Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Remembering Moscow - Day 7

Friday morning we woke up with some excitement and dread. This was our last full day in Moscow. Tomorrow we would be leaving our daughter for several weeks, but on Sunday we'll be able to see our precious boys. What a dichotomy of emotions!

Andrei once again picked us up mid-morning and we repeated Thursday morning's activities. When Andrei and Sergei went to the court on Thursday, the judge was gracious enough to look through all the documents and told Andrei and Sergei that she needed one more document from us and 3 more from the orphanage before she would accept our case. So, we picked up Olga, went to the notary public's office, and signed this final document. This document was our petition to adopt Irina and it needed to include what her new name would be. Steve and I didn't have to think long about it. Kathryn (Katie) Irina. We had picked Kathryn out years ago, and since her given name is so beautiful, we wanted to keep it as her middle name. By doing this document in Moscow, we saved 2-3 weeks time than if we waited until we got home to do it. After that, we went to the orphanage to get their 3 documents. We got there right as one of the workers was walking out the door (I'm guessing for lunch). She was so gracious and generous that she went back inside and worked with Andrei and Sergei to get the final 3 documents they needed for the court filing. Per Andrei, we sat on the couch again. By this time we felt a little like dogs being ordered around. "Sit here." "Let's go." "Wait here." "Come." There was rarely any explanation of what was being done or why we were waiting, and if we asked for something (lunch, for instance) it was made very clear to us that we were here to adopt a child and nothing was more important than that. He was right, of course, but since we were kept in the dark for most of the trip, we didn't always know why we were doing something. Thankfully, we are both pretty laid back people and we've been through this before. However, if this had been our first international adoption, I would have been freaking out!

After they got the documents and the wonderful worker went on her way, we went to McDonald's. I have never had a hamburger that tasted so good! I felt like a contestant on Survivor as I savored every bite. Keep in mind that I hadn't had lunch since Monday due to 2 days of nausea and one day when we didn't get any. With food so plentiful in America, we often forget that we don't just eat food because it tastes good but because our bodies need it. I felt so much better after that meal.

After lunch, which was at 3:00 again, we went to the orphanage to visit Katie. We will still call her Irina to avoid confusion until we bring her home, but she is already our little Katie. When they brought her in, she was acting so tired -- we think the 3 hours the day before was a little too much! On Thursday, we had given her a small photo album with all our pictures in it -- parents, brothers, pets, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. and she loved looking at all the pictures and trying her best to repeat the names. She loved Alex's picture and would say, "Alec" each time we got to it (except the time we were videotaping, of course). Today, we gave her a Teddy Bear that will be her personal toy at the orphanage. We didn't know it when we bought it, but Teddy Bears are her favorite toy, and her new bedroom is also decorated with Teddy Bears. How cool is that?! We had difficulty engaging her in play until we discovered the seesaw rocker in the other room. She loved that and really got into it. I would sing, "Row, row, row your boat" while rocking her up and down, and when we stopped I taught her to sign "more." BINGO! She caught on quickly to the sign language and loved the fact that we could understand her. By the end of our time she knew "more" and "all done," and she was so excited. We're going to have to brush up on our sign language. You see, she would chatter on and on with her caregivers. Then she would come into the play room with us and say a few words. When it became clear to her that we didn't know what she was saying, she would give us a look that said, "This is pointless," and then she would remain quiet the rest of the time. Once the caregiver would return to take her back, she would chatter on and on and on and on... But with the sign language, she could communicate and we could understand. As her English improves, we'll drop the signing, but until then we're going to have some busy hands!

Our work was now done for the trip. We had one more visit Saturday morning before the airport, but we had no more work to do. We asked Andrei to drop us off at the nearest Metro station because we were going out for dinner, and we were ready to get out of the car and the Moscovian driving! For all the times that he neglected to explain what was going on the past 4 days, we sat in his car while he pulled out a Metro map and explained in detail what line we should get on and which stop we should take. The Metro is the one thing in Moscow we've mastered!

We went to Kievskaya and walked through a GORGEOUS shopping mall that had been under construction 3 years ago. It was amazing! We ate dinner at Pinnochio's, a quaint little pizzeria we discovered with Alex, then we walked by Hotel Ukraina, where we stayed 3 years ago. We loved the hotel, the architecture is breath-taking, and it was so reasonably priced with an excellent breakfast. However, it is under renovation and will reopen as a high-end hotel. We reminisced as we walked along the Moscow River before heading back to our apartment.

Here is the Hotel Ukraina with lovely tulips in front. Turning around, is the Moscow River, below, with the Russian White House in the background on the left.

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