Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our SDA Appointment

We had our SDA appointment last Wednesday at 3:00 PM. The SDA building is about a 15 min. walk from our apartment. Dima, part of Oleg’s facilitator team, took the subway and met us at our apartment. From there, we walked together to the SDA.

Kiev is split by the Dnieper river. In this area, the land rises up from the river to a hill. On the top of this hill on the edge of it, you will find the SDA building. Right next door to the SDA building is St. Andrew’s church, built in the 1700’s.

If you go up the stairs of the church, seen in the picture, there is a portico that completely surrounds it. From here, there is a panoramic view of the lower parts of Kiev.

In this picture of Mark, the SDA building is the first building behind him.

This is the view that Mark is looking at. It is a very old street that in the olden days used to connect the poor areas in the lower city to the rich areas on the hill. Every year on the birthday of Kiev this street has a fair with many people coming to celebrate their heritage.

Here we are in front of the SDA building. There is a famous sculpture here from a Ukrainian tale.

The main entrance is in the center of the building when looking from the front. You never use that entrance when going there for adoption stuff.

The entrance we PAP’s and facilitators use is on the left side of the building, nearest the church next door. This is where the famous iron gate is. Thursday morning I visited to see the lines, but there weren’t any. I wasn’t expecting one anyway as Dima had told me the day before that there are no lines on Thursday, which is the day for older kids. That is a sad commentary on adoption. This morning I only saw a small group of facilitators talking. One of the ladies was holding a dossier.

When you go in that side door, immediately to your left is an L-shaped staircase that goes upstairs. This is the famous staircase where you will wait to be called for your appointment. In this picture, Dima is looking at The Bulletin Board, where all notices are posted for the facilitators to see. Your SDA appointment was or will be on this board.

On this day, Dima was reading about new rules that will take effect on Dec. 1 regarding 2nd appointments. Under the new rule, the Power of Attorney that facilitators have will not be sufficient in asking for the 2nd appointment. The family must petition in person, and the SDA will take up to 10 days to respond with their answer. Constantly the SDA is making it more and more difficult for foreigners to adopt from Ukraine.

Here are Mark and Nancy at the bottom of the stairs. We didn't have our appointment upstairs. The doorway directly behind them goes through a small office where a security guard is stationed. A couple of feet past that is a couch in the hallway and a door to a room on the right where we had our appointment. There was an American couple sitting on the couch waiting for something. We could read their faces that things were not good for them but we never did talk to them. The room I mentioned is where we were led and had a table and an L-shaped leather couch where we sat. The lady and Dima sat at the table.

The lady official met with Nancy, Mark, and I plus Dima as our interpreter. Because we had petitioned for specific children, she had only a single red binder with papers about the children. She started out by asking us to tell her about ourselves. Then she asked why we wanted to adopt. She singled out Mark and asked him specifically why he wanted to. Then she asked us how we knew about Sergey and Valya. Satisfed with our answers, she pulled out two datasheets with the childrens' information on it, including small scanned images of them that were about 5 years old. She asked us if these were the children. The pictures were old and the kids looked much different then, but we assured her that they were the ones. Regarding Valya, she told us that she had 3 brothers and one sister, which we already knew. She mentioned that the information about them was upstairs and she did not have it with her there. Finally, she just said that she would be giving us referrals for all of the children and we would have to sort out the situation in-region. It's not the way we expected it to go but we accepted it. As we were leaving, she asked Mark directly if he was happy, and he said he was. She was very pleasant and smiled the whole time. It lasted no more than 10 min. and that was that.

When we exited the building I met a men who asked if we were Americans. He was from Seattle. He and his wife were there for their 2nd appointment. At their first appointment, they were only shown files of disabled children. They are trying to adopt a young child. You've seen my earlier post about the number of young healthy children available for adoption by foreigners and this graph so it is no surprise. They had declined all of the files at their first appointment and were hoping to see healthier children this time. The stories are real, it is very difficult to adopt a very young child with no disabilities in Ukraine.

Here’s a picture of Dima and Oleg. There are many good facilitators in Ukraine. Oleg is one of the best. If you are looking for a facilitator you can visit his website here.


Tony and Lisa Venskyy said...

wow... sounds like you had a great journey... i am glad to hear that all went well there and we are praying that the rest is blessed too.

Anonymous said...

Hey Pretre's sounds like your appointment went well! I hope you continue to have God bless you while your in Ukraine. I will continue to follow your blog.

Ryan Christy - Orange City, Iowa

P.S. Say Hi to Mark for me!

Ashley said...

Thanks for showing us all the pictures and explaining things in detail.

I can't wait to see how it goes with the children. :)