Monday, June 23, 2008

Remembering Moscow - Day 6

Thursday was a tough day for us. Andrei picked us up mid-morning and took us to a building where he had to renew his license for adoptions. Then we went to pick up Olga, a translator, before going to the notary public. Andrei is bilingual and has translated for us, but he does not have a degree in English and Russian translation so the notary public will not allow him to translate the document for us. At the notary public we waited for a long time, then went in. Olga translated the document for us, we signed it, she signed a document stating that she had translated it accurately, the notary signed it, and we signed a book in which they had basically hand-written the entire document. That explained why the wait seemed so long. It's not the most efficient system. We found out later that some people will go and wait an entire day to see the notary public, but they know Olga so she's able to get in more quickly. After paying the exorbitant fee, we went to the orphanage to see Irina again.

Once again, we sat on a couch while Andrei and Sergei worked with the staff of the orphanage to get all sorts of documents needed to file our case with the court. Since it takes an hour to get anywhere in Moscow, it was now about 3:00, and it didn't look like we were going to get any lunch. After my struggle with carsickness on Wednesday, I took Dramamine that morning so I felt much better and was starving!! We ate all the snacks we had stuffed in my purse and even eyed the goldfish crackers we had brought for Irina, but we showed restraint and saved those for her!

Here are the two play rooms where we spent all our time with Irina. We were very impressed with this orphanage.
When Andrei and Sergei came out of the office, they left for the court because they wanted to try and file our case that day. They can only file documents with the court on Thursdays. We continued to wait until they brought out Irina. We heard her chatting with her caregiver before we saw her, and when we did see her, she saw us and said, "Mama!" and started running toward us. This was the turning point day for all of us. She knew we were her parents, and we felt like a family. We played in the play room with her doing every game and activity we could think of until Andrei returned to pick us up. She was really warming up to us and showing us more and more of her personality, which is so sweet! She would run into my arms with this look of sheer joy and adoration. After 3 hours of play with her, Andrei returned from the court to pick us up and take us back to our apartment. The orphanage is really only about 10-15 miles from the apartment, but it typically takes about an hour to get there. Coming home on Thursday, it took 2 hours because the traffic was deadlocked in many places so Andrei kept driving all around to try and find a way to get us back. We finally had to walk the last 2 blocks because he couldn't get any farther.

For dinner, we made a big ol' plate of spaghetti and ate like we hadn't seen food in three days. I think I had eaten an oatmeal bar, a peach, a granola bar, and 2 peanut butter crackers all day, and it was now after 8:00. We were tired, and it had been a long day, but we were becoming a family with Irina, and we were so excited about that.

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