We have a seemingly endless to-do list but airline tickets are now officially checked off!
We depart next Sunday morning, have an afternoon visit in Chicago, on to Frankfurt, Germany and arrive in Kiev at 1:10p.m. their time on Monday, March 14th. There are certain milestones along the journey that confirm that this is for real, making this purchase was definitely one of them. It joined the homestudy approval, receipt of the USCIS I-171H, dossier submission and the notice of our appointment date.
Thank you so much for all the great referrals to Golden Rule Travel, they were just as you described; very professional, helpful, encouraging, and the best price. We also found it reassuring to have them to call on as advocates since we are not seasoned travelers. We attempt to give honor where honor is due so passed along the many glowing reports of happy customers with our agent to give them a much deserved pat on the back.
One of the most frequently asked questions is about prices and the cost of adoption so we’ll share as we go and then hopefully be able to share a cumulative tally at the end.
For those who are coming after us and researching options, our one-way tickets were $503.90 each, Kentucky to Kiev, including all taxes, fees and fuel surcharges. That was the best price by nearly $150 each of what we found anywhere else.
Why did we opt for one-way tickets?
One potential problem with the flight home with the children is the layovers in Europe. Most flight options include a several hour layover in Frankfurt or Munich Germany, London, Amsterdam or Paris. Our American passports are welcome in these countries but the children come home on the passports from their country with an American Visa. They become American citizens as soon as they step on American soil, but not before. So, in the event of a travel delay they are generally only allowed to leave the airport for 24 hours maximum, not one minute more. If major delays occur ~ i.e. the Icelandic volcano ash that grounded every flight over Western Europe for 7 days last spring ~ which no one can predict, this can be very difficult.
Another issue is that the return date is uncertain, often until within 2-3 days of departure. In the past, change fees were commonly waived for adoption travel but today those fees are generally $200-$250 per ticket. We felt it would be less stressful, and likely less expensive, to purchase one way tickets over at the least expensive rate available and then purchase nonstop return tickets for the whole crew together. One Ukrainian airline, Aerosvit, offers a nonstop flight from Kiev to JFK in NYC which is our plan for return. We talked with missionaries in Ukraine and they have found that flights originating in Ukraine are less expensive.
It is going to be a busy week but we are beyond delighted to be at this place in the journey. If all goes as planned, two weeks from today we will have met the little guy in the hospital and his sisters. Please continue to pray for them as they weigh the decision they must make. It is overwhelming to consider how much this is asking of them. We want only God’s best for them.