Hope's Journey

Hope's Journey

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Here is an updated picture of our Nadia Aimee

Wow, it has been years since I have posted on this blog!  So much has taken place in our home .... so much!  Through the passing of time I had even forgotten about the blog and how we used it as a resource to share our story about our daughters adoption and our travels to Ukraine.  It was a joy for me to read through our posts during that time.  I hope to redesign this page and learn more about blogging.  If for some reason I change sites I will let you know (if anyone is following us!)  Blessings to your day!  Kristi

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Life at the Brown Home

Brother and Sister LOVE!

Wow, it's seem like just yesterday that we were in Ukraine waiting to board for our flight home. The adjustment time has gone extremely well, Aimee loves her new home. She has not started school yet, but we are hoping for next week! There have been many "new" experiences such as the dentist, the doctor’s office and shopping! Following our visit to the dentist Aimee had a mani/pedi including pretty little jeweled flowers painted on her toes!  For me a was a sweet moment seeing this beautiful girl pampered and enjoying every minute of it!

Over the weekend we met a couple of girls from our church that are in the 7th grade, they were precious. We had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and then shopping at Justice. At first Aimee was timid to communicate but as the afternoon progressed she began interacting with the girls … baby steps, we will take em’. 

Aimee has worked very hard to begin writing and speaking the English language. Needless to say my Ukraine dictionary is getting its money worth and we are extremely grateful for the iphone translator! Kendall and Cole have had a wonderful time riding bikes with their sister as well as spending hours on the trampoline. Another favorite is hide and seek as well as good ol’ games of chasing one another. Honestly, they are never any arguments to go to bed; all are exhausted by the end of the day.

Aimee has seen her sweet friend Kennedy and our first weekend home Kennedy was able to come over and spend the night. There have been a few requests to call Ukraine and the talk of missing her friends … I cannot even imagine how very hard it is to be without those she had as family for so many years.

Each day I am reminded how blessed we are to have Aimee as our daughter, she is a joy and we love her so very much!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just a quick update

On Saturday Nadia asked that we call her Aimee, so Aimee it is :) We gave her the middle name Aimee in memory of my sweet friend Amy Jones that passed away this summer from her short battle with kidney cancer.

Amy Jones

Amy, in the ministry Journey of Sisters that she founded, represented "HOPE". Nadia in Ukraine means "HOPE" so we added Aimee as her middle name. When she asked to be called Aimee, it was a very sweet moment for us. 


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We are Home!!!

We are so glad to say that we are home!  Flying home yesterday from London felt like the longest day ever. When we arrived at DFW, we had one more immigration line to go through and this would be the one that would make Nadia officially a US citizen.  After an hour of waiting, we were approved to enter the country and Nadia is officially ours.  It was amazing to see our kids and Kristi's parents waiting for us. Three weeks is a long time.  Nadia was also greeted by 2 of her friends who were adopted by families in the metroplex earlier this year.  They were all excited to see each other.  Is'nt God amazing to not only give these girls forever homes but to allow them to be adopted by families who live close to one another.   

Monday, October 12, 2009

Final Leg of Our Amazing Race Home

It's 7am here in London. We will head to the airport later today and look forward to being in our own beds in our own home this evening. 3 days of traveling is taking its toll. Due to the conflicts at the airport in Kiev, we only spent an evening in London. No time to sightsee. We did walk a few blocks last night to an English Pub that was recommended. It is called The Three Magpies and it was delicious English food.

As I had to deal with the roadblock with the airlines in Kiev not letting us leave, Kristi had her roadblock to deal with the next day going through the immigration line at the Kiev airport. I was separated from Kristi and Nadia briefly as I was questioned by an employee asking what was in my luggage and how much money was I carrying. He was checking to see if I had any antiques. By the time I reached the immigration lines, Kristi and Nadia were ahead of me so I got into another line.(For those families who will be leaving Ukraine with their newly adopted children, stay together especially going through immigration lines.) I was able to get through the line w/o any issue. Kristi and Nadia were detained and asked for the original adoption papers and birth certificate. She gave the papers to the attendant and was in a starring match with the lady attendant for several minutes. The attendant left her booth and went into an office with other immigration officers. I was close to the office so I had a front row seat to what happening. They all were reading the adoption papers and discussing it for at least 20 minutes all while Kristi and Nadia were left standing at the immigration booth with many people lining up behind them. The 3 officers approached me and asked if I was the "papa". They then began to question me about the timing of our adoption. They said Ukriane adoptions are never completed in the short amount of time it has taken us(less than 3 weeks). After much deliberation among themselves and Kristi and Nadia still waiting at the booth, they decided to let us proceed. Of course the lady immigration officer enjoyed the stare down of Kristi so much, she continued to do so even though she had been handed the approval from the senior officer 5 minutes earlier. I saw the officer give it to her with the stamps and signatures. It is interesting how only after being a few days in Ukraine, we were able to know what was happening and what discussions were about even through we did not know the language. Body language and tone of words speaks volumes.

Once we arrived in London it was like we were greeted by friends. We were welcomed warmly by the immigration office. I asked if it would have been ok if we had arrived a day earlier and spent 48 hours in London. He said of course and we would have been given permission to do so. I was frustrated for a moment about not being allowed to fly the day prior(paying an extremely high price for the Ukraine airport hotel and anticipating an extremely large cell phone bill being on the phone with American Airlines in the States for 40 minutes) but soon that feeling left with the knowledge that we were only 1 more flight away from being home and seeing our kids. I was so proud of my wife how she handled the tense situation with the Ukraine immigration. She was amazing!!!

We made it through the entire adoption process in Kiev, in the Dobro region and with the US Embassy without any issues. We finished in 19 days! Our problems came with leaving the country. So families who are still in Ukraine adopting, be prepared for possible issues when you leave the country. Even though we had all the documents needed, the immigration officers can still detain you if they wish. Know that we are praying for you all. It was great to meet such amazing couples from the states stepping out in faith to adopt a child.

One more full day of travel and we are home and one amazing young lady can not wait to get to her forever home. I think she may be even more ready to be home than Kristi and I. And that is a lot!!!

Thank to all who have been praying for us. Your prayers have been felt and answered all the way along our journey. Our issues with the immigration clearance in Ukraine was not just an intellectual battle between people, it was a spiritual battle of a family adopting a young child and being rescued by their heavenly father.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Leaving Ukraine

Just as in the Amazing Race ( on TV ) there are “roadblocks” and as on the show only one teammate can perform and well, we hit a "roadblock" and Darrin did an amazing job. Yesterday, we arrived at the Kiev airport all 5 bags in tow … and we were even early.

We are at the counter having the bags tagged and on the belt taking them to the plane when the attendant checking us in saw that we were staying in London for two nights. Right then we experienced our first BUMP in the road. Our bags we taken off the belt and the whirlwind began. Darrin then spent the next two hours negotiating with the Ukraine attendants while simultaneously dealing with an American Airlines agent in North Carolina … who by the way was amazing … to try and get us on our flight to London. Let me stop and explain what was happening at this time … because Nadia has a Ukraine visa she is not permitted to stay over 24 hours in UK. The Kiev airline attendants not understanding that because she was adopted by us, she has the ability to receive a temporary visa for our UK stay, which was confirmed to us before leaving the US consulate on Friday.


Oh, the reason we had a 48 hour UK stay … because there were no available flights out of London to DFW on Sunday. Sooooooooo, ultimately we missed our Saturday flight and had to stay at a hotel near the airport. It was extremely pricy, but nice.

We must share a huge “Thank You” to our facilitator, his wife and our precious Elvira for staying with us and taking us to the hotel. They had a family commitment that afternoon and took time away from family, making sure that we were taken care of, precious!

(Elvira with Ana and Nadia)
The hotel was available and had a nice (pricy) restaurant where we were able to eat dinner and then watch So You Think You Can Dance, Kiev. We awoke to a very rainy and cold day, had breakfast, waited in our room for a couple of hours and now as I type are at a cafĂ© in the airport waiting for our flight. So, as I type we are waiting … yet funny thing, just greeted with English magazines and a warm smile promising seats together on the plane, by the attendant that made us miss our flight yesterday. It is true … sometimes you are given the opportunity to make friends with your enemies.

I would like to make a BIG shout out to the creators of the iphone and to my precious cousin who gave me the iphone … it has kept Nadia entertained for hours. Yes, for those concerned … I took the SIM card out, so there are no “roaming charges” however, I fear the bill from Darrin’s numerous and long calls to the airlines yesterday.

Now, it is evening as I post this last update before our travels to HOME tomorrow ... we are in London.  Once we settle at home for a couple of days, I will begin posting more details about our trip.  We will continue this blog for a few months and update about Nadia's experiences in America.  Thank you to all for your prayers, we are thrilled to be home in less than 24 hours, whooo hooo!

(Nadia enjoying the flight!)