We have been busy trying to find our way around Kiev and taking in some of the sights of this amazing city. It is huge! I have lots of photos to share later today (and some information for families traveling here), but the big news for now is that our SDA appointment is finished! Here is a picture of the SDA building:
And a picture of the side-door entrance we were taken through:
Our meeting was very quick. We sat down at a small round table with our facilitator and the representative from the SDA. Our dossier and Alina's file were on the table. We were asked to show our passports, then asked about our family (if we have children of our own already) and why we would want to adopt a child with special needs. We showed a few pictures of the kids, our house, and a few of just Bridget. The woman with the SDA smiled and said (through our translator), "It looks like children with special needs are well cared for where you live." It seems like she understood right away that Bridget is a valued member of our family. We also told her that Bridget and Alina are less than 9 months apart, and that we think having each other will be very special and important for them. She smiled again when she heard that.
We were then read some information from Alina's file: Her parents abandoned her at the hospital when they realized she had Down syndrome. She has no siblings and has a very small Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), which incidentally, is exactly what Bridget had. (Bridget's ASD was tiny and had closed by her first birthday. We do not know if Alina's is closed yet.) That was it. The whole meeting took about 5 minutes. We go back tomorrow afternoon to pick up her official referral paperwork.
It does not look like we will be able to meet Alina until Monday. Many things are closed on Saturdays, and social workers are not working, so we cannot have our first visit at the orphanage until the beginning of next week. We will leave on Sunday for her town. We still do not know if we will travel by train or car...all of our arrangements are made for us. We just wait for the call :).
Although we're disappointed that we won't get to see Alina this weekend, the extra few days means that we will have a little bit more time here in Kiev to explore (and there is way too much to see in the short amount of time we were originally scheduled to be here!). We need to do any sight-seeing now--next time we are here, we will have a toddler :)! Kiev is a unique combination of historic and modern structures. It is an international city and is very vibrant and interesting.
Today on the way to the SDA, we passed the Parliament buildings and Saint Sophia's cathedral (which is over 1,000 years old). The SDA is next door to another beautiful, old church. Our facilitator took this picture of Chris and I in front of it:
I've saved the best for last. It is a BABY PICTURE OF ALINA!! For other families coming here, bring a wallet-sized photo of your child and they will trade you for the picture in your child's file (most often a baby picture). This is a picture of a picture--so the quality is not great, but we are thrilled to have it! Here is our little sweetie when she was tiny: