Let me just say, adoption takes a long time. I sent my last paperwork off on May 19th. Immigration Approval happened on May 31st. We didn’t get the results of our FBI finger prints until the week of June 20th…a full month after we submitted them. Then we had to mail our paperwork to a family who was going to Ukraine. The family took our paperwork and submitted it for us…then the office that schedules the adoptions (DAP office) closes down until mid-July…On July 12th, nearly 2 months after we’d finished the last of our paperwork, we are officially submitted in Ukraine, finally! At this point in the adoption I know the timetable for this is out of my hands, I do my best, but leave the rest to God. We knew we didn’t want to travel in July, that was our only stipulation for the adoption. July was a busy month for us. My husband had lots of speaking engagements and it just wasn’t feasible. So guess when we traveled 🙂
Wednesday, July 20 @ 7am. I am laying in bed when my cell phone rings, while my kids run around the house and my husband tries to control the craziness. A lady on the other end asks, “Jennifer?”…”Yes…” “I have your travel date. Your DAP appointment (appointment to accept an adoption) is July 28th, you leave in 6 days!”…
Everything had taken so long up until that point. We anticipated leaving in March or April, but here we were in July and now all of the sudden we’ve been given 6 days notice! And we’re off, cancelling several speaking engagements my husband had scheduled for the end of the month, oddly most seemed okay with the cancellation except the people at the church he cancelled with, hopefully one day they will understand…
We decided to take our 3 kids and invite a friend to come help us take care of them while we had our visits in the orphanage, since they weren’t allowed to visit with us. So we take our 6 person party on a 15 hour plane trip across the world. Our kids slept only 2 hours on the trip. We arrived to Kiev, Ukraine on July 26, 2016.
In Kiev, we had our children’s luggage lost and a leaky toilet which occupied all our towels…since there was no dryer we were constantly drying towels from the floor and not using any to wash our bodies. With the kids not having clean clothes and us not having clean towels I remember our few days in Kiev as being pretty dirty.
We met with our lawyer, who showed us pictures of Ulysses. He said repeatedly that Ulysses doesn’t have much of a chance to be adopted if we don’t, but we are under no obligation to adopt him. He has special needs and will always have special needs, we needed to do what was best for our family and our three children that we already have. Nobody will think less of us if we decided to choose another child. We decided to proceed and meet Ulysses and decide if we’d like to adopt him (this is part of the procedure in Ukraine adoptions).
We woke up at 6 am and took a van on a 6 hour drive to Mykolaiv, Ukraine. We arrived by lunch on Friday and made our first visit as soon as we dropped our luggage and children off at our apartment. It’s a half hour drive on a very bumpy road ( I am 6.5 months pregnant) while the driver is going upwards of 120 KM/hr (75 mph). Wow, that’s nauseating!
We meet Ulysses on July 29th around 2pm. We arrive in a remote location where we are put in a small room and nurses and staff members file in and wheel in a blonde, skinny, scared looking little boy. They pick him up and thrust him in my arms and snap a picture as he screams and thrashes. I am told repeatedly this day how damaged he is and how he will always be like this, cranky and upset. Over and over we were told that we didn’t have to accept this child. We should take our time and make a good choice for our family. This first visit we sang to him and touched him. He had no interest in toys. He’s not at that stage yet. He sits in his stroller. That’s his life. After an hour of touching and talking to him, he reaches up to grab my hands, it seems like he’s enjoying the interaction we have. Our visit ends after an hour and a half. We are left to decide if we move forward and adopt Ulysses or not.