Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24, 2011 - Home at last!

Quick blog to note that Paul and Kirill arrived home safely today.  It was wonderful to see them again and to welcome Kirill to our family and to America.  Kirill officially became a U.S. citizen today (or last that is how we think it works).

Their flight arrived in Mpls about 15 minutes early so those of us who were at the airport did not have to wait that long to see them.  Paul's estimate is that Kirill slept about 1 hour and 15 minutes during the entire trip (which was about 23 hours from the time they left the apartment in Kyiv to their arrival in Mpls)!  Both of them looked tired but were obviously happy to be home.  Although Kirill looked tired he did not act it.  He was up until 10 pm, Paul on the other hand has been asleep since 7:30 pm.

Many prayers were answered today and we are very thankful to have our family of four altogether at home tonight.

The long awaited travelers


Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 23, 2011 - Coming home!

Paul and Kirill are coming home on Friday, June 24!  We are so thankful everything worked out today and Paul and Kirill will be able to catch their 5:30 am flight out of Kyiv on Friday.  They are scheduled to land in Minneapolis at 5 pm.  Max and I will be anxiously awaiting their arrival.

Sounds like it was crazy afternoon for Paul, Kirill and our coordinator as they were still waiting to receive Kirill's passport on Thursday morning. Fortunately, the US Embassy allowed Paul to do the first appointment on Wednesday without the passport.  The medical exam was completed mid day today without the passport but the doctor would not sign the exam report until they had the passport and she was not available after at 3 pm.  The passport was not obtained until 2:15 pm today and they were only able to obtain it before 3 pm due to the assistance of our coordinator (we are so appreciative of all of his assistance throughout this process).  They were able to get the doctor's signature on the exam report and get to the Embassy for the second appointment by about 3:30 pm.  When they arrived at the Embassy they were told that they had not been able to print visas all day due to a printer problem (its sounds like this is a common problem at the Embassy - how much do printers cost?).  Without the visa, Kirill would not be able to travel to the US on Friday morning.  Thankfully, they were able to get the visa printed and Paul and Kirill were done with the process by 5 pm.  A long afternoon, but a very satisifying one, for both of them!

I am sure Kirill has anxiety about leaving Ukraine and unfortunately he didn't have a chance to just play and have fun on his last day there.  It sounds like he and Paul had fun yesterday and got one last visit into the indoor skating rink at DreamTown.  He will hopefully have some fond memories of the time he spent in Kyiv with Papa.

It will be a long trip home for Paul and Kirill and those of us waiting for them to get home!  We are looking forward to spending the weekend together as a family.  Our niece, Kristina, has her high school graduation party on Saturday afternoon so it will be very special that Kirill will be here to celebrate this milestone in her life with us.

Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes.  We are truly blessed to be surrounded by loving family and friends.  So many people have helped us out during this time and we are very thankful for all the help we have received.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 18, 2011

Progress was slower this week in the Ukraine than we had hoped but there is still hope that they will finish up next week and Paul and Max will be able to come home on Friday.

It ended up taking a few days to get the tax id.  Not sure why but that is something that our coordinator and attorney have no control over.  Monday was a holiday in Kyiv and that just seemed to slow down things for the first part of the week.  The tax id was finally obtained and the passport application was filed on Friday afternoon.  We hope to get the passport on Tuesday which would allow the U.S. Embassy appointments to occur on Wednesday and Thursday.  If the passport is not received on Tuesday that will most likely mean the Embassy appointments will not be completed until sometime the following week.  Two appointments are required over a 2 day period at the Embassy.  The U.S Embassy is closed on Friday because they don't take appointments on the last Friday of the month and then they are closed on Tuesday, June 28 due to another Ukrainian holiday.  (Ukraine has a lot of holidays!)  Please pray that we receive the passport by Tuesday.

Paul is hanging in there but it is hard when most of your interaction is only with a 7 year old all day and you are in a foreign country.  They have been doing a lot of walking around Kyiv.  Paul has been letting Kirill play in the fountains in Independence Square (when it warm you see people in the fountains all the time and fortunately they clean them on a regular basis).  Yesterday they did go to the beach and Kirill had a lot of fun swimming in the river.  Paul also enjoyed the opportunity to speak to a couple of Americans at the beach.  Today they went to Dream Town, which is a complex with an indoor skating rink, bumper cars and things like that to do.  They had fun ice skating.

Going out to the orphanage to hang out with the other kids is not an option for Paul and Kirill which is unfortunate for them.  The kids from the orphanage are in the Kremini area (i think that is on the Black Sea) for a couple of weeks.  Great for the kids but a bummer for Kirill as he is not able to spend time with his friends.  The other family that was in Kyiv adopting 2 children went home on Wednesday so Kirill is missing his two friends who had been staying just a half a block away.  He will have the opportunity to connect with his friends again in MN.

If you have a skype account, Paul would love to talk with you.  His skype account is under his email address so feel free to contact him.  Max and I are hanging in there as well but missing Paul and Kirill.  Max has had baseball most nights and he has several day time activities so that keeps both of us busy. 

Thank you to everyone for your encouragement during this separation period.  We appreciate it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 12, 2011 - Kirill is in Kyiv with Paul!

A very exciting day for us.  Paul was able to take Kirill to Kyiv with him today to stay in the apartment with him for the duration of their trip.  Paul had hoped to do this yesterday but apparently the orphanage didn't realize this as there was still some paperwork that needed to be completed before Paul could take him.  Kirill was extremely disappointed yesterday but today according to Paul he was bouncing off the walls when he heard the news.  He then bounced off the walls once he got to the apartment while they waited for Max and I to wake up so they could Skype with us.  It was great to Skype with Kirill for the first time.  He wasn't as excited by it as he thought it was.  His biggest concern was getting my iPod password so he could use it!

We are very thankful this day has finally arrived as we all have waited along time for it.  (Paul assured me he took a lot of pictures today.)  Thank you to all of you have included us in your prayers.

Our coordinator told Paul today he thinks he may be done by the middle of next week.  I sure hope it works out that way!

Kirill's first time Skyping with Mama and Max.

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10. 2011 - Court decree signed!

The judge signed our adoption decree today!  The 10 day waiting period ended yesterday and luckily the judge was in today and could sign the decree.  I don't know from a legal standpoint when the adoption is considered official, in my mind it was official on May 31 but it is wonderful to have the 10 day waiting period over with and to have official documentation of the adoption.

Paul arrived in Kyiv on Thursday afternoon (7 am Mpls time) and he was able to spend an hour with Kirill this morning before he needed to leave to go meet the lawyer at the courthouse.  He said Kirill was very happy to see him.  I am sure for Kirill he has had some concern this entire time that maybe we were coming back.  We talked with him several times over the 10 days and I hope that minimized his concerns.  When every we talked to him, he told us how many days until he would go to Kyiv with papa.  He wasn't always right on the count as he sometimes confused it with the # of days until papa came back to Kyiv.

Now that we have the adoption decree Paul has began the process of completing the necessary steps to bring Kirill to the US.  The paperwork was submitted for a new birth certificate today.  He and the lawyer arrived at the office just before closing time today so were not able to get the new certificate but they could file the paperwork and the plan is to pick up the new certificate tomorrow morning.

The plan then is for Paul to go to the orphanage in the afternoon and take Kirill back to the apartment in Kyiv with him.  Very exciting but also very hard for me to be sitting here in MN and have to miss these special times.

Today is also a special day because it is Max's last day as a 5th grader and an elementary student.  He will be in the middle school next year.  I had the opportunity to attend the awards ceremony at his school today and help celebrate his academic and athletic achievements from this past year.  We are very proud of Max!  He is a very good student and is well liked by his teachers and classmates.

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30, 2011 - Awesome Day!

We now have a new son, Kirill Michael Landry.  Court went very well and once it started it was very quick.  The courthouse is a pink building that is fairly run down and court is actually just held in an office.  It was crowded with all the people who needed to be in the office along with the judge and the two people who work in her office.

Kirill did fantastic and he told the judge how much he wanted to live with his brother in America because he liked him so much (at this point mom got very teary eyed).  Our lawyer was very impressed with how well Kirill did when the judge asked him questions especially given his age.  During court the lawyer commented how smart Kirill was because when the judge asked him where he lived, Kirill's response was "Ukraine for now".

It was an awesome day but it was very hard to say goodbye to Kirill and the other children at the orphanage.  We really enjoyed the time we were able to spend at the orphanage.  There are many great kids there who need a loving home.  We made Kirill a calendar and marked when Paul would be back in Kyiv and when he will be able to go and stay with Paul in Kyiv.  We hope he understands (he seemed to and we had someone explain it to him Ukraine as well) and that it will help him during the next 10 days while he waits for Paul to get back.  Once Paul is back in Kyiv he will start the process to get Kirill a passport (it will be a Ukraine one but it will have his new name), a medical exam and a visa to enter the US.  This will take 2-3 weeks.  Kirill will be able to stay with Paul in Kyiv during this time.

Outside the courthouse after court.
The Kyiv Region Courthouse!

Enjoying lunch with mom and dad after court.  For the first time, we were able to walk with Kirill by ourselves down to the market that is near the orphanage.  We missed lunch so we picked up items for sandwiches and of course we had to have chips (Kirill loves his potato chips!).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011 - We have a court date!

We received great news today.  We have our court appointment at 10 am on Monday, May 30.  This is sooner than expected and we are thrilled.  Paul and I are scheduled to fly home on Tuesday arriving in the evening after a full 24 hours of traveling.  It will be very hard to leave Kirill (especially for me) but since Paul will leave again on June 8 to be in Kyiv on June 9 to start the next phase of the process he wanted to get as much time at home as he could.  After 2-3 weeks in Kyiv , Paul will then return to MN with our new son and a new American citizen.

Over the past week, Paul and I have enjoyed time with Kirill and did more sightseeing.  We obviously haven't seen everything in Kyiv but we got the chance to see everything we wanted too.

Max has been doing well back in MN at David and Ann's but the time apart is getting long for all of us.  It will be great to see him again.  He had the biggest grin on his face when we told him we were coming home on Tuesday (Skype is great!).  He has been enjoying the end of the school year activities as well as playing baseball.  He will spend this weekend at his cousin's house in Hayward, WI so he is pretty excited about that.  As a family, we go to Hayward every year for Memorial Day.  Max was glad he would not have to miss it as he really likes spending time with his cousins.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and they will be able to get in the annual canoe float.

Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend.