Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blood, Sweat and Tears... part four

Tuesday, July 11th... Cecile B. DeMille, eat your heart out!

The next day I vow to be more analytical, less involved. Yeah, right!! I did manage to do a little developmental screening and get his measurements, but mostly it was two more hours of trying to absorb every second. We set the camcorder up on a tripod and took turns manning the digital camera. I'm so glad we got tons of photos... Poor little guy must've felt like he was being stalked by the paparazzi with all the flashes going off in the room!! Someone once wrote that having a child is like having a piece of your heart walking around outside your body. Now I know what they mean.

In pretty much a repeat of the first day, we coo, he babbles, he's gorgeous and he's covered in... bug bites?  WTH?  Apparently they have a sleeping porch they put the little ones on in the summer for fresh air.  Clearly it's a fresh air banquet for the hordes of mosquitos that live near there.  The poor little guy has no fewer than 12 new bites on his face... I've got a lot of Photoshopping to do!  At least they haven't covered him in the dreaded "green salve".  The social worker comes in to observe, she holds him by the hands while he toddles along, smiling and encouraging his faltering steps.  The Medical Director and the caregivers here are so lovely, it's very clear they care about the babies here.

When the end of the visit comes, it's like a Hostage Rescue Team. Get in, get him out quickly. Before we knew it he was gone... our last view of him smiling over the caregivers shoulder. I'm okay, Lance keeps watching me, expecting a storm of tears, some emotion, anything. But I walk out like a big girl, not kicking and screaming like he feared! 
 They tell us they'll be back at 6:00am to take us to the airport to head home.  Let the waiting for court begin...

Wednesday, July 12th... can we leave now?

We don't want to get up early, but we do, making sure we've left nothing behind. We get to the airport and it's foggy, very, very foggy. Hmmmm, not a good sign. Remember back when I told you that our connection in Moscow was tight? Oh criminy!! We sit down in the airport and the overhead speakers blare... the plane landed at Kemerovo city airport d/t the fog, it will be here soon. We were supposed to leave at 7:00am, we take off at 11:30.

Okay, so we've missed the Atlanta and the JFK flights back home. We can still make the flight to Paris. Why so imperative that we leave? If you recall our visas expire that day. We have til midnight, then we're in the country illegally... GREAT!! I tell my DH that if this affects our ability to come back and get this little boy, I'll remove his manly parts and feed them to him for dinner. We land, and struggle against the horrible Moscow traffic for almost three hours, getting to SVO at 3:00pm. The Delta office is closed, Air France won't help us. They've rebooked me on the Atlanta flight tomorrow, but DH is on standby. We got his ticket on Skymiles and the flight is oversold. Probably no seats til Saturday!

We grab our luggage and head back to the car. Our poor driver has been circling the airport as we've wandered from official to official pleading our case. We can see him, but he's stuck behind some yahoo who's decided to park in the middle of the lane. Our coordinator stalks off and starts yelling at the guy. It also appears she has given him the universal symbol of contempt with her middle finger. I ask her about it and she tells me she called him a goat. Apparently a most insulting thing to say....who knew?

They take us to the lovely 
 SVO hotel. It takes the desk clerk a full 20 minutes to process our registration. Stamp this, stamp that, etc. As we're standing there we see this other guy in front of the elevators staring at us. As we FINALLY head for the elevator he stops us and asks for our papers. I'm not kidding... it's like a bad movie. I mean, didn't he just SEE us standing there registering? Fine, fine... I shuffle my luggage and give him our "guest card". Whatever! We go up to our room and crank the a/c.... Yeah baby!! We want it so cold in there we can hang meat!! We crawl into bed and fall asleep. It's 6:30 at night... we don't care.

The next morning we're up at 5:00am staring at each other, starving to death. We get up, put on our (at this point) rather questionable clothes and head back to the airport. My DH has bravely said that I should go home without him. He'll be fine. We start to divvy up the money and the credit cards. We arrive, and shuffle through the first security checkpoint. It was at this point some unfortunate Russian man tried to cut me in line. I literally hip-checked him and stepped right back in front. That was IT!! I had had ENOUGH!!

We get to the Delta counter, explain our situation for the 15th time and they tell me I have a seat, and DH remains on standby. Then they tell us the consulate representative will hear our case and decide if he can extend our visa. Oh Lord.... what if he says no? I envision the Tom Hanks film "Terminal". We'll turn into little Russian bag people. We go through security checkpoint number two and wait in line for the Delta people to shake a tailfeather.

The first lady that helps us tells us she will go to the consulate person and see what she can do. Fifteen minutes later she comes over with a hand-written note that says, in effect, that we request to have our visas extended for one day. We sign it, hand her a $100 dollar bill (she is unsure of how much visa extensions cost) and she tells us it will be an hour. So we sit off to the side with the untended, oversized baggage and wait. Forty five minutes later she comes back with $50 and our brand new, shiny visas... valid for one day.

We get in line to check in for the flight. The girl processing tickets in our line is clearly new. She gets up repeatedly to check with other people on procedure. We get up to the desk and present our tickets... she is perplexed. She says she sees me on the flight, but not DH. We don't say anything about standby, we just stare. She looks at his ticket which clearly says he has no ticket and asks us if we want to sit together. We nod and smile and the next thing you know we're in 34A and 34B... heading home together!! Whahooo!!

The flight home is very long and made longer by the two and a half hour delay d/t a "mechanical issue" with the plane. Of course this mechanical issue does not show itself untill we are taxi-ing down the runway. They roll us off to the side and we wait as the little men fix our plane and re-fuel us since we burned so much fuel during our two hour ground party. I feel for the new families on the plane. You know all they want is to get home, touch down and get on with their new lives. The flight is peaceful with little to be heard from our newest members.

Well, that's it.... we're home and gathering the papers to go back. We've watched the video at least six times and can't stop staring at his photos. Thanks so much for coming along on our trip, it's been fun.

To all those families waiting for Trip one, I hope it's magical. To all of us waiting for Trip two... please God hear our prayers!!

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