We finally made it! We left Austin on Wednesday, arrived Frankfurt, Germany on Thursday and spent two amazing days with friends. Craig had the opportunity to serve in Siberia and South Africa with Andre Bay. He, his wife (Masha) and three children are now serving and living in Germany. They live about 45 minutes from Frankfurt and about 20 minutes from Braunfels. We had a fabulous time and got to see the sister town to New Braunfels. We toured the Solms Castle and learned a lot about our own hometown. Germany is absolutely beautiful and we can't wait to go back one day.
We arrived in Kiev on Saturday and went through Customs like a breeze! We were standing in the "Non-Visa" line behind atleast 20 people. We knew it was going to be quite a long time and lots of fun for a 2 year old! Well, Madeline took a fall and started crying. I was trying everything to make her stop when a Customs agent motioned for us to come to the front of the line. I thought we were in trouble or something but I followed her direction. So, the five of us went to the front of the line and they let us go through Customs. After looking at our passports intently, we were motioned through the line. Next, we picked up all our luggage (which is a huge blessing) and headed to the other Custom's line. Again, we were motioned through and they never checked our bags! What another blessing! We were out of the airport by 1:45! Our precious driver "Leo" picked us up in a nice Volkswagon van and took us to the grocery store, and then to our nice apartment. We are very close to the center and within walking distance to everything!
Our first evening, we opted for TGIFriday's for dinner. We enjoyed people watching on the streets of Kiev and eating an American-tasting hamburger! We turned in early (8 pm) and went fast to sleep. Most of us (Craig and Madeline) slept 14 hours. Molly and I were up from 11-1 due to jetlag. I gave Molly a Benadryl and gave myself two Melatonin and we were finally off to sleep! We all slept in really late until our doorbell rang. People were coming in and making sure we were comfortable and others came in to set up our internet. We finally were able to meet Natalia and to give us last minute instructions before our appointment in the morning.
We will meeting at the SDA (State Department of Adoption) at 9am (1am Texas time) in the morning. We we receive our official referral of the girls. We hope to pick up our letter for the girls tomorrow but it could be Tuesday morning. Nonetheless, we will leave for their region on Tuesday. We may or may not get to see the girls that day but at the least, we will see them on Wednesday for sure. We are so excited and can't wait for the process to officially begin!!!
Thanks for all of your prayers! We do feel them and appreciate them. Continue to pray for a smooth process, favor with the SDA, judge, prosecutor, inspector, orphanage director/workers, etc. We know that God is in control and that He has a plan for our lives, as well as the lives of these girls. We know He holds the future. We are here out of obedience to Him and trust Him in this process.
Blessings to you all!