Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ukraine March slideshow

God's Timing....

Greetings! Finally home with internet :-)

First things first. God is AWESOME! And God gets the glory, not us!

For those of you who supported us to go to Ukraine to get Kristina. Not only did you help her, but also the following:
  • A one legged man begging for food in Kyiv
  • A blind old woman in Kyiv
  • A legless man in Kyiv
  • A handicapped elderly lady

It was very humbling to watch my daughter, Kristina wanting to help everyone we seen. It was also very humbling to see the compassion in her eyes. :-) So we had teh opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in Ukraine. Thanks to you!

Ok, lot to mention. So go get your reading glasses and maybe a cup of coffee...

Point #1

Everyone keeps asking how I missed my flight. Lesson learned... GODS TIMING!

Ok, here's what happened. My blackberry in Ukraine would somehow reset itself to Eastern time zone if I left it on 24hours. SO I quickly learned to shut it off at bedtime and NOT to trust the time. So when I left Ukraine it was packed in my backpack and I didn't take it out till we got to the hotel. So when I powered it on it said to verify time and I looked at my watch and the clock in the room and all 3 matched. So thats where it started.

So to back up a bit to our arrival at JFK, I was so glad we had decided stay the night in NY. We were both exhausted. So when we arrived at Custom's and the guy opened my top secret sealed packet. Then he looked at both the passports with McLaughlin on them. The first question was... So when did you two get MARRIED! I told him point blank, sorry this is my daughter! SO we got through first part of Custom's and had to got the 2nd part. This took about 1 1/2hours of waiting. We are both fried. I'm trying to explain they will probably search our luggage. Which Kristina polietly replyed... NO PAPA! Told her sorry it wasn't her decision. Oh... I forgot to mention that Kristina's patience is nil, nada, zip, zero, op-chana (are you staying with me here???) SO they finally call her name after a plane load from India. She gets fingerprinted a 2nd time today. Signs the form and is finished. Or so I think....

So we leave that mess to finish Custom's. Just one more little thing and we are gone....

Of course this isn't meant to be. We wait in the line to show the Custom's agent our signed paperwork. To only hear these dreaded words... " Your paperwork is incorrect. You need to take it BACK to where you were and have them correct it. I don't have time to do this." I'm quite certain that both mine and Kristina's eyes rolled completely back into our heads only to expose whites of our eyes like on old star trek epidsode. Unfortunetly nothign happened so we had to go BACK to the mess. Oh... it gets funny. Trust me! So we go back to where we were and I walk back up to the table with 2 custom's officers filling out the paperwork. I tried to be poliet. But I think I walked up like Frankenstein or a zombie. I just wanted to scream. I told the guy that the other gentleman way over there where freedom was said that my paperwork was incorrect and that you had to correct it please. So of course, he took it and told me to wait. So then shortly after that he went over to a computer station and checked me on the do not fly list or something which took him about 10 minutes to search. THen he simply scratched out the one and put a two on the form. Its a really good thing that I was totally exhausted, I was walking like the humpback of notre dame (screaming santuary..santuary! trying just to get OUT of the airport) Like I couldn't of taken my pen out and scratched out the number one and wrote a #2 when the other agent was TOO BUSY to correct it at last checkpoint. God was with me cause I wanted to say 'other' things to the guy and thank goodness I didn't. So he said thank you and pointed to the exit door.

FREEDOM!!!!!! What??? No inspection??? Kristina must of really felt cheated too cause as we were heading to the door she said " Papa, no check suitcase??" SSHHHHHHHHHHHH! I hurried her for the door for freedom. I felt certain that the electronic locks would kick in , sirens turn on and we told to come back. But no, we walked out the door. YES! Free at at last! So now were trying to figure out how to get to hotel. Called hotel and get" THe party you are trying to reach is unavailable...NICE" So tried the courtesy phone at airport. THe number you are trying to reach is disconnected. Double NICE. SO we ask about shuttle and we have to take the 'J Train" or as Kristina calls it the Metro. SO we go up escalator with suitcase which freaks her out. No papa. Yes, Kristina. No, Papa. YES, KRISTINA. Awww our first big confrontation at JFK airport when were both ready to fall over. I simply grab her suitcase and drag it to escalator and she sees it stands and follows. So then we have 3 or 4 stops. Each time. Now? No, not yet. When papa? I respond " I don't know honey" Her response... Nice. Apple doesn't fall from the tree.... So finally we made our station to shuttle and to the hotel. We took showers ordered a pizza and crashed.

Ok, I'm rambled for a bit. My point. God's Timing.

Last year we thought we'd get Krisitina sooner and never had a big party for Rymma and Julia for family and friends. Plus the fact we came in behind a blizzard didn't help having many to greet us last year. This year, I PLANNED to arrive at 9:13pm on Monday night so that friends and family could meet us. I wanted this to happen. I never honestly gave God a thought in this last process. He was first and foremost in everything else while I was gone. Spent a lot of time on my knees. But coming home I forgot to honor God first and submit to HIS TIMING AND HIS PLANS for me. So I humbly submit and confess to our Lord. He is in control and not me. Thanks for reminding me Lord! :-) I love you!



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We Are Family!

Well, for those wondering ... Rymma was talking with Kristina on the cell phone at 6:06 pm yesterday when she handed me the phone with John telling me that they had missed their flight. Apparently, they never announced a final boarding call and because he was returning from Ukraine, he didn't realize the time change and hadn't reset his watch (the clock in their hotel room wasn't reset either, btw). So, by the time he realized that the sign had changed to a new flight destination and time, their plane had taken off without them. Needless to say, John was a lot tired and a little irrate and questioned why there was no announcement nor that he wasn't paged for a final boarding call. Their answer - "Sometimes we do that; sometimes we don't." They had three options: 1) fly to DC, stay the night and get a morning flight, 2) fly to Pitts and rent a car, 3) fly to Pitts and have someone pick them up. We opted for #3. They had to make a run for the Pitts flight and the last I heard from him was a text at 6:35 pm that he was on the plane and see you in Pitts.

I was at the grocery store getting some staples when this all happened. I had to run home, put groceries away, get dinner started for the kids, look up directions, call our church adoption ministry to get word to those who planned on welcoming them at the airport, call family, update the blog in case someone checked it, talked to sisters-in-law about plan to get to Pitts, etc. It was a whirlwind for about an hour. Finally, at 7:45ish, my other sister-in-law was at my house with the kids, I was on the road with a tank of gas and my brother-in-law was at the wheel. We got to the airport around 10:00. John and Kristina were both understandably exhausted. (It was so nice to see them!!!!)

We arrived at home around 1:00 (after dropping Scott off at his house) and Rymma and Kristina squealed as Rymma bolted out the door to welcome her sister! They hugged for what seemed like 5 minutes! Then it was Julia's turn. It was SO nice to see them welcome Kristina with such excitement at 1:00 in the morning! I went with the girls to their room to help Kristina get "settled" with blankets and such and it hit me ... I just smiled and said, "You know what this means? All my girls are home!!!" Rymma smiled back. :o) It was a round of goodnights and Mamachia was off to bed.

I went to wake up Rymma and Julia for school this morning at 6:00 and Julia was already dressed and ready to go. When I asked them what time they finally went to sleep, Rymma just looked at me with a "do you really don't want to know?" look. Yep, they never went to sleep ... they stayed up all night talking.

I want to say thank you to my family ...

Paula & Scott, thank you. Scott, thank you for taking the time to go with me even with your having to get up at 4:30 am to go to work. Thanks for the great conversation and your words of encouragement.
Connie, thank you for being there for the kids and me.
Connie & Paula, you're the best sisters ever!
Grandpa Dave, thank you for picking up the suitcases at CAK and bringing them to me this morning.

Timmy summed it up best yesterday in the car on the way to the grocery store when he said completely out of the blue, "Mom, family members are the most important thing to me." :o)

Monday, March 9, 2009

flight change

they missed flight to canton
on my way to pitts to get them

Coming Home!

John and Kristina made it to New York late yesterday evening! :o)
They will arrive at our local airport (CAK) at 9:15 tonight.

Thanks you for all your prayers!

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

We talked to John and Kristina yesterday. It was Rymma's 15th birthday (click here) and we called so Dad and Kristina could wish Rymma a happy birthday. (Although he sounded really tired, it was wonderful to hear John's voice. :o) I have really missed him!)

The last couple of days have been finishing up the process at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev for Kristina's VISA. They have been staying with our good friend, Lyuda. They met a gentleman from the States at the Embassy who was finishing up his and his wife's adoptions (3, I think) and didn't realize that he was staying at Lyuda's flat too until they returned to the flat after running around yesterday. :o) John also said that he ran into Alexander (our taxi driver from Kiev) at the Embassy just by chance.

They were to have toured Kiev today with Kristina's aunt but that didn't happen because we found out that Kristina's grandmother has fallen ill - a possible kidney problem. Please keep Babushka and Kristina in your prayers!

John texted us that he and Kristina went ice skating today ... incidentally, Rymma and Julia did today too with two of their friends for Rymma's birthday. It's kinda' cool to think that all three girls did the same thing today - halfway around the world from each other.

John and Kristina begin their journey home tomorrow. They will spend the night in New York Sunday night before coming home to Ohio Monday night. We are all eager for them to come home!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hard to Say Goodbye

John and Kristina spent the night with her family last night. John said that he heard some good stories (in Russian!) and that they had a good time. They had dinner, went back to the hotel and orphanage for their belongings and back to the flat for the night. Kristina's biological mom joined them for dinner this time.

John said it was neat this morning - he had 'communion' with great-Babushka at the breakfast table. She would have him toast her, take a swig of wine, eat bread and she would make the sign of the cross. I am not quite sure if he was swiggin the wine with her - he wasn't clear on that! ;o)

Kristina was able to spend a little time alone with her biological mom today but was again very upset afterwards. John said that it was very hard to say bye to everyone out in the dark (the road is very dimly lit where they live) and that he could taste the tears on great-Babushka's face when he kissed her on the cheek.

They got to the train station just in time to see a train pull away. Thank goodness, it wasn't their train! At the time he texted me, he said that Kristina was just sitting and crying while staring at her great-grandmother's picture, repeating "ba-ba" (for Babushka). She is convinced that she will never see her again - she is 91 years old. I know it just had to break John's heart to see her so emotional but he is a good dad and I know that he will do all he can to comfort her.

I can't even imagine what she and her family are going through right now. We did tell them that Kristina is more than welcome to call them and write to them and that we plan to visit at some point.

So, right now they are still on the train to Kiev. They will arrive at 8:00 a.m. their time; 1:00 a.m. our time. Once in Kiev, they will begin the medical examination and visa process with the Embassy for the final process.

Around 11:30 pm their time, John texted me that he and Kristina played 2 hours of killer Uno - he said she's getting better! (I played a couple games of Uno with Julia last night before bed - she is wicked! :o) He also mentioned that Kristina's grandfather had come to the train station to say goodbye.


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