Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why We Are Where We Are...and other details

Nastia's paperwork was mailed from the regional office to the SDA on May 23rd.  Our coming here the 6th was suggested weeks before by our facilitator based on the time the papers were mailed and the suggestion of people at the SDA office.  Though we were aware on the 5th that it was looking more like we would not be able to receive her referral until the 11th, it wasn't worth the thousands of dollars it would cost to change the flights to two days later.

Her papers did arrive on the 11th, but apparently no one thought it would take this long for the director to sign them.  It is now the 14th and the papers are still waiting.

See, we came here with a timeframe that we had to accomplish everything within.  Marsh has to be home for work responsibilities.  As the days wore on, the window of opportunity began to close and our plans were changing by the day as we were trying to figure out how to handle everything.

A few days ago, we were given two scenarios from our facilitator, both of which didn't suggest that we would have to wait beyond Monday for her referral.  I feel a bit like a yo-yo.  Every day, the outlook changes.  Every day, the possibilities come and go.

At the SDA office today, I was pretty nervous.  It was that "woah, this is the hinge everything hangs on...I wonder what is going to happen" kind of nervous.  I thought we had two options.  In a matter of minutes, the best option was gone and there were more scenarios to consider.

No one anticipated we would be pushed this far out.  Our facilitator was agitated and the SDA office staff were incredulous.  At one point, the SDA official said to our facilitator, "Why did you have them come when this wasn't in place?"  

Our question exactly.  It is the reason we are going through what we've been through...both trips.  It was unwise to submit our dossier to the SDA without confirming that BOTH children were on the SDA's registry and we hope other families adopting more than one child will be aware that this is a possible scenario and will confirm that with their facilitator.  That is where our problems stem and is the reason for two trips to Ukraine with literally no real progress. 

Here are some details I have left out until now (yes, it does get more complicated) because we were not aware of them until today when we were faced with choices.  See, we have only three tries.  Yes, three tries to get Nastia's referral.  Three strikes, you're out.

Apparently, our first try to adopt Nastia was the original SDA appointment back in April when we picked up the referral for Ruslan.   One strike.  Why?  Because it was not confirmed that she was on the SDA registry prior to submitting our dossier.

Upon our arrival here this time, and everyone's anticipation that we would be able to have the SDA appointment in a reasonable period of time this trip, our facilitator submitted a second application for an appointment.  That was supposed to be today.  When the appointment didn't happen because the papers weren't signed, we were given the option of trying again on Monday or Thursday (the only days the SDA office takes appointments).  If we didn't take one of those options, we would risk having them toss out our dossier and lose our ability to adopt at all.  Once the formal application is submitted, you must follow through or forfeit your option to adopt.  Our options were Monday or Thursday.

However, if we chose Monday (which seemed the most reasonable because then we could just hop the next plane home) and the papers still weren't signed, that would be strike two.  If we chose Monday with a strike two, we could try again Thursday.  If it wasn't ready guessed it...strike three.  You're out.

I'm sorry...I thought we came to Ukraine, not Vegas!

Try to understand our state of mind:  First of all, our hopes for being able to complete this adoption this trip, or even get to court, were completely out of the question.  Secondly, each day we're here with no real progress is a waste of time, money and energy on the part of our parents who are taking care of all our kids and farm while we are gone and the angels who are helping us financially, let alone days we are away from ALL our both countries.

Marsh was pretty upset.  This man doesn't get upset about stuff like this.  He is the perfect "go with the flow" kind of guy who sees most challenges as an adventure.  However, the experience has worn on him.  Standing outside the SDA office, me with my calendar in hand, our facilitator discussing the situation on the phone with our other facilitator and other facilitators (all there for their own work at the SDA) standing with us giving us their opinion, my cool, calm, adventurous husband put his water bottle to his head and made a shooting sound.  So much for adventure.

The water bottle must have had a shot of inspiration because it was moments later that he came up with our current plan.  He suddenly suggested that we take the Thursday appointment (our flights are on Saturday anyway) as our possible strike two and spend the days between then and now at the orphanage (an overnight train ride away).  Marvelous, really.  We get to see our kids and we don't get anywhere near a strike three.

The other silver lining here is that IF that paper IS actually signed on Thursday, our facilitators take that to our orphanage region and begin the process that allows the SDA to give clearance for a court date.  When we arrive back in Ukraine, the 10 day waiting period for court will be over and we will come without having to stop in Kiev or wait for that important appointment.

IF that SDA appointment does actually occur on Thursday, we will have spent only a few more days achieving this progress point than the other families we have watched breeze through this process in the last couple months.  Ours will just have required a LOT more drama, less time with our Ukrainian kids and several more airline and train tickets.  

Sorry, angel helpers.


  1. Alisa-
    I have been following your story for a while; I saw a link that JulieAnn Hansen put on FB a while back. Remember we were in the same married student ward at BYU? I just wanted to give you some words of encouragement. We have adopted 6 children out of foster care, two sibling groups. It was not an easy process. We rode the roller coaster of emotions that you are now on. I often wondered how and why the process could be so difficult, when there are thousands of children legally available for adoption. While I still believe the process should be easier, cheaper, speedier...I will say that the refiners fire that one goes through in the process of adoption, is like no other. One gets closer to our Father, and His Son, and one's spouse, than perhaps at any other time in life. We will join our prayers with you that "His will be done". Best wishes,
    Meredith & Oliver Alfaro

  2. Oh my goodness! Sign the paper! I like the current plan - as I am typing I just realized that it is Friday morning there. May they find their pen to paper!

  3. Give Marsh a great big hug and tell him that the Wards love him! Of course we all know you are not just playing around on a vacation! You two have way too much integrity for that. I just want you to know that you should be SO proud of your wonderful son Chris - the basketball court is looking so good! What he has learned from that project will surely pay itself back many times over. Lonny and Josh have really enjoyed working with him, despite the heat and the frustrations of the project. We are so happy to help while you are on the other side of the world - and why? Because we love you guys of course, but also because we know Marsh would do it for us. That's the kind of man you have there Alisa, and I hope he knows how special he is and how confident we are that the Lord will not leave him alone. It is so nice to hear from others who have been through this - it will all be for everyone's good - even the angels back here in the USA need to learn from everything you are going through. So please don't feel responsible - it is all in the Lord's hands and we all know that. <>