We will be in Ukraine in just over two weeks, which still seems a bit hard to believe, although our tickets have been purchased and our apartment for the first few days booked.
I thought it would be good to give you some background/an outline of the process, to hopefully answer some common questions I receive.
What We’ll Be Up to on This Trip
We will spend our first few days of the trip in Kyiv, the capitol of Ukraine. Here, we will visit the SDA (State Department of Adoption)– you may also see it called the MSP if you read other Ukrainian adoption blogs. Our agency uses an even longer acronym, but I like to keep things simple.
The SDA is where we will accept Lyuda’s official referral. We will sit down with a social worker, who will review her file with us, and give us her full background as they have it listed. There may be an older photo. I plan to bring some current photos and beg them to trade older photos with me, or at least take a picture. I also plan to take photos of Reed and Lena, and ask if they might dig out their old photos for us (this isn’t my first time trying– they probably won’t). Anyways, we sit down and discuss her history, and officially accept her referral/permission to visit her.
We need to wait for the actual paperwork, which is granted the following day at 4PM. You might remember from our previous adoption– this is where thing got absolutely nuts. Our facilitator was extremely late, we (and the other family we were with) really weren’t sure that we’d be able to pick up the paperwork, and right from picking up the paperwork at the SDA, we turned around and grabbed the overnight train to Donetsk. It was ALL kinds of stressful.
So, anyways, we visit the SDA for her referral, the following day, we go and pick up the paperwork. Since Lyuda’s region is within driving distance, we will wait to travel to her region until the following morning. This will dramatically cut down on the stress of this experience with Reed and Lena’s adoption, I think.
Lyuda was at an orphanage just a few hours from Kyiv until this school year (starting in September), where she was transferred to the middle of nowhere. We will have a 4-5 hour drive to her region/orphanage. We will likely be staying in the closest “big” town, which is 15,000 people. This will be a stretch for me. We’ve had the luxury of adopting from large cities where we always had the ability to go down to McDonalds, Chilis, etc. Three weeks in Donetsk, we only ate at McDonalds once, but we enjoyed the local restaurants with familiar cuisine, like the Irish pub or Cherry Pizza.
Anyways, two days after the SDA appointment, we will make our way to her region. We’ll sit down with a regional social worker, who may tell us a bit more about her, but will mostly likely ask some questions about us. The social worker will be one of the people responsible for testifying in court, stating if he/she believes that this adoption is in Lyuda’s best interest. The social worker will probably also observe us at some of our visits with Lyuda.
After we meet with the social worker, we will visit the orphanage. Again, we will sit down with some officials, like the orphanage director and orphanage psychologist, who may give us another history of Lyuda. She has not been there long, but they’ll probably tell us what they know. Then, we should get to see Lyuda.
My understanding is that this orphanage is one that’s more “locked down”. We’ll probably be given a room to visit in, and be told to stay there, not to go looking around the rest of the orphanage. This was the case with Reed and Lena’s orphanage as well, although I believe that the reason their orphanage had such restrictions was to prevent spreading germs.
We’ll spend the remainder of our time in Ukraine visiting the orphanage and signing official paperwork to proceed with her adoption. We will be in Ukraine this trip for a total of 10 days.
A few weeks later, we will return for our court trip, where we will stand before a judge and officially request to adoption Lyuda. We will go home, and a couple MORE weeks later, we will return to pick her up, get all of her paperwork in order, get her visa to the US and COME HOME.
Luda to Lyuda
You probably also noticed that I’ve changed the spelling of Lyuda’s name. While Luda is the more common spelling, she prefers Lyuda. It’s still pronounced Lou-dah, with emphasis on the second syllable. We’ve gone back and forth a ton about encouraging her to pick an easiest spelling, but ultimately, we decided that it’s most important to give her control over all aspects of her name.
Questions? 15 days until we’re on our way and I’m so excited!