It's me! Surprise!
No,wait..this is my blog,so I guess not much of a surprise,but hey....get excited!
I was trying to decide if I should go over the whole journey,but since many of you followed us on the secret FB group,I'm guessing that's not necessary. How about a quick re-cap?
We received our travel call on Wednesday,March 21st. We left our home on Sunday,March 25th to take our children to my mom's house,which is where they would be for the duration of our trip. We started our flight into Ukraine on Monday,March 25th (after a small snafu where I found out our flights were cancelled just a few hours before we were due to fly,and then I had to re-book our whole itinerary,and subsequently leave for the airport rightthen). Luckily,we were ready,so we flew from Raleigh,NC to Charlotte,NC (1 hour). Then from there we went to Munich,Germany. It was a 9-ish hour flight. I really enjoyed it,because the food was good,and they had a nice selection of movies to watch. Then,we had a 5 hour layover in Munich,which went by uneventfully,and we headed over to Kiev (3 hours),which was our final destination.
A driver was waiting for us from our team,and helped us exchange money,gave us a cell phone,and took us to our apartment. He also took us to a market for snacks,bottled water and a cafe for dinner. We were seriously so exhausted that first night that we called the family on Skype,and then crashed.
The next day,we went to our first appointment where we were shown Pacey's file,and given some brief information about him. We were asked if we wanted to see other children,but we were only approved for one child,and we wanted Pacey. We had the rest of the day free,and the next day we went back to the DAP to pick up our permission to go to his orphanage,and then we headed out for dinner before we got on the train.
The train...oh,the train. We had a second class cabin,which was 2 bunk like beds on each side. We had to bring all of our luggage in with us. I was especially concerned about bed bugs there,so we didn't use the linens,but just bundled up in our clothes and tried to sleep. The train was rickety,and it smelled bad. Everyone was smoking,even though they weren't supposed to. I actually had to replace our tooth brushes after that,because they reeked of smoke. We were so glad to get off the train,but then came the most emotional,long day of our trip.
We got off the train at 7,and our driver and facilitator were waiting for us. They took us to our hotel,which was very nice,and gave us an hour to freshen up before we started "running." I showered,running on pure adrenaline at this point,and got ready. We first went to the social workers office,who gave us permission to go see Pacey at the orphanage. Then,we went to the orphanage,and met out guy. It was so surreal. I mean,you pray and gaze over this picture for months,and then there he/she is. It's so strange. I have to be honest. I mean,I was so happy to see him,but I was so nervous. After we met him,we went and talked to the orphanage doctor about his history. It was sparse,but we took notes of everything she said. Then,we officially committed to adopt him,and headed over to a notary to get a bunch of paperwork done. It took forever,and Erik and I were fading. I know we ended up going back to the orphanage,where I fell asleep twice. I can't remember if we did anything else,but I do remember how happy I was to get back to the hotel that evening. Erik and I crashed,hard.
We started visiting Pacey on Saturday,March 30th. We were allowed to visit from 10-12 and 2-4. So,our daily schedule looked like this: Up at 8-ish. Get ready for the day. Go downstairs for breakfast at 9:15 and watch Ukraine music videos while we eat. Go back upstairs and pack the backpack with toys,diapers,snacks,money needed for the day. Our driver picked us up at 9:45 and took us to the orphanage. It was way too far to walk,and although there was public transport by bus,we didn't want to take the chance of getting sick and not being able to see Pacey. We got to the orphanage,went to Pacey's groupa,rang the doorbell,and waited to be let in. Typically,he was due to eat at 10,and they would let me feed him. We would feed,burp,play,sing,talk,and stroll around for 2 hours. Then,at 12 o' clock,we left. There was a big open air market and park right by the orphanage,so we hung out for 2 hours walking,looking around,and then we would get a snack and drink and sit at the park for a big before we headed back. We went back exactly at 2pm,and they usually let me feed him again. Our visits always followed the same pattern,we tried to be very consistent with him,to make him feel safe with us. We stayed until 4,and then handed him back for the day. Our driver took us back to our hotel,and we would relax/nap for about an hour to refresh. Then,we were on our own for the night,and we would walk for a bit,go to dinner,grab some water and snacks at the market,pick up diapers to donate at the orphanage,etc. Then,we came back to our room where I would check in with the kids on Skype and Erik worked on watching our clothes in the bathtub. ;) Once our little chores were done for the night,we played a game or two of UNO and then went to bed. It wasn't exciting,but we didn't need excting,we just needed to get through it. Being in a foreign country,doing what we did...it was tough. So,we kept it as low key as possible.
On Thursday,April 11th at 9:00 am,we had our court date. It was very informal,and the judge didn't ask us a lot of questions,although they spent quite some time looking at our photo book. After about 15 minutes,they came back with the decision,that our decision was approved. Our particular region waived the 10 day wait for appeals,and so we were able to wait and obtain our court decree that day. Once finished,we had another day of running to get paperwork going to bring Pacey home.
We had one last weekend in Ukraine,and then on Monday,April 15th we received word that his passport had come,and we could take him and GOOOOOO!!!!!! Tough day,that was. We had to say good-bye to his mother,whom we had grown to love so much. You CAN actually be elated and heartbroken at the same time. We went back to our hotel,gathered up our things,and then headed back to the train. However,our facilitator told us there was a nice train that would probably be better suited for us. We chose that one,good choice. It was much cleaner.
In the morning,we got off,and had to go to the US Embassy to start visa paperwork,and then to the hospital for a medical exam. All I am going to say is that it was a horrid day. HORRID. Pacey lost his mind. He was just off the hinges. He screamed for hours,and didn't eat for 13 hours. Awful. We survived,that's all I can say about it.
The next day,which went a bit better,was mostly uneventful,and we just waited for our appointment at 2pm.We had our interview, and then got our last bit of paperwork before we headed home.
FLY TIME. Whew. It was 21 hours of traveling with a 10 month old. HA HA HA. ;) I was never happier in my life than to get off that final plane and see our family waiting at the airport. America the Beautiful is SO right.
And,that,my friends,is the super short version of our trip to the Ukraine to adopt the sweetest little guy ever. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Yes.
Next post up? How are we all "adjusting." :)