Sunday, April 18, 2010

Are We There Yet?

Tomorrow is our gotcha day! We will take Zoya out of the orphanage at 3:00pm and get on a train to Kiev at 5:30 and arrive in Kiev around 11pm. We are so excited and trying not to let all these other things going on steal away from the day we have looked forward to for so very long.

Zoya is still sick. We visited with her for about 40 minutes this morning (I was greeted by our favorite care giver with a hug and kiss because she heard we are taking Zoya tomorrow) Zoya seemed happy, but started getting cranky toward the end. The caregivers talked to our facilitator and wanted us to go to the pharmacy to get some medicine for Zoya. Through a game of charades and our facilitator, we figured out she needs some nasal spray and something for her cough. They scribbled down something on a piece of paper and handed it to us. So we were off to find the pharmacy. We had already walked to the orphanage and back to the apartment to drop our thing off (can’t take them into the store) and then we walked to the pharmacy and then the supermarket and then back to the orphanage to drop off the medicine and then back to our apartment. We went into the pharmacy and gave them the note. She opened up a drawer and pulled out 5! Yes 5 boxes of nasal spray and 2 boxes of something for her cough. Either we bought medicine for the whole orphanage or she needs A LOT of medicine! Either way, all of that only cost about $7 US dollars. Here apparently you don’t need a prescription for medicines. We are hoping they wanted us to get it knowing that we are leaving with her tomorrow and hopefully they will give us what is left. All we need is for her to get even sicker while we face being stuck here indefinitely. They were very thankful when we brought it back and even said in English, "Thank You Very Much!" 

During this journey it has seemed that every time we have something to be excited for (any big step in the adoption process) the joy is short lived and as soon as we get our heads above water we are pushed under again and have to fight our way back to the top. The volcano situation here is CHAOS. It is scary. It is unprecedented. It is making it hard to remain joyful and happy and positive. Here they are saying that it is very possible for airports to still be closed into Wednesday and Thursday. We are supposed to leave Thursday. We are thankful we are not stuck in an airport, which I can imagine to be the only worse scenario than what we will face here with our newly adopted sick child who needs immediate medical care. It is hard to continue being optimistic. They are predicting it to get worse before it gets better. People are stuck here. Trains and busses are all booked. People have no place to stay. Nobody has any answers about when the skies will open up again. We have no idea when we’d even be able to rebook our ticket for. Each time we see the light at the end of the tunnel it has only been a quick glimpse and then it disappears. This is very discouraging. Without complaining, I want to try to explain how we feel right now. We have been working on this process for over 6 months. We have poured our hearts and souls into every detail for 6 months straight, without pausing, without stopping to relax, without stopping to breathe…the paperwork, preparing for our first child, preparing for a child with special needs, the ups and downs and emotional roller coaster before we even ever set foot in Ukraine. We thought that part was emotionally exhausting…we had NO idea how that part was NOTHING compared to what we would face here. Now we have been in a foreign country with barely anyone that speaks English, with people who think we are nut cases for wanting to adopt this child, without the comforts of home, without friends, without control over one ounce of what is happening, with just enough to eat to live on, with odd smells, with a strict and dwindling budget….for over a MONTH! Thank God we were able to come home for a week and get recharged. I don’t know how to describe any better how we feel. It seems easy for people at home to say what is a few more days, you’ll be fine. We are just about running on empty here and so a few more days feels like an eternity. This is compounded by the fact that we have no idea when we will even be able to get home or if it will only be a “few more days” past our original date.

The only way we have even been able to get this far is solely with God as our guide. We know we will make it through, we know we will eventually get home. We know that in our minds, but our hearts are aching to be home with family and friends and finally celebrate just what God has done with our lives. Today we feel like that day will never come.

Would we do this all over again knowing we’d face all these obstacles? Absolutely…because we now know the joy that Zoya has brought to our lives. We can’t imagine not saving this child from life and death in a mental institution. We can’t imagine her not being our daughter. We can’t imagine her not being given the chance to know and feel love. We can’t imagine life without her. We need her and she needs us. This big picture is hard to keep in mind. We know that one day, hopefully soon, this will all be behind us and will be a story to tell, but being in our current circumstances, it makes it feel like that big picture is broken into a million pieces.

Being stripped of all comforts of home, people to talk and reason with, and limited ability to contact anyone at home has forced us to cling to God like we never have before. It has forced the two of us to become closer than we ever imagined possible….because not one other person knows how we feel. We are alone here. Of course we have the support of friends and family at home, but hearing it and living it just aren’t the same. In fact, I’m pretty sure everything I just wrote probably sounds like a lot of complaining instead of just trying to paint a picture of what we are feeling. Don’t get me wrong. We are grateful. We are thankful for this experience. We WILL look back on it with fond memories (some day long from now I’m thinking). But right now, right this moment, this is what we’re feeling.

Looking at these pictures reminds us that we have to keep marching on, and that soon we will get more than a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. After all, tomorrow is GOTCHA DAY and it is truly a miracle that we’ve made it this far!

And then when I look at the photos from our first meeting, I realize just how far we have already come!


  1. Oh, Sarah...Thank you for sharing your feelings, understandably you are both emotionally exhausted. We are all feeling helpless to even comfort you, praying that you can just hang on...I can only imagine how alone you feel...hold on to each other and know that you are loved by so many. Wishing I had a magic wand right now, Liz

  2. On a lighter note:-), looking at those pictures, look how much that "bad orphanage haircut" has grown! Of course with eyes as blue as the ocean, hair hardly matters! Love, Liz

  3. She looks 100x better now than she did when you got over there the first time. She is such an amazing child. I read your stories and it makes me feel like maybe just maybe in a few short months our nightmare of an adoption will be over and you will be reading about our journey and seeing pictures of our child.

    Even though you are going thru so much(and we are praying for you) it brings me hope. I can envision seeing my daughter for the first time and then by the 10th time her looking so much better and different than what she looked like to begin with.

    I really pray that things will get better. Just please know that you writing all of this and allowing me along for the ride is helping me. None of this was in vein. If you have had even a chance to glance at my blog you will know the hell we have been going through, but when I read about what you write I get hopefully, happy and lost in your world and for the brief time I am reading the blog I can be somewhere else not here, not going thru this and for that I am grateful.

    I am so sorry you are feeling the way you are, I can not even imagine. I pray that Zoya gets better. I am thinking that you did buy the meds for the whole groupa. I pray that you and Shawn find strength and pray that travel will be soon very very soon.

    Be blessed

  4. so happy that tomorrow is gotcha day!!!
    This is the day you have been waiting on for so long! One thing at a time, get Zoya, get to Kiev, get her visa, then worry about the airport!! can not wait to see pics of you all in Kiev!!

  5. Tears are flowing. I feel your pain through your words. All I can offer is a HUGE virtual hug and a big congrats on getting Zoya girl out of there!!! One step at a time, one foot in front of the other...keep moving forward. Hugs!

  6. Sarah and Shawn,
    How great it is that the day has come for Zoya to leave the orphanage for good. I am very happy for all of you. Zoya looks like a different child now as compared to the 1st pictures. She is happier and more lively than when you first met.
    It must be very difficult to not know all the answers. Hopefully the trip to Kiev will be uneventful,the Visa will go thru without any hitches, and that her medical appointment will go smoothly. Unfortunately as far as the volcano goes, no one has control over that. God is watching over you all to keep you safe.
    Praying for Zoya to get over her cold, safe travel for you and peace that you will be together as a family. Think of all this "alone" time that you have had. It may be the last for a while.
    Keep your chin up and stay strong! You're almost home!!

  7. Dear Sarah and Shawn, please know we feel your pain, pray it away, and wish for better days for all of you. Your stories keep your experience real to all of us, sharing you thoughts and words has all of us with you each and every step. Please know every day more and more people ask about you, care so much and more prayers than you can imagine. Every trip down the hall has someone stopping me,knowing I have been following your every move. I try to share all the important parts, and always tell a cute story. A pic of you and Zoya is directly about the copy machine and everytime someone copies, they are looking directly at you and thinking of you. (And you know how much that copier gets used!)You are never alone and always being thought of while you enjoy your family or while you sleep, we are with you. God bless you and Shawn, it is truly amazing to all that you two have gone above and beyond to save this dear little soul and bring her into all of our lives. You are on the "gotcha" track now, moving forward and as you know, I believe in the turtle, "slow and steady wins the race" Take each day at a time, know we are with all of you as you break through this obstalce and begin this new journey in your lives as an amazing young family. Flights are moving through Spain and Italy which may free up some air travel. You can always contact one of the US embassy in another country. We have military bases, and many Americans living abroad that would love to help a young family. Much love and many prayers continue to fly you way each and every day. Love to all, Debbie N