Archive for December, 2008

Back home

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2008 by heart4kids

I arrived back home in California, with Melissa and Trevor, after a long trip Thursday.  It was an amazing 4 week adventure in Ukraine.  Overall, we have to say it was a successful trip.  Wednesday was a difficult day.  We left Belgorod at 6am and went by car to Kiev.  The trip included a short-cut through a corner of Moldova.  We got to the US embassy in Kiev finally at 3pm where signed some papers to start the process for the girls passports.

We’re missing the girls, and we look forward to when we can bring them home in a few weeks.

Here we are with the judge, minutes after he passed his judgment on us

Here we are with the judge, minutes after he passed his judgment on us

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Introducing the newest Vanderburgs!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 10, 2008 by heart4kids

It’s a Girl!

Introducing:

Jessica Rose Vanderburg

Born: October 1, 1993

Our daughter Jessica

Our daughter Jessica

It’s another Girl!!

Introducing:

Miranda Bella Vanderburg

Born:  March 1, 1996

Our daughter Miranda

Our daughter Miranda

It’s another girl!!!

Introducing:

Karina Hope Vanderburg

Born: May 12, 1999

Our daughter Karina

Our daughter Karina

We are thrilled to announce that the court hearing went well.  We were a little worried when the power went out just before the hearing started, but it was decided to continue anyway.  It was held in a small hearing room crammed with people.  Melissa and I each had to stand and explain why we wanted to adopt these girls.  We also had to announce that, of a sound mind, we understand what we are getting ourselves into!  This was translated into Ukrainian for the recorder.  Then each of the girls, starting with Jessica, had to stand and affirm that they understood what is taking place.  When it came to Karina she said, “these people are going to adopt me into their family.”  Then the judge said, “and who are these people?”  She hesitated for a moment and then exclaimed, “why, Mama, Papa and brother!”  With that we were all adjourned while the court deliberated.  A little later we were all called back in and the judge announced to us that the state of Ukraine agreed to grant the adoption!

We then took the girls out for lunch at a cafeteria restaurant near the market.  Except for Karina, it was probably their first restaurant experience.  We had a fun afternoon browsing through the market, hugging, playing games back at the orphanage, and more hugging. Then came the hard part, saying goodbye.  We had to explain to them again about the mandatory waiting period before they can leave the country.  I’ll return at the end of January to process their passports and finally take them home.  There were a lot of tears as we finally pulled ourselves away.

We also met with Olga, the director of the orphanage.  She assured us that the timing will be good for the girls’ departure.  They can have the holidays with their friends here and have time for goodbyes before they go.  She thanked us again for the good memories she has of our home when she visited last year.  She said she’s very happy that these girls can go to such a good family.  At the same time I think she is sad to lose them because they are such a joy in the orphanage.

Tomorrow morning Melissa and Trevor and I will leave Belgorod to go by car to Kiev.  It’s about a 6 hour drive.  We have some paperwork to do in Kiev tomorrow and then Friday morning we will leave from Kiev to fly home.  It’s tempting to say that this adventure is ending, but in reality I know that it hasn’t even started yet!

Court in the morning

Posted in Uncategorized on December 9, 2008 by heart4kids

Our appointment is at 9:30 tomorrow morning at the local courthouse to get official approval for the adoption.  The final paperwork should arrive on the train from Kiev to Odessa first thing in the morning.  The three girls will be present at the court, as well as our translator and the grumpy lady from social services. Hopefully, it will be just a formality and everything will go smooth. We were given permission to take the girls out to lunch after the hearing, which will be our first chance to do something with all of them outside of the orphanage.

Today we finished buying clothes for the girls going-away outfits.  We packed them into bags and stored them at the clinic, where I can get them when I come back in January.  Then we had one more visit with the girls and played some  games.  We all hugged and said good-bye, until court tomorrow.

Our silver-anniversary event was pretty low-key by comparison with the other events in our lives right now.  Back at the guest-house Melissa whipped up a pasta casserole in the little kitchen.  At least we’re still in love, and thankful for a wonderful life together.

Our anniversary bash

Our anniversary bash

Held up

Posted in Uncategorized on December 8, 2008 by heart4kids

It seems that the official who was supposed to sign the paper in the village became very beligerent and didn’t want to release the document we need.  In the end he did sign it and hand it over, but it was too late to get processed for court tomorrow.  Now it looks like court will happen for us on Wednesday. Our agent, Serge, who is working on our behalf, said it was a long ordeal and we wouldn’t even want to know the full story of what took place to get the paper signed.

Ready to go

Posted in Uncategorized on December 8, 2008 by heart4kids

It’s been three and a half weeks now that we have been in Ukraine and we are a little anxious to go home!  Not that it’s a bad place, but it’s a little bit like camping and it would be nice to get back to our own beds.  As far as we can tell, the court hearing should take place tomorrow.  Hopefully all the paperwork will be in place. The last document is supposed to by faxed from a village to Kiev this afternoon. Then it will be put on an overnight train to Odessa and then by driver to Belgorod in time for court tomorrow.

Melissa wisely brought a bag of Starbucks coffee with her from home.  Amazingly, Starbucks doesn’t exist here. We’ve been carefully rationing it, but it’s about at the end. Another sign that it’s time to go!

What's wrong with this picture? Hey, I thought we had three BOYS!

What's wrong with this picture? Hey, I thought we had three BOYS!

Anniversary date

Posted in Uncategorized on December 7, 2008 by heart4kids
The happy couple

The happy couple

Twenty five years ago on December 9th Melissa and I got married.  From time to time we’ve talked about where we should go and what we should do on our big anniversary.  In April we picked up some travel brochures and thought maybe we could go on a cruise.  A few days later we got the news about the older sisters needing to be adopted and we knew that our lives had just changed.  The brochures got tossed.  They seemed frivolous in light of the bigger issue of helping some needy lives.  Now it looks like December 9th may be the day that the Ukraine court decides to make these three girls our daughters.  This wasn’t what we ever thought we would be doing on this day, but it may be a day that will have a greater impact than we could have imagined.

Weekend

Posted in Uncategorized on December 6, 2008 by heart4kids

It’s a bit frustrating for us when all the offices close on Friday afternoon and we know that nothing can happen again until Monday.  Today marks three weeks that we have been in Ukraine.  Most of that time has been spent waiting.  I keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it when we can provide a good home to some very good kids.

Today we went to Odessa to do some shopping.  Four hours on buses was worth it for the change of scenery.

Bartering at the open market in Odessa

Bartering at the open market in Odessa