Sunday, December 22, 2013

Meeting Masha, Part 1

I know it has been a long time since either of us blogged, but we have been very busy since we received our date to travel to start our adoption process in Ukraine on November 27th. Knowing from our previous adoption that the weather at this time of year can play havoc with travel plans, we left on November 24th. We had tearful goodbyes with the children here…the 3 younger biological children who remembered how tough it is to be apart for weeks, and the 3 adopted kiddos whom we’ve never left for more than a few days. We anticipated being in Ukraine until the weekend before Christmas. This month away would allow us to have our initial appointment in Kiev to be “matched” with the daughter we were hoping to adopt, traveling to her town, meeting her and having daily visits, and waiting for a court date. Ukraine usually requires a ten-day wait after court before the child is officially yours, so we figured that would be the time we would come home. We also determined we would not bring our new daughter home until mid-January, due to US and Ukrainian holidays.

Here we are, ready to board our first flight.

We had uneventful flights, and made it to Kiev right on time. Our driver from our facilitation team was there to meet us. He helped us exchange money, drove us to our apartment (while giving us a fascinating overview of Kiev/Ukrainian history), and showed us where to buy groceries. We were exhausted, but we enjoyed Face Timing with the kids back home before we went to bed early. We were sharing our apartment with another Reece’s Rainbow family, but they arrived much later in the evening. We waited until morning to meet the Taylors, whom we loved getting to know! I had “met” their family on FB months before in our adoption group, and we were glad to get to spend time together for a few days before we headed off to different regions. On Thanksgiving Day (which was any other Thursday in Ukraine!), we met another sweet adopting family, the Peters, and we all lunched at TGIFridays in Kiev!

Our initial appointment was uneventful. We were shown Masha’s file, told a little about her background, and got to snap a couple of shots with my phone of some older pictures of her in her file. It was here that we learned her name and birthdate, also. Her given name is Mariya, but her nickname is Masha J After this appointment was over, we had to wait a day to pick up the official permission to visit her. Then, at 4 am on Friday, November 29th, we were off to her town four hours away to meet her! Our first stop was the regional social worker’s office. She came out and got in the car to go with us. Our facilitator told us, “The social worker is going with us because she promised Masha that she would find her a family. She wanted to be there when Masha’s family came to meet her!” Well, of course, Kevin and I both looked at each other and welled up with tears. This little six year old sweetie had been longing for a family…this was going to be a big day for her! 

Masha's Orphanage

We went to the orphanage, which is an older building. Tiles on the entry porch were dated in the 1970s, but the building seemed much older. We later could tell that although the exterior was lacking in upkeep, the nannies did everything they could to keep the interior clean and well-organized. The rooms looked very much like a day-care center, but with outdated d├ęcor. We climbed the stairs and were shown into a small foyer area outside the main rooms where Masha has spent much of her life. We weren’t exactly sure *how* all of this was going to happen, but we were about to meet our next daughter!

To be continued...

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