EMBASSY (Trip 4, Day 4)

Praise the Lord, Sweet Girl slept until after 7 this morning. She’ll fit right in at our house! We love our sleep! I’m still having a hard time sleeping between 1a and 4a so I told Him just one more minute for me. Before I knew it, it was 9am and Sweet Girl was jumping on the bed. It’s just like home. On the weekends, He gets up with the girls for me and I get another wink of sleep. It’s just so hard to get up in the morning! Boris came and picked us up at 10:30 for our 11:30 embassy appointment. There were lots more locals in the embassy for business purposes than I expected. We paid the fee and sat down in the little room and Irina told us we were 1st in line. “This is good thing,” she told us. Soon enough, another 5-6 adoptive families filed in and began to wait with us. Sweet Girl seemed to be the oldest and she was for sure the most well behaved. Lots of the little ones were tired and hungry and cranky, etc. After about 20 minutes of waiting, a lady came out and addressed us all. They said to save time, they would tell us all the general information together and then we’d be processed faster. She said her bit and then we waited for another couple of minutes. She called our name and we went up to her window and she asked us to confirm Sweet Girl’s name and birthday. In under a minute she said sit and wait while we process the Visa! It took about 5 minutes for the Visa to be pasted in and the packet for immigration prepared. We quickly picked up our packet and were out the door. When we got back into the car with Boris it was 12:15. We ran over to the consulate to register Sweet Girl’s passport. We waited in the car for Irina and when she got back in the car, she said, “Success!’ They will pick up and deliver the passport to us tomorrow around 4. After that we are free to leave! We are checking on flights to come home either Saturday or Sunday – whatever is cheaper.We had Boris drop us off at the market and we picked up a couple of things – some cheese and beer to welcome my friend Luella in with tonight!

Back at the apartment, we tried mac n cheese for lunch. It was a no go for Sweet Girl. She ended up with yogurt, grapes and another breakfast bar. She’s doing much better about drinking a little milk at each meal and then helping herself to her water cup throughout the day.  After lunch, she went down effortlessly for her nap. We did stay in the room with her and play on the computer while she slept.

When she got up about 4 we headed out for dinner. We thought we’d test her restaurant skills at McDonalds which was bound to be forgiving. She behaved great and loved the apple juice that came with her happy meal. She did not however have any interest in chicken nuggets or a cheeseburger. I think we did get 5-6 fries in her. We are hoping that tomorrow night we can try TGIFriday’s. We’re still a little too nervous to take her to a place we can’t read the menu.

In the tiny apartment elevator


It was sketch by American standards, but pretty good for here.
We came back and straightened up a little and had bath time. Sweet Girl likes to wash her own hair and must have done so 3-4 times!

Around 6:30 or 7 our friend Luella and her husband got here. Yay! About 30 minutes into us chatting I saw that sweet girl had just started crying. We aren’t sure yet what spooked her, but Lu and hubby went ahead and took off for dinner so we could get Sweet Girl settled for bed. I later realized that maybe the gift they brought her messed her up. So far, the only people to bring her a new outfit were He and I when we were leaving the orphanage. It’s possible her little mind raced to the possibility these people would try to take her away.

While they were gone, we went ahead and put her to bed and stayed in there with her for a long time until she fell asleep. She was back to normal by bed time.

We however stayed up and chatted for awhile. It was so nice to have people who spoke English as a first language to talk to!


Bitter and Sweet (Trip 1, Day 6)

This morning Vita was supposed to pick us up at 9:45. She was a few minutes late and when she got us  she told us that she had successfully presented our approval to adopt to the Department of Education. Once they get a paper back from the capital and get it to Vita we can present our court stuff to the judge. Yay!
When we got to the orphanage, Sweet Girl bounded out of her groupa to us. Lots of giggles and smiles today. We went upstairs and took out her new surprise of the day, painting suncatchers. We underestimated the mess possible with a paintbrush and 4 colors.

She tried to pick the paint up to show Vita and oops, spilled it all over herself. We managed to only get a little blob on her dress, but that was the second new outfit we ruined. Sorry nice orphanage. We’ll bring tons more back when we come!

The we changed tactics. Paper and one color at a time with Papa holding on to the container. I showed her how to rinse the brush in the water bottle and that became more fun than painting.

She had to use the restoom and while she was gone we took the paint. No need to have her be punished over making a mess when it was our fault.
When she came back we played with stickers and colored for a few minutes. I think this is something she gets to do pretty often so she wasn’t interested for long.

Soon enough she found and remembered her favorite toy from yesterday, our camera. Today we were smart enough to bring the big camera too to capture her sweet face when she saw us all in the viewfinder.

All too fast our visit was over. Here’s Vita and I walking back out the gates to the car.

It is very evident that the director and caretakers really try to make the place feel bright and cheerful. Lots of flowers are planted around and lots of colors for the kids.

While on break today he and I went to McDonald’s and got lunch. So far our ordering has been close to accurate. Today my attempt at “Da Ketchup and nyet the rest” translated to no ketchup. Oops. It’s what I get for being picky on my burger. Or not just ordering nuggets like him.

We came back to the room for some decent downtime and researched a few things. Then we got to skype with Cranky and Happy. When it’s mid afternoon for us it’s very early morning for them so they are still sleepy. This morning they were very sweet. They make it about 10 minutes and then Happy usually gets a little upset so we let them be. Makes me happy to see them even if it’s just a few minutes though.

3:30 took us back to Sweet Girl. She had pigtails this time. Very adorable. She went right for the camera.

“Who do you see?” I would ask.  “Papa!” she’d always reply.

She needed a quick reminder where to put her hands so they weren’t in front of the lens.

The battery died and to avoid trouble we redirected her outside. We convinced her to walk her laps backwards. More cat chasing, more bubbles. This time, Ilya was parked inside the gates so everytime we passed him she’d give him weird looks and he’d wave. Then we convinced her to try to play in one of the quadrants in the back (there are 4 little separate play spaces) that didn’t have other kids near. She reluctantly agreed. She found a favorite trike and let me push her. Fast and slow around and around. Chasing Papa, being chased by Papa. Much fun.

Papa got a turn pushing, but Mama was taking a rest so no pictures.

We had tried the sandbox Tuesday and she wasn’t interested, but today she initiated.

Throwing sand. I was telling her “Nyet, we don’t throw sand,” here.

This is her “Papa, Mama told me Nyet” face.

It was almost time to go so we convinced her to go back inside. One quick family picture in front of the doors. I can’t wait until we walk out and don’t walk back in.

I wanted to have time in the quiet to talk to her. We told her that Mama and Papa had to go away for a few weeks, but we’d come back and see her again. We told her to be a good girl while we were gone. We showed her the pictures again of our family and said if you miss us look at our pictures. We gave her a little security blanket we got for her and told her she could keep it in her bed with her (hopefully the caretakers will show her the pictures and let her keep the blanket. We think she understood what was going on because she started stalling. She went over to a puzzle we brought her and showed her every day. She hadn’t ever been interested before but today she had to put it together. Mama would tell her where the pieces went and she’d rotate them and put them in.

Finally it was time. One last picture on the way down the stairs. She’s holding the bag of toys we left to donate to her Groupa. She’s still got the necklace she beaded on. I hope they let her keep it.

I always knew it would be hard to see her and then leave her. Part of me wants the system to be different so we didn’t have to leave so much. I am afraid since we will leave her 2 more times before we get her for good that she won’t understand when it’s the forever time. Vita asked her today, “Do you want Mama and Papa to come back?” “Da!” she said. “Will you miss Mama and Papa?” “Da!” When Mama and Papa come to take you home will you go with them?” “Da!”
And as hard as it is to leave her, I’m an adult. I understand. I underestimated how hard it would be on her for us to leave. I thought we’d just be visitors, playmates to her, but I think she gets it. She knows what Mama and Papa means. She had it for a week. Now she doesn’t know if she should trust that we’re coming back. So heartbreaking.
Counting the days Sweet Baby Girl….

Bliss (Trip 1, Day 3)

June 19 – Day 3We woke up on Tuesday morning before 6am. That’s what we get for going to bed at 8pm. Time change is killer. I woke up feeling mostly better. By the time I was fully awake and moving, I was still very nauseous, but held it together. We went downstairs around 7:15 for breakfast. We thought it was 6:30-10am, but it didn’t start until 7:30am. We managed to communicate in broken English with the wait staff who said something like 10 more minutes. We decided to get some fresh air and walked around outside. The night before he had been to a little market down the street with Vita to get more water for me. We walked down to that to check out their breakfast options, but they were only open 10a-10p. We walked back to the hotel and by then I was feeling crummy. We got let into “breakfast”. The hotel dining room was set up, but it looked like the free breakfast was in this backroom. We were given the choice of omelet or sausage. We got one of each. First we were served bread, jam, cheese, salami and yogurt. I managed to eat a little of the yogurt, but was very nauseous by the smells of the rest. We were back up in our room by 8. Since we still had 2 hours before Vita was to pick us up, I took a nap. I think He slept too. When I got up I was doing a little better.We met Vita downstairs at 10am and drove to pick up Tatiana, the child advocate for court. We then went straight to the baby house and signed in. We went to the directors office and then moved to a larger conference room with toys and a conference table. The director went to get the doctor and Tatiana asked us several questions about our history. Why we want to adopt, why from this country, why we want to adopt an older child, what were our thoughts on adopting out of birth order. What did we do, how much do we make and are we aware of the post placement requirements.
When the director and the doctor came back, Sweet Girl’s caretaker brought her in right after. She seemed very scared and didn’t want to be there. The director sat her on her lap and Sweet Girl started to cry and asked to go back to her groupa. They gave her a piece of chocolate which she ate through her tears. We decided to let her go back to her groupa while we went through her history. After we went through her entire social and medical history and asked lots of questions, they brought her back in. She still seemed scared. I tried to show her the markers and coloring book, but she wasn’t interested. We gave her a little my little pony and she didn’t seem to care. Then I brought out the beach ball. It did the trick and we played catch for an hour in the visiting room. She also liked to kick the ball and thought it was hilarious when we missed catching it.

The director and other people finally left us alone so we got a couple of pictures with her. She’s still very cautious around us.

Ignore what my hand is doing here. I don’t think I knew what to do with it.

We had to leave and come back after she ate lunch and took a nap.

During our break, we started our 8 doctor physical. If you want details on this let me know and I’ll send you the write up of it, otherwise, just imagine state run health care in crappy 1950’s buildings. This took several hours and then we went back to the orphanage. They quickly brought Sweet Girl in. She was carrying her ball. She told us lunch was good and that she had a good rest. Oh and earlier we asked her favorite food and she said “soup”. She also likes potatoes and carrots.

Sweet Girl then decided she wanted to go outside. We also found out that part of the reason she was so upset earlier is that her groupa was playing and she wanted to go too.

She wanted to go to this part of the yard that apparently isn’t used anymore. They don’t mow the grass at least. She had Papa help her up the slide, and then he lifted her through the grass to the stairs over and over again.

We got in trouble later because we got her clean white pants dirty. The orphanage changes their clothes and shoes before they go outside, but since she was with us, she didn’t change her clothes so her nice clothes got dirty. Oops. I might need to bring them a replacement outfit next time.

She had to use the bathroom so we came back inside and tried to color again. I brought her a color wonder coloring book, but she didn’t like the big markers, she only wanted to use the small markers in the room but they were either dead or didn’t work well on color wonder paper. So this only lasted a couple of minutes.

No pictures of it, but we have a cute video I can’t upload from here. But next we showed her the photo album we brought for her with no prompting at all, she went through it and pointed out “Mama”, “Papa”, “Babies” and “Dog”(in her language of course). She went back and forth through the pages several times. It was adorable. We then had to say goodbye.

Last night He and I ventured out into town and found a McDonalds. It wasn’t quite like home, but the real meal was very welcome at this point!

I think we finally are used to the time change because we slept 10:30p-6:30a just fine. It was still light out when we went to bed too and definitely still light this morning.