Saturday, December 12, 2009

Interviews Galore!!

We received our call at 9:30 and were picked up for our appointment. It was the same driver and a nice lady named Aloyna who was to be our interpreter for the trip. She was extremely friendly and began to explain the days events. She was taking us to an appointment with the city officials who would make a local referral for our adoption. After that we would go to the orphanage and meet with the director to gain her approval for the adoption. We expected these appointments were just routine, but soon found out different. The drive to downtown was very nice and showed us much of the city. The housing was all old and run down, but the city had a historic charm to it. We went by the Opera House which is one of the top 3 in the world. It was beautiful from the outside. Perhaps we'll try to see a performance while we're here. I never understood opera anyway, so it won't matter that it's in Russian. We walked into our appointment and stood in a cold bland room. People kept coming in and going out making us move around the room to avoid getting run over. We feel like we're in the way everywhere we go on this trip. As we waited, the interpreter began explaining the appointment to us. We were to meet with the city chief who was in charge of all adoptions. We needed her approval to proceed. Aloyna said to be prepared to explain why were wanted to adopt, why children with DS and why 3 kids. She also said to explain why we wanted more kids if we already had 3 of our own. Leah and I looked at each other and wondered which of us should tell her we have 7 kids. We looked down at the homestudy in Aloyna's hands. Obviously she had not read all of our information.

For a split second I wondered if we could just avoid the subject all together. But that would not be right. So I told Aloyna about our family. 4 biological kids and 3 adopted. She looked up as if to do the math in her head and looked back at us and said "10 kids!" She looked worried and said that we really needed to explain this to the chief because they often think Americans come to adopt because we get some kid of government subsidy for doing so. In otherwords, our motives would be questioned. Now Leah and I were a bit worried. Could this adoption really stop now...... for this reason...... because we have too many kids? We wispered to each other that we would just tell the truth and explain our love for children and our desire to help...... and ultimately explain that this was something God had called us to do. On top of this, we were told while we were waiting that Arthur's name had been mispelled on the SDA approval and that they may reject the document until it can be corrected in Kiev. We walked in to an intimidating room where we sat at a long table and the chief sat at an executive desk. Everything she said was translated as she was saying it. It took a bit to get used to looking at one person and listening to another while they both spoke at the same time. The questions were gentle at first.... introduce yourself, where are you from, what do you do for a living? And then she asked about our family. We described our family and our passion and calling to adopt. We explained that we had fallen in love with Elisa Vanessa and Arthur through pictures online and that we knew they were meant to be ours. The chief laid her pen down and looked at us sternly and began to speak. The Russian language always seems harsh, but we've learned that it just comes out that way. The only word we understood was "spaseeba" which means "thank you". It seemed like forever until we heard the translation. The chief almost had tears in her eyes as she "gladly took her hat off to us and bowed to us as her heroes". She commended our love for children and our large hearts and thanked us for making such a sacrifice. Leah and I got chills as we realized what she was saying. We were approved!!!!

From here, we left to pick up an "inspector" who would accompany us to the orphanage to meet with the orphanage director. When we arrived at the orphanage, they looked at Noelle, Emma, and Grace with concern. They said they could come in and immediately gave the kids surgical masks to put on. The orphanage was very nice and well kept. We walked into a nicely decorated office and met with the orphanage doctor, our interpreter, a lawyer and the inspector. They began to give us the medical history of the children as well as what they knew of their biological parents. We even saw pictures of Vanessa's mother. Surprisingly their medical conditions seemed much better than explained to us before. Elisa had already had her hearts surgery and they didn't think the other two would need surgery. They told us about their temperment and in the middle of talking about Elisa, the door opened. In came an orphanage worker with a small child. It took us a moment, but we realized it was Elisa. She was so beautiful and small. She was much smaller than we thought, but she looked just like her picture... her picture from almost a year ago. She was fussy, but we both got to hold her for just a second before they took her for a nap. One by one.... in the middle of the interview, they brought the kids in. Vanessa was bright and happy, laughing the whole time she was there. Arthur was quiet and not very active and was HUGE. He had a belly that would make a sumo wrestler jealous. He just sat there contently while we loved on him. More on the kids later when we send videos, but the appointment ended well. Everyone in the room loved us and they were laughing at the thought of our large family. They conveyed a great respect for Leah and I and even told us to "write Obama a letter to ask for money to help support our kids". We're not sure if that was a joke or not as the people over here seem to love America's new president. We walked out of the orphanage with a card that would allow us to go see our new babies from 10-12 and 4-6 every day until we left Odessa. We were again approved and one step closer to bringing our kiddos home!


  1. Blessings I think you are a so wonderful I am so glad god led you to these children Blessings from Sunny FL !

  2. What a great story-teller you are! I feel like I am there with you! How wonderful that everyone is so supportive of you! I can't wait to read more!!