Wednesday, July 13, 2016

We're here...and SDA appointment

The flight over from JFK was not bad at all...Lance watched movies and I snacked, took a Tylenol PM and slept! We had a 4 hour layover in Paris so we grabbed breakfast and coffee and waited for our flight to Kiev.

We landed in Kiev and Yuri picked us up-sporting his American flag t-shirt! He was great-took us to exchange some money, ran us by a small grocery store and then to our apartment. We ventured out for dinner...thought we were headed to a pizza place. Didn't find the pizza place and ended up in a place that served traditional Ukrainian food (the sign looks like it has pizza!). So Lance got his first taste of Ukrainian food-perimini-noodles with meat and/or potatoes inside. He approved. And of course he got some window shopping in-stopped in a sports store and the Nike store...leave it to Lance to come to Ukraine and shop!
We came back and tried to crash early. The team had told us our appointment with the State Department of Adoptions (SDA) was today at noon. About 8 am our Ukrainian cell phone rang and Julia was calling to tell us there was an earlier opening and that she'd be at our apartment to pick us up in 10-15 minutes! Scrambled to get ready (we were still trying to wake up from jet lag) and off we went!

After months of waiting for our appointment, it was here. The SDA is actually through a very plain non-descript door. And what was crazier for me, is it's right by a church that we visited often when we lived there. St. Andrew's is a place tourists always like to see, and it has a hill of vendors set up selling souvenirs. Just crazy to think that behind that door so many lives are changed and there's stacks and stacks of important paperwork.
 (SDA door is through the gate at the bottom right of the church picture)
We met Serge in the hallway, shook hands and walked right into an room with a desk, couch, and coffee table...oh and an adoption official (who looked to be our age). It was straight down to business. She showed us a file of the little boy we had known about, and we got to see a baby photo of him (which they let me snap a picture of before we left-I think it's the only normal, clear-headed thought I had the entire time we were there-I asked if we'd get a copy of the photo later and they said I could take a picture of it...the photo of the photo might be the only baby pic we'll get). I don't think I was prepared to get as much info as we got at the appointment. They went over some of his information (medical terms, family info, etc) and we signed in the log book saying yes we wanted to go visit him. 

And that was it-in and out and done in less than 10 minutes. It felt a little bit like a whirlwind...between jet lag, the back and forth of English and Ukrainian mixed in with everyone in the office and trying to fully understand his file, it was a little bit of a fog and overwhelming. We walked across the street with Julia and Serge, got some breakfast (although neither of us were very hungry, we made ourselves eat), I spotted a street vendor selling poppy seed bread that I knew I liked from when we lived here so I jumped out and bought some, and then Serge brought us back to our apartment. It was definitely an emotionally charged morning for us and the jet lag wasn't helping. We're both anxious to meet him, and I'm ready for my nerves and stomach/nauseousness to settle down.

We spent the rest of the afternoon napping, Face timing with Tanner (although if I can't stop crying after I talk to the kids, Lance might be cutting me off), and then went out exploring again. Thought we were headed to TGI Friday's for dinner...but it has apparently closed. We ended up at The Burger (I was voting for American food)...and then got ice cream Snickers for dessert. And of course, Lance decided that the Ukrainian meal was way better-hands down-than the American burger! 

Early to bed tonight and then headed to the region where the little guy is on the early fast train...our driver is picking us up at 6 am! Thanks to everyone for the emails/FB messages and for praying-not sure we'd be making it without the prayers! Definitely an anxious day for us, but we're excited to meet him, find out more about him and are just praying for clarity and wisdom. Please keep praying!!!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

What's Next?

We had an early flight to NYC this morning (nothing like getting up at 3:50 am) to bring the kids to hang out with my parents. So what's next...

Lance and I fly out Monday for Kiev. We arrive Tuesday afternoon and then have our appointment Wednesday with the State Department of Adoptions (SDA). That's where we'll get our referral for a little boy we hope to make a Bailey. Either late on Wednesday or sometime Thursday we'll go back to the SDA to get the official letter we need to visit a little boy in his orphanage. We'll take a train to wherever his orphanage is in Ukraine and then most likely go straight from the train station to his orphanage to meet him! So that means we'll potentially be meeting our son Thursday or Friday!!!

Once we meet him and decide that yes, we want to adopt this little boy, the process to get a court date will start. We'll get to visit him each day in the mean time-while our agency is working on all the paperwork and details that go into court. We'll have our court appointment and then the plan is to head home. There's a mandatory 10 day waiting period after court before we can pick him up and bring him home. Once that waiting period is over, we'll fly back, pick him up and then it's appointments in Kiev getting his passport, medical exam, visa, etc. So that's Ukraine adoption in a nutshell!

Thanks to everyone for praying for us. I'm not going to lie-leaving Monday is going to be hard. Last night bedtime involved lots of tears (Tanner and mommy included). The kids will have so much fun with grandparents and aunts and uncles, but anticipating missing us (and them) is hard! So please pray for them!

Tomorrow we're spending the day hanging out with my parents and then it's go time!


We went to the lake house with friends for the 4th of July weekend and Monday afternoon I checked my email and saw an email from our agency. Happy 4th to you…and can you travel Monday for an appointment in Kiev on Wednesday?! EEK! So this week has been a whirlwind to say the least!

Tuesday we hit the ground running. I cancelled almost everything we had planned for the week. Monday night Hadley was up with fever and complaining of her head/ear hurting. So Tuesday morning we were off to the pediatrician. Got meds for her ear infection and then headed back to Dallas with Tanner for his two back to back doctor’s appointments we had scheduled (scheduled for months-not the kind you easily move). It was a long day of doctor’s appointments…all while trying to book plane tickets for Ukraine, details for getting packed and out of town, and figuring out logistics for the kids while we’re gone. But by Tuesday night tickets were booked!

The rest of the week was crazy spent running errands…oh and having a lemonade stand. Tanner has been begging to have a lemonade stand so we thought it’d be fun to do to raise money for the adoption and he’s ready to buy some things for his brother’s orphanage. His cousins and the Hunton boys were excited about helping and were ready to sell lots of lemonade and sweet treats! Kind of a crazy week to have a lemonade stand, but I knew if we didn’t do it Thursday like we had planned, it might not happen…so lemonade stand it is! And oh my word-we were blown away by the love! We raised more than $900 by the end of the day. We really truly have the best friends and family, and this is one loved little boy!

It’s all kinds of crazy emotions…I think they’ve run the gamut for me this week. Excitement it’s finally happening and getting to meet the little boy we’ve seen pictures of…sad about leaving the kids for so long…anxious about what’s coming and getting everything done…and beyond thankful for our friends and family helping us out! And exhaustion…sleep hasn’t been coming easy between Hadley being sick and then me waking up at crazy hours and my brain turns on and starts thinking through things.

I’m not sure thankful is even the right word…we have felt so loved this week-in the midst of my head feeling like it’s spinning! Fun pics of friends wearing their t-shirts, so many offers asking how people can help this week, keeping the kids (although I’m not willing to let them go for long knowing we’re leaving them for 2 weeks), feeding us, running errands for me, baking for the lemonade stand, and then more texts/emails/calls volunteering to do whatever they can to help…and that they’re praying. It’s slightly overwhelming in a good way…but thank you a thousand times to our friends and family. We’re definitely not in this alone and having sweet friends to carry the crazy with us this week has been huge!