Tuesday, March 31, 2015



A crisp 2 degrees Celsius, as I walked outside the airport in Kyiv, it was 8:30 PM. I see my breathe as I say "net" (nee-ette) to the multiple men who ask me for taxi's or if I would like to exchange money. I walk with my head down, rolling my one suit case through the cool, dark air, to the parking lot, weary of my surroundings.  

Over 8,000 dollars in cash and a United States passport strapped to my body.
Consumed with fear and disappointment that the bag containing the gifts for Yana and Alex was not on the conveyor belt when we arrived.
Yes, Ally and I both have our clothes and basic needs, but the goody bags with toothbrushes, toothpaste, mascara (for the girls), a deck of cards (for the boys), gum, mints, floss, deodorant... the special gifts picked out for the director, and the whiskey for the lawyer, no where to be seen. Missing. Customs' waved us through knowing we had been talking broken English for the past 45 minutes with the airport baggage person.
The baggage lady looked more confused than I did and even walked around the empty baggage claim area twice, wondering if we missed it.
Eugene, our driver, lifts our bags into the car. He drives slow on the highways and through the streets of Kyiv. He tells stories of his apartment, the history of his many friends. He talks about different families he has met and how he has to pick up another family after dropping us off.
The warm car, compared to the chilly out side fogs the window making it nearly impossible to see what he is actually talking about. Ally laughs as I continue to ask him questions. A year ago, she sat where I sat, in the front seat and heard the exact stories.
He parks (ON THE SIDE WALK) and  walks us up to the apartment where we will be staying for the next two days. I tote up the 5 flights of stairs with a 33 pound bag and think to myself, boy am I out of shape.
We pay him and thank him, as he tells us he will be picking us up at 8:15 for our SDA appointment.
Dinner awaits us at Karen's (an american missionary) apartment as well as a warm king size bed to share and two towels to use. We stay up and chit chat around the kitchen table until around 10:45, but our tired bodies begin to win the battle and we both feel the need to go to sleep and talk to this amazing women tomorrow.
A map in Karen's apartment of the many families whom have stayed with her

Up and out of the house by 8:15 with a cup of French pressed coffee in a travel mug I borrowed, not sleeping much, and still exhausted, we leave for my appointment. I wear the best outfit I brought, a pair of black slacks and a sweater making sure to look conservative. My Ukrainian cell phone rings, and we are picked up on the street outside of the apartment.
Again Eugene drives slow, and other cars pass by and honk. We continue our conversation from last night until we park in front of a large church.
The facilitator walks up to the drivers car and gets in. I meet him for the first time although I have heard so much about him. He guides us to our appointment, and the driver leaves to attend to another family. Almost as though it was the changing' of the guards. Eugene leaves and Igor takes over.
We walk through a court yard to an unmarked blue door.
This door holds the approval for me to see my kids and the files on what has happened in their life up until now.  Ally comes with me, as I introduce her as my sister. The SDA officer asks me a series of basic information questions and has me sign a large book next to the kids names. We are told birth dates and biological parent names. We are told Yana is "persistent" and Alex is "calm". We are told  when they were removed from there mother's care. 
I do the math in my head,  I thought they were older than that?  
I am asked to come back at 3:00 tomorrow.
It was over. The appointment that I longed to have for 6 months took 15 minutes. The appointment I traveled 6300 miles to be at lasted 15 minutes. The appointment that took me 24 hours to get to, was 15 minutes.
Update:  I have had 3 people call the baggage claim number, however we still have not heard anything.
As far as being in Ukraine. Everyone is kind and there is never a time we are alone outside the apartment. It is a well oiled machine where we are picked  up at the exact time we are suppose to be picked up. We are given exchange rates better than what the app I downloaded says we should be getting. We are taken to breakfast and introduced to many people, all excited for us to be here and Yana and Alex to have a forever family.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8

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