A couple days ago we learned that our court date is scheduled for Monday, March 11. Not as soon as we had hoped, but we are glad to have a date nonetheless. After court we have a mandatory 10-day waiting period (after which R is officially ours!) and then about another week or so to get R's remaining documents taken care of, like her passport and visa.
Until recently, passports could be obtained the same day. However the Ukrainian government recently changed the passport procedure (lucky us), resulting in a longer wait time. The new procedure requires you to first apply for a tax ID number, and once that's been processed, you can apply for the passport. On top of that, while passports used to be readily available at the local police station, they are now issued in only one place in the whole country. We're praying that the passport, visa, medical exam, and embassy appointment can all be completed in a weeks time or less. Assuming this works out, best case scenario is that we get home at the end of March. Seeing as though today marks one month in-country, thinking about adding another is pretty overwhelming. Nevertheless, we're trying to remain optimistic knowing that the Lord will work through any delay we experience. He has already taught us SO much through the difficult times that we have experienced here. For that we praise Him!
In other news, yesterday one of R's caretakers came in during our visit and led her out of the room for a spontaneous hair cut. By another orphan. Uh, what?? With no control over the situation, we waited and hoped she wouldn't return with a pixie cut. Thankfully she just had her bangs trimmed. Phewf!
Several of the children at R's orphanage will be taken to California this summer for a hosting program. Hosting programs give orphans the opportunity to come to the US and live with a family for a set amount of time, usually several weeks. At the end of hosting trip, many families fall in love with the child and decide to start the process of adopting the child they hosted. In fact, most of the families that adopt from Ukraine have already hosted their child. Having interacted with these kids I can highly recommend them! They are all smart, interactive, funny, and beautiful children. One told us, in excellent english, that he wants to be the president. Others want to be scientists and artists. Most of all, each of these kids want nothing more than to have a loving family. As Americans, we grow up with so much that we often take the most important things for granted. Before this trip, Mark and I had never once pictured our life without the love of our families. Yet that is a daily reality for each of R's fellow orphans. If you are interested in hosting an orphan in your home this summer, let me know I can get you more information and pictures of the children! If you aren't interested, I would ask you to pray for God to open your heart and mind to the idea if that is His will. It would radically change your life, and the life of a special child, forever.