Friday, June 24, 2011

coming home!!

Wow.  Amazing that we are at this point.  Leticia has been going 100 miles an hours and the kids, for the most part, have been hanging in there.  She tells me that the days have been very busy.  They were suppose to fly back Tuesday the 28th, but God changed the minds of the people at the embassy and they went ahead and did the kids medical exams and visa applications on Thursday.
So Leticia arrived in Zhitomir on Monday.  She picked up the kids on Tuesday morning and got the 4 birth certificates by the end of the day.  She then ran around all day Wednesday and got all 4 passports.  There was some nervousness with that, because on Tuesday Oksana realized that they did not have Helen’s old passport.  Apparently the lady that sets up the Spain hosting trips had left it in Kyiv.  She is currently in Spain.  Not till 10:30 pm Tuesday did they find out that it was in Kyiv and it was sent to Zhitomir by bus on Wednesday morning.    Wednesday was also a very long day for me.  I was awaken at 1:30 am to be informed by Leticia that Helen’s missing passport had been found, then again at 2:30 am so that I could email the US embassy to request an appointment for them for Thursday morning.   I did that and went to bed at 3 am.   I set my alarm for 4:30 am to check for a reply.  I got up at 4:30 to check my email and was elated to find a reply for a 9:30 am appointment.  I called Leticia to inform her and went back to bed.  They were off to Kyiv that evening.  Thursday morning a driver picked them up at 9 am to take them to the embassy.  However, they did not get the process started till more than hour after their schedule appointment.  I will just say that the delay was not the fault of Leticia or the Embassy.  The people at the visa department told Leticia that if she came back there by 3 pm, they would attempt to get their visas by the end of the day.  Unfortunately, the medical exams where not completed till a little after 4 pm so they were not able to get their visas on Thursday.  They told Leticia to call back on Friday.  The embassy was closed to the public on Friday, but they were still doing other business.  Leticia text me at 7:30 am US time to tell me that they had gotten all the Visas.  I put in an email to Eldo at Golden Rule agency, and within minutes he had changed their Tuesday flights to Saturday at a savings no less.  So the crew is getting here tomorrow at 8:30 pm in Austin, TX.  What was to take at least 10 days to complete, God decided that it would take 6 days from departure to arrival.  Wow!!
Sorry that we do not have pictures to post, but we will later.  Leticia said that she has taken many of them. Tomorrow, today in Ukraine, our kids start their new lives in America.  Praise God. Please pray for safe travel and that all goes smoothly on their way home.

Isaiah 55:9
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

returning to Ukraine

After ten busy days at home, Letty left for the final episode of our adoption. Her plane left at 12:33 pm from San Antonio and she will arrive in Kyiv Monday at 2:50 pm Ukrainian time. This is incredibly out of Letty's comfort zone. She just does not do anything by herself. She loves company. There is no way that even a couple of months ago she would be flying by herself. I really think that she is allowing God to control her heart and mind. This is big step of faith.

We are hoping that everything that the kids need to travel to the US will be completed in time for them to travel on the 28th with the hosting group. That would sure be neat.

Pray for Letty's safety, and that she experience peace during the trip and through the next few days.

Isaiah 51:16
I have put my words in your mouth. I have kept you safe in the palm of my hand. I set the heavens in place. I laid the foundations of the earth. I say to Zion, 'You are my people.' "

Sunday, June 12, 2011

four new Quintero’s

Sorry that I failed to write in the blog on the most impotent day of the adoption yet.  The day was very busy, so I am writing this on the flight from Frankfurt to Chicago.

As is usually the case for days like this, we did not go to bed till after midnight.  Even after going to bed, I could still hear Alona and Maya giggling.   In the morning they said that they had not slept much because they kept talking and laughing.  Vika mentioned that she had trouble sleeping and she kept waking up every hour during the night.
With six people needing to get ready, and four of them being girls, I decided to just get up at 6 am and get out of the way.  I never want to be accused of impeding progress.  Vika fixed Alona’s and Maya’s hair.  Kolia dressed himself.  His hair was cut way short at camp, so need to comb his hair.  It is actually a good look for him.  We might just have him keep it this short.  We managed to get everyone dressed and feed by 8:15 am in a 1 bathroom flat.  We should be able to do great at home then.
We were allowed into the court room at about 9:20 am.  This was a new judge, so Oksana was not sure what the style of the proceedings would be.  It was actually very simple.  The judge asked very basic questions and most our answers were just yes or no.  Only the prosecutor gave us a though question.   She stated that we knew that the 3 siblings had older twin brothers.  These are the siblings that we had to do separation from.  She then asked why we had not elected to adopt them.  I looked at Oksana and I said that we did not know they had twin brothers before hand, and I really do not know how to answer that question.  Oksana then answered the question.  I never asked her what she had said, but the prosecutor did not have any more questions after that.  The judge and jury stepped out, and then came back after about 30 minutes.  He read all the official stuff and decreed us parents of Viktoria Caroline, Maya Lene (she picked Lene), Helen Maria, and Nikolas David Quintero.  Wow, the rush of emotion that runs through you when they read that out load is amazing.
 In naming the children, we tried to stay as true to the original as possible.  With Vika and Maya, we kept their Ukrainian names.  For Alona and Kolya, we simply changed their Ukrainian name to the American version.  So names were not difficult to come up with.  We then dashed off to the notary, lunch, passport photos, other errands, and got in a van to take the kids back to camp at 5 pm.  It took a while to drop them off because they refused to let us leave.  It is a rather tough way to end such a significant day by being dropped off at a camp that they just hate.  We had not planned it this way, but they told us that we could not keep the kids with us during the waiting period.  What can you do?
We got back to Zhytomyr at about 8 pm and we met up with our friends Joni and Jodi from New Braunfels who had just met their kids at the same camp this morning.   We visited for a short while, but there are always a million things to talk about in these types of encounters, and never enough time.  We had to get packed and ready to be picked up at 1 am to head to the Kyiv airport for our 5:30 am flight.  Mike Mullins, who is here with Michelle adopting their Alona, will be flying back with us.  Michelle will be stay for the 10 day waiting period.

Vika's cabin

Alona's and Maya's cabin

Alona and Kolya

Tanya, Lety and Yana

Camp Director & kids

leaving camp for the apartment

Vika doing Maya's hair

Alona and Letty getting ready

Vika outside court

the family after court
Please pray for wisdom, wisdom, patience, and more wisdom as we prepare to bring our God given new children home.  We know that it will be though.  Those of you that have adopted know that it is not the though work of raising five children that is intimidating, it is all the unknowns that these kids bring with them due to their tough lives.  Every child will be different, and each will have their unique issues to work through.  We can only do it with God’s help.
James 3:17
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

court tomorrow

Today we went to camp and picked up the kids.  It was late in the day by the time we were able to get the necessary paper work that gave us permission to take them from camp.  We rushed to get the girl’s manicures, and dresses.  We were supposed to have more time to do all this, but as usual our schedule got squeezed.  We are here in the apartment getting ready for tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a BIG day.  As Vika said, we will all be Quintero tomorrow.

Please pray that all goes smoothly in court.

Psalm 68:5
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Monday, June 6, 2011

camp visit

Saturday June 4th we went to the open market.  It is only a few blocks from our apartment.  Stay away from the open market on Sundays, it is crazy.  Every other day, including Saturday is much better.

Sunday June 5th we went to the camp to see our kids.  We had met the camp director at the end of school celebration, but he was not there when we arrived.  The adult in charge was not the friendliest person in the world.  She allowed us to see the cabin where Vika and her classmates sleep, and then we had to leave the camp.  They did allow the kids to come with us so found a cool place to sit and talk, and then we walked up to a small mom and pop store.

Vika and classmate's room

group project

Kolya at play

local transportaion

ice cream time

mother and daughter

Vika and Tanya

Father and daughters

Kolya being coy

entrance to camp

Vitaly took us to the camp site.  On the way he drove well, on the way back his NASCAR instincts took over and he was a mad man on the road.  Way too fast.  Thank God that we did not blow a tire.

Please pray for a smooth court hearing, safety for the kids travel back and forth to camp.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Friday, June 3, 2011

signed, sealed and delivered

Boy this day was tense.  We finally got the signed document for separation of Alona and it is off to Kiev to get the SDA sigs.  This allows Oksana to go home and spend time with her 16 y/o daughter after a month of not seeing her.
We will go get the kids from camp on Wednesday and get them ready for court on the 9th at 9 am.  Then we will spend some time with them before we leave to Kiev to spend Thursday night so that we can catch an early flight home Friday morning.  We will spend our required waiting period at home.  We are looking forward to that time.  After that we come back to finalize all the paperwork and bring the kids home.
The children left the orphanage this morning for camp.  All our kids had to go including Vika.  We were hoping to see them off, but we were stuck having to deal with the whims of the lady I mentioned on my earlier entry.
Leticia became ill last night.  We think dehydration played a part in that.  She is prone to migraine headaches and she had one last night.  We walk so much here and you can only carry so much water with you.  Once we get to the orphanage our kids drink our water then we are left with no water till we go by a store somewhere.  It has gotten pretty hot during the day as well, so that has been a bit of a physical strain.  She is better today.
We will not have much going on now till Wednesday.  I'm sure you all do not want to know about our trips to the indoor mall.
Thank you all so much for the encouragements, prayers and for being interested.  It is comforting to know that people are supportive.

Please pray for good health, that the paperwork gets back from Kiev in a timely manner, and for the safety of our kids while in camp.

Isaiah 12:2
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

power play

This morning we rushed to the chief inspector’s office to be there when she arrived by 9 am.  We got there on time but she was not there.  We were then asked to go to this other building to find her.  We got there and Oksana asked someone where this lady was.  She was overheard asking by another lady who told Oksana where the chief inspector was.  The inspector was about to leave and Oksana was able to catcher her and explain to her why we were there.  The chief inspector kindly told her that at the moment she could not sign the papers b/c she was too busy then, but if she would leave them at her desk she would sign them later today.  As this conversation is taking place, an assistant of the inspector rushes up and takes the forms from the inspector’s hands and says that the forms cannot be presented to her yet, because she, the assistant, had not had time to review the case.  This is the sane lady that told Oksana by phone that she would have it reviewed and signed by now.  After the chief inspector left, this lady proceeded to run Oksana through the coals, and actually told her to leave and that she would not see us.  We did not know this at the time, but Oksana then came and sat next to us and was silent.  She later told us that she was speechless.  The assistant then summoned Oksana and told her that she would like to talk with us.  We went into an office and the lady proceeded to explain to us how busy they had been and so she had not had time to review our case.  She asked us typical questions about the adoption and personal information about us.  She commented on how much responsibility she had on suggesting separation to the chief inspector.  Oksana tried her best to give all the reasons why it would be best to get the forms signed today.  The lady was not interested in the reasons and said that she would take her time to review the case.  Oksana was clearly upset after we left the lady’s office.  She called back and spoke to the kind lady that we had originally spoken to about the separation with Alona.  She told Oksana not to worry because this assistant is like that, and that she knows how to talk with her.  To show "good will" we purchased about $100 worth of office supplies for the inspector’s office.  After we delivered the office supplies about 30 minutes ago, Oksana said that the forms were sitting at the chief inspector’s office.  That is good news because we were worried that the assistant would hold on to them.  I told Oksana that Letty and I would be willing to go sit in the waiting area of the chief inspector’s office if that would help reminder her to sign the forms.  We got dropped off at the apartment and Oksana is contemplating whether she goes back up to the chief inspector’s office by herself at 2 pm, or if she should take us along.  It is noon at this time.
I reminded Letty about the verse that we used on our blog just yesterday.  So we are being still, but we are praying!!