That is what it is going to take to get us home. And yes I did say HOME!!! Right now we are in the process of buying train tickets, changing plane tickets and figuring out ground transportation for our exit. We hope, God willing, to be home MONDAY!!!!
Let me catch you up on the last couple of days…… We hit the ground running as soon as we got off the train in Kyiv, Wednesday morning. We went to the US Embassy right from the train station; we needed to apply for Karina’s visa to exit the country. To complete the Embassy work we needed to get a medical report and we went straight to the medical center after we left the Embassy. Our facilitators have been FANTASTIC!!!! They have done such a good job helping us through this process. They helped us do all the medical checks that we needed and they even picked up the lab results later that day. That saved us another trip around town. After our stops we arrived at our hotel, Hotel Khreschatik. This is the hotel we stayed in when we first arrived in Kyiv in December, so it felt familiar. It is a little expensive, but it has Wi-Fi and a free breakfast and when you are “on the road” those little things go a LONG way. We also knew that we were only going to be there for one night. This hotel has great service and will let you check out later and hold your bags for you for free. A big plus when you are unsure of your plans.
Wednesday afternoon we ate at Puzata Khata(see above picture)- we have become regulars at this buffet!! Then we were off to do a little souvenir shopping. I can’t share all the things we found…it is a secret!!! (I know the boys and Storey Grace read the blog regularly at Matthew’s parents.) It was a fun outing with Karina. She even got a souvenir to bring home….a polar fox hat. She loves it. She said it is the “coolest of cool”. We have seen many of the ladies in Ukraine wearing one of these hats. I am not sure how many times she will get to wear it in Mississippi, but it will always be a special memory for her. Her dad was so excited to buy her something furry! (Side Note: Matthew wanted to buy her a PINK fur coat while we were in Odessa. Yes, I said PINK! He loves to get things for his girls!!! It is so great to see him and Karina together. ) After an hour or so of shopping we headed to the hotel for some much needed rest.
Wednesday evening we found an Egyptian restaurant for dinner. It was at the top of the food court in the underground mall. It was pretty good. The most important thing was that they had an English menu. You must top off a good meal with dessert so… to the gelato shop in the food court! All in all Wednesday was a BIG day. Karina was in wonder most of the day. So many firsts for her- first hotel stay, first second-class train ride, first time to the US Embassy, etc…. It is great to see her take on these little challenges and even help us through some of our own. She has really stepped up to help us with our language barrier!!! We are thankful to see her confidence building with each new challenge.
Thursday was another BIG day. We got to the Embassy a little early and no one was there, quite different from the day before. At 2 PM we had our interview with a nice, funny American. He put us at ease, as we are finishing up this process. He gave us a bunch of info and then he said, “We are having some problems with our computers. They are printing visas without pictures, which are basically useless. You can wait in the lobby for a while and see if we can get it straightened out. We have someone here working on the problem”. A knot came into my stomach. He later said that maybe we could get it Friday or maybe Monday at the latest. A larger knot developed in my stomach. We were not going to leave Kyiv without her visa, yet we wanted to visit our friend over the weekend since we found out that we cannot fly out of Ukraine before Monday at the earliest. All of these things are running through my head. Then the thing that always gives me comfort….God is in control and whatever transpires is what He has planned for us. Sweet peace enters my stomach. I offer up a prayer and then enjoy spending time with another family that we know, the Wildemans. They are also in the last leg of this trip. It was fun to wait with them and pass the time. Finally the man who interviewed us came to the window and said “Good news, we printed the visas and they have pictures!” We were so thankful. Karina now has her visa and all the paperwork she needs to leave Ukraine and go to the US! She was so excited!!!! She was dancing around!! So was I!! There were so many feelings in those few moments. We were so excited, but also we were relieved and thankful. Our girl is coming home. We always knew that was the goal, but now it is a reality. Thank you Lord, for comforting us in your sovereignty. No matter what the outcome would have been you are in control and it all would have been for our good and your glory.
We left the Embassy and headed to the train station to buy tickets to visit our friend Tasha. We got on the train at 8:30PM and we arrived in Zaporizhya at 6:40AM. We will be here until tomorrow. When we got to Tasha’s house her mom had a nice “light “ meal for us. It was delicious!! She was so warm and welcoming. We have been so blessed by Tasha during this whole adoption process. She has visited us in Odessa many times and she has translated many hours of conversation for us with Karina. We look forward to sharing with you how the Lord seems to be moving Tasha to Odessa to work with the orphans.
It has been a fast and furious few days. We look forward to posting an arrival time and date on our next blog. Thank you all for praying for us. We have truly felt your prayers. Your encouragement and friendship through this process has been used by God to strengthen and encourage us. Karina is so blessed to get to know all of you. We look forward to introducing you to our daughter…SOON.