Hopefully you will find this post full of abundant joy (I know it's redundant...and in this case, I don't care) and abundant details. I've gotten a few messages saying, "can't you blog the details so I don't have to ask you a bijillion questions?" I love it. It's such an encouragement to know so many are following and supporting and praying. I'll first tell the story of how we found out, and then I'll talk about details from there of where we are now.
Wednesdays are my days to work all day that the church. We have a staff meeting at 10 each week, and just before 10 I downloaded my emails to my ipod while standing in our overly crowded office. I saw that I had an email from the assistant at our adoption agency so I opened it immediately. I read these words: "GREAT NEWS, you have a court date!!!!" I started yelling that we had a court date. Barry quickly swirled around in his chair and all the other staff members came into the office. I was trying to skim the very long email to find out when it was when Barry said something like, "when is it? Get to that part!" I told him I was trying...December 22nd or 23rd. We need to arrive on the 18th.
We both were crying, and hugged each other. Then the ever awesome Jon Porter came and prayed with all of us as a staff. It was perfect. He had words I didn't at the time...to praise our God for giving this gift and to give Him all the glory. Jon then told us that instead of having staff at 10 we'd wait an hour so we could go call people. He also told Barry and I that from here on out we're not taking on new projects, and we are to be preparing to leave.
Barry and I went into the sanctuary to discuss the paperwork that we'd need to hand carry...because if we couldn't bring it, we couldn't go to court. Here's what we needed:
1. FBI clearances
2. Russian medicals (which we will do in Russia, obviously)
3. Homestudy letter saying this that and the other
4. Information on the taxes for our house to proof we have a house
2,3,4 Check...those are easy. It was the FBI clearance we were worried about. Some of you may remember the post about us getting fingerprinted again. Well, I called the FBI. They said they thought they might be able to be here by the 16th but weren't able to promise it. So, we called the USCIS (they're a government agency who approved us to bring Sveta into the country...and for our approval we had to have FBI checks), then we tried the Indiana State Police, and Ken was GREAT. He called us back quickly to tell us that he would print our clearance again with an added note about them running the FBI clearance. They would be ready for pick up that afternoon. So, we called the man who has gotten more paperwork for us than ANYONE. Ray, my father-in-law, works in the same building. So we called to ask if he'd pick up the clearances and get them apostilled for us. He said yes, and then Barry told him about our court date. So, if you are wondering who we called first: Ray, and thank you, for running all over Indianapolis for us, and saving me so many trips! We can't thank you enough.
So, we spent the next little while calling people until we needed to go to the staff meeting. I'm pretty sure we spent the entire day flitting around not accomplishing much because our hearts were so full. We were going to see our girl!! By the end of Wednesday we had started work on flights, visas, medical insurance, and transferring money from our Boaz account to our personal account.
Yesterday, and today have been spent checking things off of our ever growing list: from scheduling hair appointments to sending off Visa applications, to putting away our Christmas decorations.
When we get the list accomplished we will get on an airplane on Saturday evening and fly to Paris and then onto Moscow. We will arrive in Moscow at 4:15pm on the 18th. That is 7:15am Sunday morning here. We’ll be 9 hours ahead. We will leave the airport and go straight to Vladimir where we will stay in an apartment. On Monday and Tuesday mornings we will complete our medicals, and see Sveta in the afternoons. Then we will see her on Wednesday and Thursday as well. Court will be at 10am on Friday, December 23, 2011. (1am in Indiana)
Once court is complete, we hope the judge says, “da” or “yes.” We will then wait 10 days for “gotcha day.” We will see sights, celebrate Christmas, our anniversary, and New Years while Sveta is still at the orphanage. We don’t know if we’ll be able to see her during that time or not. Then, if I count correctly, we’ll pick Sveta up for good on January 2nd. We will have to wait to apply for her Russian passport until January 9th and then wait about 2-3 weeks for it to arrive. Once we have it, we will travel to Moscow for her medical, and to get an American Visa. Then we’ll fly home.
We will be gone 4-6 weeks most likely. And we can’t wait!
This is long enough already…but be praying:
1. For our sanity as we pack and prepare.
2. For the Russian Consulate to grant us adoption visas which will be better than business visas.
3. For our time together as a family to be a time of attachment and bonding.
4. For favor.