This morning at 10am we arrived at the SDA for our "redo" referral appointment. We weren't sure what to expect as our appointment process in November took 3 long days. We were pleasantly surprised this morning! We were there for a total of 10 minutes. No arguing or pleading necessary. The SDA officer showed us Igor's file (again), we signed off on it, and she told us she could probably have it ready for pick up this afternoon. Usually you pick up your referral the next afternoon. At 4pm we arrived back at the SDA, signed our names again, and 5 minutes later walked out with the referral!
In between our appointments today we had time to do some sightseeing in the beautiful city of Kiev. We spent a couple hours touring St. Sophia Cathedral.
Part of the Easter celebration (which was April 12th for Ukraine), is decorating with the Psyanky eggs. St. Sophia had a beautiful display of them throughout the grounds.
View of the city of Kiev from the Bell Tower of St. Sophia
St. Sophia Cathedral
As we walked back to the apartment we stopped at a little kiosk and
had "The World's Best Hot Chocolate"
And it truly was!!
Tomorrow we get up early to take a 4 hour bus ride to Balta. There we will meet up with Svetlana, our facilitator for that region, and Alyona, our translator, and head to a meeting with the orphanage director and Igor. If Igor says yes to adoption (we're not too worried) then our paperwork will be filed again and head back to the SDA for approval and court assignment. We are told this process will take at least 3 weeks. We're hopeful that we will be heading back to Ukraine in early to mid-May. Because we will have limited internet in Balta we probably won't be able to update our blog until we return to Kiev on Friday.
I have been praying that my eyes would be open to God's gifts on this trip, whatever they might be, and I want to share one from today. The sunflower has always been my favorite flower. I don't know if it's the tall, strong stature, the bold yellow color, or the fact that it just reminds me of happiness, but I've always been drawn to this flower. Today as we were passing a vendor selling handpainted plates, we stopped to admire some of her wares. She pointed out this one, and told us that the sunflower and these berries (Sorry, I forgot the name) were symbols of Ukraine.
"How fitting!" I told Jim, "that my favorite flower would be a symbol of the country we adopt from." Jim reminded me that recently someone was asking us why we picked Ukraine to adopt from, and I told them that I didn't choose it, Jim did. Jim pointed out to me today that God chose Ukraine for us and before I even had an inkling that adoption was in our future, God placed in me a love for sunflowers. A link to the country where He would gift us with a boy.