We are sorry that we couldn't post earlier in the week. Over the weekend there wasn't anything to report. Once things finally got back in motion on Tuesday morning, we were a long commute away from Internet access and the plans for updating the blog were squelched by trips from one end of the city to the other to sign papers and deliver documents.
We switched hotels Saturday morning from a Holiday Inn to a government run charity hotel (as our agency rep described it) with no name that anyone could ever really tell us. Once we got past the graffiti walls and barbed wire that surrounded it, it was actually not that bad, although it was about an hour commute to the city center, it took 11 bus stops and 7 metro stops to get to Red Square. The room itself was like a small apartment with a very large bedroom and a small sitting room. Pictures of the outside of the hotel follow, unfortunately we don't have a shot of the barbed wire, maybe next time.
One thing that helped the transition to the far flung reaches of Moscow is that another couple moved with us and the husband is fluent in Russian. Through talking with him we found out that buying a phone for use in country wasn't very expensive and was nice to have in case of emergency or if one of the agency reps needed to contact us. After we moved, our driver Alexi, helped us buy a phone. This did wonders for our comfort level.
We had 3 days to ourselves until we would go to the Ministry of Education on Tuesday. Over this time we explored the city and spent more time with my friend Patti and her family. It was a welcome distraction from the worry and anxiety surrounding the past and upcoming events of the trip. Here is a picture of St. Basils (in the rain) and a guy in Red Square with Monkeys dressed in rain gear. We don't know what his purpose was with the monkeys but they were cute.
After not sleeping a wink on Monday night, we were finally going to meet our second referral child on Tuesday. We started the day going to the Ministry of Education (the folks that control the international adoption process) at 10am. We were the first group of foreigners to show up. As the morning progressed additional American and French families came to meet their future children.
We were eventually called back to an office where the officials questioned us about why we wanted to adopt, etc. and after alot of Russian spoken between our Agency Rep and the officials, we were given our referral. At this point we received a picture and some background on his circumstances. He is an adorable little cutie-pie that just had his first birthday.
We then went to the Baby House to meet him. The baby house appeared to be well run and was very clean. We met with the Director of the baby house and the Doctor and were updated on his medical and family history. Here I am waiting for the caregivers to bring him in to meet us.
Once our little guy came out to meet us, we were able to go back to the play area and had a wonderful time playing with our babe and his play group. They have a nice big play area with a wall of windows to let the sun shine in (when it is out which seems rare based on our 10 days). The kids were all very interested in what we were doing, it was a nice experience.
On Wednesday we returned to the baby house and were able to take him outside to play. One thing that is fairly amusing is that in Russia they really bundle the children up if they are going outside. Wednesday was a beautiful day and was probably about 55 degrees and sunny. They had our little guy bundled in a body suit, shirt, pants, big wool sweater, hat and a snowsuit over all of this. Of course we didn't know how many clothes he had on until we came in from the outside. We were surprised he could move with all that clothing on!
The time to say goodbye came too quickly and we left him with a blanket, a teddy bear and a little teething photo album with pictures of us and Abby.
We then spent the rest of the day running around one end of the city to the other signing documents and delivering paperwork. Among other things, we signed the petition to adopt our little cutie.
Unfortunately, we can't post pictures on the blog until the adoption is finalized.
After celebrating with a dinner in a great Georgian restaurant with our Interpretor, we went back to our hotel to crash and pack up for the trip home.
Now we will wait for a court date. Our agency tells us we won't hear anything for at least one month. The wait until we travel back is going to be really hard, but we've got a ton of stuff to do here to prepare so hopefully time will fly.
We're really happy that the trip was a success and look forward to the journey ahead.