Thursday, July 19, 2007

I finally have photos!!! (Updated)

I know that you all have been waiting anxiously for photos! Here are just a couple! I will send more soon.
In the photo on the left, from L to R on the back row is Julia, Victor & Jenna...front row from L to R is Alex and Katelyn.
Although we just arrived home last Thursday, we have been so busy that time is flying by. We've registered VJ (who insists on being called Victor) for school. We have appointments to register Alex, Jenna and Julia next week. The girls are really anxious to meet other girls their age. The boys have discovered video games, on which I have placed a daily one hour time limit. I told them that their brains will be squishy and their eyes will pop out if they keep it up. They laughed.

We've been to the pool several times already. Also...the library is a HUGE deal. They can't believe that you can borrow books/use a computer and not pay for these services. English lessons began on Monday (for Jenna and the boys) and Wednesday (Julia). Jenna needs a bit more of a challenge so we're not sure what we will do. Julia's class is to difficult, but the boys' class is too easy.
From L to R in the above photo...Julia, Katelyn, Victor, Alex and my hotel room in Berdyansk!

Friday, July 13, 2007

"In my mind I'm gone to Carolina"

Wait...I'm really here!!! I love this place!!!

We arrived around 7:00 p.m. last night and we were delighted to see Bryan as well as Mike, Teresa, Emily & Josh George, who brought a welcome sign for us and had a camera in hand to record our arrival! The kids were amazed to see our minivan (not many of those in Eastern Europe). When we got home, all of the children ran to their rooms and were so excited to have a place of their own. Our neighbors (the Ferguson's) brought us dinner and we all enjoyed a slice of the "Welcome Home" cake from Aunt Gail! The children unpacked their bags and we all went to bed around 10:00. We woke up around 6:30 this morning, but I'm certain that we will need to catch up on our sleep very soon.

So mind is racing about how to set up a daily routine for our large family. If you have any ideas that you can pass along, please send them my way. Everyone begins English lessons on Monday and we can't wait!

Much love to all of you and, most of all, PRAISE to God for bringing us all home safely. We're still not sure why we were called to take on this challenge, but we believe that He has something very special planned for each of these children.

I'll do my best to keep this site updated as we begin our new journey. There will be many bumps in the road and many prayers that will still be needed!

Joy, Bryan, Julia, Jenna, VJ, Alex & Katelyn Tanner

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

There's no doubt that I'm a city girl at heart. I am so glad to be in Kyiv! That also means that I'm an little closer to home! Only 2 more days!

We had an 8:30 appointment at the Embassy yesterday morning and then the children had medical exams and immunizations. We had lunch at McDonald's but I have a big problem...none of the children like hamburgers. They think beef is very bad meat! I guess I'll be cooking alot of chicken and fish at home. We're only waiting for visas now, which should be ready tomorrow.

I'm not sure if I'll be posting before we leave Kyiv on Thursday. If not, I'll post state-side!


Friday, July 6, 2007

Victor says I am blessed AGAIN

You won't believe this one. The US Embassy just issued a new rule that requires a different passport for the children. Now I know why God allowed our delay!!! Other American families that were scheduled to go home today are now delayed because they got blue passports. The US Embassy and customs will now only accept red passports, so these families had to travel back to Zap. to get the correct ones. Victor found out about this problem before it was too late for us! Yesterday we received 4 RED passports (even without all of the paperwork)!!! Victor is a GEM! He only had to promise to go back to Zap. today to bring them the remaining documents. So...he is traveling there this morning (without me and Katelyn). He will be back at 3:00 today, just in time for us to sign the children out of the orphanage so we can catch a train at 4:30 from Berdyansk to Kyiv.

I will post again on Monday!

Thursday, July 5, 2007 about Plan D?

Talk about "hurry up and wait"!!! OK....If you have been praying for my patience, please stop. :) God is REALLY testing me! I think the better prayer right now might be for the waiting to end!!!

We did not get the issues with Julia's passport resolved today, BUT Victor feels that we still have time. We spent all morning at the passport office. Thanks for praying for the director because she was very nice and helpful! Her assistant, who was to process the paperwork and stamp Julia's passport, told us to come back at 1:00 p.m. and pick everything up. When we got there at 1:00 she had left for the day and nobody knew how to contact her. Another assistant informed us that they needed a little more information before anything could be done. SO...we'll go back to Zaporryzhia tomorrow and finish the other 3 passports and hurry back here before the local passport office finish Julia's passport. They also have Saturday hours if we are delayed tomorrow.

I think we may wait until Sunday morning and take a train to Kyiv. The more I think about it, 9 hours on a bus (with no stops to stretch our legs) will not be pleasant for Katelyn...or for me. I have also heard that the bus drivers here are not so safe. There have been many accidents because the drivers will drink alcohol, fall asleep, or both. At least we can have a bed on the train and can get up and walk around if needed. I hope that we can get the air-conditioned train car, but I am not certain that it will be possible because many tourists are traveling in and out of Berdyansk now.

Anyway...the wait is not over and we still need your prayers that everything will be completed by tomorrow or mid-day Saturday at the very latest. If we are not in Kyiv by Monday morning we definitely will not be able to make our flight on 7/12.

Thanks to all of you for following our blog! It means so much that you care!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What "Plan B"? We're on to Plan C!

Yesterday was VERY long! We left the hotel at 6:30 a.m. and arrived in Zaporrhyzia before the Department of Vital Statistics opened. We were the 3rd set of people in line and we didn't finish up there until 3:00 p.m. We had to stop by Tokmak to get the new birth certificates, which took another 2 hours, so we didn't have time to go back to Zaporrhyzia. Therefore, we left at 5:00 a.m. today to travel back to Zaporrhyzia. All of the documents were legalized and we began the process of getting new passports for the children. The passport office was so busy that we'll have to go back on Friday or Saturday.

Julia has a domestic passport and she is registered in Berdyansk, so we'll have to work on that tomorrow...hence the prayer request. The director at the passport office here is not very nice and I am supposed to beg and cry tomorrow so that she will fulfill our request. If she refuses, we probably won't make our flight next Thursday. PLEASE PRAY that this lady's heart will be softened!!! To make matters more complicated, Victor had to go to Donetsk to help another family with court proceedings and will not be accompanying us to the passport office. He found a local 18-year-old who has studied English and she will do her best to help us tomorrow. She has NEVER been a facilitator for adoptions before. PRAY for her also...that she will be very persuasive!

AHA Staff - You'll be excited to know that I made a deal with Victor today. I told him that if we get Julia's passport, he must quit smoking...and he agreed! All of the walking that I've been doing is great, but breathing the second-hand smoke that I've been breathing while in Ukraine has probably cancelled out my heart-healthy activity!

If all goes well tomorrow we will be traveling to Kiev on Saturday night, arriving there at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday. We'll have medical exams on Monday and an an Embassy appointment on Tuesday. All paperwork should be completed by late Wednesday, just in time for us to fly out on Thursday. As you can see...there is NO wiggle room. I'm a little nervous!!!

Love you all and I can't wait to see you!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Plan B

When Plan A doesn't work out, there's always Plans B, C, D, E & F that Victor can fall back on. We received the court decree today! Tomorrow (rather than today) we will leave at 6:30 a.m. to go to Zaporhyzia, Tokmak, back to Zaporyzia and then back to Berdyansk. We are working on updating passports and having the court decree apostilled. As of right now, we (ALL) will be leaving for Kyiv on Wednesday by bus (8-9 hours). I"m looking for the most economical travel and that's it. I'm not sure if I will have time to post an update tomorrow, but I will try. If not, I'll post again when we get to Kyiv.
Love you all!