We ran into a complication getting the American visas for the kids.
In our original homestudy, we had listed Valya's age as the upper limit that we would accept, in case the SDA did not give us the referrals we were petitioning for. At the time, that upper limit for us was 12 y.o.
The problem for us has been that our original homestudy for the I-600A was finished about 15 months ago and the kids have had two birthdays since. I wanted to wait until after our SDA appt. to update because of the uncertain situation we had with Valya and her siblings, and also after court in case something unexpected were to come up. But afterwards, somehow, I forgot all about it.
Yesterday, our social worker updated the age limit to 14 y.o. and emailed me the new homestudy, which I forwarded to the DHS person in Minnesota. Today, I also had the US Embassy personnel push for them to expedite. It appears like DHS and the National Visa Center will give approval same day Thursday, which is really remarkable. Thursday in the US is overnight in Kiev. The Embassy has told me to call in the morning (Friday), and we will probably be able to get our visas.
Today, we had our interview with the consular officer. He did a final review of our paperwork, looked at the results of the blood tests, and made me raise my right hand and swear under oath that all that we submitted was true and accurate to the best of my knowledge.
One other interesting tidbit here, Valya needed to have her fingerprints taken at the Embassy because she is 14 y.o. Sergey didn't need to.
We are losing a day but it is working out. So, the tentative plan right now is to fly out on Saturday, stay the night in Chicago, and then fly into Sioux Falls on Sunday. There is something going on back home on Saturday and if we fly in then, no one will meet us at the airport!
Today at the Embassy we saw a family in the American Citizens' waiting room, but we never talked to each other. Later, we went down to the SDA to take some pictures with the kids, and we ran into them again at the souvenir vendors. It turns out that they recognized me because of our blog, but never said anything! They are the Sawchuk family from Atlanta and they adopted two young boys.
Tonight we went down to Independence Square. It was really hopping tonight. There is so much life down there and along Kreshetuk street. I can only imagine what it is like in summertime.
At 8:30 AM today I went sightseeing by myself as the kids really didn't want to get going that early. I walked to the Parliament building and the Presidential Palace. They are far from our apartment, which is across the street from the Kiev Opera House. On the way back, there was a huge political rally down the street from Independence Square. Also, at the square itself there are several tents set up. There are people protesting against the government because of the economy. I'll post pictures when I have decent internet.
A Car Ride
1 day ago