Saturday, June 9, 2018

Trips 1,2 and 3

We arrived in Ukraine on a Sunday afternoon.  The next day we went to a meeting where we were given permission to visit "Roman" at his orphanage.

We left Kiev early Tuesday morning and drove to the orphanage in Pryluky.

We walked a dark but clean corridor to the director's office where we sat, smiled, and nodded.  I don't think I really heard anything that was said- all I could think about was meeting our boy.

They led us up stairs to a visiting room where we spoke with a social worker.

She told us about "Roman's" biological family.  She told us how his twin brother went home with his family but "Roman" was given up for adoption.  She told us how the mom wanted to bring Roman home too but the father wouldn't allow it.  She told us about all of the surgeries Roman has had and the difficulty of recovering in an orphanage.

 She told us that his mother visited him a few years ago in the orphanage...and that she tried one more time to get her husband to let her bring Roman home but he wouldn't allow it.

She told us that his mother never visited again.

She told us that the rest of Roman's biological family was told he died at birth.

I had a brief moment to process this new information and wonder- will I someday have to tell my son this horrible truth?  How old will he be when he asks me? 

Then the door opened and in walked a small, freshly scrubbed, four year old boy.  His hair slicked down, shirt tucked in, and such a serious expression on his little face.  He held out his little hand to us- "Priveet (hello)", he whispered.

It was different than those moments a Doctor placed a newborn baby in my arms.  The eyes hesitantly meeting mine held secrets of a past I will never know.  This boy of mine has lived more than four years as an orphan.  His life has been hard. 

It was different and it was the same.  I grasped his tiny hand in mine and suddenly my breath came easier.  I looked in his eyes and something deep in me recognized him.  Here he is.

We visited him twice a day and each day he was a little more excited to see us than the day before.  By the last day he ran to us.  Then came time to say goodbye on our last day of visits. 

I knew he would be wondering where we were when we didn't show up the next day.

It was a month before we were back in his town for court.  We left Pittsburgh on a Sunday- got to Kiev on Monday- had court Tuesday and came home Wednesday.  It was exhausting but on Tuesday May 22nd a judge ruled "Roman" ours- AND I can finally drop the advocacy name and tell you his real name is Evgeni.  Evgeni Gerard Kronenberger!  He is called zhenya for short.  The zh- is the same sound the S makes in the word leisure.

We snuck in a quick visit right after passing court!

When do we bring him home?!  Well, after court there is a 30 day wait period before we can get him.  We leave for pickup trip June 25th.

Originally Timmy was going to go alone while I stayed back with the kids but for many reasons we are now going as a family.

Most families I have talked to say we should expect to be gone for 3 weeks- the truth is-all we know- is it won't be less than 2 weeks.
That's a long time to be apart especially when a big change is occurring.

Martina's pickup trip was hard.  The hardest days I've ever had.  This might be completely different and easier BUT if not- I don't want Timmy to live those hard days alone.

This is all of Timmy's vacation time and then some.

Dexter and Bea really don't want to be apart from either Timmy or I.  The hardest part of Martina's adoption was being away for two weeks on pickup trip.  The kids at home had a very hard time with us being away.

Soo many tears when we left for the last two trips. So many.  Not just when we were leaving but the week leading up to it Dexter cried every night at bedtime.

So we are all headed to Ukraine June 25th!!

The only drawback to this new plan is the additional airfare costs.  We sent a few more support letters out a couple days ago and we will use credit if we have to.

Honestly, the cost of not all going seems higher than the cost of going.  I think Zhenya will have an easier time with kids to play with and I know Dex, Bea, Simon, and Teeny will be happier and have an easier time accepting their new brother when the new brother isn't the reason mom and dad are away.

Adoption is hard and we are doing what we think is best for the whole family!

It has been a beautiful, crazy, bumpy road (literally the road to Zhenya's town was so bad sometimes we drove in the grass!) BUT we are almost there.

We are almost there.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

We leave on Saturday for trip one.

I'm a mess

There's excitement- but kind of the sick to your stomach excitement you feel while waiting in line to ride a new rollercoaster.

And then finally you're buckled in your seat- the bar ominously lowers and clicks into place- you're not getting off this ride.  And you are not in control. 

The time for second guessing is over and the next part is all about surviving- hopefully with a little bit of dignity and grace.

There will be moments when the wind is whipping by your face- and you feel exhilarated.  Moments of breathless joy as you balance on top of the world- and then moments of breathless terror as the ground comes rushing up to meet you.  You feel free.  You feel trapped.  You are living. You are dying.

You've been here before.  The ride is not totally unfamiliar.  You may not know the exact course the car will take but the track has been laid.  And you are not in control.

I'm a mess.  And the truth is I've always been one.

I struggle with anxiety but most of the time it doesn't completely overwhelm me.

But right now I am overwhelmed.

I can't wait to meet him.  I hope he likes me and by the end of our visit feels some connection to me and Timmy.  But I know that's not realistic and attachment takes time (a lot of it) and hard work, and it's not guaranteed.  I know I will love him unconditionally.  I know he has friends in the orphanage- I know when we bring him home he will be full of grief and fear of the unfamiliar and I may not bring him any comfort.

I know the brokenness he carries with him will touch the whole family.

There will be so many needs and I will struggle to meet them.  I will grieve the years I didn't know him- the baby I never got to hold.

Expectations will die and small victories will be celebrated.

And what I know most of all is I really don't know.  I don't know.  And this isn't a small thing it's a huge thing...and still I don't know.  I don't know.  I don't know.

I hear the click, click, click as the coaster climbs.

All the paperwork, clearances, and homestudies have led me to this moment- when I finally get to meet this little boy.

I am so very ready to meet him.  To love him.

Five years.  He's lived for five years in an orphanage.  What will that look like?

I don't know.

I think of every possibility and plan but I am not in control.  I don't get to be in control.  I've known for many years who holds my future in His hands- and I truly wouldn't want it any other way.  But I can't completely quiet the fear.

So this is where I sign off.  I'm struggling.
I know the truth and still I'm struggling.  I can't wait to see my boy!  And still I'm struggling.  I believe that God is in control and He is working all things for my good- and to be honest- I'm struggling.  It's  going to have to be ok to struggle.

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you" Psalm 56:3

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.  Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.
Romans 8:38-39

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light
Matthew 11:28-30

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
C. S. Lewis

Saturday, February 24, 2018

So here's where we stand financially with this adoption.

The amount we have fundraised is in the upper right corner.  As I write this it reads, 8201.  This is a a phenomenal amount, especially when you factor in I only mailed 11 support letters because my printer ran out of ink...and well... there's really no other reason.

That money only becomes available to us when we travel.

So far we have paid the following expenses
Home study- 1500
Hague oversight agency- 3100
Facilitation fee deposit for those working on our behalf in ......- 900
USCIS application and biometric fees- 945
Dossier apostilles (all paperwork has to have a special seal from your state department)- 715
FBI fingerprinting (several times)- 200
FBI apostilles- 100
Mailing last part of dossier to ....- 278


There were a few other things like copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, required lab work...

Looking forward

 We will have to travel three times for this adoption.
1st trip- meet him and accept referral. A week long
2nd trip- court (quick as possible)
3rd trip- pick up... 2 weeks to who knows 😯

From this point on- we expect we will spend an additional 23000-27000

8500 of that is the remainder of our facilitation fee, which is due on trip one.  As you can see we will be able to pay the majority of that with the 8200 we have raised so far.

That leaves us with 14,800- 18,800 in costs remaining.  Airfare will be a large portion of that and impossible to know the exact cost until we get our tickets.  Airfare is also pricier because the unpredictable nature of this adoption will require one way tickets and not round-trip tickets.  Food and lodging will be pretty inexpensive.  Drivers and other travel arrangements while in country will be more expensive.  There's also visa, passport, and medical stuff. 

Bottom line- we are bringing this boy home.  We, I hate to say need, but we don't have that full amount SO we could stand to raise 7-8 thousand more dollars.

We are willing and prepared to use an adoption loan if necessary.  The big draw back here would be that a loan would make things financially difficult for us when we first bring him home.

We expect he will need significant medical attention- and we must also prepare for that.

SO this seems like a lot, right?  As I read it, I'm thinking yikes!  And there are some possible "things aren't going as planned" expenses I've kept to myself- you know trying to be optimistic! 😁

But I'm really not worried about the financial part of this adoption.  I mean I'm really not.  And I'm a worrier.

I'm not ignoring the fact that we will need a good bit of money to complete this adoption- and we did buy printer ink and will be mailing more support letters.  Possibly try an additional fundraiser...🤗

But I've seen my son.  Sure, just in pictures and clips, but he is invaluable.  What cost could be too high?  It's a bargain.

*For some reason when I share this blog on Facebook the donate button showing the amount raised will not show up!  Our family support page can be found by clicking on the link below.  It shows how much people have donated and has a button if you would like to contribute online.