Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2 week update

We have been home 2.5 weeks!  That is sort of crazy, but at the same time it feels like going to Ukraine never really happened. Like that was all some weird dream.

At 2.5 weeks in Ukraine I felt like I was going to go out of my mind.  I can only imagine Darcy must be starting to feel the same way.  But she is holding up really well. Eva had sort of buried her feelings until about this point,but Darcy has been experiencing some fear and grief along the way.  I am glad, even though that is hard.

Again, I am so thankful for learning as much Russian as we have. I have only had to use google translate once so far. I really do think that makes a huge difference in the adjustment.  I imagine being able to communicate your needs and feelings makes a world of difference.

Her language is picking up quickly.  She has several English words and phrases.  We are also at the stage where we speak to her in English mostly and she answers in Russian. But she understands us. We also, often, say things in both languages.  But she is picking new words up everyday!

Darcy started dance with Eva and Aine last week.  We had not planned on her starting so early, but she really wanted to.  Darcy followed along amazingly!  They all did great. Eva is like a different kid in that class-so calm, so attentive.

Darcy went to the dentist yesterday and we are trying to figure out how to pull off her oral surgery.  Our expensive insurance doesn't cover anesthesia for oral surgery.  We had Eva's done  because we piggybacked it on her tonsil surgery.  Darcy's tonsils and adenoids are in great shape so she does not need that surgery.  It could be done in the office in several visits, but it will be much harder on her that way. It really makes me angry considering what we pay for insurance every month.  And it makes no sense.  Why would someone not need anesthesia for oral surgery?

The other kids are doing well. Eva has regressed a bit. The girls love seeing each other again, but I think it has brought a lot back up for Eva.  She is remembering more and talking a lot about Ukraine more.

I am holding up pretty well.  The first weeks (months..years?) are just hard.  You know this going in, but it doesn't make it easier. The transition is a huge adjustment for everyone. But we are riding the waves well so far.  Just trying to get to know each other, help Darcy learn her new routine, and get our balance back. Each day forward is a gift.  I still can't believe both girls are home.  Who knew that just living each day would be such an adventure?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Testing Testing 123

The girls went to the PID (pediatric infectious disease) today.  Eva just went for a check up.  Everything is looking good with her. The doc did say she would look into some options for the lack of toilet training.  And the amount she pees at night is just mind boggling.  They are testing her for diabetes (again) and a UTI (again).  I am gonna go ahead and call FAS (seems like a fairly common issue for kids with FAS). It will just take time.  But, I am glad we are looking at options.

Darcy was the star at today's appointment since this was her first one. The good news is that her CD4 count is excellent.  Really really good.  The bad news is that the virus is not totally suppressed.  I strongly suspected that, but was hoping I was wrong.  But, again, it is not so bad.  Apparently, one of her meds is one that is no longer really used in the US because people tend to build resistance easily.  That is what it looks like has happened.  Her viral load is about 1000.  The doc said they want it below 20.  But, she said for people who are not being treated it is about 50,000. She was certain we would have it down in the next month or so.

They tested for drug resistance today and we should have the results in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime they are keeping her on the same drugs, just adjusting for weight and putting it in liquid form.  She will be very happy about not chewing pills anymore.  She looks super jealous of Eva's liquids.

We were so hoping she would not get any sticks today, but it was not so.  They also did a TB test.  I don't know why because she has had the TB vaccine. The test will be positive and then we will do a chest xray. I don't know why we couldn't save the stick and just do the x-ray, but it is done now.

Darcy has to go back in a month to get checked again. She also goes to the ENT this week.  Next week she goes to the dentist. This is a biggie. Her mouth is like Eva's was. It is a mess.  I know it must hurt.

Things at home are going well.  She is definitely showing that she is grieving and stressed, but she is handling it all amazingly.  I am in awe.

Will try to keep you posted on everything.  Right now I have 6 kids to get in bed! Sorry my blog posts are short and crazy right now!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Behavioral Therapy and Big Changes

Eva had her first behavioral therapy session today.  It was mostly me talking to the counselor about her behaviors and our concerns.  But Eva also played in the peripheral as the counselor observed. As suspected, Eva plays well below her chronological age.  She went for the baby toy first, repeated the same motions and actions, and was more about organizing than creative playing.

The pretty doll house in the middle of the room sat unnoticed until the counselor asked her to play with it.  When she did go to it, she filled each room methodically with furniture. Stuffing each item in room by room until each square inch was full.  No putting beds in bedrooms, couches in living rooms, etc.  Just filling.  Then emptying into the bucket and repeat.

At the very end she did make one of the dolls ride a toy horse.  That was awesome. I was glad the counselor saw and commented on that.  She was happy to see it.  The counselor was great.  I think we will be very happy with her and that Eva will continue to improve at her own pace.  We will go back every 3 weeks or so for the foreseeable future.

Darcy is doing well.  To be honest, I think cognitively typical is somewhat scarier to us at this point.  Eva, though she has her own challenges, is very happy almost all the time.  Her poor memory insulates her from her harsh past to some extent and she never seems to dwell on stress or worry.  Now, that is not to say that she doesn't at all.  She is aware, but it is in a very different way.  I don't want to sound like we don't appreciate her own struggle or pain. It is real and it matters.  But she processes in a much different way than someone who is neurotypical.

Darcy is 100% fully aware of the big change that has taken place. She is scared.  She is grieving.  There is no distraction for her. She is immersed in the now and the reality of her life shift.  Clearly, she wants to be here.  She obviously adores her siblings and her family.  But the trauma is all wrapped up in that.

 Adoption is born of trauma. Sometimes in the happy talk of forever families and futures, we gloss over the past.  and the pain. No adoption is without pain.  We have to, and want to, honor and acknowledge her past.

Right now we are staring that in the face and helping a very scared little girl through the best that we can.  Tomorrow is one week home. We have a long way to go.  But we are going.

We have two beautiful little girls on the same, and yet totally different paths.  I don't have all the answers to make it an easy path.  But we are doing the best we can for them and for the rest of the family.  The needs of our other 4 children are also at the forefront of our minds. They are doing amazing.  They are so caring and so patient. I could not be more proud.

Like I always say, easy doesn't equal good.  This isn't easy, but it is worth it.  We just take one day at a time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lab Visit and Food Issues

This morning Darcy and I went to the doctor to do her lab work.  I am glad to be doing this early for many reasons.  It gets it out of the way. We get results sooner.  Her big visit next week is shorter. So, I was happy to be going this morning even though I knew it would be no fun.

We got there and I realized that we had started to fill out her paperwork before we left.  When we were leaning heavily towards a different name.  So, I get there, sign her in as "Darcy" and we realize her orders are under the name we almost used.  Dealing with that took about 30 extra minutes and seemed to irritate the crap out of the nurse.  Ooops!

Darcy held up well, but about an hour in she started asking to go home.  She also says something that translates to "pity me".  She says it all. the. time.  It must have been what worked with the nannies. It is her survival skill.  It is what she says to get anyone to do anything for her.  At this point in the visit she kept telling me to pity her. 

An hour and a half into the visit we finally get called back to the lab.  As soon as she saw the needle she started crying.  From the time the needle got within an inch of her arm to the last drop of the 9th vial of blood, she screamed at the top of her lungs.  It was like nothing I have ever heard.  I have had 4 other children have blood taken, I have seen lots of kids do lots of things. I have never heard a child scream so loud for so long. She was working hard at it by the end, but she was not going to check up till it was done.

When we finished I got her a chocolate milk shake.  She is a chocolate fiend.  I am pulling back on the junk food, but I figured she needed a  treat after that.  Well, she stuck her fingers in it and said it wasn't good. This is crazy for her. She LOVES chocolate.

At the orphanage we worried she would have hoarding and gorging tendencies.  But since being home she has not been eating. Skipping lunch and dinner.  Hardly eating at all. We have given her fruits, vegetables, meat, bread, American food, Ukrainian food, lots of different foods.

I really believe this is, for the most part, about trying to control some aspect of her out of control life. I can only imagine how out of control she must feel.  The stress she feels is beyond what most of us will ever experience.  She is also off schedule, probably having digestive issues (I know I have em when I go to Ukraine), and stressed out.  I know she won't starve.  Today we did get her to eat a banana and some pineapples.  She also had a bit of dry cereal.  She has had a ton of water. She loves being able to drink as much water as she wants.

I know that this too shall pass.  We will help her through it.  We try to give her as much choice as we can during the day-picking out clothes, picking out books, games, foods, etc.  Several friends gave some great advice to us and we will take her grocery shopping to pick foods from the store.

We also don't want to overwhelm her with choices so we limit options to 2. She really seems to like being able to pick her clothes and choose from her 2 pairs of shoes.

She also had her first good cry.  She told me she wanted a nap, but I hovered outside the doorway and heard her cry. So, I went back in and she let me hold her.  She said she was sad and scared.  I was not expecting her to show us this so soon.  I am glad she is feeling it and letting it out. I am even more glad she is letting me comfort her. 

Darcy is doing great with other areas. Eye contact, sticking with us, checking in, all these things are going great.  She is loving to cuddle, she is doing well with sharing cuddle time.  There are a lot of areas that are going really well. 

Day 4 home.  At the very beginning of a long road.  Seeing where Eva is in such a short time reminds me that we are going to move forward in some ways quickly and in other ways slowly. Her path is her path. Our path as a family is our path. It will all be OK and we are all walking in the same direction.  Some days I will need more chocolate and coffee to get through than others.  Today was one of those days.  And that is OK.

Tomorrow is another day home. Another day forward.  Another day as a family. It is good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jet Lag, You Beast

I am up blogging at 4 in the morning after laying in bed for 2 hours hoping I would fall back to sleep.  Jet lag on the way home is so much worse for some reason.  I can't wait till my system figures it out, cause mama is tired.

Things are going really well.  Darcy is such a trooper.  She clearly loves being home with the family she has heard so much about.  Watching Seamus and Darcy together is so much fun.  Kids are separated by age at the orphanage so they don't get to interact with smaller/bigger children much.  Eva was a bit skittish of Seamus at first, but Darcy was instantly in love!

On the other hand, Eva got used to the dogs really quickly, but Darcy is still quite scared of them.  They are not even interested in her, so hopefully she will realize if she ignores them, they will ignore her.  Maybe eventually she will even realize that if she pets them or feeds them, they will love her!

It is fascinating doing this again with another child.  Every child is so different, so every adoption experience will be so different.  We have done this once before, and yet, this is our first time.  In some ways I think our adjustment will be much easier, and in some ways harder.

Darcy did have a fever night before last and we have to get her meds situation worked out so the doc is going to fit her in for labs today or tomorrow. This is good news. That also means that her appointment next week will be shorter.

Another thing making my brain spin is the language. I am speaking Russian to people who speak English and can't remember who speaks what. It is quite entertaining.  I start talking about something in front of one of the kids forgetting they know what I am saying.  Did not mean to mention the chocolate donuts in front of Connor. 

Already Darcy says a few English phrases and understands a few more.  She thinks "open it please" means about 20 different things, which is adorable.  And "help" is "klep".  Love it.

Now I am going to drink tons of coffee, hope my digestive system decides it wants to participate today, and wait for the sun to come up.  Can't wait to start our 3rd day as a family of 8!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

There is no place like home....

So,I am the world's worst blogger.  I apologize.  The last leg of the journey was very stressful and exhausting, coupled with internet and computer issues.

So I will try to catch you up.  We took the train up to Kiev on Wednesday night.  Darcy rocked the train. She did amazing.  That was our first night together.  She did great.  I love that dang train. Then we went straight to our embassy appointment.  But we were early.  So we sat in the car for over an hour. Then we went in and were told we didn't have a letter from Dale's insurance that we needed. Dale and I had gone on our second day in Kiev to ask for a list of exactly what we would need.  The embassy emailed me a list of what we would need as well.  No letter was mentioned.  We brought the letter last time, apparently, but between home study papers, dossier papers, embassy papers, medical papers, and 8 months-I do not remember every paper I had and where it went. That is why we made the extra trip to the embassy to double check we had everything.

They told me that Dale's insurance could just email a letter. So they did. But the embassy then said that the email wouldn't work but they would let me write an affidavit swearing we would get her insurance and they would cover her.  This step is silly since it is an American law that all adopted children have to be covered.  But, anyway, it worked out.  Just extra stress. So, we went on Friday and picked up our Visa!!

Her medical was pretty good. The one thing that I will never forget was when he asked her to draw a house and she told him she didn't know what  house looked like.  Wow. That drives it home, huh?

There was so much driving and waiting in the car those two days.  She did amazing. I was blown away.

The last night we stayed in the hotel at the airport.  Then we got up, at what would have been, 4:30 pm Friday night at home.  We got to the airport and security was a pain, but we got to our flight.  It was pretty uneventful. Next stop was Franfurt where we had a 5 hour layover.  This is where Eva and I started to lose it on the way home last time.  But we were still hanging in.  Amy and I were blown away by how well Darcy was holding up.

That was the big flight.  It was also pretty uneventful until the end.  As we circled to land in Boston.  Darcy threw up all over me.  All over me.  Bless her heart.  We cleaned her up and I walked in my puke pants to passport control.  The woman there was horribly rude and yelled at me.  Then they took me to a little office for Homeland Security where I watched them humiliate and belittle a woman South Asian woman.  They were rude to everyone, talking about people right in front of them, dropping F bombs, making faces behind people's backs, and taking their time about doing anything.  I was standing their, covered in puke and horrified. I asked if I could change my pants, but when I peeked my head out to see if Amy had our bags, I got yelled at.

To contrast, in Chicago, the man stamped her papers, congratulated us, and said "Welcome to America".  I am seriously going to be making phone calls and writing letters.  This is not acceptable.  And they kept me so long that they long that we had to run to make our flight.

They also didn't have boarding passes for Darcy and I and then had us seated all apart.  Darcy and I ended up together, but Amy was stuck up front.  That flight was super scary.  The girl who sat next to me was not afraid of flying and she said she was freaked out.

And then, we had a short short layover.  So we RAN through the airport as fast as we could. I did not want to miss that last plane. Darcy was exhausted at this point, but still doing great.  I kept waiting for her meltdown and IT NEVER CAME!!! She is such a trooper.

I can not even describe how it felt to get off that plane and run to our family.  She was laughing and saying, "simya" (family) and "happy" as we ran.  Seamus just walked up and stared at her.  Eva kept touching her and petting her. Everyone was so happy to finally have her home.

I grabbed Dale and cried. It was so surreal to be home. finally. both of them. HOME. There were a few friends there to welcome us, which was a shock since it was about 9:00 pm. My friend Tesney, had brought a friend to take photos which I am eternally grateful for.  I would have been so sad for Eva to have homecoming pics and not Darcy. I can't wait to see them!

Having been up for over 30 hours, stressed to my limit, and at the end of a very long journey, I passed out quickly.  We walked in and showed her around.  Then I went to bed. Dale stayed up and played with the kids for awhile.

Darcy slept in our room.  She crawled into bed with me and snuggled right in.  Waking up next to her at home was an amazing feeling.

This morning, she has fit right in.  I love the first day home. Everyone is sharing and on their best behavior.  Darcy is adoring and doting on Seamus.  He loves her as well. She and Eva are so happy to see each other, but it definitely freaks Darcy out that they don't speak the same language.  Can't wait for her to see how fast she will learn.  Everyone wants to play with Darcy. She is playing great.  Even better is that she keeps checking in with me and coming over for snuggles.

We just had our first family breakfast.  Our table full was the best feeling in the world. I am so happy right now.  I know there is a tough road ahead, but we have a great foundation.  Things are wonderful.

We are about to go out front and play.  Darcy is so excited to get on those bikes.  Can this be real??

 On January 13th Dale and I got on our first flight to go to Ukraine.  On October 13th I finally flew home.  Finished.  And just beginning. 

There is no way this should have been possible.  But here we are.  I will never have enough thanks to all the people who helped get us here. If you donated money, time, goods, talents, childcare, if you prayed, sent thoughts, got nekkid, shared links, told a friend, if you flew over with me, if you loved and cared for our family-THANK YOU!!!  We did it.  Our girls are both home despite odds that no one thought we would overcome.  They have a family and a future.  And we have 2 amazing, beautiful children. THANK YOU!

note-several people have asked. i think i was in country 43 days total.  with the 10 day wait the in country process was 53 days! counting both trips i was in ukraine about 3 months this year.  insane!!! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Embassy and Medical-how many days is it now?

Medical is done.  First embassy is done.  There was a hitch, but I have been assured it is fixed.  So fingers crossed it is.  The man actually said the words, "yes. She will have her visa tomorrow".  So it seems we are on the right track.  I hope so.

We are in our apartment.  That is good. Because all of the running around was really exhausting today.  Things took a loooonnngg time.  The only thing that stinks is that there is no heat in the apartment and we are cold.  But it is just one night.

I booked a room at the hotel airport for tomorrow night so that we can be there.  I can now say that the day after tomorrow I will be home.  I am beyond done.  So ready to go home.  Fingers crossed that the embassy goes smoothly tomorrow.  That is the LAST step.  The last one before the flight home.

36 hours from now we will be well on our way home.  Hopefully.  I never get over confident here.  One more step. So close.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Finally finally she is here with me!!! Which is why this will be the shortest blog post ever!  We picked her up this morning and everything has been awesome!  She is doing amazing. We also got the passport in record time.  We get on a train in 2 hours to go to Kiev.  We will be at the embassy in the morning.  We have plane tickets and we get home on Saturday the 13th at 8:40 pm. I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Trip 2/day 7

Today was my last visit with DV at the orphanage. We get to bust her out tomorrow. I told her that she would be leaving tomorrow and smiled so big.  Then the groundskeeper, who DV calls Babushka, came over and I told her. She talked to DV about it and they were both smiling and so happy.  I really like this woman. She clearly adores the children and they adore her.

I am surprised at how mixed my feelings are about it all. I am desperate to be done. I need DV to be out and with me.  I want to be home with all my kids.  BUT to never see the other kids again.  To be leaving Odessa tomorrow for good.  That is all harder than I thought. I think I am crazy.

Amy and I walked to the open air market again and found some really cool stuff-old keys, soviet pins, a teapot, and some other fun things.

Tonight will be early bedtime.  I still have to organize and pack up.  Tomorrow will be a crazy busy day. And we leave on the train tomorrow night about 10:00 pm.  So we are just resting and chilling today.

Have not heard back from our travel agent about tickets. It will feel good to have tickets home.  HOME!!!  That is awesome to type!

Monday, October 8, 2012

trip 2/day 6

Today was another good day.  I had to go to the courthouse on the way to the orphanage to sign something.  That was weird because I went by myself and didn't know who I was meeting and couldn't communicate.  I waited for 40 minutes and then a man appeared, I signed something, and it was done. 

Then I went to the orphanage.  We sent a good deal of the visit hunting for walnuts and berries again, but we had fun.  She has really relaxed and opened up a lot since I have come back. I don't know if it is because she understands she is really ours now or what is going on, but it has been awesome.

After the visit, Amy and I walked to a thrift store.  We really wanted to see a Ukrainian thrift store.  We were hoping to find housewares, but it was lots of clothes. Then we walked to the open air market, and it was AWESOME!   We could have spent days there.  So cool.

Then, my phone rang and it was one of our facilitators telling me that we could schedule our embassy appointment for Thursday.  That would put our medical/second embassy appt. on Friday and mean we could fly out on Saturday.  BUT, the one hitch is that the passport is not done yet.  We have to have it for the second appointment, and they think it will be fine to go ahead and go.  They believe it will be done in time and they can send it up to Kiev.  I REALLY hope so. 

The appointment isn't official yet either, but that is usually not an issue.

So, right now things look like they are on the right track and I am hopeful.  But it is certainly not official.  Hopes, prayers, nudity, all appreciated.  

Still swearing I will post pics soon.  But it is an early bedtime tonight.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

trip 2/days 4 and 5

I am the worst blogger ever. I apologize.   The jet lag is kicking my butt this time and we have been super busy. I am a mile behind in email as well.  We are in the waiting game of the weekend, but it seems I am always short on time.

Saturday we had an amazing visit.  It could not have been better.  It was magical.  She was engaged and excited.  So sweet and loving.  After our visit, Amy and I explored Odessa. It is fun going around with someone who has never been here. I was kind of burnt out and now it is exciting again.

We had coffee down by the black sea and then had a yummy (and super cheap) dinner.  After dinner we went to the Irish pub in hopes that "Oh My Guts" would be playing.  And they were.  This was the 3rd time I have seen them and they make me incredibly happy. Amy and I had a blast.

This morning my facilitator had a ton going on and spaced calling me a cab to go to the orphanage.  I was bummed, but Amy and I walked to the park and looked at art.  Then we went to the grocery store and did a big shopping and made some tasty tapas for lunch.

I went for the afternoon visit and it was, again, an awesome visit.  She was trying out her English, making eye contact, sharing, talking, laughing, cuddling. It was just wonderful.  She also corrected me when I called her "Violetta".  She said, "Darcy". So, I suppose it is clear what she wishes to be called.  I just have to get in the habit. She has been Violetta to us for so long, and Darcy is still new.

Amy and I walked around some more after the visit and she has me hooked on a kindle app called "Plants vs. Zombies" which distracts me from the stress and missing my family at home.

Today is my 12th anniversary. And my husband is 1/2 a world away.  But we are getting a daughter.  This process is so hard, but so worth it.  I am hopeful that we will hear good news tomorrow about the timing of our passport.  We are really hoping we can get it on Wednesday and get on a train to Kiev that night. That is best case scenario.

I really will try to upload some photos tomorrow. I am just so stinking tired.  Promise to try my best to keep you guys updated. Thank you for continuing to think of us, pray for us, and cheer us on.  So close now!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

HERE!!! trip 2/days 1-3

So sorry it has taken so long to blog. We are here!!!  We left my house Wednesday morning at 7:00.  Our first flight was great and we got to Chicago no problem. Then our second flight was delayed.  And delayed again. And delayed again.  No way to get our connecting. In fact, the man's exact words were "you are screwed."  He pulled us off that flight and told us to go try to book through somewhere else.

The ONLY option we had was waiting for what would equal an 11 hour layover and to take Turkish Air to Istanbul.  Now, Istanbul sounds like somewhere I want to visit.  But, I had our travel agent (Eldon Wagler at Golden Rule, you should use him) look up safety records once and theirs was not at the top.  I panicked. Truly. There were tears.   But, what can you do?  We booked the flights.

And, it turns out, Turkish Air Rocks. Loved it.

 So we got to Odessa  a little later on Thursday than planned, but not by much.

Today, Friday, we started early.  We drove back to DV's birth region and got her birth certificate.  This was much less eventful than last time. No snow, no breakdowns.  Just a 2.5 hour drive to her city, some running around, and a 2.5 hour drive back.  Best part-I love love love seeing my name and Dale's name as parents of Darcy Violetta Hogeland.  She is officially our daughter!!! Overwhelming.

Then we had to go to the orphanage to pick DV up to get her passport done.  We made it by seconds.  But it is officially applied for. This is awesome!! I was so worried we wouldn't make it and we would have to wait until Monday.  But it is done!  We got her visa pictures done as well.

It was so wonderful to see her again after the wait.  She gave me a big hug, but was clearly confused and nervous about the crazy running around.  I am sure it was a lot to take in.

Tomorrow I will go to the orphanage and visit and we just wait for that passport.  That passport is our ticket to Kiev, which is our way home.

I am absolutely beyond exhausted and have to sleep pronto.  Just want to make sure to thank all the people at home taking care of my kiddos.  Things seem to be going very well.  That is such a huge relief I can not even tell you.

Will update and post pics soon!  Love you guys!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Here we go....again

Today we are about 8.5 days into the 10 day wait.  I leave for the airport in just over 2 hours.  I am packed and I am ready.

This is more surreal than I expected.  We have been at this for so long.  The whole adoption journey began 2 years ago next month when I first saw Eva's picture.  We added DV in May of 2011 as soon as she became available for adoption.  1.5 years ago. Then the chaos ensued and we lost her...for a little while.  It seemed like it was all finally coming together when we left for our first trip.  No one expected me to be there for over a month. The 3 families that I had DAP with are all done and either home, or on their way out of Kiev.  I thought, when we got our date, that Oct. 3rd would be the date we flew home with DV. 

But, it is, instead, the date we begin the second leg of this journey. I have tried not to focus on that and keep my sights on the fact that THIS is our timeline.  THIS is our adoption path.  For whatever reason, THIS is the right timing for us. 

I am excited to be starting this last part of the trip.  The variables are less unknown this time.  I get their Thursday afternoon.  Friday morning we drive back to her birth region and get the birth certificate.  Hopefully, that same day, we will get DV and apply for her passport.  She will go back to the orphanage after that for a few more days.  The passport took 3 business days last time.  The last couple families over there have taken longer.  I am hoping and praying for 3 days.  Even a delay of 1 day puts us into a weekend and 2 extra, wasted days. 

I will get DV out of the orphanage sometime during this wait.  Then, the day we get the passport, we will get on an overnight train to Kiev.  The next day we will apply for her Visa and do her medical.  Last step is picking up her Visa from the embassy the next day.  Finally, we fly home.  Because of time zone changes the trip back only takes up one day.

This time my friend Amy is going with me. She is excited and so am I.  I am ready to just get going.  It is awful leaving my kids again.  AW.FUL. But, they know why we are doing this. Last night Aine said, "I love you forever and I don't want you to go, but Darcy Violetta doesn't have a family and a mama, and everyone needs a mama, and we are family so you have to go back, and I love you forever."  Phew. Yes, that giant mouthful is the reason.

And I am pretty sure that we have childcare all taken care of.  This trip, even with a long passport wait, SHOULDN'T take too long. I hope anyway.

I will update when we get to Odessa.  Can't wait.

Note-Thank you guys for all the shoes!! I am so looking forward to giving them to the orphanage!! I know they will be thrilled!!  Y'all rock!