Sunday, April 11, 2010

We are here!

After hours and hours of traveling, we are in Kiev! I don't think I've ever been as exhausted as I was yesterday. The night before we left, we stayed at a hotel and between the snoring from my mom and the hacking cough from my husband (yes he is okay, he just has this dry cough at night), sleep DID not come, AT ALL. We also had to get up at 3:30am to fly out. We did get to spend some time (not long enough!) with my sister, her babies to be (she is a mommy to twins!), and her husband in the Cincinnati airport before we left for Paris (our layover was almost 7 hours), although we only got to spend the first couple of hours with them becuz she had a doctors appt. Thanks Auntie Jenn and Uncle Chris for Grover and the Count - they have made the trip all the way to Ukraine in Gia's hot little hands (and they slept with us)!!! Right as we were getting ready to board for Paris, we found out that her doctor was concerned and wanted her to head to the hospital. Unfortunately, we had to board the plane with heavy hearts. All we could was pray. The flight to Paris went pretty well. Gianna was SUCH a trooper. She fought sleep like no one I have ever seen. She finally snuggled up, watched the movie playing, and did manage to get a few hours. God answers prayers (like we didn't already know that!) and we ended up with a tailwind, which means we landed almost a whole hour early in Paris. This was a blessing because we had to go through security again before they would let us get to our connecting gate. We also managed to get a message from my sister saying that the babies and her were okay and she had been sent home from the hospital (what a huge relief!!!) So we boarded the plane for Kiev with much lighter hearts but much heavier eyelids!!! The flight to Kiev was only about 3 hours and Gianna was most definitely done (as I think we all were) but again she did AWESOME! UNTIL THE END...and so here is my rant to Air France...during ALL of the take offs (including the one to Kiev) and the landings, I hold tight to my little girl. She just turned 2 and she is very tall and skinny for her age, so a lap belt, even a tight one, does NOT hold her into a seat well. Well the mean French flight attendants, decided that right after she had finally fallen asleep in my arms before we landed, that she MUST sit in her own seat. I tried to explain but they would hear NONE of it. And were extremely RUDE. Okay, so I put her in the seat, which of course, wakes her up and she starts SCREAMING and throwing herself around. Now she is scared because we are landing, their is a French dude yelling at us, and I'm trying to strap her in. Great fun! Well I thought I'll just hold onto her, so I put the armrest between us up and snuggled down close to her to hold her into her seat and try to comfort her. So again the rude French man runs over and starts yelling at me again to put the armrest down, so I cannot snuggle close to her and hold her. Nice! So she is screaming and when my daughter gets really mad and scared, she throws up! So now she throws up on my arms and hands. We finally land and as we are taxing in, we hear this ding and I just assumed that I could now unbuckle my screaming puking daughter and comfort her. WRONG! French flight attendant runs over and yells at me again. He says I MUST buckle her back in...what?!????? So I try, but now she is clinging to me for dear life and screaming! As we were getting off the plane, my husband had to restrain himself from punching little French man...I must say I wanted to do the same thing, especially when he looked at us as we were leaving the plane and asked if my daughter was okay now? Like he ever cared! ANYWAY, I will never fly Air France again. But thanks for letting me vent everyone ;) Now we land and Alysha you are right, it is kind of like being herded, you just follow the people in front of you and pray for the best. We are DEFINITELY not in America :) So we head to where you show your passport and wait. My hands were shaking as I handed our passports over to some very scary looking man with an army uniform on and a scowl on his face. At this point you just start praying. It took forever but he finally started stamping our stuff. Mind you, he NEVER said one word to us nor looked at us the entire time. He seriously looked straight out of the Soviet Union. I had to chuckle though because I looked up and saw a sign that showed a picture of a lady smiling as someone handed their passport over to be stamped and the sign said in English something about Ukraine and welcome there...ha! So we then go get carts and get our luggage, one of the zippers on one of our duffel bags had broken off, so we were presented with a lovely duffel bag in a HUGE plastic bag...NICE! We then head on over to customs and per our family adoption handbook, we head to the red customs line to make our declarations. At this point some Ukrainian lady runs over to us and starts pointing at the green customs line. We say no, we need the red line. She just keeps pointing and insists we move to the green line. Thank you again Alysha, because I remembered that this is what happened to you, so we just moved right through to the green line and went straight through. Oh well, we did try! So now we head for the glass sliding doors and they open up and we look for a man and a sign that says Simons. Lots of men, but no Simons sign! At this point, panic creeps up. We start looking around, walking around...surely our driver must be here. NOPE! No driver, no sign. By now, the very hungry taxi drivers can tell we are confused and pounce on us. My husband starts saying Nyet to them all as I try to comfort my exhausted daughter AND hold back the tears. We wait and wait and wait. Okay, now panic has completely set in!!! We can't understand anything, we are in an airport - but not like anything we would normally associate with an airport, and their is no one to pick us up. I must say my first thought was...get me on the next flight out!!! Thankfully Gianna had fallen back asleep at this point. We finally decide to try to call Yulia, but we could't manage to get my husband's phone to work, even though we had his switched to international before we left. Since Gianna was asleep on me, my mom found an information booth and the woman spoke some english, so she agrees to call Yulia for us. Yulia told the woman to tell us to wait 13 more minutes. So okay, we are relieved that at least someone is on there way for us. But 13 minutes came and went. At this point we had been waiting well over an hour. It was SO hot in the airport and we were all beyond exhausted. We were going on well over 26 hours with no sleep. My mom went over an asked the woman if she would call Yulia again, but this time the lady said no, we just needed to take a taxi. Um, we don't even know where we are going? So my mom starts searching for someone, anyone to help us. She finds a nice man at some mobile "store" and he speaks very broken english, but helps us dial Yulia again. This time she asks where we are and we tell her and she says she will call our driver because he IS now in the airport. YAY!! I have never been so happy to see someone, EVER!!! Poor Uncle Nikko, our driver, had car trouble. He is so apologetic and we are just soooo happy to see him that we really didn't care at that point. So we load up our stuff and head over to our apartment. Unfortunately we arrive at our apartment and quickly realize that it is not going to work. There is only one bed and two chairs, no pull out couch, and no way for all of us to fit. So Uncle Nikko calls Yulia and they find us another apartment but we will have to wait a few hours while they clean it. Uncle Nikko also takes George and my mom to exchange money and get some food. I stayed with Gianna in the apartment and just let her run around. They come back, we eat, and then we wait and wait and wait some more. Finally, about 2 hours later our apartment is ready for us. So we load back up (this includes going down an elevator like I have never seen before - it will close on you - and it only fits 2 people at a time. It also makes a weird grinding noise!) but we load back up the car and off we go again! We get to our new apartment and have to carry everything up 4 flights of stairs....we are definitely going to be in better shape after this trip! But this apartment is PERFECT. It has room for all of us and internet and it is within walking distance of a bunch of stores, restaurants and markets, and their is a "playground" across the street (I'll have to take pics so you all can see). George and I went out for more water and CHOCOLATE! Love, love, love the chocolate here! (also the bread here is amazing!) It made so much better after all the emotions we had gone through. We then crashed and slept and slept and slept! We woke up this afternoon feeling much better about things. I will try to upload some pics so you can see where we are staying. We will get pics of the outside later. I think we are going to venture out and try to find some food. Sorry for the LONG post and the rambling but I am still tired and need to eat! Sunday in Kiev with the church bells is really cool though. Can't say I've ever heard anything like that.


  1. Wow...that's quite the trip. Guess there was a reason God woke me up to pray for you as you were landing in Kiev!! That's a much worse story than the time you fell asleep - face-first - in the mashed potatoes on the plane. I am so sorry you guys had such a rough time!! And then to think you were forgotten once you got there...and then the apartment issues...I would have been bawling. I am so glad it all worked out in the end. We are praying that each step of this journey gets easier and easier. Just remember - each day brings you closer to the moment you take those precious kids home with you!! We love you and are praying constantly. Thanks for the update and the pics!

  2. PS - Sounds like Dad is enjoying your tv very much. He is very happy that you made it ok.



  © Web Design by Poppies Blooming 2010

Back to TOP