Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Home Sweet Home

WE ARE ON OUR WAY HOME!!! The only thing that is standing between Rita and I being in America on Thursday is a U.S. Holiday. I have not run into one Ukrainian Holiday and now I sit waiting for an American holiday to pass. I am not all that sure that things would be different if the holiday were not there. I think we would still get out papers too late on Thursday to get the flight home. We left Berdyansk on Tuesday morning around 10:20. That was a very sad good-bye. Lots of tears were shed. Saying good bye to her friend, roommate, for 10 plus years was the hardest thing to do. I was very proud of Rita. For many teenagers the opportunity opens to leave and they can’t do it. I understand why. Everything you know and trust is left behind.
We arrived in Zaporizhya are 12:30. The birth certificate was changed in record time. We drove over to the passport office and within 2 hours we picked up the passport and were headed for the train. We arrived in Kiev in the early morning. We got an apartment, a pretty nice one at that. We arrived at the Embassy by 9:40, by 10:20 we were leaving the office and headed out for the physical. Backwards from the norm, but the embassy accepted that since it was a holiday on Thursday. We took off from there for the Medical Building for Rita’s physical. The last two days we did all the hurry up and waiting that my patients can take. All I wanted to do is fall a sleep this afternoon in the Medical Building.
Rita and I both agreed to hang-out in the apartment tonight. We are watching TV (all blah, blah, blah to me, but a nice picture and I don’t have to move). Tomorrow we will walk around Kiev and pick up a few last minute things. Then Friday we are off and ready to see America. I hope it is as beautiful weather wise as it has been the last few days in Ukraine. A big bonus for the last minute details that take place during an adoption.
See America soon. I am ready to prepare for the Holidays!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rick and Koyla have left and MaMa is soooo sad. It was hard enough missing Yana, but now I have 3 to miss. I am not alone though. Heather and Dave are staying at the apartment, as well as Victor, who is facilitator for everyone’s adoption. Since the ruling is so strict about children leaving the orphanage , there is little to do while I sit and wait. A week from today Rita will leave the orphanage for good. In the mean time, I have to be creative with my time. I have gotten to know the markets pretty well. I have ventured into new parts of the city I have never seen. I make up lessons in English for Rita, so that when I visit we can study a little. Then I go visit and spend time with my new daughter.
Rita was ready for my visit with 4 of her friends. I brought her a suitcase for her trip to America. I had gone to the market and purchased a sweater for her, so that the suitcase wasn’t completely empty. I am not sure what kind of clothes she will take with her, or any other belongings. I am hoping on Saturday we will be able to venture to the market together to purchase some clothes. The 10 day waiting period will not be over so I am not sure that I will be able to. Rita’s friends were witness to me preparing for Rita’s exit. Rita is sensitive and down plays all of it. Her friend Yulia asked if she could come to America for a visit. I asked her how long the two girls shared the same room. I wrote 2010, 2009, 2008, down to 2005. Rita took the pen and wrote 2001. For 9 years these girls have traveled their orphan journey of life together. Rita has been at the orphanage better than 10 years and Yulia moved in with her when she came 9 years ago! Oh no, my heart…..I have to fight the tears. The girls are so strong, they are rejoicing for Rita. I cannot ask the question, “What can I do?”, I have to ask the question, “Lord, what can You do, even if it is through me?”. I pretended to be ironing and packing the suitcase. I pointed at Natasha and pretended to be folding her and ironing her and put her in the suitcase. Then I did the same for Yulia, Tanya, and Aliona. Once I had them all packed I shut the suitcase and pretended to leave for America with all of them in it. We laughed and the girls agreed it would be good. Then I told the girls that my heart takes them home. I have their pictures. I made a picture of my prayer board that is in my bedroom and I put their pictures on it. I pray for them every day. Aliona asked why. I told them I am asking God to give you a good life. A life that includes knowing God loves them and has a plan for them. It sounds like an easy conversation, but with the language difference we had to play act, draw pictures, look in the dictionary and books for the right pictures. In the end I believe they got it. I told them how much I loved them all and they were so important to me and Rick. Yulia is the only girl that has not aged out. She is the only one who has a glimmer of hope to be adopted. She will turn 16 in March and then that hope will be gone. She has witnessed Rita’s adoption though. Rita has witnessed many friends be adopted in the last 10 years. Some have gone to Italy, Germany, Spain and of course America. She is 3 months away from aging out and God sent her a family. Yulia has that glimmer of hope to hang on to as she sees her best friend (sister) walk out the door.
I have to say I hate this part of the adoptions. Walking away, it is so hard. I pray that God will give me the strength to be a comfort to Rita as she makes that exit next Tuesday. Pray for the girls and especially for Yulia. Pray that her glimmer of hope will become a dream come true!

Friday, October 29, 2010

A New Daughter

It has taken a little bit longer then natural childbirth, but after 10 months of paperwork we have a new daughter, Rita Rose Rahn. We went to court today at 10:30 a.m. and in 50 minutes we were done. The judge remembered us from adopting Koyla. The judge asked Koyla to sit in on the court hearing. He was thrilled until he realized how bored he was going to be and couldn't escape. They asked Koyla to stand and give his feelings about another sister. He loves the idea and wants the adoption. The judge asked how we liked being parents and how our children were doing. Rick had everyones eyes watering. We are so proud of our children, especially right now. Both of them have really "stepped-up" to make this happen.

Rita has been orphaned a long time. She is quite, but not withdrawn. She loves to be with people and is very sweet, and sensitive. I thought she would be a little timid today, but she was not. She seemed very happy over the whole situation. This day was not as exciting as the other two. The orphanage is very strict about the children. As soon as the court let out, even before the judge gave her decision, Rita was taken back to the orphanage. For the others we went out to eat and celebrated. We presented her a gift after court then off they went. Rick, Koyla and I went back into the court room and the judge gave us her approval for the adoption.

We dropped Koyla off at the orphanage and Rick and I went home. Later we bought 10 roses and brought them to Rita, with a note of how greatful we were to have her as our daughter. I can't wait to get her out of the orphanage, and back to our home in Williamsburg. I am ready to start the adjustment right now! I don't want to get too excited because we still have a little problem to face with her birth certificate. Fortunately the judge didn't stop the adoption, which she could have. Hopefully Victor can get it all taken care of in the 10 day waiting period or....(we won't go there). My plan is to be home by November 17th. Rick and Koyla leave tomorrow. Dave and Heather move into my apartment at the church. I am greatful to have them. They are a real special couple, that God has blessed me with.

Koyla is so excited to be going home, he is so ready. Him and I will really miss each other. Who is going to bug me when he is gone? I sure do love my children.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Smooth Sailing--So Far!!!

Today is Wednesday and in 3 days so much has happened. Rick and Dave (our friends that are from Virginia, who happen to also be adopting in Berdyansk) had to go to Kiev to sign papers at the U.S. Embassy so that they can leave right after court, IF we get to have court on our scheduled date, Friday, October 29th. That was a big if when the guys left. Even if our interpol (a new strange paper that is required by the Ukrainian law for adoption) comes in this week, what are the changes that the director of the SDA will sign off on it that fast. Rick and I had not made any plans for IF court didn't happen. We could not think about it----too much stress.
Monday and Tuesday evening, Dave's wife Heather spent the night with Koyla and I. Our plans are for her to move into the church apartment with me when the guys leave for the states. Both of us were given a court appointment for Friday, but both of us have to have our papers signed by the SDA. Just part of the joys in knowing that God knows!!!!Rick and Dave make it to Kiev on Tuesday, go to the Embassy, turn in the papers and turn right around and head back to Berdyansk on Tuesday evening train. Wow--now that is one big nightmare. Not much sleep for those two nights. Victor was going to go to the SDA office on Wednesday and stay there from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to see if he couldn't get the papers for all of us signed. He wasn't too hopeful. If he got them he would hop on the train Wednesday evening and be in Berdyansk on Thursday ready for court on Friday. If he didn't get them he would go to the SDA on Thursday and try again. If he got them he would hop a bus and take a bus to Berdyansk. That is what he had to do for us when we adopted Koyla. The bus ride is nothing short of torture.

Rick and Dave make it back from Kiev, on Wednesday about 10:30 a.m. At 12:30 we receive the call--Papers are ready for court!!! AMEN...THANK YOU LORD. Heather and Dave go in at 8:30 a.m. and we follow at 10:30. Rita knows the process and is ready to go. If things go this smooth for all of us, we will be going through the rest of the adoption together. Heather and I will be able to room together, ride together on the train and fly home together. What a miracle that would be.

Please pray for the court hearing, that all goes smooth. The judge does remember us and hopefully that is a good thing. After the court we still are restricted in taking the children from the orphanage until the 10 days is up. I think Galina will allow us on day 8 to take them for clothes. If all goes well, I may be home on November 17th....Yeah.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Puppy Eyes

Saturday, October 23, 2010
We see the girls today @ 3pm. They somehow appear, knowing exactly where we’re at. Rita & Natasha are together, both spending their Saturday free time w/us. It is such a joy to be with these two together.
We spend the next hour and 30 minutes playing ping pong with our new paddles we bought last night. We’re waiting for 4pm., when Yana will call us thru our home computer on skype. Rita seemed delighted Yana wanted to talk to her.
Ping pong degenerated into a weird “free for all” causing the hall monitor woman to sit in the room with us till closing. Mom finally used our cell phone to call Yana, it was well past 4pm., this call was going to cost us…
Rita had slipped out for just a moment so Natasha took the call. In a few minutes our phone had given up all the time it had and we were cut off. Just as well, we’ll try again tomorrow. Natasha relayed to Rita something Yana had said. Rita responds with a beautiful smile.
The restrictions to bond with Rita are much more difficult than ever before. Galina is not budging an inch on relaxing restrictions. Seems she got in hot water this summer over this and was reprimanded.
No longer are we able to take a child off the grounds. We are not to be seen with any orphan children outside the orphanage. You will not be able to have overnights with Rita after the court awards her to you. You will wait the 10 days after before you are allowed to leave with her, then you will leave for good.
There is a new 7 day waiting period. Passports used to be made on location in Zap. Now they are shipped to Kiev & processed there. Then they are shipped back to Zap. However, for $500.00 U.S. we’ll look around for some of the “old” passport material that may still be hanging around, allowing you to leave the next day…
I grow weary of the process. Rita needs more time w/us than a couple hours a day. She also needs to get out of her familiarity & experience who we are outside the orphanage. The quality of bonding time could be much richer, and quantity of time would reduce the certain, “cultural shock” of life outside the Berdyansk orphanage.
Our friends Dave & Heather share the same restrictions. They’re adopting 2 kids, 11 & 8yrs. old. Those children are like playful puppies, soaking up the attention, living for the moment, seeking love & acceptance, hugging & kissing, looking for their return every day.
When I look into the faces of Natasha, Rita, & Vika I see the eyes of puppies.
Each one is expert @ living for the moment. Each one longing for acceptance & love. They can live a long time on the smallest of affection. I delight in giving them a hug & a kiss, not because I get a kiss & a hug back. It is a kiss & embrace. It is in the embrace where real work is being done.

To hold a teenager who is melting in your arms is a rare privilege. I am convinced GOD is using us. For it’s not me who is loving up this young adult in my arms, kissing her & holding her tightly, but GOD through me. He is using me in this very moment to love his child, imparting into her love, joy, peace, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, goodness, patience, and self control.
We break up for the day, lock the ping pong room up & leave. We’ll see each other tomorrow. It’s then that I realize I’m melting too….

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rita Rose Rahn

Where are you?” The most common asked question on our e-mails lately. I am sorry that I have not blogged more, I am standing in awe of our God who is doing a work that I am just standing back and watching. I am having a hard time blogging all that I see going on and how it is all coming about. We started this adoption to adopt two of Yana’s friends. God motivated us to go through the motions to adopt, but had a different plan for who our daughter would be. We were not sure that the girl we had petitioned for would want to be our daughter, now we are delighting in her acceptance of being our daughter. We have named our daughter, a fun process that took much longer then Yana or Koyla. We wanted her to pick her new name and middle name, so we typed a bunch of names on the computer to find the one she wanted. Her choice is “Rita Rose Rahn”. A beautiful rose she is.
Rita is shy, tender, sweet, gentle, tall, kind, pretty, and soft spoken, just to name a few of her beautiful attributes. There are many others that we discover as the days go on. I don’t think Rita was over excited to get adopted, but everyone who she trust is telling her it is the best thing for her. We have approached the situation very slowly with Rita. Our plan was to get her from going because it is the best thing for her, to going with us because she desires to. We are seeing the transformation day by day. Yesterday Rita has to write a petition to be adopted by the Rahn Family and sign it. Today she goes for a physical. She is taking all the steps that will lead to her adoption. Victor brought the judge some papers for another couple that are adopting here also. He mentioned to the judge that he would be bring papers by for the Rahn Family who is adopting. The judge asked if it was the same couple that adopted a boy last year. She was pleased to hear we were back. I really hope that gives us favor and a short time in court, for our sake and Rita.
Our days are speeding by. We have a lot of school work for Koyla to get done. Our apartment is really beautiful, but it does not have the internet. We will be moving on Wednesday into the church apartment, that will give us internet. Hotel Berdyansk is less than a block away from us, so right now the internet café is available to us. It still will be easier to do studies at the church. This apartment has a tv in every room, except the basement. Yep, a basement!! It is a huge place and is very convenient.
On Sunday we took the bus to Tokmak to visit Koyla’s grandpa. We showed up unannounced because his phone number wasn’t in our phone. It was pretty overwhelming for the old man and for Koyla. After Rick and I visited a little we left the two of them to themselves for the day. We went into town and bought minutes for the phone that we bought grandpa last year, we grabbed a bit to eat and then returned to Grandpa’s to get Koyla. Grandpa is poor. There was no desire to live until he opened that door and saw Koyla. We left him some money to buy some clothes for the winter and new shoes. What an incredible sight of poverty. Koyla wants to spend the night with Grandpa, we have decided to let him. Those two really love each other and have such a respect for each other. Interesting enough, on the way back to the bus, Koyla was full of joy. He talked and laughed while he walked arm in arm with his dad. Koyla feels really good that we care for his grandfather and it is genuine. On the way back to town we stopped and saw grandma’s grave. On the stone is her picture, the date of birth, and the day she died. She died when she was 2 years older than I am now, in 2003, the date that turn my children’s lives around and grandpa’s life too. Grandpa told me he hasn’t cared much about life since she left. It didn’t matter that he spoke Russian, I understood every word he said, with tears dripping down his face.
It is no wonder that I am having such a hard time blogging. I am so blessed. When I see a young beautiful girl like Rita, that have been in an orphanage for over 10 years and has no one in her life but one cousin ( only on paper, she has never met her), and a grandpa who lives in despair, I am humbled at my life that I am so blessed with.
Today is a down day. I have been sick for the last 2 days. Today, I am improving. It sure does fill good to start feeling better. I have to start preparing for a birthday party. Rick is about to celebrate his ____ birthday!!! We move to the church apartment on Wednesday and have a dinner party on Thursday night. Turning the afternoon I will bring a cake to the orphanage to celebrate with Rita and her friends. We are not allowed to take her off campus. Galina got into some trouble this summer for letting the children leave with their adopting families. She is very strict now and won’t break any of the rules. We have to wait until the 10 day waiting period is over after court to have Rita stay with us. I am sure glad our friends Heather and Dave, our friends from Virginia are the other couple here adopting. Hopefully when the boys go home Heather and I can wait it out together. Pray for the perfect timing!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back Again-Adoption 3

Here we are sitting in a wonderful apartment in the heart of Kiev, Victory Square is across the street, sipping tea (or coffee) watching "Ironman 2". I wish I could say that we are full of peace, but every once in a while the flesh catches us and we go into panic. "Trust the Lord with all your heart", then we go back to peace.

Our first night we enjoyed the company of Dave and Heather, friends from back home. We will see a lot of them since we are both going to Berdyansk to adopt. Heather and I will stay together when the boys all go home. Koyla loves their company and is sooo pleased they will be in Berdyansk. The next day we headed straight for McDonalds for breakfast, but it was past 10:00 a.m. so just as it was our turn to order the signs were changed and breakfast was over, with no exceptions. Koyla settled for a fish sandwich and chocolate milkshake and thought he was in paradise. That didn't last long, as soon as we went back to the apartment we started school work and he knew this wasn't going to be paradise. Koyla has been a trooper on this trip. Today he say at breakfast, "You know I really do love you guys". I guess he doesn't want to stay in Ukraine!

We had our SDA appointment today at 9:00 a.m. The electric went off so we had to leave, but the facilator could take over from there and we left. We are struggling between 2 girls. Our prayer request is that God's will is completed. The SDA is such a friendly place now. It is so different then 3 years ago and even from last summer. There is a sense of happiness and kindness there. It seems like a more genuine care for the children.

Tomorrow we take the train to Berdyansk. We leave at 7 p.m. Friday morning we will meet up with Victor in Berdyansk. We are taking a bus from the train station to Berdyansk. That should be interesting. Since Victor is already in Berdyansk with the Robertson's we will meet him there. Our hopes for the church apartment fell through, it is already taken, we will be on the hunt for our home for the next few weeks. We probably won't get to see the inspectors until Monday, so we are going to have a long weekend.

Time to watch the movie. Paka