Tom & Kathe R.
First of all we want to thank you very much. I don’t know what we would have done without the donation. We were just tapped out and so close to traveling. It was truly a miracle.
We met Vlad in august on 2012 when he came to stay with us on a hosting program from Frontier Horizons. We had taken over from his original family who had a family emergency. Until then we had no idea that a Ukraine hosting program even existed, let alone orphans in Ukraine.
After having Vlad in our home we learned about the fates of most orphans in Ukraine and we just knew we had to do the right thing by this orphan. He fit into our family like he was born to it and we knew it happened for a reason.
We jumped into the adoption process without even realizing the enormity of the project; both on the paperwork end and financially. When we realized just how much this was going to cost we started a fundraiser online and started it out there. We were not the type of people to ask for anything, especially money, and it was very hard for us.
We raised about $5,000 but we knew that wasn’t enough. We didn’t even know how much we needed at that point. We were just trying to get through the mountains of paperwork.
We had our SDA appointment in Kiev on January 16, 2013. I, Kathe, went over by myself because we couldn’t afford for both of us to go. The plane tickets cost plus the fact that Tom works a commission only job meant that any time away would be money lost that we dearly needed for the adoption. He was already working from 6:30 in the morning until 10:30 at night plus every Saturday to make extra money.
After the SDA appointment I went to Mariupol to the orphanage and it was then that I really realized why our boy needed us. I can’t even describe what being in that orphanage was like. I can still smell the sewer smells if I close my eyes and see myself walk through the door. I will never forget the smiles on the faces of those children who lived there, I dream about them at night.
I was in Ukraine for about a week and then came home for three weeks waiting for the court date. It was that last week of the three that A Child Waits Foundation called and told me that we had been awarded $4,000. There are no words to express how I felt when told that. It was truly a miracle. I was trying to figure out how we were going to pull this off. I had asked everyone I knew. We had used up all of our savings and I just didn’t know what else to do. My court date was one week away in Ukraine when I got that amazing call. The weight just lifted off me and I could breathe.
On Saturday February 9th I flew back to Ukraine, I was in Mariupol for 12 days because after court there is a mandatory 10 day waiting period. Every day I visited the orphanage I took a bag of food for Vlad and his friends. They were all skin and bones. I went to the local grocery store every morning and bought fruit, chocolate milk boxes, nuts and chocolate. Those are some of the costs that you don’t even know about until you get there. I’m so happy that I had extra money to be able to do that. I didn’t eat out at all in Mariupol. When I went to the grocery store every day I bought a piece of roast chicken and some yogurt to eat in my room. It was more important to get some food for those children.
On Friday February 22nd I picked up Vlad from the orphanage and we ran around Donetsk all day getting his new birth certificate, social security number, etc. That night we took the train to Kiev and checked into an apartment to wait on his new passport. It was nice to have him away from the orphanage-finally.
We did all of the embassy stuff and finally on Friday March 1st we got the passport and final U.S. embassy visa. We flew home on Saturday!
It was amazing to finally be home with Vlad. Looking at him was worth everything we had to do to make this happen.
Thank you so much; we will never be able to thank you enough for what you did for us and for Vlad.
Tom & Kathe R