First, I think there has been some confusion about what this process actually looks like. I really haven't spelled it out publicly. There is a routine, but things can change at any time. Nothing is set in stone (until it is), but this is generally the way things go here:
Today's appointment was just the beginning. It was important because we were officially recognized as potential parents for Gracie and we were officially told that she is available for adoption. We are unofficially matched with her now. Tomorrow, we will receive our written referral. Once we have that, we take an overnight train to her region (about 8 hours for us). When we arrive there on Wednesday, we will move into our new apartment and meet with the director of the orphanage and possibly the orphanage doctor (and our regional facilitator/translator) and then meet the baby!
The director will let us know when/how often/how long our visits with Gracie can be. We will visit her during the times the director approves, unless invited otherwise. At some point over the next five business days (hopefully), we will be given a court date. That's a big one. It can sometimes take some time to receive your court date, but hopefully, just after five business days. Getting a court date can be difficult, and THEN they still have to rule in our favor during court. These two things are what we will be praying for every day from now on. Nathan will come home after court (about two weeks from now- hopefully). After court, there is a 10 day wait period for appeals. After those 10 days- IT IS DONE and she is OURS :) Then there is all kinds of crazy running around to get paperwork, passport, visa, etc for her. I will be staying in country the whole time- hopefully, a total of 4-6 weeks.
I'm sure you caught on to all the "hopefully"s. It's a long process and we have a long way to go, but with every step we are closer and closer to bringing her home.
One more thing to clarify (and I totally understand why it's been confusing...)
She has a given Ukranian name.
Gracie is the alias RR gave her to protect her.
WE will be naming her Anna Gray (called both names).
In our hearts, she is our Anna Gray, but since there is still a long way to go and the rest of the world recognizes her as "Gracie", we still use that often (and maybe possibly to detach a little bit(?)... but it's not working).
It's okay to ask questions! I will answer as best I can with what I'm allowed to share :)
After our appointment this a.m., we had lunch with one of the other families and walked the street shops just a little. We came back and skyped with our littles, and then laid down for nap/movie (remember, NO sleep last night).
Tonight, we went out to TGI Fridays with six RR families! I love that we are all here together! It was really fun and great to put faces/personalities with names/RR kids.
After dinner, we walked a bit and then hung out a little while longer with the Wingfields (Braeden's parents!). Fast friends!
We wandered home late tonight, grabbed some chocolate cake and coffee on our way back and just got home to get settled in.
It's been a long day (they're all long days!), tomorrow will be longer but WE'RE READY! I can't believe we are going to be just a matter of miles away from our girl!!! I can't wait to kiss that squishy face!!!
LAYLA, BRYNN, AND CALE:
You little turkeys were so wild on Skype today! I think you were a little excited to see Mommy and Daddy, huh?! We ate some shrimp tonight that you all would have loved. Layla, your dinosaur is very very cool and Brynnie, your new princess is almost as pretty as you. Cale, I'm SO glad we got to see more of your face on the camera today. I THINK we might be going shopping to find you some presents tomorrow... :)