It took just under 46 hours from our house to the orphanage to see Inna. Landon and I began our journey back to Ukraine to bring Inna home on Sunday morning at 5 am. Our 3.5 hour flight to Washington DC left at 8 am CST, then we endured a 5 hour layover in DC. Our flight from DC to Frankfurt was 7 hours followed by another 3 hour layover. A 1 hour flight then to Munich followed by another 2 hour layover. Finally a 2.5 hour flight to Kiev was followed by a lovely 6.5 hour wait at the central train station in Kiev. After all this we hopped on a train for the 8.5 hour trek to Dnipropetrovsk. Once there we dropped our things at our apartment, took a MUCH needed shower, and ran to the grocery store to stock up on bananas and water. 4 hours after arriving in town, we headed to the orphanage.
During this time I had a building anxiety about seeing Inna for the first time again in 11 days. I have been avoiding videos of our girl while home because my heart just aches to be without her. Although we struggled with the decision to come home, we were definitely looking forward to coming back to our house and recharging our batteries. I can tell you that although seeing that red, white and blue back home and time with family was wonderful I realized that my life will never be the same again without my daughter in it. Throughout the travels back to Ukraine my anxiety about seeing Inna began to go up. I feared that Inna would be angry at us for leaving. I feared that Inna would be angry at me for coming back without Mom. My biggest fear though is that Inna would see me and not care at all as if I was a stranger.
When we arrived at the orphanage this morning we were going to meet with the director and then go get Inna for a visit. As we were walking towards the entrance there was a commotion on the playground. I looked over and there was Inna waving her arms frantically at me and making all kinds of noise! We went over and she latched on to my neck for about 20 minutes and we just stared at each other both with giant grins on our faces. I wanted to say something to her, but the giant lump in my throat prevented me from saying a word. The caregivers were crying to see us reunited. Oh how I wish Mama could have shared in that moment! Our daughter not only remembers us, but she has been waiting for us to return.
So the mission Landon and I are now on is to obtain a new birth certificate, a Ukrainian passport for Inna, and to complete the immigration paperwork at the US embassy in Kiev. When those three tasks are complete we are getting on a train and three planes and are heading home. I am happy to report the birth certificate is complete. Scratch off task 1. Task 2 is being started tomorrow with the passport application submission. This process can take 3-7 days so please pray for as few days as possible. Task 3 - embassy paperwork cannot even be scheduled until the passport is in hand. The target return date is still currently set at Thursday, June 9, but the passport is the key to the whole thing.
I'll continue to do my best to keep everyone updated. Landon has been awesome so far and is quite the little photographer in my opinion. We are looking forward to spending more time with Inna as the week goes on and less time in transit!