It is now 2:20 pm in Ukraine (4:20 am Denver)
Yep, we are here! We arrived safely with no problems. In fact, it was a breeze. There were only about 40 people on the flight from Munich, So when we arrived we didn't have a long line at customs. We had already filled out the paper on the flight and we were only four people deep in the immigration line. Next, we moved up to baggage claim. Heidi filled out the forms for customs while I retrieved the baggage. Our baggage was already waiting for us, just spinning around on the carousel. No one bothered us, no one tried to offer us services we didn't want, no one wanted forty dollars to help us, etc. We proceeded to the empty line at customs, a lady and a man said something to us in Ukrainian and Heidi offered them the forms she filled out. They didn't care, we were bothering their otherwise quiet shift at the customs desk. They handed the forms back to Heidi as fast as she handed them to her. In fact, they didn't look at them. No "let me see the bags", no "let me see the money" at all. We next moved onto the doors separating this area from the airport lobby area. Lots of people were gathered here and they were all looking for someone else...it was dead quiet and I heard someone snicker and laugh at the Anerican with too much luggage. (We bought only two carry-ons for ourselves, but the gifts for the children took up three huge bags). In all, the entire"get off the plane and get to the lobby" took about 10 minutes...a record!
We met Olga (very pretty facilitator) in the lobby. She was a few minutes late because she too thought that we would take an hour getting through customs and immigration. She was there with Sasha our driver and he loaded us up in his nice swank BMW 500 series sedan. (Wow, i'm in the wrong business!). We sped through the streets of Kiev on our way to Karen's apartment. I wondered if we were late for something. I'm not sure how fast 180 km/hr is, but we were doing it at one point. We got to the apartment in fine fashion, though. The haul up five stories with bags like ours was the only hard part of the trip!
We met with Olga, paid her the balance we owed Valentina, paid Sasha for the Indy 500 experience and got down to brass tacks. She said we will do fine at the SDA and that she foresees us getting exactly what we want due to the nature of our request (1-3 kids, ages 4-14). We discussed a few aspects of the appointment and called it a night. Heidi and I went to bed at eight-ish Ukraine time and I slept until 8 am this morning. Heidi said she woke up at midnight and read for a couple of hours before sleeping again. Twelve hours sleep after missing a night's sleep was great!
This morning we went to worship service at Karen's church, navigating ourselves with the instructions left by Karen and our own understanding of the Ukraine transportation system. Boy, did that trip back in April payoff! We took trains and busses and made it to church just in time to see our friends from April. The pastor, Paul, gave a fine message from the book of John and Acts. We met Steve, Karen's uncle and he prayed over us and then he called an orphanage director he knew to see if she had kids that met our profile. How nice of him! We explained to him that we may use that info at the SDA tommorow.
Right now, we are in Independence square using the internet cafe right down the street from McDonald's. We are having fun and are very excited. Don't worry about us at all. We will try and post after the SDA appointment tommorow and let you know something. Oh, one more thing...Aimee, Heidi sucessfully negotioated the bathroom stall at McDonald's. Matt, I was on constant vigilence as my honey was there, noting the time in case I needed to jump to the rescue! All for now, bye!
~ Felix ~
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