WE ARE DONE!!! We visited the US Embassy this afternoon one last time to get Vika’s visa (try saying that ten times fast). Our facilitators seem to have a “be the first in line” philosophy and that has worked out for us quite well. We arrive early everywhere (SDA, medical clinic, embassy, etc) and we are the first ones to be seen.

There was a bit of a panic today, though. On Monday this week I realized that I had overlooked 1 form that needed Ryan’s signature. We had already had him sign and notarize some others and I had them with me but for some reason I had missed this one. Thankfully I realized it just in time. Before Ryan woke up on Monday morning there was an e-mail in his inbox asking him to print the document, sign it, get it notarized, and Fed Ex it to the Embassy by the end of the day. Amazing husband that he is, he dropped everything and got it done. It was guaranteed to arrive today by 6 PM. I needed it by 3 PM. After a few anxious days of online tracking, it was delivered yesterday at 2 PM. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and thought that everything was going to be okay.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I arrived today and no one knew anything about this package. They explained to me that all of the Embassy mail goes to one central mail center for sorting and inspection, and it could be at any one of four locations around the city. They’d do their best to find it but if they couldn’t, we’d have to stay here in Kiev until Monday. (!!!!!)

They asked if I had the tracking number and said that would be the only chance of locating the package. I did, but it was on my yahoo account, and there was nowhere there that I could access the internet. Then I remembered that I had some recent e-mails downloaded on my iPod, and it was possible that this one was among them. I had to go back outside to the security office in another building where all of my electronic devices were checked, but sure enough, the e-mail was there. I copied the number down and ran back inside the main Embassy to give to the workers.

After about 45 minutes, they called me up and said that the package had been found on someone’s desk right there in that office. The lady was out sick today so no one knew it was there. Praise God. They apologized profusely but I wasn’t the least bit mad. . . just relieved it was there.

After that I signed some forms, swore my oath, showed them Vika so they could see she was the same child as was pictured in all of my paperwork, and then waited for my forms to be processed. Thankfully Pat was able to take her to a separate playroom they have for adoptive families right there in the next room. She had a great time with all of the toys and other kids, and I enjoyed getting to meet several other families who were also there waiting for their paperwork. There’s an amazing camaraderie among adoptive families here. It’s fun to get to talk to other people who have just gone through the same process as you and have similar hearts for these children waiting for families. In that little waiting room were the families of more than ten children who will never be orphans again, some teenagers, some deaf, and others with Down syndrome just like Vika. The kids were all beautiful and their parents were so thrilled and ready to bring them home!

Now we’re back at the apartment and in another hour or so we’ll go for one last dinner with Nina. Vika is just exhausted and as I type this, she’s sound asleep on the bed next to me. I hope she gets a good nap and does well this evening. All of this change has been hard on her, but she’s a trooper. I am so proud of her and can’t wait to bring her home. I miss Ryan and the kids so much and can’t wait to be all together as a family again.

We will head to the airport in the morning at around 2:30 AM so this will probably be my last post from Ukraine. Thanks to all of you who have followed along with us. It’s been a beautiful journey and we feel incredibly blessed to have so much support from everyone.

Many thanks to those who have helped make our journey such a sweet one. To Michelle and Alisha, for originally “introducing” Vika to us back in July. To Nina and Masha, the best adoption facilitators in Ukraine, for all of their patience with my endless questions, for guiding us through this process so smoothly, and for their friendship. To Haley and Hollie, for the many days of loving Noelle and Levi while we were away. To all four of our parents, for donating their award miles to us for BOTH of our trips here and for helping so much with our kids. To my mom, who spent countless hours on the phone with the airlines, getting us the best available flights and connections. To Pat, who made this trip back here with me and has been such a help and support with Vika.

And most of all, thanks to God for opening our eyes to the needs of the many millions of fatherless children in this world, and putting it on our hearts to do something about it. Next to me is one sweet baby who will never again be an orphan. She is an indescribably precious gift. Thank you, Jesus!

“God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing” Psalm 68:6