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Adoption trip 2 - page 1

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 Thursday into Friday 7-8 August, 2003

Today we headed off on the final step to bring Noah home to us.  After finalizing our packing and making sure Mom and Dad were comfortable with the four legged babies and all the in’s and out’s of the house we headed on our way to JFK.  Dad did  fine job of driving, despite his comments about all the toll’s we had to pay.  Imagine…having to pay to cross a bridge!

We arrived at JFK about 4pm, an hour earlier than necessary.  After getting our bags through security (no problems this time). We waited in line at the Aeroflot check in until about 5:15.  We were first inline.  Not sure that has ever happened to us before.  Despite being first we still weren’t able to finagle our way into business class.  Oh well.

We had dinner then waited in the lounge.  The plane didn’t board until almost 9pm, an hour late.  The plane itself was quite comfortable.  This time we flew a 767.  There was more legroom and the seats were more comfortable than the 777 we flew last time.  Economy class was about 2/3 full and business class was almost empty.  After feeding us dinner Rich and I fell asleep.  We slept for about 5 hours, waking in time for breakfast (or at least their version of breakfast) and about 2 hours before we landed. 

This time we knew where to go and what paperwork we needed to fill out prior to going through passport control.  The line was quite long, and it was warm.  It took us about an hour to get through passport control, but on the bright side when we got through our luggage was already there.  We loaded up and headed through customs.  No problems there either.  Nadia was waiting for us and we headed off to her car.

Nadia took us directly to the Marriott Tverskaya.  It’s a beautiful hotel!  Nadia called Alyona and we arranged to take some time to freshen up, then head to the orphanage.  Alyona was going to meet us there with the local inspector.  We were very excited to being going to see Noah.

Traffic was horrendous!  The normally 30 to 40 minute drive took us 90 minutes.  It was great for me though because I slept the entire way, waking up just in time to recognize the drive into Vidnoe.  Rich and I were so excited to finally see Noah again.  Walking up to the orphanage we both commented that it seemed like only yesterday that we had been there.  Too bad it didn’t seem like time passed that quickly when we were at home. 

After a few minutes one of the caretakers brought Noah to us.  He looked wonderful!  I had to admit I was a bit afraid I would not recognize him, but that was not the case.  Although a little bigger, he looked just the same.  He’s beautiful!  He’s more mature as well.  He interacts with us now, patting at our faces and mimicking things with his face when Rich was giving him kisses and raspberries.  It felt so good to hold him!  And to know that he was growing as he should and doing well.  I am concerned that he has rickets though, which would not be unusual in this environment.  His legs are more bowed than they were on our last visit.  Developmentally though he seems to be doing fine.

We spent about an hour and a half with him and Nadia came back.  Alyona still had not shown up.  She had tried to call her earlier but there was not answer.  She tried again and finally was able to reach her.  Apparently the inspector was not available that evening.  Alyona asked us to go see her at her apartment because she needed our paperwork and wanted to talk with us about what was to come. 

It was very interesting to see what a “typical” Moscow apartment and apartment building was like.  Although not large by our standards Alyona apartment was very nice!  We also met her son, he is adorable and very smart.  Quite a sense of humour as well. 

Alyona went through our paperwork and it all looks in order, then she told us what was to come.  We would meet with the inspector tomorrow at noon at the orphanage.  Monday we had our hearing scheduled for 10:30.  We would arrive early so we could speak with our interpreter and go over the process again.  Alyona would not be allowed to be with us during the hearing.  Apparently it is our choice whether I do the talking, or Rich does.  If that is the case I will do the talking, but Rich will be prepared as well.  Our biggest concern is our plea to have the ten days waiting period waved.  We will discuss his medical concerns and explain that we want to have him seen by a doctor as soon as possible.

After some time with Alyona we came back to the hotel, unpacked, and went to bed.  We were both exhausted!  Unfortunately I woke up about 3:30am and did not fall back asleep until almost 6am.  The alarm was set for 8am so we would have time for breakfast and to acclimate ourselves before Nadia picked us up at 11am.

 

Saturday, 9 August 2003

Rich got up first today, bright eyed and bushy tailed.  I managed to drag myself out of bed about 8:30.  We headed down for breakfast a little after 9.  The buffet looked wonderful, and the waiters spoke English.  Yeah!  The best part though was as we were sitting there another American couple came in.  We were pretty sure he was American since he was in shorts and a t-shirt.  Kind of a give away over here.  He came up to our table and asked us if we were Americans and if we were adopting.  He gave us some hints and told us about how their process was going.  They were on the one trip Moscow city system and have been here 16 days already.  They anticipate being here about ten more.  They will get their baby on Monday just like us.  We arranged to meet them for diner at 6pm this evening.  We also met another American couple who had their little boy with them.  They were leaving on Sunday to go home.  They were going to meet us for dinner as well.

Nadia picked us up at 11am and we headed to the orphanage.  We stopped at a supermarket on the way to pick up a few snacks and some water, juice, beer, Diet coke etc.  You know, the essentials!  When we got to the orphanage they had a baby carriage waiting so we could walk Noah around outside.  They brought him to us and he was so sweet.  He had been sleeping so was quite and wide-eyed.  He enjoyed the carriage and looking up at the sky and trees.  I couldn’t keep him in the carriage for long though.  I needed to hold and cuddle him!  They even brought out a bottle for him while we were there. 

The local inspector, Nina, met us there and spent some time talking with us.  She was a very pleasant, caring woman, and Alyona said we made a very good impression with her.  Nina would be representing the interests of Noah at the court hearing, so it is good that she likes us.

 After returning to the hotel we went out to eat with our new American friends.  There were four couples and two kids.  We went to the American Bar and Grill.  The food was good and we had fun together.

Tomorrow we are going to meet Dasha at the hotel and go to the Iszmalovo Market, then to see Noah.

 

Sunday, 10 August 2003

Off to Iszmalova Market – a tourist shopping mecca!  Oh what fun!  We are going to meet Rich’s friend Valentina there. 

The market is very large, with hundreds of vendors.  We bought more matroishak dolls, a fur hat for Noah, a chess set and various other odds and ends.  It was really a lot of fun.  Dasha and Rich were very patient with me. 

Rich’s friend Valentina is very nice, and her friend Julie (from the US) was there as well.  We are going to have dinner with them later this week. 

After the market Nadia took us to Vidnoe and we had lunch at a café/bar.  Not the best experience, definitely very Russian and the food was not very good.  Then to the orphanage to see Noah.  We were able to take him outside again.  We spent about an hour and a half with him.  He definitely remembers us.  He is all smiles when we first see him.  He fell asleep in my arms for a while and was very cuddly.  It feels so good!  When we gave him back to the caretaker her cried.  It could have melted my heart!  He wants to be with us!  I can’t wait to come back and get him tomorrow!!

We waited for about an hour after that for the papers to be finalized so we would have them to take to the registrar’s office in Moscow and Vidnoe to get a new birth certificate.  Then Alyona, Katya , Nina, the interpreter and Rich and I went to Baskin and Robbins to celebrate with pancakes.  An interesting, but tasty, way to celebrate.  Of course Rich and I just wanted to get to the orphanage!

Alyona left us at that point and Nadia took Katya, Nina, Rich and I to Vidnoe.  We stopped on the way to pick up tea and cakes for the orphanage workers as well as some baby food for Noah.  It was good to have Nina and Katya to tell us what to get, since he is used to eating such different things from what we would feed him in the US.

Finally we arrived at the baby home.  Rich and I changed out of our suites and then unloaded the donations for the home.  Then they brought in Noah.  He was all smiles!!  We were told we could dress him in our own clothes.  It’s good we did because he didn’t even have a diaper on, just a rag swaddled around him.  I guess they didn’t want to waist a diaper on him since we were taking him.  We met with the chief doctor and chief nurse then to learn about his schedule. 

It was a bit anticlimactic.  We were told at one point that there would be a little party with the orphanage workers, but there was no celebration at all.  We didn’t get to give our gifts to anyone.  They were just left on the couch in the directors’ office and we were told they would be distributed.  I sure hope the people that deserved the gifts got them!  Even the cakes were not touched.

We were able to take some videotape of Noah’s room and playroom, which was nice.  It was actually a very pleasant suite of rooms with lots of windows.  Very bright and cheery considering.  One of the workers handed us some of Noahs things, which surprised me.  They gave me back the blanket and toys I had left with him on our first visit.  They also gave me a small blanket/rag that must have been his as well.  I will save it as it is the only true token of the orphanage that Noah will have.    

After this I put him in the baby Bjorn (that did get some smiles from the workers) and we headed to the car.  Rich took some pictures and video of us leaving.  And we headed back to the hotel!  Finally, our dream come true! 

 

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Look Grandma...I have your booties on!

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All dressed and ready to leave the orphanage

Tuesday 12 August 2003

 

"paperwork day"

 

Today we started the paperwork to bring Noah home with us.  Rich and Katya went to the registrar’s office to register Noah’s new birth certificate with his new name and showing us as parents.  Unfortunately when the court typed up one of the papers they misspelled his middle name on one of the documents, so Rich and Katya had to go back to the courthouse to have the document fixed.  After the correction was made they were able to go back to the registrar’s office and finish the paperwork there.

 

When that was done they returned to the hotel and picked up Noah and me.  Noah enjoys the Baby Bjorn and I feel a little more comfortable in the car when he is strapped to me, since there are no seatbelts for any of us.  We headed to Vidnoe to register his new birth certificate there.  We arrived at lunchtime so went back to the little café we ate at on Sunday and had lunch there.   Noah enjoyed a yummy bottle while Rich and I had Russian salads and bread, as well as soup for Rich. 

 

Finally we were able to go to the registration office.  We waited a little bit while they finished the documents.  The woman was very nice there and spoke English.  You could tell she was quite proud of that.

 

Next we headed to the passport office to get Noah his Russian passport.  Noah made his own political statement by pooping just as we got there.  He had his first poopy diaper changed on the trunk of Nadia’s car in the parking lot of the passport office.  His daddy was so proud!!

 

Finally we finished all the paperwork and headed back to the hotel.  We were all tired of driving and were getting overwhelmed by all the fumes.  No emission standards in Moscow!

 

Tonight we had a pizza party in the fourth floor lounge with several other adoptive families.  Four of us have received custody of our children in the last two days so we celebrated!! 

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