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Sunday, February 1, 2009

One year ago...
I overslept.
How could I oversleep today of all days?!
The cab was supposed to get there at 7:30 a.m...it was 7:15!
I jumped out of bed, yanked some clothes out of the suitcase, ran a brush through my hair and put on some foundation.
Then I got Maddie up.
She wasn't too happy with me...until I showed her a banana.
The kid is nuts about bananas.
She got dressed and we ran out the door.
Nikolai, the driver, was waiting at the gate. I hope we didn't keep him waiting too long.
The streets were relatively quiet. It's amazing to me..even in Kiev, things don't really get moving until around 9 or even 10 in the morning. And on weekends, you can count on the streets being deserted until 11...at least.
We zigged here and zagged there. Turning corners, going into areas of the city I had never seen before, until finally we arrived at the American Medical Center.
As we walked through the doors, a nicely dressed woman walked up to us and introduced herself as Lev's mother. She also is an adoption facilitator, although she doesn't do any translating...just organizing. So this part of the process she's wasn't to familiar with.
Great. Just what I needed...a rookie.
We sat down and waited for the clinic to open. It opens at 8 a.m., but the doctors don't show up until 9 a.m. Who knows why. But we were there so early to make sure we were the first clients of the day.
We were.
It still didn't help.
An hour and a half later we were still waiting for the report.
The U.S. Embassy only takes appointments until noon...and they made sure to tell me over the phone the sooner I got there the better the chances were that I would be walking away with a visa today.
I HAD to get that visa. I just HAD to! There was no way I was sticking around through the weekend just waiting for Monday.
I pushed and prodded Mrs. Lev. I bugged and thought about bribing just to get her to MOVE IT!
It didn't help.
The woman, who of course was as nice as could be, worked slower than a snail. I finally had to flat out tell her I needed her to check and see if it was done. We had to leave NOW!
It was.
On the way to the embassy Mrs. Lev said Lev insisted we needed to get copies of our passports taken for the embassy. She said Svieta insisted it wasn't necessary, but Lev was positive we needed it.
I was willing to take Svieta's side...but there was no stopping the woman (finally). She said there was a copy center near the embassy, it would only take a few minutes.
If you have been on an adoption trip to Ukraine you know there is NO SUCH THING as an errand that takes a few minutes. Especially a trip to the copy store.
It takes FOREVER!
Surprisingly, only 10 minutes later she came out with copies in hand. Still...those 10 minutes felt like an eternity!
I was a nervous wreck by this point. It was 11 a.m. I just knew there was no way they were going to get Maddie's visa done today.
No way.
We reached the embassy and I jumped out and grabbed Maddie. We wogged our way down the hill, with Mrs. Lev trailing behind all the while saying things like, 'I'll wait for you out here,' and 'Good luck.'
We ducked inside.
We breezed through security and walked into the building.
It was like going home.
Everyone was nice.
Everyone was helpful.
Everyone was SMILING!
Everyone wanted to see us succeed at getting this visa as badly as we did.
What a blessing.
For the first time in weeks I felt like I was amongst friends. One guy even asked me if we had met before. He looked familiar, but I couldn't place him.
Forty minutes later I walked out with Maddie's visa.
It almost made up for the horrible time we had getting the passport. ;>)
That was it.
We were done.
Maddie was ready to go home.
It was surreal. I had to ask three times if that was all.
They just laughed with me.
I had the little manilla packet, I had the receipt for payment and I had the little visa glued into her passport. What more could I possibly need?
I guess after all this time it felt too good to be true.
Maddie and I are finally going home.

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