Saturday, August 11, 2007

We are returning home without children

We are writing this post with a heavy heart.

We have spent the last week visiting the girl. During this time, we have come to the conclusion that this girl has some very deep emotional and behavioral issues. Therefore, we made the decision that we could not adopt her. This was a relatively easy decision for us.

The hard part is that by not adopting the girl, we are unable to adopt the boy. Ukraine will not separate siblings for international adoptions (but they will for adoptions by other Ukraine families). This is so difficult for us because we love the boy very much and feel that he is our child.

We are feeling a lot of grief around losing the boy. Our facilitators are not providing us any support. We look forward to being back in the States with friends and family.

We return on Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wednesday Update

We are back in Bilhorod and staying at the missionary. We were staying in the resort area of Odesa, closer to the girl. The place where they sent us was a little more expensive and called a "resort" room. We had hopes of air conditioning and comfort. No such luck. Resort on this side of the world means you get a shower nozzle attached to your bathroom sink and a couple of twin beds pushed against the wall.

We saw the girl twice since the last blog update. After the first meeting, the girl was asking about us and when we would come back. She was also asking if we would take her to see her brother, who she still remembers. The second time we came, she ran up to us and hugged us and would not let go of Kathleen's arm. She said she was not letting us go. Today, she kept asking Jeff for something repeatedly and we had no idea what she wanted - until finally one of the caregivers told us it was gum.

We are moving towards completing the paperwork for adopting both the boy and the girl. We are trying to get that done by the end of this week, so we can get a court date scheduled on Monday (probably for the end of next week). That is ambitious, but we are trying to get out of here as quickly as possible. It feels like we have been here a long time already.

Our days are now spent like this: Get up in the morning, have a taxi take us to Odessa (approx 2 hours), visit with the girl for two hours, return to Bilhorod (another 2 hour drive), stop at the internet cafe in town, go to the other orphanage to visit the boy, then spend a few hours resting in the evening (doing laundry, eating, etc). It is a busy day, but nice to have a routine.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

We are not returning home

Things change over here by the minute. We wish we could tell you why or how, but we do not fully understand the system here. I will say that it is political and corrupt and we seem to have been dropped into the middle of some crazy situation.

We were finally allowed to see the boy's sister. She was perfectly healthy and not sick and crazy as she was described. She is a normal active 5 year old who loves to swim and loves to act in plays. We like her a lot and plan to travel down to the region to meet with her on a regular basis to see if we can bond and if she would like to be adopted by us. She remembers her brother and asked if she could see him.

Keep good thoughts for us. We would love to come home with both children.

We know we are being supported and protected. When we have time, we will tell you about our awful experience when the car broke down in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Returning home

Thanks to everyone for your comments. It means a lot to us to know there are great family and friends at home supporting us.

We have decided to return home early. There are many legal issues with separating this boy. The sister has a family who wants to adopt her (she has many physical and psychological problems) but this family has not yet filled out the "official" documents. If they do this, then we have been told that the boy will be separated and we will be able to adopt him. However, this resolution may take weeks and there is no guarantee that the family will complete this paperwork.

We have decided to come home and wait to see what will happen. If things are resolved and we receive permission to adopt the boy, we will fly back for the court date. If we do not receive permission to adopt the boy, we will need to reevaluate the situation.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thursday Update

Jeff is in Odessa working with our in-region facilitator to get the permission to separate the boy. They went to the department that makes these decisions and were told - no, they will not separate the boy. They are filing a petition and running around Odessa trying to get this petition approved by many people as I type. I will not know until later how this turns out. If the petition is not approved, we have run out of options and must return home.

I remained back in the little city where the orphange is located, running errands and getting papers signed to allow the process to continue. The woman who runs the missionary has a son who teaches English, so he has been my escort.

However, I have just found out during these errands that all the official paperwork from Kiev has my name incorrect. They put my maiden last name instead of my married last name. Now, all the paperwork from Kiev must be redone and resent in order for us to proceed.

We keep hitting many, many roadblocks and yet we still feel that this is our child.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Having difficulties

We have run into difficulties with the adoption. The boy has two older sisters. The oldest sister has already been adopted. The younger sister is in the process of being adopted by a Ukrainian couple. This boy has a different father than his sisters, and has never met his sisters. In spite of this, we are having difficulty getting permission to separate the boy from his sisters. For the past 5 days, we have been running back and forth to Odessa to get paperwork and signatures, and there does not seem to be an end in sight. Because of this, our process is being delayed.

We have told our facilitators that we must have all of this resolved and moving forward by Friday. If not, we will return home without child. We do not have infinite time and money to spend here. In addition, the Inspector in the region is going on vacation for two weeks after Friday. If she is unable to complete the paperwork before leaving, we will be delayed further.

Our facilitator in the region has been wonderful. He is working very hard to try to resolve these issues quickly. Sometimes, it feels like he is the only person fighting to help us. If not for him we probably would have given up and returned home already.

We are very frustrated and saddened by the way this is turning out. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday Update

We spent yesterday in Odesa, getting the paperwork issues worked out. It was a busy day. Odesa is about a 2 hour taxi ride from where we are staying. It made for a really long day. We are staying in a Christian Missionary -- it is a church and clinic and the upper floor is a place where missionaries and adoptive parents are allowed to stay. It is clean and quiet and we are grateful to be there.

Today we visited with the boy. He recognized us right away and ran over to us. We played outside - he loves music very much. We played music from Jeff's iPod and he would not put it down. He sang and danced. Just like daddy. When we left, he was not happy and sat down outside the door and pouted. It was hard to leave him.

We will formally submit papers to adopt the boy. Tomorrow we will be busy in Odesa getting the paperwork on his sister. We understand that she is not available for adoption, but need to verify and get all the paperwork so that the boy is released to us. If you think there is a lot of paperwork and red tape at Ford, you should come over here for awhile! :)

We will try and post a picture of the boy when we can. We just need to figure out how to do this in Russian. Bye for now, more on Tuesday.