I hadn't realized that so many days had passed since my last post; it took a distress call from my mother in law pleading "please write something - our phone is ringing off the hook" that reminded me I was overdue. I apologize for keeping everyone in the dark.
To give you a complete picture of what happened on Monday, I'll actually need to go back to Friday and fill you in on some details. Some of this may seem redundant but I'm just going to tell the whole story. On Friday afternoon our facilitator had a meeting with the SDA who told him that they intended to deny us a 3rd appointment. This was to adhere to some law passed back in October 2007 stating that no foreign family could be granted more than two SDA appointments for an international adoption. Despite the fact that many families have been granted 3rd appointments since October 2007 - the current backlog of those looking for new appointments is now so great that commencing law enforcement on this particular ruling NOW seems like a convenient quick fix for the SDA.
Later on Friday our facilitator came to our apartment (yes, just as we were having cake for my birthday) to fill us in on the SDA decision. He also suggested that we go home, update our dossier and come back "when things got better". Our reaction was immediate; no chance! We made it clear that when we go home, we go home for good. Judging from the expression on his face he obviously didn't expect this to be our answer. He tried convincing us otherwise but we weren't buying it. For one thing we don't believe that "things" will ever get better here; the Ukrainian system is in a self-induced spiral and these people have only themselves to blame. Besides, we've gotten nothing but jerked around by this country from Day #1 and at this point we're sick of being here. The thought of having to actually come back turns our stomaches. He finally gave up with the "go home and come back later" idea and then proposed that we meet with the SDA ourselves. They have open hours on Monday at 11am-1pm. This time slot is for parties with issues or questions.
If you remember from our weekend posts, Shirley and I were at peace with whatever the outcome was going to be. What I never said in the posts was that barring a miracle, our Ukrainian adoption project was now dead in the water. But we also knew that we weren't going down without a fight. So we psyched ourselves up for war on Monday morning.
We arrived at the SDA on Monday and despite getting there 30 minutes before 11am, there were still 4 groups of people in line ahead of us. The meetings got started by about 11:15 which is actually "early" here. The first four groups were in and out of that office in 20 minutes and then came our turn. 30 minutes later we were still in that office arguing our case. That SDA lady wasn't budging on her position but neither were we. Eventually she said something to the effect that "she will look into it further and have a final decision made by the end of the day". In other words, her mind had already been made up and now she was trying to shoo us out of her office and get to the next person in line. But it was still another 15 minutes or so before we left. I guess Ukrainians aren't used to dealing with a stubborn German woman and a stubborn Greek gorilla.
I still run details of that meeting through my head. It really was a farce; I suspected the SDA had dug itself into such a deep hole - that their only solution was to try to get as many families like us flushed out of their country as possible. What was somewhat irritating was that a lot of the facts presented by the SDA lady were twisted around to make it look as though everything was our fault. The one part of the meeting that most stands out in my mind is when this woman looked Shirley straight in the eye and told her that she isn't prepared for - nor does she know how to deal with - health issues. Remember, Shirley is an RN (Registered Nurse) with 20 years experience. Who did this lady think she was talking to? Some idiot? For a moment I honestly thought that my normally even-keeled wife was going to blow a fuse. The entire accusation was so ridiculous - it would have been like Shirley telling the SDA official how to be the perfect bureaucrat. It became difficult to take anything that came out of this lady's mouth seriously. If it weren't for how sad this was becoming, the whole scene would have been comical. I'll never forget it for as long as I live.
Unsurprisingly, the "final decision" came late Monday afternoon. As expected, we were denied a 3rd appointment. We actually felt relief; the SDA could no longer play god with our lives. The first thing that I wanted to do was to call DELTA AIR, change our flight reservations and blow Dodge ASAP. Yes - after 5 long, useless weeks in an alien land we were finally going home. But we would also be going home empty handed and childless. 200,000 orphans in Ukraine and we were going home childless. No matter how well we make the best of it, the reality is devastating because we've been robbed of a dream. When Shirley and I bought our home back in June 2005, it came with a backyard swingset (the previous owners had 4 kids). How heartbreaking it is to see that after 3 years, the swingset is still not being used. We are sure that there is a reason for all of this. Although we don't know what it is (and trust me, we've tried to figure it out), there is no choice but to accept His will. Anyway, I am looking foreward to being in my own house, surrounded by honest people. I've had my fill of the political types that believe in their own fiction and excel at talking in circles (Please God - after living through all of this - help me to somehow survive our presidential election).
After setting up some arrangements, we'll be back in our own home by the weekend at the latest. GREAT!! If nothing else, I miss my dog Yukon!!
All those reading this blog that are still slugging it out with their adoptions, we truly wish you all the best. As I've said to several families, I hope to see many pics of your homecomings and raising families over the course of many months and years. We are excited for and want to wish the best of luck to Joe and Tonya (http://eastmanadoption.blogspot.com/) and Ruslan and Inna (http://stolyarov.blogspot.com/) whom we've had the pleasure of connecting with while in Ukraine. There are so many more of you that have made contact with us in one way or another. Mentioning every single name in this blog is impossible; there are simply too many to list here. But you know who you are. If any of you ever find yourselves in Central Ohio, give us a call. Our house is your house. I mean that!!!!!!!
I intend to keep making posts to this blog in the near future. After a little downtime at home, we're going to start exploring other options regarding children and I'll keep everyone updated. In case you're also one of the unlucky families who fared as well as we did in Ukraine, I'll let you know which of these other options can work, and how.
Thanks again for reading. And I again apologize for taking so long to post. Didn't realize the passage of time. Hope to chat with many of you on the sidelines. Bye for now and God bless...