I called our facilitator this afternoon to check on the status of the passports. Today is day 10! I dialed his cell number and his mother answered. There is a story here, but I'll save it for another day. I have been calling him for the past two days and have not received an answer. After a certain amount of rings the phone hangs up so you can't leave a voicemail. I was so happy someone picked up today. His mother told me that the passports were issued today. I was so happy, but I should have known there was a "Ukraine catch". She said that now we have to wait 4 working days for the "official stamp" on the passports. She said that our faciliator would be traveling via overnight train to the region to get the passports on Tuesday. She also said that sometimes they say they will be ready in 4 days, but it could be 5 or 6. In other words, don't make flight arrangements, don't make any definte plans because you never know when things are done here until they are done.
I called the US Embassy Visa division to see what they need from us so we can get this process started and they told me that the region issuing the passports can fax them a copy of the front page of each passport along with a copy of the birth certificates and we could come in and fill out the papers. So I called "Mom" back and told her this information. She told me that this region does not fax or issue and copies of anything to anyone. That we just have to wait until our facilitator arrives in Kiev on Wednesday afternoon with the passports. Tim is about to go postal on someone. When I talked to "Mom" I asked her to please tell her son to check and make sure that we can't get copies of the passport and birth certificate sent to the US Embassy to get this process started. She said either he or she would call us back tonight. We'll see. We might get lucky and be able to fly out next Friday.
Tim is at the Hyatt working right now. The kids are on the computer next to me playing a hot wheels game on the computer. When they heard that the passports were issued today they were so excited. They thought that we would be able to get on the airplane right away and go to America. Elizabeth started packing all of her things. I had to tell her that we still have 8-10 days here. Michael bounced all over the den saying America, America. Their friend, Karina, flew to America on Tuesday and they have been anxious to talk to her.
There a a couple of things about Ukraine that I will never get used to. One is that people drive wherever they want to including on the sidewalks. There are no lanes on most roads and people cut each other off. If you can't find an open lane, jump on the sidewalk and honk at the pedestrians walking. It's bizarre. The other thing is that they do not believe in forming lines and waiting your turn. If you are in line at McDonald's behind 5 other people, someone will walk right up in front and place an order. To us it's just plain rude. To them, if you snooze (digging for money or looking at the menu) you lose! It happens everywhere. The grocery store, clothing stores, restaurants, or shopping for gifts in the outdoor market.
I won't be able to post any photos until I get home. I think the kids will have gained at least 5-10 lbs each by the time we get home. They eat non stop. It's good for them. They didn't have the best choices for food in the orphanage.
Keep the comments coming! We look forward to reading them.