Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gotcha Day!!!

Yesterday was an extremely eventful day filled with total excitement, happiness and sadness all wrapped up together. We went and picked the girls up in the morning. Then, we finished the remaining paperwork and got our passports in one day -- gotta love the Donetsk region for that. (I know of people in other parts of Ukraine that have been sitting waiting over a week for their kids passports). While we were in Torez, the girls wanted to see their great-grandmother one more time before they left. Apparently, she has been actively participating in their lives. (We've been hesitant to post their photo until it was official -- here they are with their great-grandmother) She would come once a week to visit the girls in the orphanage and bring them gifts and chocolate. Apparently, after seeing how she lives, she is not in a position to care for the girls. So, we took the girls to go see her and it was with heavy hearts by all of us. The girls presented her with a pearl bracelet so that she can always remember them. It was so sad to see this woman break down as she realizedthat she will never see these precious girls again. She begged Jim and I to take good care of the girls and of course promised we would. We also have her address and will share this photo with her. Unfortunately she does not have a phone and we will have to send letters. We then hopped in the car and all cried for about a half and hour as we rode back to Donetsk.

The girls were nothing but patient as we had to finish all of the paperwork in Donetsk and get the new passports. I sat in hallways and for the first time on this visit realized all the little quirks of this country when it comes to the adoption process. Every piece of paper, I mean every piece is in its own clear sheet protector -- not enclosed in a note book, but just a sheet protector. The official documents that have more than one page are sewn together. If that's not enough, they then put a sticker on the back of the remaining thread and enclose the fringes with another seal on top of that. I guess they don't want anybody unsewing the documents and inserting anything else. Every official has their own stamp. I've never seen so many stamps on one piece of paper. The notaries over here have it made. They are really lawyers by education and they have to sign everything.

Then the sun came out and so did the happiness and excitement. Yesterday was the first day for the girls to ride on an overnight train, to eat pizza and have new clothes. They looked so fashionable. Grandpa said it would be great to record their firsts. Today was their first day in Kiev and I'm sure we are going to have some many firsts after this that we will lose count. We are just getting settled into our apartment and of course the first thing they did was go for the TV. I hope they enjoy it now. They will see a little bit a day when we get back and that's it. The girls we just going through their backpacks from Grandma and Grandpa that we filled with goodies. Dasha came out with the blowing bubble solution and wanted to wash her hair with it. She thought it was shampoo. I'm thinking that this is just the beginning :)

We'll try to get some sightseeing in over the weekend and then start working on the US Embassy requirments on Monday. If everything goes as planned, we'll be leaving toward the end of the week.

Until next time,
Heather, Ana and Daria (Dasha)


Jeri said...

Congratulations on your new daughters! I've followed your blog and know that this was a roller coaster adventure (as Ukrainian adoption often is) but you hung on for the ride and look at the two beautiful prizes you're taking home.
I wonder if you could arrange with someone local in Torez (or someone from Donetsk) to prepay and have a phone installed for this great-grandmother. Just a thought. jeri

Jim and Kari said...

Congratulations! The girls are beautiful! I've been waiting to see their picture. I have been praying for your family during this process and am so glad you persevered despite all of the early setbacks. May God bless your family as you learn to love and live together.

robert and kim said...

Congratulations! I can't image how hard the visit with great-grandma must have been. You are very brave. We are in Ukraine now waiting for our court date. We pray God's blessings on your family.

Payne's said...

Oh Heather and Jim!!!! I am so happy for you. The consulate is a breeze - and they are so NICE! Congrats to you and your new daughters!

adopting2fromUkraine said...

Your girls are adorable!

The great grandmother was very unselfish thinking of the girls' good.

Stephanee is in Kiev right now. Leaving sometime Sunday. Maybe you could meet them.

Here's the number on her blog:
38 0959489338


The Flying Eagle said...

Jim and Heather, What a beautiful picture. The girls are perfect and we are so happy for you :-) Their great-grandmother will love this picture what a special woman - you can see the love in her face. We wish you a speedy end to your travels and a safe journey home. Monica & David

Matt and Aimee Garrett said...

It's all working out, isn't it? I started reading your blog about a month ago when it was somewhat dark. It is so interesting to read how things develop for different families. Who would've thought that I'd be sitting here composing this "comment" while my new 15 year old is watching "High School Musical" in Russian! Your persistance though your "valley" is commendable-these girls are lucky and because of your determination and willingness to stick to it, they have a life-time of opportunity and it only cost you, well, a few weeks-you bet it' worth it! Way to go. Matt

Conethia and Jim Bob said...

It's wonderful that you finally have your girls with you. I pray that the rest of your time in Ukriane will be memorable and that you have a safe trip home.

The D'Antuono Family said...

Can this be? Can this be the end? I can't believe the time has finally come for everyone to be together! I am so excitied for you and Jim and the girls! Heather I am so proud of you for sticking to it and getting your girls! You are amazing. You have already proven yourself to be a WONDERFUL mother! :) Enjoy all the "firsts" with the girls and you "LAST" days in the Ukraine! I can't wait to see more pics and hear more about this week! Take care and CONGRATULATIONS!
xoxox Kristina