Saturday, March 23, 2013

Back in Ukraine

Although we missed Ruslana like crazy, it was nice being home for a few days last week.  We slept in a comfy bed for the first time in over five weeks, ate familiar food, saw family, Mark was able to go to work, and I was able to see the doctor and check on baby boy. We had our second trimester scan and everything looked great!  It's amazing how much detail doctors can decipher from an ultrasound.  Baby boy had every little detail measured--including his kidneys, bladder, and even the chambers of his heart. He has long arms and long legs for his age which confirms our theory he's going to be a sports superstar.  Before going to the doctor, I was concerned that my pregnancy would prevent me from going back to Ukraine with Mark. The doctors parting words to me were "get on that plane and get your girl!" I am so thankful I was given the green light to fly back to Ukraine and finish up the last steps in our adoption.  Baby boy is one tough cookie for enduring Ukraine, and we are so thankful for God protecting his precious little life.   

While we had planned on returning to Ukraine on March 25th, we found out last minute that the U.S. embassy is changing certain policies on April 1st, so we flew back on the 20th to hopefully beat any delays that would inevitably accompany the upcoming changes. We arrived in Kiev around midnight on Thursday night and were greeted by our facilitator and driver.

As we were loading our luggage in the trunk of the car we saw two pieces of rolled up newspaper.  Just as we were about to toss them aside the driver ran over and told us there were birds in them. Umm..what??  Yes, each rolled up newspaper had a living dove inside.  Only in Ukraine would this happen.  The poor little guys were trapped in the newspaper rolling around the trunk for next three hours as we drove to our region. Our urge to spontaneously liberate these poor things was quelled by the assurances of our driver (apparently a noted expert in dove breeding) that the birds were perfectly safe and comfortable in their newspaper coffins.

Unfortunately, the good ole icy, potholed roads were just as we left them. But, we made it safe and sound into town. We had originally planned on going back to our old apartment, but that ended up being impossible due to busted pipes.  Our facilitator had arranged alternate accommodations, but we couldn't get ahold of the landlord, so we found a hotel and checked in around 2am Friday morning.

At 8am, we started our very busy day. We picked up the court decree declaring us Ruslana's parents (woohoo!), had her birth certificate changed, applied for her tax ID number, and went to the notary to sign documents.
Court house where we picked up the decree
Proud "official" papa with court decree
Facilitator and driver applying for tax ID number
Later in the afternoon we picked up Ruslana to get her passport photo taken. It was so wonderful to see her after being apart for a week and a half.  Here's her passport photo:

The ironic thing is that she was grinning from ear to ear literally the whole time she was sitting for her photo.  I have no idea how the photographer captured a moment of her not smiling, but I think she looks darling!  And don't let her hair fool you--it may look like business in the front, but let me assure you, it was a party in the back...

After the passport photo, Ruslana and I went back to the orphanage to play for a bit and Mark went to the bank to attend to Ruslana's government bank account.  With 19 hours of travel during the previous day, a time change, and lack of sleep, we were beat by the end of the day.  But we accomplished everything necessary, so we were very happy!

A huge snow storm has rolled through Ukraine that's left many cities with no electricity. We've had quite a blizzard here, with about 12 inches of snow accumulating in the last couple of days alone.  Those ski masks I've always made fun of suddenly sounds like a great idea!  Needless to say, the weather is quite a bit different from the 80+ degree weather we experienced last week at home.
The very beginning of the blizzard--this picture doesn't do the current situation justice!
Kiev was hit with a ton of snow and currently transportation in and around the city is impossible.  We hope the roads will be cleared by Monday so we can return to Kiev (with Ruslana!!) and wait out the rest of our trip there.  That would give us the opportunity to let Ruslana experience her country's capitol city before becoming an American.  Please pray that we can travel back to Kiev safely on Monday, that Ruslana's passport processes quickly, and that we can fly home to California on Saturday and be home as a family on Easter Sunday.


  1. I love the "business in the front, party in the back"! LOL! So glad Baby Boy is growing well. Hope you are back home soon and hope your travels are safe.

  2. Jenny, can I ask what her birth month is, please? Thanks!

  3. Yes! Her birthday is September 14. She'll have her first birthday party ever this year!

  4. Awesome, thank you! :-) I'm guaranteed to never forget her birthday - it's sandwiched right between Matt's (13th) and my sister's (15th). LOL

  5. I have another question - sorry! So, is March 22 her official adoption date?

  6. I laughed out loud at your "party in the back" comment! Too funny!!! Praying you get home for Easter!

  7. your girl is just amazing. so so beautiful. she has a fan here in argentinaaa!! cant wait to see her in usa.