We're hoping to get word tomorrow (Monday) that the final signature is done. Once that is done, our lawyers there will go to the courts to request a court date. They can typically choose anything they want, from next day or a month later. Usually they choose something a week or two into the future if the family is not hanging out in-country. If the family is there, they choose the same week. We're more interested in time than convenience and ticket prices seem pretty stable (not much difference in prices for a ticket purchased for next week versus tomorrow) so we told her to give us at least 2 days notice but otherwise book it. We may be in Ukraine within a week. Then home again still without her, then back again, them home together.
The process (reminder)
1. Approved as a good family in the US (done as of last May)
2. Approved as a good family by Ukraine (approved in July)
3. Fly to Ukraine and have a meeting where we review files and choose a kid to meet, go meet them, meet the social workers and directors, sign a bunch of papers saying we want to parent this kid; kid signs papers saying they want us (done in early August; "trip 1". Sort of a formality since we knew her already but there's no waiving it for cases like ours. It just went way faster: 2 days where "blind" might take weeks.)
4. Those papers get signed by the social worker and orphanage director and submitted to the department of children's affairs for final review and approvals of us as a matched set. (done done and done in early August, as we were flying home).
5. Final review signed off by official department of children's services person. (Waiting. This has been held up for 3 weeks for no given reason. Typically takes 2 weeks, but we hit 3 tomorrow.)
6. Signed approvals allow for a court date. This is basically like a court-house wedding -- we show up in court with M and all swear we want this and will honor our commitments. There may be some questions, but I've never heard of anyone being denied at this point. We both have to be there in person. We'll fly in, do court, and fly home without her. Because...
7. 10 day waiting period. We'll return home without her because life does not allow for us to hang out for 10 days.
8. Rob flies back and on day 11 gets the adoption certificate and takes custody. Go get a new birth certificate showing her new last name. Go file for a new passport with her new last name.
9. Travel to Kiev to go to the US embassy to file for immigration paperwork under her new last name.
10. Several days in Kiev doing immigration paperwork, waiting for the new passport to be issued and delivered, etc.
11. Fly home together.
If we are lucky and get that signature tomorrow, we could feasibly fly to Ukraine Weds (arrive Thursday), have court Friday. That would put the day 11 pick up on Tuesday Sept 16 and everyone might be home and together by the 23rd (perfect timing for the family wedding on the 27th). If we delay until Monday the 8th, the eleventh day pick up is a Friday (the 19th) and we'd be lucky to have them home by Friday the 26th (could fly directly to the wedding location and still attend). Any later than that, though, and Rob and M will miss the wedding for sure. So..we watch and wait.