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Adoption Journey: Bait and Switch

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In part two of this gripping series, their journey continues.

Adoption Journey

Tracy Mazuer and her husband once proudly proclaimed on national TV that they were child-free by choice, dammit!

Ultimately the couple changed their minds and embarked on a journey that took them 30,000 miles, cost her $35,000 and ultimately landed in their own backyard.

Tracy documented her experience in both words and video. Today, we find out what happens when they land in the Ukraine to adopt their first child and discover the things weren't exactly as they seemed.

December 14, 2007
We arrive in Kyiv and are picked up by Yuri, our facilitator and attorney, at the airport. Yuri's a man of business with a fast gait, a briefcase and a shearling coat that we'll come to know the back of as he's invariably walking 10 paces ahead. We try to keep up with his long strides, but we're saddled with mounds of luggage that he seems oblivious to. He doesn't smile nor does he offer any small talk. He opens the door for himself and chain smokes.

We arrive at our apartment in the center city and John and I cram into an elevator the size of a Porta Potty with our luggage and head to the fourth floor, apt 6. It's a spacious, tacky, perfect apartment. It's sparsely decorated with fake ivy and a plastic lion coat of arms over our bed -- perhaps an homage to the cabaret below or a symbol of strength for the road ahead.

Since we only have 17 hours until our "appointment," Yuri takes us to dinner to talk about the road ahead. I'm a glass half-empty kinda girl, but I'm feeling full, happy and unbelievably excited. This is about to be our most amazing Christmas ever. I'm also fired up because we're going to be eating in our first Ukrainian restaurant with someone who speaks English and can help us decipher chicken cutlets from pig brains. But instead of the local cuisine, we find ourselves turning a corner and heading straight into a TGI F***ING FRIDAYS. Swear to God. F****** TGI FRIDAYS in Kyiv. Yuri informs us that he has a VIP card (10% off) and adores the chicken fingers. The hostess guides us to the heavy smoking section, Yuri lights up and John and I look at each other with an "Oh, sweet Jesus, here we go" kinda look.

As we peruse our Americana menu, Yuri starts giving us the lowdown. And the word "lowdown" is an understatement. He asks us what we're looking for. (It's in all of our paperwork and he should've known this so I'm immediately thrown.) We say what we've said for the past three years -- a girl three or under. He then tells us there are no healthy children in the registry under 8 years old and they're all boys. Meanwhile, I've ordered the Cajun chicken finger salad and my appetite vanishes. I want to projectile vomit. Three years later and 7,000 miles away from home, we're being told they don't have what we came for. Nothing even close. John's cheeseburger and fries, Yuri's chicken fingers and my Cajun chicken salad (missing the chicken) arrive. I eat what I can and try to stave off tears. 15 minutes later, the Cajun portion arrives and I politely decline.

Yuri tells us that getting a girl under 3 or 4 is nearly, if not, impossible. He then tells us the worst news yet: If we don't accept one of the files of the children we're shown (and we could be shown only two or three), then we must reschedule our appointment in two to three MONTHS. If we didn't find any child on that second trip, we're done. Done. Done. That's it. FINAL. He is definitive. This is all news to us.

My hopes of getting a child dashed, Yuri whips out his VIP card and we pay the bill less the 10%.

We go back to the red light apartment and pass out. At midnight, we both wake up and John has the idea to call our friend back home who is helping us with the process. We tell him the bad news and he says not to worry. Stay calm. He'll do everything he can to help us.

Interested in connecting with others about adoption? Check out our momlogic community.

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6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jessie March 25, 2009, 7:43 PM

This story is so captivating. I love reading about your journey. I pray that it has a happy ending. I am seriously on pins and needles. Great writing, wonderful story. Thank you for sharing this experience with others. Best of luck to you both…can’t wait to read your next post. March 26, 2009, 12:13 PM

When can we expect the next post? Waiting…waiting…

MarMar March 26, 2009, 12:22 PM

A good friend of mine spent the first 30 years of his life living in what is now Ukraine before immigrating to Canada about 12 years ago. The majority of his family still lives in Kharkov. I started reading this story with high hopes but unfortunately, it’s starting to sound like every story he’s ever told me about how things operate in Ukraine - how anyone with the slightest bit of pull or power is out to double-cross one another, how corrupt various agencies are, and how bribery will get you everywhere. I fear that some of the $35,000 mentioned above will be this couple paying bribes to officials. I’m hoping it’s not the case and keeping my fingers crossed that this story ends happily. I’ll be awaiting the next post.

Debbie March 26, 2009, 8:39 PM

want to know what happened at meeting-
I have heard of stories like this where a couple is told the child they came for is not avaliable- they have to choose from two placed in front of them now—-we were lucky got one adopted here

Kira March 27, 2009, 10:33 PM

tracy- its kira! i’m so happy u kept my heart necklace all threw the adoption process. we thought of u so much. p.s. i’m 12 now!

porta potty dallas April 7, 2009, 1:46 PM

Wow.. great read… my aunt has a similar type story. Crazy.. please update. thx

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