Thursday, December 15, 2011

SDA Appointment TODAY, Plus Kiev Pics!

{Note:  Mattie has updates and pics at the bottom of this post, so be sure to read all the way to the end!}

At 12Noon (Kiev time, which is 4AM CST) today (Thursday, Dec. 15), Matt and Mattie will be meeting with the adoption officials of the government of Ukraine, what is known as the SDA.   The SDA will be giving Matt their official referral.  There have been cases where the SDA has chosen different children than the ones an adoptive family has requested, so we’re praying first that the SDA gives Matt the referral for Vlad and Dima.  (By the way, their little brother is NOT available for adoption.  I can’t recall if I ever updated everyone on that news.) 

The SDA will tell Matt which children they’ve selected for him to adopt, then they will  give the files of those children to Matt for his review.  (Again, we’re praying the SDA chooses to select Vlad and Dima as their referral for our family; we requested them since we hosted them, but this is not a guarantee.) 

After Matt reviews the kids’ files, the SDA will ask Matt if he still wants to adopt them.  Matt’s answer will be yes, of course.  Then the SDA will tell him to come back Friday, Dec. 16, to pick up the SDA’s official letter of permission to visit the boys.

The SDA office is in Kiev, Ukraine.  The boys are in an orphanage in Sumy, Ukraine, about 4-5 hours from Kiev.  Because the SDA’s letter of permission to visit the boys won’t be ready until Friday afternoon, Matt and Mattie won’t be able to visit the boys until Monday, December 19.  The boys still have NO IDEA that Matt and Mattie are even in Ukraine, nor do they know that we’re still pursuing their adoption!

I want to do a big ole update on all the ways God has provided for us in this adoption.  He continues to amaze me.  It would be overwhelming to try to record everything in one blog post, and since this post is already going to be long and my time is still very limited, I will stay focused on Matt and Mattie in Kiev for now.

One of the ways God provided for our family came shortly after we announced that we’d be adopting Vlad and Dima.   I received an unexpected email from a sweet young mom, Tara, whom I had never met.  She explained that she lives in Kiev, Ukraine, and that she would be happy to help our family in any way possible, including offering her home to us in Kiev!  (If any of you are still following us from our very first adoption in November 2008, we had the same thing happen with our Colombian adoption.  Our psychologist (required testing for Colombian adoptions) just happened to own a home in Bogota, Colombia, and he invited us to stay there for free.  I just love the way God works!)

Anyway, Tara went on to explain that she started following our blog back when she was praying for Chrissie, only I had no idea because she had never left a comment or emailed me, so I had no clue that Tara even existed.  Smile Tara and her husband and their infant daughter are Americans living in Kiev, Ukraine, and this week, they have become Matt and Mattie’s new best friends!
Team Airhart

I cannot even express my gratitude for God’s amazing and abundant provision.  His love for us is expressed in so many ways, and right now, His love is being heaped on us through the provision of Team Airhart.  This precious family has gone above and beyond to host Matt and Mattie.  They picked M&M up from the airport (after some confusion about their arrival time, which was our fault!), fed them lunch, let them snooze the afternoon away on their couch, set them up with wi-fi, and taken them on tours of Ukraine, helping them to experience the culture of Ukraine in an amazing way.  There’s nothing better than having sweet, generous, selfless, English-speaking hosts to help clueless Americans transition to a foreign country!!!

On Day 1 of Matt and Mattie’s arrival into Kiev, I must have emailed Tara 10 times!!!  I probably appeared to be a “helicopter” mom/wife!  I had gotten concerned because Matt texted me at 5:30AM (my time) to let me know they had arrived in Kiev.  That meant they arrived there at 1:30PM Kiev time, but we *thought* they weren’t supposed to arrive until 10:50PM!!!  I was thoroughly confused, so I texted Matt back to try to get details, but I never heard back from him.  So then I got a little concerned because he wasn’t answering texts and I didn’t hear from him again for about 6 hours!!!

I didn’t even think to email Tara to inquire, but, praise God, she emailed me to fill me in!  We had misread their arrival time into Kiev.  It was 1:05PM, not 10:50PM!!!  Tara, being a young and wise woman, figured this out before we did and had already made arrangements to be at the airport so Matt and Mattie wouldn’t be stranded there for 9 hours!  Whew, God knew we needed Team Airhart to keep us straight!

Matt and Mattie made themselves at home at the Airhart’s place.  They ate tacos for lunch, then fell asleep on the Airhart’s couch.  For about 4 or 5 hours!!! Smile  Nothin’ like jet lag after 20+ hours of restless travel!  Tara was so cute when she said she didn’t want to wake them up, but she wasn’t sure that they’d be able to sleep that night after napping the day away.

I had been texting Matt throughout the day, with no response, so, I finally broke down and called Matt on his cell phone around 7:30PM (Kiev time).  He and Mattie had woken up from their slumber, and they were ready to go explore Kiev with the Airharts. 

Here’s the email update I received from Mattie that night (December 13):

We're about to leave for a light dinner and some exploring.  I have time to send a few pics from our journey and I'll take more tonight and send them to you.
We got Starbucks!!

This is us waiting for our DC to Frankfurt flight to take off.

Waiting for our flight to Kiev.

Frankfurt airport, haha:-).

That's it for now!  I did not sleep at all until the flight from Frankfurt to Kiev which was 3 hours.  I just watched movies for almost 9 hours on the DC to Frankfurt flight:-).  I am loving this place<3. 
Then I didn’t hear from Matt or Mattie again.  I think they were exhausted.  I did receive some emails from both of them the following day, Wednesday, Dec. 14.  Here are Mattie’s Wednesday updates (with pics):

Mattie’s Kiev Update, Dec. 14 at 9:02AM CST
(5PM Kiev time)
I'm feeling great! The jet lag was nothin :-)! Seriously, I feel normal. I slept until noon and then went and had lunch with the family that stayed with the Airharts before us, the Mooneys. They are the ones with the non profit called 99 Balloons. Their first baby boy had a "not compatible with life" disease and died after 99 days. They are awesome! I love them. Anyways, I decided to try something new to eat, and it was pretty gross:-). I got to ride on the metro, which is just like a subway in NYC, no concept of personal space!! I really love this city, I think it's beautiful. Tara, Baby E, and I went to go get the cell phone working and we just got back. She went in and I stayed with the baby and the dog. It's not snowing, and it's not freezing either. It's like 38 outside right now. It feels great with a coat on. We don't see much of Jonathan, because its finals week for him. Tara is like my new best friend:-). Ellie is such a good baby. We're gonna go see that soccer game, I'm stoked!
Yes, we met with Nina and her husband. She is all business:-). She so has us taken care of. She has a new breast feeding baby, so she can't come to the SDA app. tomorrow, her husband will. We're going to take a car early Monday morning to Sumy. She keeps saying our case is "sensitive". She's very glad I came, she said I could be a key point in getting the boys home. I showed her videos and that boosted her confidence that the boys will be able to come home. She said the chances are slim of getting a court date before new years, which stinks. So our travel stuff is still up in the air. She was pleased with her boots, and her husband was ecstatic about his hat! Dad showed him some roping magazines and he loved it:-).

Tell everyone I miss them and love them!! Tell the boys that I'm going to a real European futbol game! I don't know why I'm so excited:). I miss say say {Selah} so much:-(. Anyways, LOVE YOU!!

Mattie’s Ukrainian Update, Dec. 14 at 3:15PM CST
(11:15PM Kiev time)
The game was AWESOME!  Full on fan fights, people getting thrown out, crazy stuff.  It was very exciting, we tied against Tel Aviv.  Here's some pics:
This is Tara and I on the mile long escalator in the metro station.

I asked two Ukrainian girls to take our photo using the word in perfect Ukrainian "foto":-).  Then I said, "diaku" which means thank you. 

Me enjoying the game:-).
The game.
I took this going down the mile long escalator.
So, now all of us are up to date on M&M’s Ukrainian adventures.  I’ll be sure to let y’all know what happens at the SDA appointment today.  If anyone is awake at 4AM CST, we’d appreciate your prayers for a smooth appointment and a referral for Vlad and Dima.  Thanks!

And back on the Texas home front, we’re all hanging in there.  We’ve got a few sick kids, and I’m battling whatever virus this is as well.  We’ve got coughs, congestion, sore throat, lethargy, etc.  Selah and Ella are on antibiotics for ear infections/sinus infections.  Other than this cold crud, everyone is pitching in and stepping up to fill in the gaps with M&M gone.  We all miss them terribly.  I’m so grateful for how selfless and helpful our kiddos are.  Only God could orchestrate things so beautifully. 

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