truly blessed

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We are truly blessed to have wonderful friends in our lives.  Tonight, Bev, Allison, Joan, Patty, Kristin and Marc took us to dinner to wish us well on our journey.  They also gave us gifts to "protect" us while traveling.  St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers, and is often pictured with the Christ Child on his back.  Now, with heartfelt thanks, he will be with each of us throughout our journey. (He joins the St. Anthony my Kleine Oma gave me about 25 years ago, who travels with me on every trip.)

St. Christopher's feast day is May 9th, according to the Eastern Orthodox Church, also known as the Catholic Orthodox Church.  If we are in Ukraine, I hope we can make it to church on that day. 80% of Ukrainians are Eastern Orthodox, and I have been told that most children in the orphanages are baptized according to this faith.  I am glad for that, but will have the kid(s) baptized again once we are home.  

I also have to mention my wonderful teaching partner, Marilyn.  I am continually amazed with her gift of words.  She writes the most beautiful cards, and has the most true, genuine heart.  I look forward to seeing her each and every day.

travel conference

Monday, March 30, 2009

Today we had our travel conference by phone with our caseworker.  She gave us a general idea of what to expect while in-country, at the SDA, a timeline (approximate), and travel tips.  All good news, and no surprises.  I think we are almost as prepared as we are going to get.

The kids at school are so cute.  They are very excited, and are always asking questions.  Today they were asking me if we have chosen any names.  They all had advice when I told them we hadn't.  In fact, one of my boys wrote an alphabetical list of names.  On one side of the piece of paper was the list of names he liked, the other side had the list of names he didn't like. He thought this would be very helpful in our decision-making process!

I actually just came home from work.  I worked on finishing-up report cards and other things. It was therapeutic to be at school... a break from the adoption preparation, and the "tornado" that has hit the spare bedroom and the rest of the house.  Bill and I look at each other sometimes and have to stop ourselves from talking.  We have talked about everything that could possibly happen while in Ukraine dozens of times.  We have come up with numerous scenarios we may find ourselves in at the SDA or elsewhere.  Since last Tuesday, we have explained the adoption process more times that we can keep track of.  Family, friends, co-workers, the women who work at the Veterinarian's office....... We feel as though we cannot explain and talk about the next two months one more time.  We are emotionally drained. We just want to get there.  We are ready.

question about skype

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We do not want to travel with a laptop if we don't have to, but would like to stay connected with family back home via Skype.  For those of you who have been to Ukraine and used the internet cafes, do they have Skype downloaded, and if they do, would we need to bring a camera or headset?  I know that each region may be different, and we don't know where we will be staying, but I would just like an idea.

Thanks in advance for your help!

two trips

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

We originally booked our flight coming home on May 19th.  Well, today after talking with HR, we have decided that financially it makes more sense to come home during the two week wait time, rather than stay in-country.  Emotionally, this is not the way I'd like it to be. I am trying to talk Bill into agreeing with me that I should stay in Ukraine while he comes back to work, but he is concerned about leaving me alone.  

We are making the best out of this situation.  We figure we can wait to complete the painting and decorating of the bedroom(s) during the time we come home, we can pack lighter, and we can take clothes for the child(ren) back with us.  It is a little less stress on us as we prepare to leave next week.

We were able to change our return flight with no problems.  Northwest/KLM has been very good to us, and especially patient with me.  (I get nervous flying and was adamant with the representative that we must be on the largest plane!)

One last thing for those of you that our preparing to travel soon...both of our banks have been giving us problems in regards to the new $100 bills.  TCF told us no way, they only have old bills, and my credit union is calling us back tomorrow.  They think they may have them, but scattered throughout the other branches.  If that is the case, we will need to go to all the different branches next week to get them.  Both banks said that the larger banks like Comerica or Bank of America would likely have them.  

Travel Date!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good news....our appointment date with the SDA is on Tuesday, April 7th!!!

We are leaving on Saturday, April 4...a wonderful day that is also Ota's (my grandfather) 89th birthday.  We are returning (tentatively, of course) on May 19th.  We opted to use our frequent flyer miles instead of the adoption rate the airline gave us.  In fact, it would have been less expensive to purchase two full-fare tickets and pay the penalty to change flights than to purchase the adoption price. (adoption-fare tickets can be changed without penalty)  

So far, our flights are booked, the gifts for the adoption team and orphanage staff  have been purchased, Paul is staying here with Winston, Gretel is going to Papa's, now we just need to go the the bank and get our house prepared.  Yeah!!!

submission & employment letter

Monday, March 16, 2009

We were successfully submitted today.  However, the SDA did NOT want to accept our paperwork (insert complete panic when I read that news).  Apparently, two weeks ago the SDA changed what they wanted the employment letter to state.  I guess your employer now needs to state your income monthly for the last six months.  You must also have exact dates.  We had the 2007-2008 school year, and the 2008-2009 school year, which was acceptable when we were registered, but not anymore.

So, you may want to check with your facilitator if your employment letter does not state your monthly income for the past six months.  

submission date is tomorrow

Sunday, March 15, 2009

We have been waiting for tomorrow, that date that all adoptive parents anxiously look forward to, for a year now.  It is hard to believe that by the time we wake up in the morning, our dossier will be submitted!  It is even harder to comprehend that now we just wait for a travel date.

While we wait for this exciting news, my dear friend and job-share partner, has tragically lost her sister.  It was an unexpected death, and she was only 31 years old.  She is having a very difficult time with this loss.  It makes you stop and put things into perspective.  We need to live each day to the fullest, and reach out to those we love.  We never know when tomorrow will not come.

I have been teaching the morning for her (math and science) for the past week, and will do so again tomorrow.  It is hard being in the classroom full-time again!  ;)  I have to give mothers who work full-time and raise a family a lot of credit.  I don't know how they do it.  Who has the energy to cook dinner, and then check papers after keeping a classroom of kids on track all day! Not to mention laundry, after school activities, and helping them with their homework!  I am looking forward to all of it, but am cherishing these last few weeks of sleeping in.  Each day, I thank God that I have the opportunity to work and do what I am passionate about, (not to metion working with a exceptional teaching partner) but will have half the day to be at home.  It truly is the best of both worlds.

sooner than later?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A family from AAI, our adoption agency, received word this morning that their appointment date is March 25.  They were submitted just last week on March 2!  That is amazing news, and I couldn't be happier for them.  However, my stomach is in knots. 

Our paperwork is going to be submitted on Monday (please pray all goes well), and if we follow their timeline, we will be in Ukraine by Easter.  Great news, but we all of a sudden feel so unprepared, almost as if we have been moving along in this process as if it was never really going to happen.  I have been so content following the blogs of all the other families adopting from Ukraine, and mentally preparing myself to travel in May or June.  Now, we may be back home by the end of May!

Oh...Billy just reminded me that we have two David Sedaris tickets for April 21st.  He'll be at the Detroit Opera House if anyone is interested....that is if we are not here.

I must remain realistic here.  There are a host of potential problems (this is international adoption after all!)  that could delay our trip further.  But, now we must be prepared sooner than anticipated!