Friday, February 6, 2009

Goodbye to Our Warrior

On Wednesday, we had gone up to Andreyevo-Ivanovka to sign out Valya from her orphanage. Valya and Sergey are now living with me in our apartment in Odessa. Earlier in the week we were able to get their new birth certificates with their new middle and last names.

By Thursday, our facilitator had wrapped up Valya's property issue, so that opened the door for her passport. I guess we couldn't get her passport until that was resolved. So we met up with our facilitator on Thursday morning to start work on their international passports. They are under the age of 16, so they do not need domestic passports. That has been a little confusing up to now.

We visited several government offices in Odessa together, requiring me to sign who-knows-what documents, and by early afternoon we were finished with that.

Those of you who have been through a Ukrainian adoption may relate to this, you just never are really sure about what comes next... I was taken by surprise when we went out to lunch in Odessa with our facilitator, Nataliya, and she informed me that we were finished in-region. She would be leaving for Kiev that evening. What?!! All we need to do is wait for the passports to be finished. There is nothing else to do here. I wasn't really prepared to be told that... Wasn't prepared for the news that our friend for the last two months would be leaving for good... This wonderful lady, who battled for us, especially for Valya, making the impossible happen... Getting officials to do things when they really would rather be doing something else... God worked miracles through her and we are very glad that she was our facilitator here. Back in December, I posted how we were at war for Valya, and Nataliya was our warrior. Thank you, Nataliya, we are going to miss you. One time when she was looking at our blog, she asked me why we have no pictures of her on here. I told her that I wanted to protect her privacy. She said it is OK, so now I have a picture of her with the kids.

So the big news here is that we are waiting for their passports so that we can finish up in Kiev and come home. Nataliya said they may be finished on Monday or Tuesday. Alyona will call every day and get them for us as soon as they are ready.

Last Wednesday, Nataliya sent the documents we will need for US Immigration up to Kiev with the Swinney's for English translation by Dima. This will save us some time. She always surprises me that way.

So right now we are in wait mode, kind of a vacation really, where we do not have to be anywhere or up at a certain time. The kids continue to get along well. Valya adds a lot of energy to our life here. I can't imagine being without her anymore. It would be very boring. Sergey is a good sport and puts up with all of her hijinx and tormenting.

Here are some pictures.

This is the Odessa City Hall, and the view from the floor we visited. The exterior of it is being renovated. It is easy to tell government buildings in Odessa because they are usually spiffy. Compare it with the building across the street! We needed to get Valentina and Sergey new tax ID's in order to get passports.

Here is Valya waiting in a hallway outside of some office at city hall. You see a lot of that here. A very long hallway that echoes like crazy, and a closed door behind which our facilitator is in there doing something. Nataliya was in there awhile and then called me in for four signatures. And that was all. Wow we do a lot of traveling around for just the smallest things, though without the piece of paper, signatures, and official stamps, you can't do the next step.

On the way to the passport office. I didn't realize it at the time, but this would be our last official stop in Odessa. We walked as that was just about as fast as a taxi due to the traffic.

On the way to the passport office, we passed by the Orthodox church where Sergey was baptized five years ago. I'll have more about that in tomorrow's post.

We were having lunch with our in-region facilitor, Nataliya, when she informed me that we were finished and she would be leaving for home for good that very day. Thank you so much, Natasha, for all of your work on our behalf. Someday, we will be able to explain to the kids all that you did for them.

It's just the three of us now, waiting until their passports are ready next week.


Jim and Kari said...

Jim took our kids to Kiev when we were in the passport waiting mode. There are lots of great things to do with the kids in Kiev, circus, movie theater, museum of natural history, water museum...enjoy the end of your Ukraine adventure, you are close to going home!

Carrie said...

Congratulations. It has been such a long journey for you. You must be relieved to be close to the end. Enjoy your time in Kiev, and have a safe trip home.

Anonymous said...

Mark and I can hardly wait to have you all at home in South Dakota. We have missed you so much these last 2 -3 weeks that we haven't been with you to experience this last leg of the journey. We have SO MANY people praying and so excited to meet the kids and embrace them into our world here. Not only us will be forever changed, but those around us as well.

One Blessed Mama said...

I have been following your journey. I believe we "met" once by email. Anyway, just wanted to say congratulations. After all the waiting, the work, the drama, it is such a surreal experience upon completion. May the Lord ocntinue to bless your new family.

Debbie said...

Wow, it's almost time to leave Odessa. I hope you'll be on your way to Kyiv early next week, passports in hand...maybe you can finish up and be home before Valentine's Day!

Leslie said...

Nataliya was our warrior too! She amazed us again and again with what she could get acomplished. It takes a tough cookie to work the system in Odessa, and she is ONE TOUGH COOKIE. We never posted pics of her on our blog for the same reason. Didn't want to do anything that would jeopardize her work. Please send her our greetings and love!
Leslie, Robert & Kristina Landrum