Friday, July 20, 2007

Court Date

Our court date is Monday at 11AM. We know that this is just procedural and takes about 10 minutes. Once court is over and we go to the notary to get the POA's notarized Lev and I will be on our way back to Kiev. On Tuesday morning I have a 8AM appointment at the consulate to sign-off giving Drew authority to complete the process. After the Consulate I am going to the airport to catch an 11:50AM flight to Amsterdam. I have an overnight in Amsterdam and then a direct flight from Amsterdam to LAX and will arrive home on Wednesday.

The ten day waiting period starts on Tuesday July 24th at which point Drew will be able to get the re-issued birth certificate and passport before heading back to Kiev.

Likely will not be able to update the blog again till back in the states.

Love & Light,
A3 + J

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday - Update

To all,

We had a delightful day today. It was only 35C instead of the 40C that it was yesterday.

We are hopeful that our court date will be on Monday and should know this for sure tomorrow.

Olga will be joining us for the weekend and we look forward to her company.

Andrei is learning new words in English as we continue to pick up a few words each day in Russian. Andrei is getting realy comfortable with us and is now playing games on Drew that are really cute. We feel so fortunate to be on this side of the adventure (aka the down hill slide).

We also found Ukrainian fast food that is healthy and of course Drew has fell in love with since we ate there for lunch and dinner (preparing Drew for his time alone and scooping out places that he will be able to order food).

Once we have court I should be home two or three days later.

Love and light,
A3 + J

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

To all,
Today the interface to the blog is in English (I think this is going to be a lucky day). Last night when I went to upload pictures the interface was in Russian and I was having all sorts of problems. So, the picture posted last night was not the intended post as the picture does not to just to either Andrew/i.
We have met another American family from Colorado that we have been spending time with during our visits with Andrei. They are also adopting a little boy and brought their two older children with them for the experience. The Houghton's leave today for court tomorrow and will be flying home for the 10 day waiting period and then returning. Andrew and Alie the Houghton kids have been great with Andrei and having all the kids interact makes the whole time go by just a bit quicker.
The pictures in sequence (note the last uploaded pictures show first).
Picture 1 - The Houghtons - Richard (Dad in hat), Cindy (Mom), Alex (Translator blue and gold shirt - great guy), Ali & Andrew
Picture 2 - Drew & Andrei
Picture 3 - Andrei, Andrew & Ali
Picture 4 - Drew, Audrey & Andrei
Picture 5 - Andrei in position waiting for the ball from Papa
Picture 6 - Lev our translator (we look forward to seeing him again soon we have been on our own since Saturday)
Picture 7 - Mom & Andrei
As you can see we have a lot of A's in the group. We actually met yet another family from Mission Viejo, CA and the mothers name is Angie. Angie and co. are staying in a place with air conditioning and an inside hot shower and will be staying the 10 days in Skadovsk (where we have been since Saturday - by the Black Sea) and offered Drew the use of their facilities.
We called Lev to check on the status of things and our documents have been delivered to the SDA and we have been informed that we should have their consent to proceed with the adoption either on Friday or Monday. Once we have the SDA consent we will be able to get a court date. I am praying that the stars are all aligned and that we have a court date on Monday morning in Khearson. Once we have court we have to get some POA's in place to authorize Drew to take care of the balance of the documents with out me and the last step is I need to visit the US Embassy in Kiev sign some documents to the same effect and then I am on a jet plane out of dodge en route for the good old US of A.
I am working on making sure that one or another cafe that we have frequented in this last week can make sure that Andy has one good meal a day without to much of a struggle with ordering.
We have been enjoying seeing how quickly Andrei is already learning English and remembering his manners. I think his transition will be easy given what we have seen already. The kid is completely heat resistant. Today Andy's legs were cramming from the continued oppressive heat that we have been experiencing and I though I was going to wilt. Not a complaint but there really is no such thing as ice in this country given the state of refrigeration and electrical capacity etc. I have to give in up to the Ukrainians as they are made of much tougher stuff than we are at this point in our lives.
We are getting to the down hill slide and have seen the light. Thanks again for all the e-mails, comments on the blogs and phone calls. You all have provided a lifeline to our reality back home.
Just a bit of additional data. Andrei's full name is Andrei Eli Hoeller date of birth 9/5/2002, currently he is 43 inches (slightly shorter than Jackson) and weighs more than Jackson by a couple of pounds.
Much love,
A3 + Jackson

Monday, July 16, 2007

Quick Update

To all,

There is so much to say and so little time. Hard to believe put power goes off consistently here at least twice a day and when I try to get on the internet there are tons of little boys playing games on the computer so getting access is challenging.

I am coming home after we get our court date - our court date should be determined sometime later this week and G-d willing set for the first of next week (hurry up and waaiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttttt - not my strong suit). We have determined that getting home is no problem and the airline is honoring our tickets and they are easily changeable - yippppppppppeeeeeeeeeee.

Andy is staying to hold down the fort and bond with Andrei.

We are staying at a place that is like being at summer camp. We have no inside toilet or shower. We have been showering in freezing cold water - I guess it could be worse.

We have met another American couple who is going home for their 10 day waiting period since they brought their two children and their process has mirrored ours as far as time in country etc.

We will update as we know anything more.

Please know that it is like a breath of fresh air to get e-mails and phone calls from home. We chatted with Peggy aka flight specialist the other day and I got happy just hearing a friendly voice.

Love and light,
Audrey & Andy

Friday, July 13, 2007

Continuation of the Story

We were in Lviv over the weekend and ran into several English speaking couples. On Saturday we were in the center square of town when a group of Ukrainian kids asked us in very proper English how they could help us out. We were able to find our way over to a very old drugstore that I had read about on the internet as a place not to miss. While in the drugstore there was a young Polish couple that spoke English. We went on the tour together and they were thankful to have found this hidden treasure that they were not aware provided tours.

On Sunday we were passing time till we were to board the train back to Kiev. I heard English speaking folks and decided we would introduce ourselves/ The couples were Ameicans living in Southern CA in the next town over from our home. Funny to find people half-way around the world that literally are your neighbors. We spend a bit of time with them and it was enjoyable to speak with other English speakers besides ourselves.

Tuesday - July 10, 2007

Today we spoke with the Deputy Director the head of the SDDA (thru our translator) and stated our case as to why we needed to have our second appointment soon. We explained how we have left our first son in America and that at some point very soon if nothing moved forward we were going to have to go home empty handed. We wanted the Deputy Director to see pictures of Jackson since we adopted him from Ukraine and that he is so happy and well adjusted. The Deputy Director befrudgingly looked at the pictures and we really feel that it impacted him since in fact we did get a referral today. We will be going out to the region (Kherson) and will see the child on Thursday. We will not be positing this until after we have seen the child and spoken with Jackson (promised that Jackson would be the first one to know all the details about his sibling).

The little boys name is Andrei ( could not be any closer to Andrew and Audrey). We will not change Andrei's name and Andy is willing to change his name and go by Drew (what I call him already) since it is likely that andrei will be called Andy at school etc. Andrew will turn five just after we get home. i guess I was not meant to have a daughter this go round.

We had dinner this evening again with Olga's nieces. It was a delightful diversion from hanging out in the one room apartment. Ira, Lena and Vaidm have made us feel very welcomed in Kiev. Someday when they have an opportunity to visit the US our house is open.

Thursday - July 12, 2007

We started out at 2:00Am to come down to Kherson 400 miles south east of Kiev. The ride itself was more of an adventure than we bargained for. Once we got into town we found out that our referral was in summer camp on the Black Sea another 100 km away (getting closer). We had the pleasure of meeting Andrei today and have decided to pursue adopting him (Andrei has two step brothers that need to be legally seperated by the board of custody befoere we can complete this process - just another pothole). Andrei was examined by a Dr. (we will save comment on this till later) who concurred that Andrei is psychologically and developmentally behind ( that is expected when a child is in an orphanage and given Andrei's particular backgruond) and he is physically fine (may also need glasses - no big deal).

Of course Andrei looks like Andy and really already adores his Papa ( no surprise here). Andrei is a soft soul and we look forward to the conclusion of this process. I was feeling sickened when lasty night we were reviewing the to-do list and timeline with our translator Lev after dinner this evening. In the best case scenario we could all be back on a plane going home in just over 3 weeks from now (we have already been away from Jackson for 3 weeks) and otherwise it could be slightly more than a month from now. The rules have changed since we adopted Jackson last time and there is a mandatory 10 day waiting period after all the paperwork is concluded (Andy is now calling this whole excursion Andy's fat camp as he has lost at least 10lbs since we walk everywhere and the food is only marginally appealing - note I have lost 1 or 2 lbs). Andy and I have been talking about me going home over this period to be with Jacksn, work, r\take care of the cats, pool duties, pay bills, and give Andy a FastPass ticket to heaven. I of course have heard of couples where one went home over the 10 day period and never in a million years could I conveive that Andy would be comfortable enough to be in Ukraine on his own and would ever consider this as a possibility I figure I would be the one to stay as I am the one who navigates all the communications etc.

We will be working out all the finer details over the next several days and will be investingating the possibility of flights home for me.

Just a note the conditions in this country are of course far worse than I remeber (thank g-d that like child birth some things are quickly forgotten). We walked into the translator's room in Kherson and all I could say to Andy was if I was even slightly high maintenance I would have gong out of the room screaming like any good self-respecting American woman would have given the sight and condition of Lev's room. American Frat Houses are luxurious compared to the accommodations in the region. When we were in Pryluky and you flushed the toilet the water came up throught the bathtub. We have a lot to be thankful for at home.