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International Adoption Stories

Ukrianian Adoption Journal

Stolz Family
Adoption Journal

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Jim We are still waiting for an appointment. For some reason, we thought this process would go much faster. We are heading into our 5th week since the paperwork arrived and NAC and was translated. Hopefully we'll be traveling in the next 30 days and we will do our best to keep everyone updated!

Friday, March 19, 2004
Jim YAY!! Approved. We travel on Wednesday. Been preparing like a fool today.. You think that since we have been waiting for this for the past 3 months we'd be ready----NOT! Packing list for me:
2 pair of black pants
3 shirts
3 changes of socks and undies
1 pair shoes
small med kit
small toiletries kit to share
after that it looks like a best buy ad:
Digital Camera
Video Camera
Power and phone converter
Iriver-- dang I forgot to buy that!
all to fit into one carry-on-- a backpack if I did not feel the need to be a geek
more later--- Go UC--GO Muskies!

Saturday, March 20, 2004
Happy Spring! It will certainly be a happy spring for us. The past couple of days have been a flurry of activity as we are preparing for Ukraine. I thought we had most everything done, but when crunch time comes, lots more things “pop” up. We have traveled overseas before, so we are somewhat familiar with packing light, travel wardrobes, etc… But now, considering we will be coming home with 2 GREAT souvenirs of our trip, well, it takes on a much deeper meaning!

For those who don’t know us, we are Jim and Mary. We have 5 great bio children, ages 20 to 13, and decided last summer to adopt internationally to add to our family. After researching many hours, we decided to pursue a Ukrainian adoption of 2, possibly 3 older children. We were specifically looking for a girl in the 10-15 year old age range, with a younger brother somewhere around 5-8 years old. We agreed that we would widen our preferred ranges and numbers just a bit, to try to ensure a good match for our family. We felt we could not turn down a referral of a "perfect" sibling pair because they happened to have one more sibling, nor were we willing to help split up a sibling group. We wanted to stay with older kids, but once again, thought that if a specific group included a sibling as young as age 3, we could not turn them down based on that alone. So we were approved to 2-3 siblings, ages 3-15, but knew our concentrated looking would be ages 5-14. In our research, I joined a yahoo groups for Older Ukrainian Children being adopted, and a dear soul, Harriet, (who I hope is not grading my grammar right now!) asked if anyone was interested in an older girl for adoption, as she knew a very sweet older girl. I wrote to her, telling her of our interest, but specific interest in one with a younger brother, preferably for the younger brother to have a disability. (our youngest son has Down syndrome and autism, and really needs to have a younger brother. I really wanted him to have sibling, at least for a time, that was close to his same "mental" age, who he could be close to as they grew up together) When Harriet wrote back, she explained that the girl she knew did indeed have a younger brother, in the approximate age group we were considering, who seemed to have a physical disability. Then she sent me a picture. As I downloaded that picture, I got goose bumps! The girl, Tanya, looks so much like our 15 year old, it is spooky. And her younger brother, Dima, looks amazingly like our youngest son, although he clearly does not have Down syndrome. I was looking into the faces of two children who I could say without a doubt were "my children". I have read may adoption accounts, and had seen that phrase being used, but until I experienced it, I never knew how strong that connection could be! Harriet knew of these children from her previous adoption at that specific orphanage, which were before Tanya and Dima were available internationally.

And now we are here, in Kyiv, ready to go tomorrow to the NAC to begin the formal adoption procedure. We wrote a letter to the NAC, delivered by our facilitator after we had been approved and received that approval number, explaining exactly how we knew of Tanya and Dima. Of course, according to Ukrainian law, there is no pre-selection. No one has been paid for holding these children for us, and in fact, no one is holding them for us. We knew going into this that there was a chance, however small, that someone else could come along before we could get there, and adopt them. We have been prepared for that, and knew that in that case, we would be very happy that they had a better life than in the orphanage, sad for us that we did not get to raise them, and then look for another sibling group. But honestly, I don't think there are anymore of "our kids" here, just Tanya and Dima!

Anyway, tomorrow at 9 AM, we have an appointment. We are the first appointment of the day. I hope that is a good sign. The NAC has all of the above information, so I'm hoping that the appointment will be quick; a mere formality. We are praying that we will also receive the letter to travel tomorrow, which will enable us to make it to Ivankiv, where their orphanage is, tomorrow. Otherwise, we could be here another day, playing tourist. Either way, I hope to get this to the internet café tomorrow right after the meeting at the NAC, so we should know before uploading these two entries.

Here's to a good night sleep tonight---yeah, right!

Wednesday April 7, 2004


NAC went great! Max met us at the apartment at 8:20.. After a 10 minute walk, we arrived--- 30 minutes early. I think Max was more nervous then we were. We sat downstairs for a while... Waited upstairs outside the offices for a few minutes then in the "famous" hallway (which is much brighter and nicer than we expected).

We met with Oxana, the psychologist. The Director stopped in to see us and was very warm, kind and seemed very happy to see us. All the paperwork was ready. They had the kids' papers attached to our letter of request for appointment. There were no questions about anything. Max translated the kids’ information for us. Dima does have craniostentosis (sp?) but has had surgery. There are some other (minor) health issues, but having grown up in the shadow of Chernobyl that was to be expected.

Total time meeting at the NAC-- 10 minutes.

Thursday April 8, 2004 5:50am
Maxim did get the letter of referral yesterday, but it was late, so we stayed in Kyiv last night, and are out early this morning. He is picking us up at 7 this morning for our drive to Ivankiv. I understand it is about an hour to an hour and a half northwest of here. He asked at the NAC for the letter to be issued yesterday, and they told him to call back after 3 to see if it was ready. Well, the letter was written for us, but the director still had to sign it, and she was out of the office. They weren't sure if she was coming back before the close of business or not. Either way, we were staying in Kyiv one more night, but getting the letter yesterday, allows us to leave that much earlier today.

I woke up early, about 5, to the sound of birds! What a beautiful sound.

Next update from Ivankiv.

Mary WOW, what a morning!
Maxim was on time, we loaded and left by 7AM. It started out drizzling, but within a short amount of time, it was really raining hard. All the way to Ivankiv, it poured. The driving was really fine. We were stuck behind a truck part of the time, and Yuri, our driver, tried numerous times to pass, but each time he would look, he decided against it, for which I’m glad. There were no “playing chicken” games on this drive!

We arrived in Ivankiv at 8:30, and Maxim had called ahead to the inspector’s office. We stopped by, but she was not there. Instead we decided to go to the orphanage, and see if the director would at least see us and give us some information on the kids, then we would get the "direction" after that, and hopefully meet the kids after they were out of school for the day. At the orphanage, the director was out-she was teaching a class at the other secondary school. The orphanage called ahead and she agreed to meet us at the school. Maxim went into see how we would do this, and soon returned to the car with the director and Tanya! Then we drove to the kindergarten, which here is like "preschool", and the director and Tanya got Dima and brought him out. Then we all drove back to the orphanage, where we could sit and chat. The director gave us a tour of the orphanage, and while we were out, the kitchen workers set out a very nice “tea” for us in the reception room. Then our driver drove her back to the school, and we stayed to talk with Tanya and Dima.

Dima is sooo small. He is 6, will be 7 in June, but the average size of about a 4 year old. And so cute. He kept smiling shyly at Jim, trying to catch his eye. We brought out a couple of books we brought along, and he just jumped at the chance to show off his alphabet skills, counting skills, etc. He did not want Tanya prompting him in any way! We showed them the photo album we brought with us, and they were very excited to see our house, kids, grandma, dogs, etc. Tanya ran and got a photo album she has of some pictures of her and her friends. She is proud of it. She knows most of the letters in the alphabet, and can sound out many words. The biggest bonus is that although shy, she is really ready and willing to try. We sat with my Ukrainian phrase book trying to communicate. It worked! (more...)

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