Friday morning our alarms went off about 4:30. We quietly got ready not to wake up the three boys sleeping in the next room. Preston's Dad came over to watch them. All three woke up just before we walked out the door. I was glad to be able to give each of them a hug and a kiss before we left. We were out the door by 6:15, met our facilitator at the gate, and headed to the Izmail bus station to take the 7:00 bus to Kiliya. This bus should arrive about 8:45 giving us plenty of time to be at the court house for our 10:00 hearing. I had the idea to bring my phone and Preston's headphones and we enjoyed listening to worship music on the drive. We have made this trip counless times without problem...until today. We were about 1 hour 15 minutes in to the trip and the bus got a little loud. The engine cover into the bus came off. The driver turned off the bus and recovered the engine. He turned on the bus and we were on our way again. Not even two feet later the back axel of the bus broke! He stopped the bus again and check everything. He started making phone calls, though I understood nothing he said because it was in Russian. He decide to keep going...I guess until a tire fell off. He was sweating like crazy and he had a real look of concern in his eyes. He kept looking back out the side window of his bus to see how things were going. The thought came through my mind that we might be stranded in the middle of nowhere. I was starting to calculate if I could run fast enough to get to the court house by 10:00, or if we did not make it there in time how much longer would we need to wait for another court date. Just then Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "You are Faithful" started playing. My fears totally calmed down and I sat in confidence knowing that God is faithful. I really felt the presence of Him on the bus with us. I began praying for the driver to feel calm and peace. As we were entering Kiliya, the police stopped the bus for a road check. This was the first time this happened in our 6 weeks in Ukraine. The bus driver jumped out, spoke with him for a minute and then we were off again. As our trip was winding down the Avalon song, Orphans of God started playing. There are no orphans of God and this precious little girl He was going to make no longer an orphan on earth. The bus driver got us safely to our destination. We made it to Kiliya with pleny of time to spare.
We walked to a little cafe, near the court house and killed a little time by enjoying some delicious pineapple juice. Our facilitator went on the court house to do a few things ahead of us and then gave us a call about 20 minutes later and told us we could come. Preston and I walked about 4 blocks to the purple courthouse. We were here once before, so it was easy for us to find. We waited in the lobby for a little while and the orphanage social worker joined us. It was then our time for court. The proceedings lasted about 2 hours. Preston and I had to answer several questions and the judge went through our entire dossier. They took a 15 minute recess to deliberate and returned with the judgement to grant us Karis. It was such an exciting moment.
We were hoping the judge would waive the ten day waiting period. He did not, which is fine. They usually only waive it under extreme circumetances, but it never hurts to ask.
Now, our family will be seperating soon and moving in two different directions. Preston and the boys will leave on Wednesday to start their journey back home. They will take a car to Odessa and then a train to Kiev. They will spend the night in Kiev and have two important meetings on Thursday. Preston has lots of papers to sign since he is leaving the country before the end of the adoption process. The four of them will board a plane on Friday morning to return home. All of the boys need to get back for school (Logan is already missing his first week) and Preston needs to get back to work. Preston's Dad (we are so thankful he is here) and I will start our journey in a different direction. Wednesday morning we will move to Kiliya. We will stay in Kiliya until the following Tuesday when the 10 day wait is complete. That morning we will pick up the court ruling and head to get her a new birth certificate. If all goes well, Tuesday night we will travel to Odessa to begin the process of getting a passport for her. This will take several days. At the beginning fo the following week we are hoping to have the passport and can then head to Kiev for our stuff at the US Embassy (Visa and medical check). If all goes well we are hoping to return Labor Day weekend.