At last we meet...

Short Story:  Today was great.  Yesterday's issues cleared up and we are moving forward.  Our paperwork is done, and we are waiting on the process to run its course.  Hopefully by next Friday we will have the package back from Kiev and a court date.  The girls may have to go to camp on June 16th, but maybe not.  If they go, its only an hour away and we can easily relocate there.  There is a grandmother to consider, but no legal rights now would be granted based on inability to support herself or the children.  It's more than just legality for us though, and Karina in particular is struggling with the idea of leaving her behind.  Tomorrow the girls will need to sign consent for adoption or not.  We had a great time meeting and getting to know them today.  Katya is considered the weaker one, but she is far from it...very active and playful.   Karina is not on medications for being “weak”, but is more timid and thoughtful, but engages enthusiastically when warmed up.

Long Version:  Today proved to be a much better day than yesterday, and we received a bit of an explanation about those events.  It was all the fill-in translators fault!  Well sort of.  He did a fine job translating, but the fact that we knew of the girls and had sent them pictures and things before arriving is apparently a bit illegal.  It happens, but it is technically not supposed to be done.  The director didn't know or trust the translator and so gave us yesterday's run-around basically.  The part about grandma however was and is true, and is something that has surprised  our facilitators - since they knew nothing of her.  More on her and that situation near the end.

So today we arrived at the orphanage around 10 am and met with the director again, along with Tonya - our regularly scheduled translator, and went over the girls files again briefly and had opportunity to ask any questions concerning what they contained.  Nothing of the previous days events or issues were discussed; it is in the past now and is a non-issue apparently, as it has been handled and the girls are returned.  So the girls were brought to the waiting area of the directors office.  We were separated by a wall and an open door.  Our first glimpse of each other came by way of a mirror reflection through that door.  They were visibly excited to see us, and looked a little nervous as well, but huge grins covered their faces.  We knew at that moment that they had known of us and had been told we were coming.  We later found out they have the necklaces we sent over - so all we have been told has been the truth, and that is a relief and confidence builder for us.

From there they were brought into the director's office briefly and then we headed outside to spend some time with them.  At first it was naturally a little awkward; they held Dahlia and we gave each of them a doll for a gift, which they really seemed to like and then we were off and playing.  The girls' caregiver and our translator went to visit the  grandmother while we stayed with the girls.  This was unusual for us to be left alone with them immediately, but we have found favor with the director and he is happy for the girls - so they are now our advocates and look forward to this for them.  They took us on a tour around the facilities and then up to the classroom building where we saw where they go to school, and played with them for a couple of hours in a media/lobby type area outside the classrooms.  The school is enormous, beautifully decorated, and very clean.  We were thoroughly impressed with everything we saw and the immense love and protection the teachers have for their children  The kids we met really enjoy playing with the electronics.  The ipad games are a big hit, and they love to take pictures and video.  They also looked through the family album we brought for about an hour or so (they and all the other kiddos)...I wonder what they were thinking!

Our translator returned and they went off to eat lunch - wanting us to go with them, but we had to meet with the director one more time, and then head out to get paperwork started.  We were told we could come back at 5pm to see them again during free time...so we did.  We have found the director to be a big teddy bear who really cares about the kids and to be a very gracious man.

All of the paperwork that we can do has been completed.  Tomorrow, hopefully the orphanage lawyer will have completed all the schools documentation and the director will sign his portion tomorrow.  The inspector's office must sign some additional papers, and then the package is off to Kiev for approval and court date assignment.  We found out that the judge is assigned via a computer, and that some judges are good - and some are very bad.  What that basically means is that a good judge will not delay things, while the bad ones will give excuse after excuse and cause delays.  We are hoping and praying for a good one, or for favor to be found with a bad one.  We’ll see.  We also found out that the girls will most likely go to camp on June 16th.  We are not sure yet, but if everyone leaves the school and there is not kitchen facilities or laundry or anything, then they will probably have to go.  It is about an hour away, and we would need to relocate there and travel to Kherson for court and paperwork chasing.  Hopefully they will not have to go, but we are not sure how they could stay if no-one else is around.  Perhaps there will be a remnant left behind that they could stay with at the school until everything is final.  Another thing we discovered is that the director's paperwork signing tomorrow will include their signed consent for adoption....this is a big step and important for reasons of the grandmother (see below).

When we returned at 5pm, we were met by one excited little Katya, and one forlorn little Karina.  We came to find out that she is struggling with the thoughts of having to leave grandmother and potentially not see her again.  I don't know what all was said, but this was the summary given us.  As we walked out to the courtyard, she seemed distant a little and walked a bit ahead of us.  She and Amy started to play checkers when we got to a bench and her spirits seemed to change very quickly to the happy child we had left a few hours earlier.  So we stayed with them for an hour and a half, during which time we played more on the ipad games, and then on the playground and stuff.  We had a great time together, and both were smiles and hugs and engaging when it was time to leave.  They didn't want us to go - and I would have stayed and slept on the lawn if they would have allowed.  We probably could have stayed much longer, but our driver was waiting for us and he had already served us patiently all day long.  Plus Amy was tired and Dahlia needed to lay down...so we returned to the apartment content with a good day of meeting them and keeping the ball rolling.

Grandmother:  The translator and caretaker both went to speak with grandmother about the adoption.  She is against it, for reasons of missing them when they are gone and not being able to maintain contact with them.  They told her that it would not be forbidden to keep contact and that it is possible to write and call from time to time as well.  She also thought that WE were receiving money to take them...on the contrary!  She is also very poor and doesn't have a good place to live.  She is renting in a really bad area and is not able to care for the girls.  She did raise them for the first 4.5 years of their lives, but requested the school take them when she could no longer care for them properly.  She works as a hired hand to a farmer on occasion and just simply isn't able to care for them.  The girls have said that she doesn't come to see them very often.  Katya is ok with leaving her behind; Karina is having a harder time with it.  Katya is also the wide open monkey, while Karina is more serious and thoughtful.  Our facilitator doesn't think the grandmother will protest, but is saddened by it...and so are we.  We don't want to hurt her, but also do want what is best for the girls.  Discerning what is best is hard for us to do in this situation.  We do know however that grandma can't and won't ever be able to take care of them.  They will age out of the system at age 16 with very little hope of a future beyond prostitution and crime.  Medically speaking, the best care for them is located in America.  They would benefit greatly from being part of a family.  With these things in mind, combined with their desire and consent of course, we have moved forward with the next steps and are now waiting on others to complete their part.

Here are some pictures, hope you enjoy looking at them as much as we enjoyed taking them.



10 comments:

  1. Praising the Lord for progress! Continuing to pray for the days ahead.
    Karen

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  2. Oh my gosh Jeff and Amy....they are beautiful!! They are cute in their NHFC pic but it really doesn't do them any justice! I am so excited for y'all and just know that God's sovereignty will reign above all and you will have a peace in all of your decisions! Yes, I heard it was illegal to proceed with adoption for a child you have not officially met. I'm surprised your agent didn't tell you that. But so glad yesterday's mess was cleared.

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  3. OH praise God. I am so happy for you all. I will be praying for favor with the grandmother and with the judge. Hopefully they both see whats best for these beautiful girls. Cant wait to meet them. uCant wait for more pictures. Love to you all. The Wells Family

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  4. Amazing. Just amazing. I have no other words. Just so you know, I wait with baited breath to read each and every update!

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  5. You are so very encouraging! Thanks for walking this journey with us. It is absolutely exhausting and your standing with us keeps us going.

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  6. Wow what an exciting time! I check everyday to read your updates and I thank you so much for keeping us all informed on whats going on! They are both gorgeous and I hope and pray that everything continues to go well. What a roller coaster of emotions! I know yall are so perfect for those girls and we cant wait to meet them too! BTW...can you tell us which one is in pink and which in red...that way we can get to know the differences in them so we will know them better when we meet them. =)Keep the updates coming and know we are thinking of ysll!! Love, Heather

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  7. What gorgeous girls! What a beautiful family! Please know that I have already prayed for the rest of this process and will continue to lift your family up all the way back home!
    In Him,
    Nikki

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  8. In these photos Katya is in pink, and Karina is wearing red. Thanks you for your encouragement, we are looking forward to todays developments in the process, and if nothing else - hanging out with the girls more. language is a tough one...i hate when they want to tell me something and I just dont get it. All i can do is smile and say "no pone-yo" - "I dont understand". Sometimes there is a translator there, most of the time not. Our ipad translation device doesnt work without an internet connection, but today I think we will try the mac with google translator.

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  9. I am just so encouraged by you all. Love seeing what God is doing with these beautiful girls. They are so worthy of the love that you all will give them. They seem wonderful. I have so many things I want to say but just cant get my thoughts together to put them on here..Just thrilled for them and you. I love reading about your journey and hope to have one someday! Love you all bunches! Amanda Wells

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  10. Praise the Lord for HIS favor in the developments of the last 24 hours - I can't wait to read the next stories! Praying . . .

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