We had a long, but mostly successful day chasing paperwork yesterday! Now that our ten day wait is over, the adoption has officially taken effect, we are officially her parents, and we can begin working on the paperwork required for her immigration to the United States. Our facilitator was able to pick up our court decree from the courthouse on Thursday which meant we were able to leave early Friday morning to head to the rural village where our daughter was born, and get to the records office shortly after they opened. It was about a two and a half hour drive on the worst roads we had ever been on by far. We had no idea how long it would take to get her new birth certificate once we got there and was the part we were most worried about for the day. However, we were very blessed to have her new birth certificate, with her new name and new parents, in hand only 30 minutes later! We then started the long bumpy ride back to go on to the next thing. Unfortunately a short ways into our journey we discovered the road had been blocked by protesters (who were protesting the horrible looking road) and no one was getting through. The only other way out of the village was 100 km out of the way. Our driver parked the car with the others and she and our facilitator told us to wait in the car while they walked up to the barricade to see how long it might last. When they came back a short while later our facilitator told us that if anyone asked, we were to pretend we were important officials from the embassy who were late for a flight and desperately needed to get back. They would move their barricade and let us pass through because of that. So we drove up to the barricade and sure enough everyone moved aside (we heard them saying "Americans, Americans"), they moved their barricade, and let us (and only us) through! Another huge blessing! We were back on the road again and by early afternoon had arrived back in Odessa. We stopped by the orphanage so our facilitator could give them documents necessary for starting the sign out process and then our next stop was the bank. Every orphan in Ukraine has a bank account that the government puts money into so that when they age out they have something to get started with. When a child is adopted it is customary to close out the account and give the money to the orphanage. This sounded easy enough to us since we figured we would just basically sign something that said to give the money in the account to the orphanage. Nope. First the bank must verify some of our documents to ensure we are who we say we are, and are really her parents. This will take at least 2-3 business days. Then we will need to go back to the bank to sign off on them giving the money to the orphanage. So because of that we will not be able to go back to Kiev as soon as we thought we could. Fortunately though it doesn't slow down anything else in the process right now. After the bank we went to the main passport office in downtown Odessa to have them scan some documents and start the process of applying for her passport. We were originally thinking it would take up to two weeks to get her passport but found out yesterday the wait time is now as much as 4 weeks!! (Please pray we get it within 2 instead!) Our last stop of the day, just before they closed, was the local passport office in the district where the orphanage is located. We had to give them some documents and paperwork for her passport as well. We were able to get everything we needed to accomplished yesterday. We are so thankful to have our facilitator doing all of this work for us because most of the time we have no idea what's going on or what we're supposed to do next! We just do what we're told- stay in the car, sign here, etc., and know that she's got it under control.
We were not able to take Sveta from the orphanage yesterday but, in the end, we were okay with that because we were able to get so much accomplished that will lead to her getting home. Monday should be the day that we get to have her with us for good!