After 32 days here in Ukraine.....today we picked up the final piece of the puzzle....
Miss Mia's United States Visa !
It has been a wild couple of days finishing up all the paperwork
Tuesday we had our Visa appointment at the US Embassy and there were 3 American families here with our agency all doing the appointments together. We couldn't all fit in the driver Eugene's car a the same time so there was a lot of running around and waiting.
After we turned in our paperwork at the Embassy we had to go over and get the medical exam required to get the Visa. This was QUITE the experience! We walk into this building and are told to wait in this long tiny hallway filled with people. There is really no rhyme or reason to how it worked...a door would open and people would try to get in to that doctor. Our driver/translator was running around jumping in front of people trying to get us all in to doctors. We finally got in to see the doctor and she explained what we pretty much already heard at the orphanage although she referred to Mia as being diagnosed with "deep" Down syndrome....what is that supposed to mean? We were trying not to laugh. She proceeded to talk about how significantly delayed down syndrome is and were we aware of this. Then she went on to examine Mia....who did so good with behaving through it all.
She seriously has been the best little trooper the last few days as we have dragged her to all these appointments all day.
The english translations at the restaurants are often very interesting! We had a good laugh about this one today....
Pasta with marine products.....YUM!
Or look at the fabulous choices for sauce for your pancake....beet with horseradish.
We went to brunch this morning at the Italian place Celantanos we found that has YUMMY pancakes (although they call them pancakes they are more like crepes but REALLY good). Mia knew how to through down her big bowl of oatmeal all by herself!
Look what we found in Kiev today....who knew?! It must be brand new because there was not a single item of sale clothing.
After the exam we had to get a chest xray and then we went to eat in the little ukrainian cafe while we waited for our driver to come back for us.
Tuesday night we met up with a bunch of the RR families for dinner at TGIFridays. It was fun to meet people in person who we have gotten to know online.
Some of us are at the end of our process and some just starting.
Lindy House and Levi -one of the two boys she adopted
Carol Miller and Mia. Carol is on her way to meet her little guy Quinton
Our apartment this time in Kiev is close to the TGIFridays so we have eaten there a lot this week....
Mia is my girl....she loves her some chocolate brownie and ice cream
The HUGE hill we had to climb each day to get to our apartment after going to eat. It was a great workout after a meal...then at the top of the hill we got to climb 5 flights of stairs to our apartment.
Gotta work off that brownie dessert somehow right?
Today we were supposed to go back to the Embassy at 2:00 to pick up the Visa and all 3 families we were with yesterday were also at the same time. Well at 2:45 we still hadn't been picked up yet and we get a call from our driver that he was coming but had had car problems and of course he used the famous line here "It's ok, we will be ok at the Embassy even if we are not there at 2"
We were all thinking "we sure hope you are right". So we finally all get picked up and there are 11 of us in this van with no air conditioner, no windows (besides the front 2) and we are stuck in traffic that is not moving for over an hour. We were sweating to pieces by the time we finally made it to the Embassy! Not to mention since there are no carseats we were all wrestling anxious children on our laps in the heat as well!
When we finally arrived at the Embassy they rushed us in and apparantly our facilitators had called them and told them we were coming so they waited for us.....they were supposed to be closed! Thank heavens they agreed to wait! So we had our interviews and then all waited in the waiting room for another hour and then walked out of the Embassy with our Visas for our kids!!! As soon as they touch american soil it is officially complete!!!
A van full of VERY happy Americans ready to take our kids and go home!
We are FINISHED!!! The last documents we needed to get on that airplane and go HOME are in our hands!
As we sat in the Embassy waiting for our Visas I looked over at the American flag in the corner of the room and got emotional. After 32 days of being in a foreign country we are going HOME!
We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here but THERE"S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!!
After 32 days of being away from our other girls, we have completed our process and we are heading home to finally be together under the same roof!
Our new little family of 6 is finally going to be together!
For the past 6 months I have gone from being home with my 3 girls there and worrying and praying to be united with Mia, then I was finally able to hold Mia and be with her, but I had to leave the other 3, and now we are finished and we will finally all be together!!!
Now all 4 of them can wrestle their dad!
This has been an incredible journey and I am forever grateful for this experience! We are forever changed because of the miracle we have been a part of! We have been humbled time and time again at the goodness of all of you. Our gratitude for the love and support we have felt from so many can never fully be expressed in words! Our hearts are so full! To not only have been blessed to be able to find this little girl, but to also find so many amazing people along the way, and witness miracle after miracle.... it has been pure joy for us!
One of the biggest things I will miss about being here is that Kris and I have been able to be together all day every day for the last month and it has strengthened and changed us and made us love each other more as we have gone through this side by side. I couldn't have asked for a better partner through this crazy ride.
Kris says I am going to go through withdrawls from reading all the sweet comments and emails and messages from everyone each day! That is seriously what has gotten us through this last month (that and skype) and we often have gone back and reread them again and again! It has meant so much to us! I wish I would have had time to respond personally to each and every comment but know that we read all of them, along with emails and messages, and we have been greatly enriched because of you!
We are off to bed for our final night in Ukraine. We leave here at 5:45 pm (9:45 am at home) and stay the night tomorrow night in Paris. Then on home friday!!!!
Only 2 more days until the reunion we have been waiting months for....
and Miss Mia has been waiting 4 years for......
a forever family together at last!!!!