When international adoption comes to pass for the waiting child(ren), it has been a long road for them. All Ukrainian orphans must wait 12-14 months after they are registered before they are eligible for international adoption. (The extra two months are for regional delays, paperwork delays, vacationing bureaucrats, who knows!) The first 12 months is supposed to give Ukrainian citizens the first opportunity for adoption.
Rimma is registered and is closing in on her one year waiting period. For a child like Rimma who knows who her parents are and who she wants to be with, it is an agonizing wait. A year for a child is eternity in their short life. We will be bringing Rimma +1 home by year's end.
For a child like Zina, who is not yet registered, it is a feeling of hopelessness. She knows her clock is not even started yet. Z continually asked the whole first year why we weren't coming for her. She wondered her whole life why no one wanted to adopt her. No one, not even the orphanage staff, told her that she wasn't eligible due to a parental rights issue, an issue that should have been taken care of when she was a small child. In April of 2008 we went to see Z & R in order to ascertain their situation, find counsel to work for them, and to explain in person why it was that they were "un-adoptable". She deserved to know and she is thankful that someone finally explained it to her, no matter how painful the true answer. Having been there three times now, we have shown the girls that we are committed to bringing them home and that we will never give up. But still, to a child, the wait seems ridiculous. We agree!
Zina's new questions to us now is if there is any progress on her documents and is she registered. She turns 14 at the end of this year and still she is not registered, despite the many promises of supposedly hard-working orphanage staff, orphanage attorney, and regional inspectors. The latest word we have is (in my best Ukrainian accent and attitude), "...you see, this is the problem. Many officials take summer holiday, so there is nobody to work on documents. Is OK, work will resume after summer, this I am sure." Uuuugghhhh! Go look Z in the eye and tell her that! At 16, Zina risks being let out into the streets and is certainly not eligible for adoption according to US immigration laws. Time is running out!
There was sadness and despair in Z's voice when we talked to her on Sunday. She asked the same question, got the same answer and wondered, I'm sure, "Will I ever get to live with my family". Yes sweetheart. We tell her every time, "Zina, we will never give up trying to bring you home. Я тебя Очень люблю" (Ya tebya ochen lublu, I love you very much)
I see her teary eyes in my dreams.
~ Felix ~