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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trip 2

To start, the actual flights to get here could not have gone better. The price to check an extra bag was not as expensive as we had thought, so we got rid of some of our carry-on pieces and were able to bullet through loading on and off the planes. Also, none of the flights were totally full. We got to spread out and have plenty of elbow room. I have to say, though, that my least favorite thing in the world is when the person in front of me decides to lean all the way back while I have my tray down, or worse - while I'm reading! So as spread out as one can get, it's still not enough to be really comfortable. But things could have been way worse.

I didn't sleep at all on the transatlantic flight. I tried. I really did. Instead, I ended up catching up on my prayerlife. Mostly, I was praying for the family with the baby that was sitting about ten rows ahead of us. They were struggling, and I knew it would be us soon enough. It took a while, but they all finally calmed down. Speaking of babies on flights - on our first flight out of NOLA, there were TWO sets of twins. One set was about the age of our girls, so it was interesting to see how the family dealt with them and all their gear getting them on and off the flight. And all I have to say about that is .... This is going to be fun.

When we left New Orleans, it was a brisk 32 degrees with clear skies. When we landed in St. Petersburg, it was a balmy 32 degrees with gray skies. And snow already piled everywhere. Yet again, we brought the warm front. It hasn't really snowed since we got here. We think it snowed while we were sleeping, but it's hard to tell. Everything was already white.

As tired as we were, when our translator asked if we wanted to go by the baby home on the way to the hotel, we immediately said "Yes!" We had talked on Sunday about how we probably wouldn't, because we'd be so dirty and tired and .... All of that went out the window once we were actually in St. Petersburg.

The director at the baby home gave us a big hug when we got there. She just seems like the most pleasant person. And the caretakers were happy to see us. We got to walk into their small group area to see Addie walking totally independently, playing with the other children. She seemed to recognize Joe right away. She toddled toward us with a shy smile, but she got cut in front of by a little blonde headed boy with Down's who beat her to him. But it was enough for us to see that spark of memory there. Anna Claire was just waking up from her nap, and getting dressed when we came in, so we didn't get to see her in the group. They brought her out to us.

I guess because we had been on the plane, they made us wear surgical face masks. Addie had already seen our natural faces, so she wasn't freaked out when she saw us putting them on. Anna Claire on the other hand didn't get to see us without the masks. She was freaked out. She started off shocked, and that melted into crying and/or whimpering. But the good news is she isn't sick and croupy this time. I tried to soothe her as much as she'd let me. They kept the girls' toys we had brought, and brought those out to us. The director said Wednesday, they will bring out some toys and show us some of the things that Anna Claire has been doing with toys. They've been trying to work with her on her muscle coordination.

It was a short visit of only maybe 30 minutes. We handed the girls back, and started to walk out. As we turned the corner to exit the gate, we ran up on the older group of 3 year olds walking outside in the snow. They saw us and all went, "Oh..." And then a couple of them at a time starting looking at me and at the female translator, saying, "Mama." They kept calling as we walked out the gate to our car.

Holy Cow! How is a woman supposed to respond to that?!

I know now why people who go into orphan adoption originally thinking that they are just going to bring one child home end up going back until they have twelve kids. Because that's what I immediately wanted to do.

Now, here's the stuff everyone is going to want to know. We talked with our agency representative who will take us through the court logistics last night. She said she doesn't expect that the judge will waive our ten day waiting period. They discussed Anna Claire's physical condition with the judge, and also with the director. She said that a week ago, a family adopted a child in a wheel chair, and their waiting period wasn't even waived. The director wouldn't sign off on anything stating that she thought Anna Claire would need any kind of immediate surgery - the only kind of thing they will waive for these days. Anna Claire's follow up visits have all come back with favorable reports, recommending massage therapy, physical therapy, and love and attention. But nothing medically invasive.

So once court is over with, we know we will be coming home without the girls. But that's okay, because we will be better prepared for the final trip. Also, it will be easier to make travel arrangements for Nanna Peggy, who will be meeting us in Moscow to help get them through the long flight home. And that trip will be over Christmas break. We will be home with them on December 31.

Now it is off to breakfast, since we woke up at 4:00am. No pickled herring!
JK

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