Saturday, July 12, 2008

We're Back Home (for now)

Now that we're home, I wanted to post some of our pictures from our trip. Our adoption of Katie will not be completely final until July 21st, when Andrei picks up the court ruling. Therefore, we can't post any pictures of Katie's face until after that date. However, here are some others.

Here is Steve and Katie walking around the grounds of the orphanage on Monday. There was a lovely playground there, but because of the rain on Sunday, Katie couldn't play on any of it. It's so great to see that they have it and that they take the kids outside so often.

Here is G.U.M. and St. Basil's lit up at night. They were really beautiful to see, but since it didn't get dark until 11:00, we questioned our judgement in staying out so late!

Also, on Wednesday, Andrei picked us up 2 hours before our court hearing because he anticipated that it would take an hour and a half to get there with the traffic. However, the traffic was quite light that morning so it only took us 20 minutes to get there. Since we had an hour and a half to wait, we visited with Andrei for awhile about what to expect with everything. In that conversation, I asked about the length of the hearing, and he said it shouldn't take more than an hour, but since we were her (the judge's) only case that day, she may not hurry us out. I thought it odd that we were the only case so I asked if she had made an exception for us or if she just didn't have any other cases. Andrei said she made an exception for us. I asked if he knew why -- yes. I asked if he could tell us -- no. Hmmm. Steve and I are just so curious about why she made an exception for us. We don't know if it's because of us, Katie, Andrei, or what. We are very grateful that she made this exception, because our court date may have been much later otherwise, but we are sooo curious about why. We'll probably never know.

Our flight home was uneventful, but not as pleasant as our flight there because there weren't any empty seats around us. We had to actually sit in the seats we were assigned! Can you believe that? However, I must admit that I got addicted to one of the games they offer on the individual screens -- Zuma -- so the flight actually went by pretty quickly!

We landed in Atlanta, and that is by far our favorite airport to go through customs and passport control in. We've gone through New York (JFK), Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. It was so well organized and open and well-marked. It was a breeze to go through. After rechecking our luggage, we checked the screens for our departure gate, and to make a long story short, the Atlanta airport had closed for 35 minutes earlier in the day due to weather, and EVERY flight was delayed or canceled and there were countless gate changes and subsequent confusion. We were supposed to catch a flight leaving at 8:07, but we ended up going standby on an "earlier" flight, scheduled to depart at 5:45, but actually departed at 8:45. Our original flight, scheduled at 8:07, finally left at 10:15. By catching the earlier flight, we landed in Kansas City around 9:45, and our parents took us home. However, our luggage didn't arrive until 11:15, so Steve drove back to the airport to pick it up. We only live 15 minutes from the airport, so it wasn't that big of a deal. It was a minor inconvenience in an otherwise pleasant trip.

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