot imagine going half way around the world to such a facinating place and not taking it in. How better to let your adopted child know about their homeland than to tell them about your experiences traveling in their native country? I want to stay in a yurt. I want to travel in the countryside.

Someone asked about the process. It doesn't seem that clear to us. It seems the dossier goes to the Krgyz Embassy for review and then back to the agency/foundation to be held until referral time. There is a translation period too, although it doesn't seem to happen right away. Our agency told us to hold off getting our dossier state certified, but that doesn't mean it won't be certified at time point. Timeframes seem to have changed too. In March it was four to six months and one year on the far end. Now agencies are saying two years (and not saying whether that is realistic or on the far end). Many of the original agencies working in this country are no longer accepting applications because it is a small country and adoptions seem to be happening out of just two orphanages. I know of one agency that is telling people there is a one trip option. Most other agencies are saying two trips. The first trip seems to be of varying lengths. I don't know why it is so different for different agencies. I don't know if it has to do exclusively with the different regions or if each agency just has different experiences.

I suppose the one thing you can bank on is that international adoption is always a changing thing, but then so is life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Any Western Trained Doctors in Kyrgyzstan?

We wonder if we are able to hire a local doctor with Western medical experience while in Kyrgystan. We were so satisfied with this option in Ukraine and wish it exists in Kyrgystan. If anyone knows...PLEASE leave some info in a comment. I did a quick websearch. Didn't find too much except a list of doctors that do examinations for the Canadian Embassy. I wonder if that is an option? Probably a remote one.

There are a few more documents required by the Embassy of Kyrgyz Republic. Our agency says we don't need them. I think it is wise to be proactive and collect them. From what I can tell this temporary closing of the Embassy is in part to standardize the dossier requirements.

We get our fingerprints update on Saturday. The new homestudy should be done and in the mail to USCIS. I'm in a good position with our documents. I should be able to collect them quickly when it is time.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Back in the Ballgame

So we are doing our paper chase again, although a bit more slowly than before. We were advised to wait on compiling some of the paperwork until our agency feels we are within 3 months of getting a referral. Apparently paperwork for Kyrgyzstan is only good for 3 months. We have our fingerprint appointment to update our I171H, we submitted the request to change the country to Kyrgyzstan, and our new homestudy is done. A copy of the homestudy will go to USCIS for the I171H now. I have all the "do it yourself" documents completed, i.e., copies of passports, pictures of the house, power of attorney, etc. The "outside" documents will be the criminal clearances, medical letters, etc. It isn't too bad actually.

The Kyrgyzstan yahoo board is talking about a few new documents required for the country. I hope it isn't anything too difficult. There has been some talk about FBI clearance and fingerprinting to be sent off to VA. We will see. I've found one person that is adopting from the same country and with the same agency. That is nice.

I can't think of anything else to write about, and my son and I just took a blueberry buckle out of the oven. Yummmm, it smells so good and it is made from scratch using organic locally grown blueberries!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Small StepsToward Moving Forward

We picked the agency and I have the contract here signed and notarized. I haven't mailed it yet. Contract terms are terrible no matter who you deal with. Some are downright unbelievable. Those we just tossed in the trash. Nobody in their right mind would sign these contracts if it weren't for an adoption. I can now truly understand why you have to trust your agency because you sign away all your right in return for costly hope!

We sent our letter to USCIS asking for an appointment to update our fingerprints. We also asked to have our country changed. We already had our homestudy done last month. I'm not sure if there is a form to fill out to get the country changed. I'll call our social worker or just hear back from USCIS if I drag my feet long enough.

Ok, really, really, I'm putting the contract in the mail next week.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Nothing New to Report

We are still deciding on an agency. I hate it. I wish we could do this independently.

I added a new element to the blog; a map tracker.

We met Carolyn and Jack along with their sons Joe and Max. Max was adopted from Ukraine last year. Both boys are delightful. They had a winner with Joe and found another awesome son in Ukraine.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Just Rambling Thoughts

Shawn and Megan, thank you for the suggestion of using worldtimesaver clocks. They are not as cool as the other clocks, but they show up on the blog!

Jessica, I'm sorry I cannot make this Saturday's gathering. We are attending a wedding. I hope to get to one of the events as soon as my life slows down a little.

Am I the only one that seems to have a huge list of things to do each day and still not get anywhere?

I haven't picked an agency yet. I hate doing due diligence. I wish there weren't so many choices. Right now I am considering Frank Adoption Center in NC and Holt International. I love what I know about Holt. It seems their first focus is finding families for children. Their second focus is finding children for families. It sounds like the same thing, but it isn't. It is prioritizing who is most important, the child or the family. But with Holt we have to be open to a child of either sex and older then we would initially want. We were to the point of making huge compromises in Ukraine and it still didn't work out, and we have to think about whether to make compromises now. We would love any child we brought home, but we aren't asking for an infant so it seems we should be ahead of the wait. What do I know at this point anyway?

My friends the Paulsens are home from Ukraine with their daughter. They are so happy and I am so happy for them. Hopefully I will meet Jocelyn soon. My friend Michelle and her husband will be home soon with their daughter. She had a fairy tale adoption in Ukraine. Thankfully this still happens. What a nightmare for the kids if it didn't.

The weather here is awesome! I've been working in the yard as much as possible before the scorching days of spring summer arrive. A wonderful friend got our water pump and primitive sprinkler system working while we were in Ukraine and I am almost at the point of flipping a switch and having the whole yard watered. It sure beats standing outside with the mosquitoes hand watering everything. We have no grass but we have the beginnings of a Key West style tropical garden.

Right now it is 44 degrees F in bishkek, KGZ. That isn't bad. Oh, I just know we will end up traveling again in winter. It sure would be nice to get a break from the summer heat and travel to a cooler country in the summer. I know it gets to be around 90 degrees F in Kyrgyzstand, but that is cool enough for us!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

That Darn Clocklink Clock

I was shocked to see four comments posted on our blog. How kind of everyone to be thinking of and praying for us.

I vividly remember spending an entire day trying to get the Clocklink clock to show up on our blog a year ago. Now, again, I cannot get it to show up as I'm adding elements for Kyrgyzstan. Why should I care? I just want it, that's why. The Clocklink instructions are not terribly helpful, although more helpful then last year. Yeah, they tell you what to do, but I don't get it, and I really need the cut and paste data. I am apparently very blog-challenged. Even my IT genius husband can't get it working. He can do anything with computers, but he doesn't do html.

Adding the flag, however, was no challenge at all.


We Have Regrouped and Are Moving Forward

We were down but never out. Ukraine will have to wait for us. We may go back in the future for an older child (I wonder how many kids I can convince my husband to adopt?). We are switching gears (can you hear them?). We are looking into Kyrgyzstan. We are currently checking out agencies. We signed up for the Kyrgyzstan adoption board and the Agency Research Board (boy, do I hate to have to use an agency). The people and the children are beautiful. The process does not sound corrupt at all, which is very important to us. Kyrgyzstan is south of Kazakstan, east of China, north of Tajikistan and west of Uzbekistan.

Will write more about the country later. I hope to get a map of the country posted today.

Friday, March 7, 2008

We are Going Home

Our third referral is too sick to leave his groupa. This poor child cannot function outside his groupa. He is so mentally challenged that he cannot be considered for adoption. We were shown his file nonetheless.

We are done here and are returning home.

We sat in the hallway of the SDA until we were allowed to meet with the Director. We asked why we were shown files three different times of children that were so much worse then their files stated. We asked why we were not allowed to call the orphanage director during our third appointment. We were told that the SDA staff is too busy to keep the files current or accurate and that they rely upon the families to take the referrals and report back to the SDA about the childrens' status. This information isn't consistently added to the children's files.

We were told that it was illegal for us to have had our 3rd appointment. (Third appointments are not illegal.) We were asked if we were asking to have members of the SDA break the law by being allowed to see more files. Even though we reiterated numerous times that we were looking for a child with correctable health issues or a child that had the cognitive ability to function within a family unit and that the child or 2 children could be of either sex and up to 7 years old we were told that there are no files that would meet our criteria. The SDA Director told us that there are no healthy children under 8 or 10 years old. She said that she is working with the US Embassy to update their website to reflect this information. She said that Ukrainians do not abandon their children in orphanages if they are healthy. She said that prospective adoptees that want healthy children go to countries like China where children are abandoned for reasons other then health.

We did not receive nor did we think we would be offered an apology for being shown inaccurate and outdated files. It is our perception based on this conversation that the SDA has no interest in keeping the files current or accurate. It is our conclusion that there is no concern for adopting families traveling blindly to far away regions in their country based on wrong data. The excuse we were offered was that it was God's will that we did not find our child here. From our perspective the reason is that we are forced to make decisions on children with information that is completely inaccurate and outdated. Thankfully for many families the inaccuracies plays in their favor. For us the inaccurancies did not.

We did not fail the children of Ukraine. We see them being failed by their own government. I saw piles of files in every room we were in during the selection process. We are told by complete strangers in this process that when the SDA is called by orphanage directors or city inspectors the SDA has no record of the child, and that the files sit on desks of medical doctors who don't feel there is any need to expedite their updating. Based on dates given to us during our appointments, children are available for adoption months before they are ever shown to prospective adoptees.

It is so saddening and heartbreaking for the children. These children run to you, cry for you, gaze at you from afar because they so desperately want a Mama and a Papa to love them. We do not cry for ourselves. To try to make sense of it all is futile as there is no logic or humanity in it. We are going home and we know in our hearts that we did as much as we could for a child in Ukraine.

Monday, March 3, 2008

We are Traveling Just South of Odessa

We leave tomorrow evening on the night train to Odessa. We will travel 2 hours south of there to visit a 6 year old boy.

It is difficult finding the words of thanks we feel to those that are praying for, think of, and sending love to us. We have been given another and our last chance to find our child in Ukraine. We hope this boy is the one.

We do not know if we will have internet access in the region. We are not going to a large city. We will post when we can. I will drive Drew crazy about an internet connection in our apartment, so if there is a way he will find it.

I am so proud and impressed with the behavior of our beloved son today. It was a very trying and boring day for him. He grasped the importance of this day and behaved so well. It is hard for a 4 year old boy to be still for a long time.


Friday, February 29, 2008

How To Research Medical Information

Someone asked in a comment how to prepare for the medical information. We found a lot of files in the Adopt_From_Ukraine yahoo group. If you can get past all the bickering there is some good information from this group. Use the group to your advantage. At least pick over the file section and post for medical reference material. I hope that is helpful. I do not have the electronic files here to email to anyone right now. Rita

No News Friday

We were hoping for some news today but received none. We will try again on Monday. Next week will be a time of assessing our situation.

We thank everyone for their emails, comments, prayers and positive thoughts. It means a great deal to us to read what you write.

We hope the path of others that come after us will be much smoother. Decide if you can live with the worst outcome, prepare for it, then rejoice in your success.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Waiting for Our Path to Unfold

We are in Kyiv at our original apartment. In a way it is like coming back home. We have grown comfortable to some degree here. We will be patient and wait to see what will unfold on our path.

There is a purpose to everything. Sometimes the answers come over time and will remain unknown until we are ready for them. We will reflect on all that has happened and remain open for our answers. We will focus on accepting all that is.

The emails and comments from perfect strangers have moved us and are greatly appreciated. There is great compassion in this world.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We Are Going Back to Kyiv

We are healthy and physically fine, but we are heading back to Kyiv. It has been an emotionally difficult time here in the region. with regard to the adoption process.

I understand why people don't post a lot of information on their blogs now. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride and it leaves you empty and worn. Often you must just be quiet, patient, regain your emotional endurance, and wait to see what will happen.

This is the hardest thing we have endured, or at least the equivalent of a medical crisis within the family. It is heartwrenching and not for those with a lack of emotional endurance.

Aiden is homesick but springs back quickly with a little playing outside and compassion and understanding. A little chocolate before lunch rather then for dessert doesn't hurt either. We live in the moment now.

I am sorry for the limited information. It is necessary for the moment.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Last Weekend in Kiev

Since we leave Sunday night we need to finish off what we still want to do in Kiev. I could have slept all day yesterday, but we found another church on our list located just north of Independence Square. We then headed over to St. Sophias and it started to rain. We will try to tour St. Sophias today before catching the night train to our region.

We met the Johnson family for dinner last night. They are finishing their paperwork before heading home to the States. They are a lovely family and their daughter is a delightful girl. She is perfect and charming and cute. Aiden loved playing with her and didn't want her to go home with the Johnsons. We hope we find a daughter this delightful.

There is nothing new to post. The city/town we will be in is relatively small and doesn't have a lot of tourist sites, but it is known for its natural surroundings. Summer would be more ideal in this area, but we will make the best of it and we also have a little one with us to keep us entertained and busy. So far we have had no down time at all.

Friday, February 22, 2008

We have Another Referral

We have a referral for a girl. We are heading south on the overnight train, probably on Sunday. She is 4 years old. We think this may work out. We are cautiously optimistic. The files we saw at the SDA were much better today. We were shown many files. Perhaps too many as the information was overwhelming and coming at us too quickly. Please wish us the best. We will post as soon as possible.

Congratulations to the other families here that have met their children. We are very happy for you.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

If You Are Using an American IA Doctor

We heard through the grapevine that a couple declined a referral of two relatively healthy children because their American IA doctor scared the wits out of them with maybes. Now I'm no expert by any means, and I'm just passing on a perspective that was discussed with me here in Ukraine by Ukrainian experts. Under the circumstances, American IA doctors need to protect themselves from liability in addition to helping you. They will not tell you that there is nothing wrong with the children and that you should adopt them.

A Second Appointment!

Our translator called to inform us that we have a second appointment tomorrow. We are so excited and so scared. Going through a second appointment will make us turn gray earlier then expected. It is one of the most nerve wrecking times in our life. We hope we find our child today. Will post again as soon as possible. We will not know where we are going until after we make a selection and we will more then likely be leaving very quickly. We do not know if we will have internet access. Please send us the best of luck.

Aiden was very homesick last night. He was not making good choices and said he wanted to be a mean guy. Then he just blurted out to me that he wanted to go home to our house and didn't want to have a brother or sister any more. Poor kid. He does remarkably well most of the time but nighttime can be difficult for him. I think a lot of the food from the grocery store has a lot of sugar in it (I can't read the labels) and that isn't helping him stay calm.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Back to the SDA

We went back to the SDA this afternoon to talk to the #2 person about getting a second appointment. Our translator will call her back tomorrow to see what update is given at that point. We ran in Dr. Yuri outside the SDA. He said he talked with a family that seems to have turned down a relatively healthy sibling referral (2) based mostly on fear. We hope we make it to the point of making a decision on a relatively healthy child.

I wonder if most people know that the imfamous SDA hallway is really a stairwell. There is a small hallway through a doorway if you want to call it a hallway, but it has a couch in it and is really for people waiting to see someone inside the office.

We had a late lunch at our favorite Ukrainian cafeteria and met with the Paulsens for an hour before they too headed over to the SDA. I hope things work out for them with a second referral.

We walked back to the apartment through the courtyard at Pocrafvsky(?) Church and picked up a couple pictures of some saints. There is a delightful kiosk in the courtyard selling all kinds of religious items. Our translator said this church is not listed in any tourist book because it is purely an operating church and monestary.

Drew thinks the answer to a good night of sleep is a couple beers, so I'm going to try one and see if I can finish it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Exploring Kyiv

We spent the day exploring St. Andrew's Street and Old Town. I made a list in the morning of places to see in Old Town and then left my guide book at home. We found several churches and took many pictures. Unfortunately none of the churches we found were the churches in the tourbook. Nonetheless the day was not a waste. Old Town is quite charming (I seem to say that a lot) and we will take the Funacular down to Podil and pickup where we left off. I recommend picking up a couple of the travel guides while in the States. The two lent to us are quite different and together make for some good reference information.

Our translator is weaving her magic. There is nothing transparent here. You have to trust your translator and we do. We are still here and have not been sent home and we are still hoping and chosing to be optimistic that the SDA will looking kindly upon us and give us a second appointment.

The bread here is devine. Several of the loaves we have purchased have had seeds on top of them with such a distinctive taste. I cannot place them and may not have had them before. Please leave a comment if you know what they are.

It began to snow quite heavily this afternoon on our return home. We found a back way to our apartment along the hilltop overlooking Old Town and we then cut through the walkway at Pocrofvski Church and the woman's monestary. I hope I am spelling that correctly as I have not seen the church noted in any reference material and it is just a delightful place to stroll. It must be beautiful in the Spring and Summer when the rose gardens and vegetable gardens are in their glory. Aiden was a real trooper on our 3-4 hour walk today. He became whiny toward the end, but we found some baby stroller tracks, and tracks are the end all for Aiden. He walked the tracks to see where they led us, which was right back to our apartment.

Monday, February 18, 2008

We Are So Thankful We Did Not Get Sent Home Today

We did not get sent home when we filed our Petition for Second Appointment. This was a good day and sometimes that is all it takes. We wait now to hear more.

We played at the playgroup between St. Sophia's and St. Michael's. We ate at a fabulous cafeteria style restaurant that is down the first street on the right if you are facin the parking lot entrance to St. Michaels. It is the first door that you have to walk down "into the basement". It is clean, the food is wonderful, and it is not expensive. When we purchase food in restaurants often times you pay by the weight. Our cafeteria choices were weighed for serving size. The cheesecake was European style. No cream cheese but rather more cottage cheese or ricotta like. Our bill was around $12. The bathrooms were clean and the commodes were American style.

We walked along the overlook in the north of Artema Street. The city was built on hills much like Rome. It is a beautiful view and gets you off the city streets. You enter on to Artema again. After a few more blocks we took another side street that lead us to one of the entrances to the lovely church just down the road from the US Consulate. It was another pleasant walk to the apartment with the eyes. We picked up a postcard book for pennies and a lovely silver Ukrainian Orthodox pendant for around $20. Our tranlator said this is a convent and church. Very close by was a death camp during the war and this church helped people escape. The church is around 250 or 300 years old. Not as old as St. Sophia (around 1000 years old), but to us this church and garden is the mostly lovely.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dr Yuri

Yes, you are allowed to call your personal medical doctor during the appt and go over the files with him/her. I feel it was worth the consulation to know which files to dismiss. You don't want to waste time with files that contain information that you don't want to consider. Do your homework before coming with regard to medical conditions if you don't have an IA doctor. Then again I am offered words of advice from former adoptees that their children had diagnoses they were told to avoid and didn't really have them.

FYI about the appt. There is mixed information on whether your translator is allowed in the appt. Before it was yes and now it is no but we were able to have ours nonetheless probably because one from the SDA was not available. Also, write up sheets of questions to ask and have a separate sheet for each file. Info comes so quickly and you don't want to scribble it down on just a piece of paper.

Please pray for us/send positive thoughts (and to the children). We are fearful about our second appointment request. We are fearful we may not find a child to bring home and to love. While we would like a perfectly healthy child we will be glad to have a child that can just BE an interactive sibling to our exisiting child.

Heartbreak in Ukraine

Unfortunately our referral did not work out. This boy has much more severe issues than what was presented to us at the SDA appointment and will need full time care. I will never forget this boy. It is heartbreaking leaving a child that needs a home.

We are filing an appeal for a second appointment. We may see what will come of this on Monday or Tuesday.

We were shown no files with remotely healthy children. We requested files for a child up to 6 years of age of either sex. We were shown at least a dozen files. Almost all the pictures were quite good. We are very saddened by the situation. We came to Ukraine because it is the country of my father's family. It breaks our hearts because these children need and deserve parents. We may be able to help them a little financially but cannot bring such a sick child home. I will never ever forget the beautiful boy we visited.

Please send us all your positive thoughts and/or prayers.

We are waiting in Kyiv and did a big grocery shop today. Aiden had us on our last nerve. We purchased a few small toys for him again today. All he wants to do is play on Gameboy and on pc games. I'm ready to throw Gameboy on the street. We are going to stick to our expensive apartment and go to the local parks for entertainment. We are living on the cheap in an expensive city. If we aren't sent home we will have to save our money.

Internet connections are challenging here. 1.5 weeks to figure out how to connect at our apartment. Finding a restaurant with Wifi takes some walking and often the network is down. Oh, yeah, dinner can easily cost $60+. We see people order something to drink so they can sit down to use the Wifi.

There are lots of details to know when coming here. Thankfully we were well prepared in some things, but knowing it and experiencing it are different things. Learn to use the taxi buses. It is easy and will get you around quickly. Pick up maps - several - at the airport. You will use them!!!

That's all for now. Will see what happens at the beginning of the week.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We Have A Referral!

We have a referral for a boy born Dec 05. He is about 300 km away from Kyiv. His mental abilities are fine. He is one of the smartest kids there and is well liked. He has "contractor of the left knee" and isn't able to stand on it. Our Dr Yuri said we should accept this referral and he will discuss this with an orthopedic doctor friend. His file was only shown beginning yesterday. He has no other medical problems.

Dima is taking us out to purchase some souvenirs. We found Status near Independent Square and ate at a restaurant across the steet down in the lower level or like down into the basement.

I hope to post or reply to emails from anyone that wants some feedback on the SDA appointment. There were not too many good files available today. In fact this was the only file that didn't have serious mental issues or FAS.

Dr. Yuri was worth the $50 consultation fee. He was kind enough to come to our apartmentat 4pm. He is a kind and soft-spoken man.

The churches here are incredibly beautiful. I am in awe of the history of this place and that come only from viewing the architectural beauty. I wish I could spend more time just studying the architecture.

Will try to post again tonight or tomorrow morning. My brain has been scrambled since we arrived.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

First Days in Kyiv

Sorry for the tardy post. We wanted internet connections in the apartment but didn't get it. We walk across the street to the post office and pay about $1/hour for internet time. It is very convenient, but we cannot use our laptop and you have to take all your email addresses and remember everything you want to do. Anyway, we had some cell phone issues for the first two days that have now been cleared up.

The flight went well. Passport control was a non-issue. We sailed through customs. Our translator was easily found. We went to a grocery store before going to the apartment (with the books and the eyes). Kyiv has anything you need except perhaps peanut butter. Anyone planning to travel here should not bring food stuff or toilettries. I'm not sure about over the counter meds because I didn't check them out.

The weather is actually quite pleasant. We hope to get some toys from a toy store today and take Aiden to a park in the neighborhood.

We met with Dr. Yuri last night. He is worth the time and the small fee for the consultation.

Our SDA appointment is tomorrow at 11am.

We hope to catch up with the Caseys and the Paulsens today. They both have their appointments today.

We are still trying to get our sleep/wake cycles corrected. I've had about 8 hours of sleep since arriving. I just can't sleep. Aiden seemed to be all set but woke up at midnight last night and didn't get back to sleep until 3pm. Drew is getting more sleep but not enough. This sleep thing can drive you to madness.

Little things are making us crazy. The old keyboards at the post office duplicates letters and overlooks spacebar entries. Our pastries dropped in a plastic bag without a bottom (cream all over the bag). Trying to cross the street. We don't get all our change when we pay for stuff. Whoever said don't sweat the small stuff was right.

I'm running out of internet time. I'm not sure how I will ever be able to send pictures. Hope to find a wireless internet place soon. Our translator really doesn't seem to want us to go to one and doesn't seem to know where any are locally. (yeah)


Friday, February 8, 2008

Off We Go!

We leave tomorrow. I don't know if you are ever really ready, but we are packed. One check in large duffle rolling bag, two backpacks, and one overnight rolling suitcase. Laptop bag and hand bag too. We will work down a lot of the stuff we brought: protein bars, peanuts, hand sanitizers, diapers, and small gifts. Much of the stuff we are bringing is because we have our son with us.

Will post again when we arrive in Kyiv.

Monday, January 28, 2008

It Is Almost Time

We leave in less then two weeks. I'm so glad I have my new friend Tracy P to tell me how many days are left before leaving. We are on the same flight to Kyiv.

I think we are all prepared now with the over-the-counter meds and such the only thing remaining. I won't even describe how much work it has been preparing for this trip, daily life with the busy 4 year old boy, and getting Mom situated and handling her household and financial affairs as well as ours. Anyway, all is under control and we have the most generous and loving friends helping us out. We would have never known how blessed we were if we hadn't asked for help from others. I can only hope that I can do for others as much as they have done for us!

We will try to pack tonight and see how that goes. We are really traveling light. I found a free book download website. All of Aiden's homeschool material is on CD so I saved it on our laptop. I may take two small books along for myself and perhaps one for Aiden. Michelle P was so generous and sent us a Gameboy for Aiden. He doesn't know it yet. That should keep him occupied at the worst moments.

I cannot thank all the folks on the Ukrainian Angels yahoo group. They are worth every penny spent to be part of them.

I'm not sure there will be much left to post until we are on route. All of your best wishes, prayers, positive thoughts, positive energy, etc. is appreciated. One person is sending us off with love. Isn't that wonderful?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Time Resolves All Problems

I have a completed updated dossier. The best news, however, is that MOM IS COMING HOME! We are so excited to have this chapter of life behind us. Mom has made great progress over the last couple weeks. She will stay with us until we leave for Ukraine and then stay with some folks that can help her with her minor care needs. Aiden is delighted to have her home with us temporarily. It is amazing to watch them together. Grandparents and grandchildren have an awesome relationship. What a blessing that Aiden will still have time with his grandmother. Mom is so excited for our adoption trip. It will be wonderful having her around.

We are beginning to pack for our trip. We are keeping things down to a minimum and will forgo the minimal luxuries we chose to have in our daily lives. Simple is so much easier I find. If we do get desperate we will pick up whatever we need in Ukraine.