This Blog is meant to journal the combined experiences of the persons involved in the Sasha Project. Its objective is to strengthen the ties between families, students (several of us teach), friends, and the growing number of persons who want to be part of the JOY which this Sasha Journey is spreading.

In 2004, I (Tina) traveled to Russia to assist with the adoption of my two nephews. Alexander (Sasha) was our interpreter, driver, and so much more. I have kept in touch with him and it has been my dream to let him experience first-hand the typical U.S. life (versus merely his impressions from American TV, movies and music). My initially modest idea blossomed to include eleven other adoptive families who also want to host Sasha and thank him for helping to make their dreams come true.

It will be fun as well as educational for all of us to share Sasha's observations and impressions of his daily travels as this Journey unfolds. There is an intricately choreographed daily itinerary which will take us to visit the Space Shuttle, Golden Gate bridge, Route 66, a Home Depot and other American icons through Sasha's eyes. The flight to L.A. is scheduled to leave Moscow on Saturday, June 15th to begin his six week visit.
It seems incredible, but the interviewing U.S. Immigrations officer denied Sasha a Tourist visa. He did not see the value in Sasha's trip or understand the desire for the adopting families and children to reunite with Sasha. The officer decided that Sasha was too poor to be allowed even a brief visit to the U.S.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Act on FAITH

This morning I was in my stretching/exercise class.  At the end of each session, the instructor has us sit in a circle, tell about our experience in class, and then she shares a word for the day.

My report this morning: “I have zero idea what my body did because my mind was racing about 150 mph on the Sasha Project!”   The rest of the ladies gave more normal reports.

Right at the end, the “Nudging” said, “Go home and book Sasha’s flight!”  Huh?  Again, I sensed, “Go Book Sasha’s flight!”  My Engineering / German background argued: “The Embassy websites advises NOT to make travel arrangements because VISAs are not guaranteed”.  “No. This is NOT logical”.  The Nudging persisted again.

Within two minutes of that argument, the instructor said, “Today’s Message is FAITH. ACT on Faith!”  I burst out laughing and the other ladies wondered why?  I told them about how I had just been wrestling.  That gave me the opportunity to share about the Sasha Project!  The ladies all said they would all be adding their prayers to this project.  The Goodwill is Blossoming!

I went home to book Sasha’s flight. I had only a few moments because someone was expected at my house.  I was frantically working when my guest called to say she would be delayed by an hour!  Thank You Angels.

I did a search for flights.  My “ideal flight” would have Sasha flying in Sunday afternoon (thus avoiding downtown LA traffic) to join our family for a Father’s Day dinner.  The return flight would be after work hours on the planned Thursday in July,

I searched for flights from Moscow to LAX using my Frequent Flyer Miles.  Search #1 had ZERO results.  Search #2 had ZERO results.  I was getting discouraged.  I told the Angels that THEY were the ones who told me to do this.  What were they thinking?
Attempt #3:  Arrival flight 1:40 Sunday afternoon, Departure 9:10 pm on a Thursday evening five weeks later.  I could not believe it!  And get this --  the arrival flight had one seat using only half the Frequent Flyer miles I was expecting!!!  Talk about AWESOME!!!!

I have booked the tickets, paid the various airport taxes, and have the Confirmation number!!!!  “ACT on FAITH!”

I can’t wait for Sasha to wake up and read this posting.  He will probably think he is dreaming…

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

U.S. VISA Refused!

Late last night Sasha made the long journey and flew to Moscow for his required VISA interview at the U.S. Embassy.  None of us ever really considered that he would not be allowed to come visit our families.  We were shocked when Sasha emailed:

Hi Tina,
I'm on the way to the airoport, back to Krasnodar.  I am refused, as I don't have any official work. As they explained - not good economical position... Well,...... Anyway I appreciate the commitment and vigour you has showen in this project, but - alas...

Sasha also could not show assets.  He lives in the family home which his mother owns and he has no savings in the bank.

This was a turning point in the project.  EMails went out and the brainstorming began ...