Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Serious Setback

More photos have been posted under "the past few days" in our photo link.

Quite honestly, this has been an awlful week! We have been waiting on the passports since last Friday when we applied for them. Without the passports, we cannot proceed to the next three phases (visa appointment at the US embassy, medical exams, buying airline tickets). The saving grace has been seeing Jesus everytime I look at my children's faces.

The bad news came today at 1pm. It seems that the passport office either lost or erased the passport photo of Kolya. The sweet part is that they didn't feel the need to tell anyone until the day we were to pick up the passports! And we couldn't ask them how things were going for the past three days while we sat around waiting for them to tell us that they lost the photo! How nice! The kicker is that the girls' passport are ready and we could start the above mentioned three processes and get one of us and the girls out of here, but, they will not release those to us without all siblings' passports. I guess they think that we will leave one of the kids behind! Get real! Also, they have the audacity to insist on the expediting fee of $300 per child for "helping us" get passports sooner!

So what does all this mean??!! We WILL NOT BE COMING HOME THIS WEEKEND! Yes, that's me shouting! There is no way to get the passports in time before the embassy closes at noon on Friday. In fact, if we don't get the passports, medical exams, and visas done by Tuesday night, December 23rd, we will be stuck in Ukraine until January 13th! The embassy will be closed for the holidays except for emergency situations. Guess what, adoption is not an emergency situation! That gives us three more working days and the passport office doesn't care, it's not their problem!
If we do get everything done by next Tuesday night, we then battle for space on already packed and booked holiday flights. We may have to spilt the group with me taking one or two and Heidi taking the rest. Suddenly, flying the opposite direction to go in the right direction doesn't seem so pressing! Next week, I run out of paid vacation and leave time. Heidi is ok with work until the first week of January, but I may have to invoke the Family Medical Leave Act for work and go unpaid. I cannot and will not leave her here by herself!
I'm angry, i'm upset and I had to watch my dear wife lose it and cry in front of our petrified children, today. She is losing weight because she doesn't like the food and she works so hard to feed our children. We both are struggling and I've been whining, but I had no idea how hard Heidi has been taking things until today. She is a tough, strong person and all who know her do know this. She and I aren't homesick or wanting home for ourselves, it's our children that we need to get home. They and we, need more than two changes of clothes. The kids need to be seen by doctors and dentists. Little Julia has been getting nosebleeds since coming home from the sanitorium and we don't know why. We have started pumping vitamins to each of them twice daily and we have seen a significant change in their physical appearance since they have been eating like kids should. We need to get home! We have children now that we are happy to provide for, but it is an enormous challenge with an uncooperative broken system.

So it is with heavy hearts that we ask all of you, everyone, to get on your knees and pray us home, please! His will be done.

~ Felix ~


The McEacherns said...

Sorry to hear about the delays. We know that God has perfect timing and we pray that He quickly comes through for your family! Luke 1:37 "For nothing is impossible with God!"

Mayme said...

H & F, Hang in there!! you are so close. This too shall pass. It may be too dry in the apt for Julia. try putting out a pan of water for the humidity to increase. We are all pulling for you to get home soon.

Tami said...

I went through a similar situation last winter with Maddie's passport. They lost the thing (sent it to a completely different city) and didn't bother to let us know or refund my 'expediting' fee. It was the last straw for me. I completely broke down and shot off a couple of frustration filled posts on my blog.
Shad had come home the day after court (had to return because he was out of paid leave). I was on my own. It was one of the lowest points of my life.
And yet I consider it one of my best spiritual growth experiences.
This part of the process stinks. I think its because you're so close to leaving, you just have to wait for one more thing...and its not coming.
While I can still feel the frustration I felt almost 10 months ago, I can honestly say it is a distant memory.
Since you are so close to Kiev, would it be possible to go ahead and get your medical evals done? Could you get some preliminary embassy paperwork done as well? Before Shad left he had to fill something out and sign it, so it would be ready when I got there. Just a few ideas to help you pass the time and possibly make the final leg of your trip a little smoother.
Hang in there...take one day at a time. We're praying. Hard.

Amy said...

Felix and Heidi...
My heart goes out to you both. Having been there done that - the Ukrainian "system" is a royal pain in the butt. It is not fair, nor right nor helpful!
Some thoughts that I had...
* Ask your translator if she/he knows anyone that knows "someone" in the passport office. Sometimes that can really help.
* Pay the expediting fee...your emotional well-being is worth a heck of a lot more than $900. While it feels almost dirty to do it - its time to just get the heck outta there and get home!
* IF IF IF it can't be done in time - seriously consider one of you going home for a week or so then returning. I know that you don't want to leave each other - but one of you getting home and getting stuff done and ready will be a Godsend in the end...
** For heavens sake - go buy a few new clothes.... it will make your days feel a little brighter and different!

Take care of yourself!

Rachel said...

my prayers are with you. Stay strong for your children

Karen said...

so sorry are on my hearts today! will be praying for miracles and good timing for this all to come together.
Love you!!!

MamaPoRuski said...

Praying through tears for you! It is so difficult to be fighting for your children when it seems that their homeland does not care! Please know that Satan can only delay the inevitable! These children are yours and will know a heavenly father as well as an earthly one now!
Do you want our contacts in Kyiv? Shoot me an email if you end up staying past Tuesday. We will help all we can! {Virtual HUG}

Matt and Aimee Garrett said...

I am so sorry! I am crying with you and for you as I read this email, please give Heidi a big hug from me, I know her longing for home so well. I lost it often during our last week.
The process over there and the standard response of "Not My Problem" is the last thing you want to hear and yet they say it so often!! I will most certainly pray for a solution and resolution before the embassy shuts down.

Debbie said...

We will pray! Thank you for updating us; we had no idea! Hang in there, guys! I echo that nothing is impossible with God!

Sheryl said...

Could the nose bleeds possibly be dry air? My husband and son both get nose bleeds when the air is too dry. If that's it maybe you could try steam, boiling water on the stove. Praying you home, Sheryl

Natasha said...

Hi Felix and Heidi~
I've been following your blog (Karen gave it to me to follow) and you two have been a blessing to me! I am originally from there; I came to US with my family when I was 19; so I totally understand what you're talking about and I SO feel for you guys! It can be so amazingly frustrating; especially when you were expecting that you would be able to be home sooner than this. Hang in there...We will be praying for you and for those people that know you're stuck and are asking for "expediting" fees.
Blessings to you and your beautiful children!

Kathy and Matt said...

I'm so sorry to hear this bad news!

Thank you for telling us how to best pray for you.

When I found myself getting really frustrated with the challenges of our adoption, especially while in country, I reminded myself of Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God"

Continue to put your trust in His good work and perfect timing.

Praying for you all!

Anonymous said...

We have been on our knees praying for you and will continue. I know you are discouraged but God has not forgotten you. We believe in the power of prayer and the plan of God. We will pray that God will move mountains.
Richard and Cindy

Twyla, John, Duncan, Mari, and Misha said...

Dear Heidi and Felix,

I was amazed and also angry at the passport office for this recent turn of events! Then after messing up, to have the audacity to ask for an "expediting" fee! The US Embassy says it can take up to 10 days for passports to be issued by Ukraine. We paid $1200 (well our Facilitator "supposedly" paid $600 of our funds that we gave him and we added $600 cash) to get ours done in 3 days - they really took 7 days (a problem with Misha's tax id information) which is how long I think they would have normally taken. This after we informed our Facilitator that another American family in our same region, dealing with the same office the week before, had paid $300 per child (vs. our $600). I hate to say this, but they have you over a barrel - you could have your Facilitator call and say you would be in with $700 cash US (your pick the number) for all 3 kids to be handed the complete passports today (argue that two are done, so this is really only expediting fee for 1). With the US dollar so strong right now, worth 50% more than when we were there in Sept./Oct., they might go for it. I'm not sure what you are paying per night for lodging, but it may be less expensive to bite the bullet, pay the bucks, and get outta Dodge before the Embassy shuts down.

Can you contact the US Embassy and get an American to come in over the holidays and process your paperwork as an "emergency"? I would call today or go in personally and ask for an appointment with a Consular Officer (ask for an American specifically as some of the staff are Ukrainian), and tell them of your plight. The kids may not be able to enter the Embassy without ID - possibly you could go and Heidi could wait with the kids in the car or at home. Julia's nosebleeds and Heidi's stress/weightloss would both be medical concerns that might allow the Officer to bump you to "emergency" status. All the normal platitudes apply ... they are human (and American and subject to the same whack situations that we find ourselves in within Ukraine), rules are made to be broken, exceptions can be made. A phone call at least would let you know if this is an avenue that can be explored.

As for Julia, is the air dry in the apartment due to the heating? Mari has nosebleeds every so often and a humidifier in her room has helped tremendously. Can you put a pan of water on the radiator near Julia's bed? Or boil a big pot of water - an keep refilling it - throughout the day. I will look up nosebleeds and see if I can find anything else out as I am not too sure how much internet time you have.

See if your Facilitator can get the medicals done BEFORE the passports - show the doctor's office the court paperwork, etc. We had Mari and Misha's blood taken/tested a week or so before receiving the passports and if we pushed we could have probably gotten them examined the same time (per our Facilitator we were not supposed to tell anyone this tidbit of info about the bloodwork).

Your family is constantly in our prayers and our thoughts several times a day. I was wondering why you went dark for a few days, and was worried about you - now I know why I was so worried!

As I would tell John when we had bleak/depressing days over there -"we are together, safe, warm, fed, and clothed". These are the important life-sustaining things and you have all of them for your family. The rest you will slog through as best you can. Never forget that you are always in God's hands.

If we can do anything on this end let us know, The Barretts

Twyla, John, Duncan, Mari, and Misha said...

I found this on a pediatric medical site (the child, 5 year old girl, was having freuquent nosebleeds):

Nosebleeds, although common, are a frequent cause of confusion for parents. Many still treat them incorrectly by having the child lean back, pinching the bridge of their nose, putting ice on the bridge of their nose, or simply letting it bleed until it stops on its own. With any or all of these steps, it is not uncommon for a nosebleed to last for 45 minutes or longer.

With the next nosebleed, you will likely have much better luck if you:

Have your child lean forward (if she leans back she may swallow the blood and cough or choke), and
squeeze the tip or soft part of your child's nose, just below the bony part, so that her nostrils are closed. You can do this with your fingers, tissue, or a washcloth, and this will allow the blood to pool in her nose and help it clot quicker. It will also prevent it from 'gushing' out. Continue to squeeze her nose for five or ten minutes and try to avoid frequently checking to see if it is still bleeding. After five or ten minutes, when you finally do release the pressure on her nose, if it is still bleeding, then hold it for another five or ten minutes. Call your Pediatrician if it continues to bleed after several cycles like this.

While on the ice pack on the bridge of the nose trick doesn't work on its own, you can do it with the above steps and it may help the nosebleed stop sooner.
It is also important that after a nosebleed, you try and get her not to blow her nose (or hey, Misha's fav, pick her nose). If she blows the clot out of her nose, it will likely bleed again. By leaving the clot inside her nose, it gives the blood vessels inside her nose time to heal.

If her nose does continue to bleed though, some experts would recommend blowing out the clot and then spraying a topical decongestant spray, like Afrin, into her nose to help stop the bleeding.

Why is she having nosebleeds?
After you learn how to treat a nosebleed, you will then want to prevent them. Common causes can include uncontrolled allergies, dry, irritated mucous membranes in her nose, frequent nose picking, and bleeding disorders.
Since you mention dry air and don't mention other signs of a bleeding disorder, like easy bruising, bleeding gums, etc., the dry air may be the culprit. In addition to a humidifier, it may help to use a saline moisturizing nose spray and/or a nasal gel or vaseline (especially near the soft bone in the middle that separates the two nostrils) on a regular basis to keep her nasal passages from getting dry and irritated.

Occasionally a blood vessel in the nose needs to be cauterized, so if she continues to have problems, in addition to seeing your Pediatrician, you might see a Pediatric ENT specialist for further evaluation.

Hopefully this helps! Plus, I learned a bunch in the process for Mari's next nosebleed!


drdavid said...

I do believe that as we get closer to our goal of bring our children home, the enemy turns up the heat on the battle! We know who wins this battle!
We are on our knees for you. Only now, after a month home, do I see how close God was to us in our final days of battle in Ukraine. God used you both to show us His love during those dark times. I am praying for a miracle!

Matt and Aimee Garrett said...

Felix-THAT TOTALLY BLOWS! I'm not going to give you any stupid verse from scripture to try and help-wallow in your anger for a while, there's nothing wrong with being pissed off and angry for serious issues. I remember the Lord of the universe being angry, several times over cultural differences, stupidity, etc...and actually resorted to "furniture violence" at one time and name-calling another time!!! Maybe going to the WWII memorial and borrowing one of the old Russian tanks on display and driving right up to the front door of the place giving you a hassle would puruade them to move on the passports, or maybe it would at least provoke that "emergency" situation you need. :) This new family of yours, Heidi, also, need you to be steady and solid-so get the anger out, otherwise it may manifest itself at a very inopportune time. Ok, maybe a verse would help: it's in the book of Judges-something about driving a wooden steak through the head of some poor, deserving idiot! Matt

Rahn's Journey said...

Felix&Heidi-we are on our knees. The darkness does not win. Your children have everything they need right there with them, a mama and papa and their heavenly father.The hearts of stone were crafted by years of a Godless, communist rule
The faces behind the cold heart you will see them over&over when you get home, but you will lack the anger and be filled with pity.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys.


Of course you all are in our thoughts and prayers to get home soon!

Ethan gets alot of nosebleeds, especially in the cold dryness. Vaseline up the nose to keep things moist helps, as does humidity. Let the girls have a 'spa day' and the steam from the home facials may help.

Hang in there guys. I can only imagine the stir craziness that is going on right about now. This may be a deluded third-party comment, but maybe if you can look on this set-back as special extra time you'll have with your kids, just the Roge Cinco, it will make things a bit easier. There's this great C-W song called "You're gonna miss this." The idea of the song is that through the times may be tough, things will change quickly and you're going to look back on this time fondly and miss it.

Maybe this story will make you feel a bit better. Or at least be glad you are not me... We went to a church party at which Shea was given a candy cane. She proceeded to break the candy by throwing it at another kid. Of course, she got in trouble, and she got the candy cane taken away. The next morning at Chinese School, the girls were making a craft project with candy canes, and Shea's broke. I wasn't in the room, but another mother told me (through guffawing tears!) that Shea climbed up on the table and was shaking the broken candy cane wildly saying at the top of her voice "My mom is going to be SOOO mad about this!"

Love you guys!


Anonymous said...

Ooohhhh! I'm so sorry! What a difficult system to navigate. We are praying that you can get out next week. Love you and will call you today.

DoveFamily said...

How frustrating. Please know that I lifted you guys up in prayer this morning.


mattandlisasicilian said...

Felix and Heidi,
I've been following your blog all along- we adopted through Ukrainian Angels back in 2006-07.
We also got "caught" in the Christmas shutdown. My heart just broke reading your post, even now, two years later I clearly can recall the anger, frustration, sadness, you name it when I realized we would not be home for Christmas. I was just devastated.

BUT.... It all worked out okay, we had our own celebration. Bought a small tree (that my Mom still puts up at her house) and had our first Christmas together as a family. We celebrated again when we got home which wasn't until January 19th. Our families left up thier decorations and everyone got to celebrate twice. It's not just the "day" it's who you are with, and the reason you are together in the first place.

But, I completely understand your feelings! I can promise you there will be a time in the future where you won't feel as bad as you do right now!

Hang in there!

Best regards,

Anonymous said...

We're still praying for you over here in Arizona. Just think of this down time as quality family time. When else can you get so many weeks all together with your kids! Just trying to look at the bright side. Give our love to Heidi. She needs to start eating her own great cooking!

Cathy (and Bruce) Smith

jandt said...

Hang in there. We are doing our part to "pray you home" for Christmas.

The emotional roller coaster for the family is something you can't imagine unless you've been there.

adopting2fromUkraine said...

Feed Julia eggs everyday. Apparently eggs have the vitamins and minerals that help with nosebleeds. Our daughter can have nosebleeds pretty severely. When she first came home, she wanted four eggs for breakfast! I don't know where she put them. lol Her body must have know what she needed. Later, she started eating various things for breakfast and started having nosebleeds again. I looked up what she might be lacking online and it said to eat eggs. So, we've gone back to eggs for breakfast everyday. No more nosebleeds. I've heard that it can be that they lack other nutrients like iron also. I do cook her eggs in an iron skillet. She eats lots of fruit still even after eight months.

I do feel your angst! We were stuck last year during that holiday shut-down, though it was court that we couldn't have until January 8th. It was enough to bring me to tears.

Sounds typical of an agency there. They lose the paperwork, then say it's not their problem. Our daughter's passport paperwork was lost causing us to be there much longer than we anticipated. I think it took a couple of weeks before they would tell our facilitator. At least your child's paperwork is there near Kiev. Our's was in Lugansk. Almost as far from Kiev as you can get!

One thing that might help you as you get down to the wire. If you can get the passport number to give to the Embassy even before you have the passport in hand, they can go ahead and start working on the visa. That's what we had to do. Our facilitator was still in Lugansk with the passport, so we started working on Embassy paperwork while he was on his way.

We'll be praying for you.


Stoesz 7 said...

Felix and Heidi,
I am so sorry to hear about all the stuff your going thru....we empathize with how you feel. Maybe as for the food you can stick with the basics for Heidi, cheese, bread, fruit etc. Hang in there and we will give you a call this weekend! Just remember when you look back at your experience and are back in the groove it will all be worth it!
Kris and Clarke and the gang
Maybe you and the Volf's can "Skype" in and we can have a UOO meeting this weekend! We have Skype so let us know.

Stefanie said...

Felix and Heidi, Hang tough! I know it is hard and you are weary! We were in the same dead end, broken down system you are caught up in with our 4, yes 4 children under the age of 7 just two very short months ago. We were in Ukraine just shy of 8 weeks! Believe me, I know. Do what you got to do, pay what you got to pay and you will be home! We paid $1500 in "expedite" fees for the Passports and still sat nearly two weeks in Kiev.
P.S. Jennifer emailed you guys to ask if you could carry some documents back to the states for me. Please let me know if you are able and willing. No worries if you cannot!
or give me your phone number in Ukraine and I will call you!
Hang in there! God's calling is not always easy:)

About Us

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Longmont, Colorado, United States
Heidi loves to play sand volleyball, sail and garden. Felix loves to fly at the local aeroclub, sail and fish.