Thursday, March 13, 2014

In region and an official "yes"

Yesterday we returned to the SDA to sign for our official referral paperwork

With referral in hand, we traveled to "region" this morning.  "Region" is located approximately 2.5 hours South of Kyiv by car in an area known as Cherkasy.

Crossing the Dnipro River into Cherkasy.

Once we arrived at the orphanage, we met with Maria (orphanage director), Natalia (inspector for the region) and Alla (facilitator) to get paperwork going in preparation to submit back to Kyiv so that we can secure a court date.

Lots of boring stuff today including unknowingly signing our lives away on documents written in Urkainian probably, sitting and trying not to fall asleep on random couches in notary offices, following Alla down strange dark corridors (evidently lighting is a luxury in these parts), eating orphanage food (some of us for the first time) in small unmarked rooms.

Officially initiated into the orphanage meal club.

Today we realized that page protectors are not just for Kyiv...they have made their way all the way down to Cherkasy as well.  Which makes me think they've permeated the entire country.  This concerns me a bit but apparently does not concern the people here a whole lot.  Page protectors and hand sewn documents are seemingly the norm.  As is driving to and from offices for signatures and back.  There's not a whole lot going on via "e"-anything.  So incredibly hard to understand.  But things get done...and for that I will just be grateful and overlook the inefficiencies that come with not joining the 21st century.

I wasn't kidding when I said hand sewn.
So, all that boring paperwork stuff aside, we also experienced some firsts today.  And let me tell you, they were not only worth the wait, but worth every bit of paper we've ever signed and then some.

Today, Adam met his son for the first time.  He saw Kate for the first time since she left our home in August nearly 8 months ago.  We got to be together as a family for the first time on this side of the world.  So much good.

First family portrait (minus our stateside girls).

First moments together.

Blessed.

Game time with my boy.
Just being united finally after all this time waiting and working and traveling and waiting some more was amazing.  But then the day got better.  You see, it's not enough for us to come in and say we would like to adopt these children.  They each have to consent and agree to be adopted by us.  In order to do that, they write out a formal letter that becomes part of our documentation and states that they would like us to be their parents.

Today we watched as Kate wrote her petition to be adopted...by Adam and me.  No one else.  Just us...these two random people she didn't even know a year ago whom she has decided she would like to call Mom and Dad.  It's a mutual decision.  We choose her, but she must also choose us.

And she did.

A handwritten "yes"
10 years.  That's how long she's been waiting for a mom and a dad.  She has waited long enough.  I think she's happy with her decision and we couldn't be more thrilled.

Now begin the weeks spent "bonding" with our soon-to-be children and early next week we hope to witness Max writing his own "yes."

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