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on the bright side

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I have decided to follow my mother's sage advice to start thanking God for all of this. While I don't know if I'm quite ready to thank Him for not delivering on the passport, there are several things for which I should be incredibly thankful. I'm hoping it will help my attitude to share them with you. So here they are...David Letterman style.

Tami's Top Ten Things to be Thankful For...

10. It's been warmer in Odessa than at home. I came to Ukraine expecting to be living in the deep freeze. Truth be told, I'm wearing my coat most days, but no scarf, gloves or long underwear. And we haven't had an inch of snow since I've been here. Not so much as a dusting. Something to truly be thankful for.

9. Pringles and Snickers are sold here. Yes, I've turned to my friends, Mr. Pringles and Mr. Snickers. I am SO glad these old friends have found their way to Odessa. They've kept me company more than a few nights while I've been here. Of course they're not doing my 'Ukraine diet' much good, but I gave up on hoping to lose 15 pounds a long time ago. I'll wish for 5. It's a start!

8. My cushy apartment. Yep, I'm pretty thankful for Odessa Executive Suites and the American who started it. I have high-speed internet, a jacuzzi tub, satellite TV, a king sized bed, a DVD player and a washing machine...all with western decor. What more could a girl ask for? Before you go getting all 'enjoy the culture' on me, just know during Punky and JacJac's adoption, we definitely lived with the locals. I've been there, done that. Since Meshack had to leave, I felt like I needed to be as comfortable as possible. And this place is great!

7. The Haug's are on their way to Kiev. We thought for awhile that their daughter's passport was with Maddie's, but evidentally it was just hung up somewhere. Today it was found and the family left at 5:30 p.m. local time for Kiev. They should be pulling into the capital city in a little over three hours. I'm so happy for them...really I am. I have to admit I was excited when I found out theirs was here, because I was absolutely convinced Maddie's would be too, and then experienced profound disappointment once again. But once I got over the intial shock I realized they really NEEDED that passport to be here today. They've been here FOREVER and have been through so much. They are more than ready to come home. If anyone had to beat me home, I'm glad it's them. BUT NO ONE ELSE!!!! I'M NEXT!

6. Bogdan. The man that I keep saying I'll introduce you to, but haven't gotten around to yet. Bogdan is an amazing human being. He works in an orphanage in Kiev with 'graduates' - children who have aged out of the system. He does an amazing job and I promise to introduce you to him someday. In the meantime, if you are coming to Kiev in the near future and would like a great apartment to stay in with all the western amenities...for a song, let me know. The money goes toward the graduate program, so you'd be doing the kids and yourself a favor. The apartment is a little out of the way (pretty close to the airport) but it's an easy subway ride to Independence Square, Kreshadik and the SDA. And for an added bonus...Bogdan speaks English not only fluently, but without an accent. It's weird. It's like you're talking to an American. And even after only a few days in Ukraine, you'll be craving that, I promise! :)

5. Tomorrow is Thursday...the day the passport is expected to arrive. I'm trying incredibly hard not to place all of my hope on this one day, but I have to admit I'm inching closer and closer. The passport will come when the Lord decides it needs to get here - and not a moment sooner. Several people have mentioned to me that there maybe SOMEONE who needs my help here. They encouraged me to look around. I'm looking...but not seeing.

5. Sandra. My friend is gone, but her impact on my experience remains. Meshack and I truly have made a lifelong friend in Sandra. She met us during one of the most trying times in her adoption experience, but exhibited true Southern hospitality in graciously showing us the sights and introducing us to the Kiev bus and subway system. We would have been lost without her. She is on her way home (as you read this) with her daughter, Annalee. Head on over to her blog and welcome her home, and then read her full story. You'll be amazed. I promise!

4. It's not August. While I would love to see Odessa in the spring or fall, there's no way you would catch me here in the dead of summer. UGH! You remember how much I HATE summer, right? I can't imagine being here, on the Black Sea (heat and humidity) without air conditioning. The thought makes my hair get all frizzy!

3. All my bloggy friends. You all have kept me company, cheered me up and cheered me on in the last year. I'm so happy to have your support. I don't know what I would have done without it in the last 48 hours. Thank you!

2. Meshack. I couldn't have done this without him. While I won't lie to you, this experience has stretched us, it certainly hasn't broken us (except maybe financially! :) He's my rock.

1. Maddie. How could I make a list of things I'm thankful for in Ukraine without mentioning this precious little girl. She has already changed my world - for that I am eternally grateful. She is a precious gift on loan from God. One which we get to help mold into a strong Christian woman. I can't wait to see what great things God has in store for her! ;)

So there you are, my top 10. I have to admit, it has helped a little. It took my mind off my situation, at least for a time. I'm still anxious about tomorrow. Part of me is hopeful and the other part is dreading it - afraid it won't arrive.
My facilitator is sending a translator (Kiril) down tonight to help me with this last little bit. It gives me some hope that they truly believe the passport will be here tomorrow.
As always, I'll keep you updated, although if we do leave tomorrow I won't have a lot of time to post something in depth.
It will probably be pretty short.
Pray for short.

19 salty messages:

DoveFamily January 30, 2008 at 1:34 PM  

Just because you don't see the "someone" that needs your help, doesn't mean that they haven't seen you!!! Who knows, it could even be this translator that is being sent to assist you, or someone that you're going to encounter as you finish up the paperwork. It could be someone that you'll meet when you're back in Kyiv that you would not have met had you been there any earlier.

In His infinite wisdom, God knows where you need to be to do His work. Trust in Him!

And in the meantime, lots of prayers going up for you and Maddie - for peace, patience, understanding, and rest.

Waitingonmyua2 January 30, 2008 at 1:38 PM  

Praying for a short "Got the passport. We're outta here!"

Nataliya January 30, 2008 at 1:40 PM  

Praying for the short post tomorrow! Glad you were able to find a good side of the story despite all the roadblocks and heartbreak. You have Maddie, and that's the most important thing!

cara January 30, 2008 at 1:56 PM  

I am glad your are looking for the bright side, hopefully soon you will be home with your family and this will all be (almost) forgotten. We spent almost 70 days in Ukraine with Matthew's adoption-- it was so trying. Good luck! Cara

Carrie January 30, 2008 at 2:16 PM  

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that her passport shows up as promised! Glad things are a little brighter... you are a very lucky momma!

Shelley January 30, 2008 at 2:34 PM  

Praying for great news tomorrow!

Rachael January 30, 2008 at 2:42 PM  

fingers and toes crossed for you!

Dave January 30, 2008 at 4:31 PM  

I have been trying to post over the last few days but haven't been able to get my message to stick. We'll see this time...
Been praying for you.

Anonymous,  January 30, 2008 at 8:01 PM  

Stumbled across your blog and found my DEAR friend Bogdan here! I understand when you say you can't say enough good about him - he's a miracle. And his name means "gift from God". Truer words were never spoken. Give him (and "my kids") my best! Good luck to you!

Kelly Smith

Kathy and Matt January 30, 2008 at 11:30 PM  

Hoping your news is good today.
I enjoyed your top 10 and could relate to many of them.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts while here in Ukraine.

You continue to be in our prayers!

Christine January 31, 2008 at 12:17 AM  

Your amazing Tami! Keep up the faith! Here's to praying that you and Maddie are on a plane home very soon!

Tina in CT January 31, 2008 at 7:48 AM  

Here's hoping that today's blog will say that Maddie's passport arrived!

Steve and Gail January 31, 2008 at 8:08 AM  

We love you Tami, and are praying for you. Hope that passport came today. Catch up to you later.

Mike & Tara January 31, 2008 at 11:50 AM  

Praying the passport comes today! I'm so glad you made this list - it is a list of wonderful things to remember.

We had several days that were not good during our journey but you won't even remember them when you get home. Good luck to you both!!

Anonymous,  January 31, 2008 at 2:37 PM  

Since you haven't posted anything today, I do so hope you've gotten the passport and are on the way to Kiev. Then you can get the other things done tomorrow and be on your way out of there!

Since getting back in the office I've been able to watch all the videos, and have enjoyed them so much! Maddie is just the most adorable little girl! I laughed several times - she does the cutest things and just has a sweet way about her. What a darling. -- Melinda H.

MoscowMom January 31, 2008 at 2:47 PM  

Oh, Tami... I'm glad you're doing better. Arriving in a former Soviet Block country is quite a culture shock--I walked around in a daze for the first months here. Good thing I wasn't blogging; my family in the US would have had us forcibly repatriated had they read how hard it was. You're doing it--AND you're dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of adopting.

I think you're doing a great job. And that "someone" who might need your help? I think you were wise to take into consideration that people who read your blog--adopting or not, headed to one of these countries--will find wisdom and comfort in your candid sharing up the ups and downs.

Hang in there!!!

Nataliya January 31, 2008 at 2:51 PM  

It's about 11pm in Ukraine, I hope no post means you are on your way to Kiev...

Anonymous,  January 31, 2008 at 3:43 PM  

Oh dear friend, I hope that you are so busy getting ready to leave the country that you don't even have time to respond to this. I hope that you land in "God's Country" before the weekend is out.
While Annalee is taking a jet lag inspired nap (which I long to do also), I've had time to really read several days of your blog. How difficult all of this Ukrainian journey is for us; also, how blessed we are by the eventual outcome -- two precious girls. Thank you for the time spent together. What a blessing it was. Thank you for the top ten list also. You and Meshack are definitely on mine too. You are in my heart and in my prayers, Sandra
(by the way, Annalee was quite persnickety on the journey home...good luck)

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