I know you are anxious to hear from us. What a last two days we have had. We are in Kiev but that in itself is a miracle. If I were to recount everything that went wrong, it would take the rest of the night to describe it. But things are also good. We did have our SDA appt. today.
First the trip. Our morning started at 4:00 AM in London. The subways don't start up until 5:30 so we timed it so that we would be at the station then. Things were going great until our first transfer. Then we learned that there was some "emergency repair" being performed there and the train we needed wasn't stopping at that station until 6:00 or later. Oh great we needed to be at Heathrow for an 8:05 flight. With every rumbling of our desired train passing us by I was getting more and more nervous as it was still a 45 min. ride from that point. So we had to wait 1/2 hr., then they let us on. Then there are 3 exits on the subway for Heathrow. You have to know your terminal. Oops. We got to Heathrow about 7:15 and didn't know what to do. There are posters on the wall in the stations but the train doesn't stop long enough for you to get off, look at the poster, then get back on. We opted to get off at one of the earlier stops so that we could get back on again if needed. Yep we picked the wrong one. Well the next train was 12 min. later. As I watched our train pull away, I'm starting to think, this is not good.
Sure enough by the time we got to checkin, they had already finalized the flight and they wouldn't let us on it. The lady at the counter was nice about it but firm that we were too late. She said we could fly tomorrow. Very bad as we had our SDA appt. Miracle #1 was she found us flights on a Hungarian airline the same day, in fact, leaving in 1/2 hr. The original tickets were non-refundable, so we will have to figure out if there is any way we can use them on the way home (we'll have more people!). At least she gave us emergency rates.
By the time we got through security, we just barely even made that flight. We had a layover in Budapest Hungary. Now that is an interesting airport. Apparently no one ever does layovers there. When we got off, the path led straight to the baggage claim area. We noticed another pair of men wandering around with a security guard, walking from place to place. Even he did not know how to get to the departure area. Turns out it was in the corner of the building separate from where the planes unload. We had to go through security again. All the signs and people talking were in Hungarian. From there we had our flight to Kiev. We arrived in Kiev at 3:30, 2 hours later than our original flight. No big deal, you say?
Well, we had arrangements for two parties to meet us at the airport. The first was for the VIP Service from Lonnie that I've posted about before. The second was our facilitator. I was very stressed out because I had no way to reach either of them during the trip. We didn't have a phone, and there was no internet for email, and there was no time to find it. So I was VERY concerned that we would be going through Ukrainian customs without any help.
Miracles 2 and 3 were that both parties were there for our later arrival. Turns out they always call ahead to verify that we would be coming before they actually go out to the airport. The VIP guy was unbelievably helpful. If you are planning to go to Ukraine then my advice is to hire them. He gave us, um, advice on how to fill out the forms. Even the officials were cooperative, giving me new forms after I "over declared" how much money we were bringing in. There were several booths with long lines of people, and one booth with no one there. That is the one they took us to. It was incredible.
Next bummer though was we discovered that only one of our three suitcases arrived. We have learned that they will be in tomorrow (Friday). That makes 3 days in the same clothes for Mark and me. Nancy's was the one that we did get.
But my suitcase has all of the electronic stuff in it like chargers, power converters, cords, etc. and we are missing all of that. The batteries in our laptops are dead, so now we are in an internet cafe long enough to give you this update.
Yes we had our SDA appt. today and it took all of 10 min. They showed us the files of Sergei and Valya. All was as expected. Also as expected, she told us that Valya has three brothers and a sister. They did not have specifics for us at the appt. She gave us referrals for all of the children. We will have to work out in-region about who is adoptable, etc. We will work with the Inspector and the orphanage director. We don't know yet what we will decide. We don't have enough information to go by. I told Nancy, you do realize don't you, that now that we have a referral, we will be required to meet her? It will be difficult to say no. I hope it doesn't come to that.
We have been told that our luggage will be here tomorrow night. We have decided to have them leave it at the airport and we will just pick them up when we fly down to Odessa on Sat.
I have lots of pictures, wish that I could post them. But we can't use the two computers we brought with us yet.
I will update you later as soon as I can. Right now I need to go online and book our flight for Sat. Thanks to all of you that are praying for us.
Today is Thanksgiving, we are indeed thankful to the Lord for his many blessings. Peace to you, friends.
4 weeks ago