Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Chase Begins

It has been hard to find the energy to write. I have tried my best not to save myself, or pace myself here. Some days I walk five miles and other days I sit in the backseat of a car all day long. Some days I meet and love on some amazing people and other days I spend mostly alone.

Today I hope to meet the kids at the rehab orphanage again. I just LOVE this group of kids. They are considered "troubled" for various reasons, but I have found them to be delightful! I was hoping to have seen them a few weeks ago, but was prevented at every turn. God willing, today is the day.

Now, let me play a little catch up...

On January 29th, my birthday by the way, early in the morning, I left my friends in Simferopol in search of Maxim's birth certificate. I walked down a steep hill, suitcase in hand, to meet my facilitator at the grocery store. Remember, I had taken the train to Simferopol by myself on Friday night. Getting out of the city was a little tricky, but we eventually found the correct road and I enjoyed the scenery on the way to Sevastopol...the other times I made this drive in the dark.

Even though we got a slow start, we arrived before the vital statistics office opened. There was a small crowd of people standing on the street waiting for the doors to open. Thankfully, only one of them was waiting for the same office as us. The woman in charge was an unblinking, power-tripping bully. She demanded another document, one stating *when* the corrected parental rights court decree (the one we spent 3 days trying to fix in December) had become effective. This information WAS in the adoption court decree, but no matter, she needed this information spelled out in a separate document. My facilitator said it was better not to argue with her and just try to get the document. The rest of the morning was spent on the phone, requesting faxes, documents, blech. At one point we were heading back to the courthouse in Balaclava (thinking they might throw us out!).

We did some more errands in the city while waiting for the new birth certificate. I do wish that I had time to see the Black Sea again, but I only caught glimpses of the harbor near the train station. Sevastopol is a beautiful city, by Ukrainian standards. I'd love to visit for fun someday.

Once the birth certificate was in our hands, the next step was to get a new tax ID number. This is similar to our social security number, but I'm not sure why a new one must be issued, and issued in the city of birth...I just go along to get along at this point. The lady in this city office was friendly (shock!) and fast (shock!). We had the new document in 15 minutes.

We immediately left Sevastopol and headed for Krivoy Rog. My facilitator and her brother had driven all night the night before we met, and they were so tired of being in the car. We stopped for a nice dinner at the Arizona Cafe, again. They bought me a glass of wine to celebrate my birthday. Actually, I had two wonderful glasses of Crimean red wine and it made me a little silly!

We continued to drive, and drive. The roads were snowpacked from a heavy snowstorm the days before so we took a longer route to avoid some dangerous roads. It was midnight when we rolled (bumped?) into Mikolaiv. We needed to stop for the night.

The hotel was experience! I can't really explain the way the place felt tired and creepy to my American senses, but I'll never complain about La Quinta again! Riding the telephone booth sized elevator to the ninth floor made me extremely uncomfortable. The room set-up was just strange and the bathroom was just old. I was too tired to worry, and in no position to complain...this is just the way things are here. Plus, it was only $17.50 and included breakfast.

Breakfast was a cute little plate of whipped, sweetened cottage cheese with sour cream and a plate of buckwheat (i think?) with a meat patty and tomato. I was told this is a Soviet style breakfast. Now I can say I've eaten Soviet style!

Good thing we stayed the night, because the road to Krivoy Rog was terrible! Portions of the road look like they were bombed. It's crazy to see 18 wheelers weaving around all over the road trying to avoid the holes. By the time we got back to the city half the day was wasted. We needed to start the passport application and close Maxim's bank account. The passport is the thing that takes the longest, and is the most unpredictable, so I have been anxious about it for a whole week.

And in this region, passport applications require more paperwork than an adoption dossier!


Jill said...

UGH...sorry you faced more problems in Sevastopol. And sorry about the extra paperwork for the passport. I was wondering why it didn't happen until Friday. Praying it comes ASAP!