Albina was not happy about all the documents. She has informed us that she does not cry in public (and so far, she hasn't!), but it was evident that it is really hard for her to leave her friends and college behind. We anticipated this (we've moved with our other kids enough to know firsthand how difficult it is to move, especially at her age!), so we haven't been surprised by the mood swings and crazy comments. The fact is, she really loves our family and wants to come to America, but she also really loves her "family" here. That would be a tough transition for anyone, and I hope we can help her navigate through the challenges ahead.
After all our paperwork was finished and all the luggage was loaded up, we headed to the orphanage:
Once we got there we were rushed inside where we met with the director and the director assistant. They were very kind to us and wished us health and good fortune in the years ahead. They told us they were very happy that Albina, Alina and Maks would be joining our family. They feel that we are a wonderful family for them and they have enjoyed watching our interactions with the children during our visits. It was wonderful to talk with them and know that they completely support this adoption. I was very emotional during our visits with them (surprise, I know!) and felt very grateful for the love and care they've given our kids during the last few years.
Once we were finished meeting with them we were taken into the Music Room where we were able to witness an awesome farewell concert for our kids. Alina was able to dance and sing, Albina sang and Maks danced. After the performance all the children ran to our kids and we witnessed lots of hugs and kisses and tears as good-byes were said. Again, it was a very emotional and bitter-sweet moment knowing that we now have our kids, but they have to say good-bye to such dear friends.
|The Music Room|
|Albina hugging her friends.|
|Maks getting hugs.|
|Group shot of the children with James and I.|
|More of Albina's goodbyes.|
|Alina's teacher and friends were all very sad to say good-bye.|
|More good-byes for Maks.|
|Albina's teacher and friends.|
|Albina and her teacher.|
|More good-byes for Alina.|
|Albina and her best friend. We really grew to love her (we were able to spend a lot of time with her as well as with our kids.) It was so hard to say good-bye to her! She is such a sweet, beautiful girl!|
As soon as we said good-bye we were whisked out the door and heading off to the region capital to take care of more documents. Maks got car sick, but fortunately we thought ahead and gave each of the kids a bag to hold just in case. It still wasn't pleasant, but what can you do?
Once we finished with the kids passport applications, we had just enough time to run in and grab something to eat at: McDonald's. Albina was less than thrilled at this option, but Maks was excited! He had somehow gotten the idea that a hamburger was the same thing as a crabby patty and he thought that Sponge-bob was cooking in the kitchen. However, once the hamburger and fries came, he quickly realized that he did NOT like McDonald's food (regardless of who was cooking it).
After eating, we got on the train and headed to Kyiv. We were on the train all night and it was definitely the worst night sleep of the entire trip. Maks was really excited with our adventure (he doesn't remember anything before the orphanage, and since he's been there he's never been able to leave, so this was all very new and exciting!) He refused to go to sleep and got very mad at us when we turned off the lights and said it was time to sleep. Once he fell asleep, Alina was wired and kept turning on her light. Then she settled down and Maks woke up and started rummaging through luggage and bags of food. This went on all night and I felt like we would NEVER get to Kyiv.
However, you'll be happy to know that we are no longer on the train. We made it to Kyiv and will be here for a few days waiting for passports. Once they arrive, we'll go to the US Embassy to finish up the final paperwork for traveling with our kids and then we get to go HOME!
As lovely as this trip has been, we are really missing our kids at home and are anxious to be reunited and have our entire family under one roof! We can hardly wait, and are so grateful that we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel...