Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Adventures in Ukraine...

Yesterday...
     Exhaustion is once again setting in so I'm not sure how thorough (or perhaps even loopy) this post may be?!.  Here goes the nutshell... We stayed Monday night at a nice hotel in Brovary (outskirts of Kiev) after driving from 6 AM - 1 PM fro Zapporizhia there.  Tuesday morning we woke up at 6 AM to cold showers.  Before meeting Sasha at 7:30 AM we got lost in the hotel trying to find the continental breakfast.  Never found it... but we found an ice hockey rink which didn't help cure our hunger.  We hit the road at 7:30 AM to the region of Chernighov.  Three of our four children were born in that region and the law requires that you go to the place of birth and request an official birth certificate in person with a handful of documents in tow.  After getting turned around a couple times and pulled over by a few police men, we made it to the small village of their birthplace - on the border of Belarus!  By this time (it was shortly after 12:00 PM) we were starved and nearly out of gas.  We were in what seemed like the middle of nowhere and stopped along the way to utilize Mother Nature's toilets (the guys did anyways).  

     Once we got the paperwork process rolling we found a little cafe and ordered some homemade borsch to settle the hunger pangs.  While waiting 3 hours for the birth certificates, we had an array of local entertainment... corner drunk with his Soviet Union medals, horse & cart taxies and even an Orthodox funeral procession with the body lying on the back of a truck while people walked behind.  We all felt like we had gone back in time.  Sasha, at one point, said "Everyone speaks funny here."  Evidently they had a dialect type twang -ha!  I leaned over to Tony and said, "We've been saying that the whole time we've been here - Everyone speaks funny here!"  (Ha ha)  We're learning.

     At 4:00 PM we were back in our car flying back to Kiev.  After being pulled over two more times we made it to the ticket master at 7:45 PM (a separate location from the actual train station).  We then made it to the train station at 8:00 PM, through the McDonald's line by 8:10 PM and to our train by 8:17 PM for an 8:27 PM departure!!!  When we handed our tickets to the stewardess, she said, "These tickets are for Dnipropetrovs'k."  Ahhh!  The ticket agent had made a mistake (evidently not the first time here in Ukraine... will share that story in a moment).  We explained the mistake, paid the small difference and boarded the train.  We hugged Sasha goodbye and whipped out our laptops for approximately 5 minutes on online availability and we were off... birth certificates in tow... hallelujah, what a day!

     Story alluded to earlier.... Our friend, Larry, had bought a ticket through a domestic airline for a Monday morning departure out of Dnipropetrovs'k to Kiev.  His Delta flight out of Kiev to JFK was  just before noon.  Dnipropetrovs'k is approximately 1 1/2 hours drive from Zapporizhia.  So, Larry loaded up and drove to catch his flight.  When he arrived at the airport, everything was shut down... closed for the day in honor of the holiday weekend!  The airline had sold him an unusable ticket!!!  He was then in a major bind because he would never be able to make the drive to Kiev in time for his flight back to New York!  Can you imagine?!.  Welcome to Ukraine... 
Local taxi and mode of transport...
Small town Orthodox funeral procession in the distance...
My chair for 16+ hours...
The Corner drunk with Soviet Union Military medals...
Some sights around town...
Sasha rushing to write petition in Russian for request of birth certificates...
Woo hoo!!!  3 of our 4 birth certificates in hand!!!
On the road again...
Gas station near Belarus (I think it belongs to the Dharma Initiative)...
Excited to have made our train with dinner in hand...
Today...
     We arrived this morning in Zapporizhia at 6:45 AM.  Oleg, our driver here, greeted us and took us back to our flat.  We showered and met Oleg again at 8:40 AM to begin our day of paper-chasing.  So, as not to bore you (as we were for so many hours today), here's the gist...
* Sat in Notary's office for photocopies and passport request form from 9:00 AM - 11:15 AM
* Drove over to Vital Records' office in Zapp to begin request for Victoria's birth certificate (she was born in Zapporizhia region vs. the border of Belarus like the other 3)... learned they changed the process AND that we had a discrepancy on our paperwork from the court
* Enjoyed tea, coffee and chocolate back at Nina's office to waste 30 minutes before we could head to the town where the court is (30 minutes away)
* Ran by the Vital Records' office in that town... it was closed on Wednesdays
* Went back to court to connect with Nina who was working her magic on amending the paperwork mistake... Meanwhile, she chatted with the "higher ups" and they called the staff of Vital Records to come in and process our birth certificate request - woo hoo!
* We waited another hour in their office from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM, but got it!
* Drove back to Zapp to drop off some paperwork at that Vital Records' office
FINALLY, at 4:00 PM we had Oleg and Yana drop us off to eat something.  What a day!
Tony asleep in the taxi while we waited outside of the court...
Tony & Oleg goofing around in the Vital Records' Office with an aesthetic display (seemed a bit out of place)...
Tomorrow...
     We begin our day at 8:00 AM.  I'm confused as to what order we will seek to accomplish our paperwork chase, but here's what needs to be done:
   - Drive to another town in the region (approximately 70 km) to retrieve tax IDs (evidently the birthparents were nomadic)
   - Visit the Notary again to make additional photocopies and fill out some forms  
   - Apply for passports
   - Take the kids to get their pictures done for their passports at 4 PM
We were told it will be another long day... Looking forward to it!!!  Despite the painful paperwork process, it is WORTH it!  Looking forward to bringing our children home!

Story of our Sovereign Grace, the Lord Almighty...
     For a couple years now, Tony and I have played games like, "What will we name our children... if we had a boy?  If we had a girl?"  The name that always stood out to me, in fact I'd dreamt dreams about it, we had agreed upon it... the name was "Lydia".  Of course, when we discovered some of the details of God's providential plan in leading us to our four children, things changed.  We knew we didn't want to change their given names too much... so we laid Lydia aside.
     This morning in the notary's office, Yana sat next to me reading the court decree written in Russian.  We asked her what the court had written about the birthparents.  The mother was the only parent mentioned, likely because they were not married.  As a side note, we are awaiting a translation of the exact family history from another source.  Anyways, I then asked Yana what the mother's name was.   She replied, "Lydia".  My eyes filled with tears... even now as I type...  Here is my Lydia... the woman who gave birth to my children... the woman who is lost in darkness somewhere... my heart breaks for her.... May she come to know our Sovereign Grace, the Lord Jesus... and May God grant me wisdom, grace and love as a mother to these precious four... James Arthur, Angela Grace, Jana Sophia and Victoria Joy...

9 comments:

leeannabelle said...

Kimberly,
I just have to say WOW to the birth mother being named "Lydia"! Doesn't that just give you more confirmation on what you are doing?! God does delight in details it seems.

We continue to pray for completed paperwork and safe trip home!

Can't wait to see the post where you have those precious children with you....

Praying still,
Lee Ann

BrendaStrider said...

Hang in there, Kimberly....I know y'all are tired and I can only imagine what it must be like to try to accomplish so many business tasks in a place so far away from home. You all are in our daily prayers....for strength, for God to go before you in the details...and speaking of that...I LOVE the Lydia story. There was a season in my life where I questioned if God was indeed involved in the small details of my life, but He has taught me MIGHTILY that He is there....going before me long before I see His love and handiwork....Thanks for sharing your journey with us back home...can't wait to have you all back in the burg....we miss you!!

Jennifer Brock said...

How awesome ... what a page-turner your blog has become! :) And it's all because you let HIM direct your path.

Leslie G said...

Thanks for sharing the story about Lydia. How awesome that the Lord in His sovereignty chose to do that just for you.

JulieM said...

WOW! What an adventure our Lord has you on. So exciting! I rejoice with you about all He has accomplished and His sovereignty. The Lydia story is like a prettily-wrapped gift God handed you out of pure love. He is awesome!

SUNSHINE said...

Wow. Lydia. Love you.

Stephanie said...

Kimberly,
SO blown away by your day and the story of Lydia! Wow and wow! God is so good. He is apart of EVERY detail. I am so thankful that our Lord does allow us the opportunity to see His hand...sometimes in small ways and sometimes in ways like this! He is good! His sovereignty is good...How I find myself resting in it daily! To Him be the glory! Press on, Meridas! God is at work...
Lots of love and continued prayers,
Stephanie

hoosiermel said...

isn't it amazing how the Lord continues to give you strength and energy with each new day? i LOVE the story of lydia. God is so good.

Kevin and Tammy said...

Sounds like such a busy few days. Here is my Lydia story. Before we left our 23 year old daughter had a dream that our Kailyn our new daughter would have a brother and his name would be Jaryd Elijah. While sitting in our appointment at the SDA Sasha was telling us the names of the three children that we were accepting a referral on. Sasha said, "His name is Illya, you know like the prophet in the Bible, Elijah. Wow. I believe that God has all things set in place and sends us those little clues to affirm our decisions. Tell Sasha Hello.
Tammy