Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jackson's Story...

I didn't keep a blog when we adopted Jackson.  I posted a bit on FRUA and on and had some "virtual" friends, but just never made the leap.  Ironically, I was a total, complete blog stalker!  I had lists of blogs that I followed with almost religious fervor.  I must've reloaded pages multiple times a day looking for updates (O Google Reader!  How do I love thee!).  It was so nice to follow everyone's adoptions and here how the first meeting went, what the hotel was like, and dear Lord... how was court?!

I posted a series on when we got back about our first and second trips.  I got such nice feedback about it that I thought I would re-post it here.  It doesn't seem fair to leave big brother Jackson out of the process.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy Jackson's adoption story.

Blood, Sweat and Tears... A tale of Trip One

Thursday, July 6th, 2006... one day and counting We started the day with a phone call from the agency telling us we were booked on the wrong flights into the region. Uh, what do you mean? I told the travel agent where we were going, they wouldn't make a mistake like that... would they? Yep, they would! They later told me "You said Kemerovo, you didn't say WHERE in Kemerovo." Uh... yes, I did, please re-read my original email  . So flight re-booking number one happens, no big deal.

Then the visas arrive in via Fedex. I'm happy, I'm joyful... then I look at the dates. They're WRONG!! 
 My DH (not so "D" to me at this point) has made a most egregious error when processing the visa application. Our visas expire the day before we leave the country. This necessitates flight re-booking number TWO. It's still all good at this point. Okay, maybe I exaggerate.... it wasn't a pretty scene at the house, but we moved forward. 

I print out the (third) new intinerary, forward it to the in-country folks and such and get the next phone call. "Ummm, you don't have enough time between the flights to transfer between airports coming home." WHAT!?! Now I'm starting to do a "Rain Man" rocking and moaning in front of the computer.... DEFinitely not going to make my flight home... DEFinitely not. Once again, I'm on the phone with my friends at Delta re-booking for the THIRD time. It's been such a fun day!!

Friday, July 7th, 2006... we're going to Siberia!!

DH and I had a heart to heart last night. We're not going to let the unpleasantness of yesterday ruin our first trip. He cried, I cried... we're better. Everything's packed, and we're on the way to the airport. Amazingly enough, nothing bad happens on the flight to Russia!! We sleep, we watch funny movies, the food is good... Ahhhh!!! Finally things are going smoothly.

We land in Moscow and are met by our coordinator. She's a lovely young woman and speaks impeccable English. Our driver... not so much. 
 They take us to the apartment that we've rented. Did I mention that there's a heat wave in Moscow? And that the apartment we've rented has no a/c? Lordy, Lordy!! Suffice it to say, it was a bit toasty in there!! We opened up all the windows and turned on the fan... I do believe the sizzling sound I hear is my booty melting in the sun!!

Out we go... the intrepid explorers on the loose. There is a Stardogs most conveniently positioned right out front of our apartment. Now I can call you "sweetie, bunny and sunshine" in Russian. I can count to ten and tell you my name... but I have no idea how to order a hot dog!! So we point and hold up fingers and generally blunder through the transaction. I'm not sure, but I think we paid $26.50 for two hot-dogs and two Cokes! (kidding, it was only like $2.00) Thank you Nungesser... our first Stardog!!

We wander off down the Ulitsa to Red Square. How cool!! Americans standing in front of the Kremlin!! We took all the obligatory photos in front of the amazingly beautiful St. Basils and then continued off through some stunning parks.

At dinner time, we're not feeling quite so intrepid and we'd really like to find some A/C. It's been a sunny day in Moscow and we did NOT bring sunscreen. Ouchy, ouchy!! We did the cheesy, cowardly Amercian thing and went to TGIF. Chicken fingers, Sprite and A/C... it doesn't get any better than this. Okay, I know it does, but you take life's pleasures where you can find them! In my real life here in the States, you would never catch me at TGIF. Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

Then we go back to the apartment and sweat our way through the night. Some thoughtful tourist had left a gallon of water in the fridge... we were most thankful. Saturday brings more of the same. We wandered around town for a few more hours killing time before our flight to Kemerovo. We drove across town to Domededvo airport. It's a lovely drive, and the airport is sparkly new. Clean restrooms, plenty of toilet paper, air conditioned, everything a girl could ask for.

Which brings me to a point.... I read over and over again all the travel tips and clothing tips for Russian travel. First, either we had a very different experience than most, or things are getting better over there. I never found a "hole in the floor" for a toilet. They were always normal looking flush-jobbies. And while the toilet paper is definitely NOT Charmin, it was readily available everywhere. The only thing I found strange were the footprints on the toilet seat in the airport. Did they lose something? I just draped the seat with paper and plopped down. I'm not saying there aren't some scary toilets, but I didn't see any.

We brushed our teeth with city water, and have yet to be struck ill. I forgot and drank a soda with ice in it. Still feeling okay...

About the clothing. My poor DH took only trousers because NOBODY wears shorts in Russia. Ahem... I respectfully beg to differ!! There were plenty of folks wearing shorts, TONS of people in blue jeans of all colors. The women tended to wear more skirts/dresses in the heat, but I did see several in bermuda-length shorts. We were told not to wear sandals. Okay, maybe not in winter, but all I saw were sandals and open-toed shoes on the women. Granted alot of them were the dreaded spike-heels, but lots of toesies on the street. Tennis shoes, not so much. More of the new Euro-looking colored sneakery/bowling shoe looking things. I didn't see any more exposed flesh on the young women there than I do here... less so when you consider most of them had their backsides covered up!!

No, the Russians don't smile at people on the street. Yes, they cut in line. My suggestion... cut right back. I'd gotten so tired of being cut off, I just started pretending I didn't see them and stepped right back in front of them. Amazingly enough, they moved back!! So I have to advocate the "I don't see you" approach. They do it all the time!!

Anyway.... on to the region, and our boy!

PS- This is Part One of a Eight part series... check back for the rest of the story!


  1. I found your blog through Carolynn and Steve and I loved reading your story about Jackson - we had the same feeling about the toilets - no holes in the ground for us! Congrats on your second adoption and I plan to follow along! (We brought Daniel home in April 2008 from Izhevsk, Russia)

  2. I'm looking forward to the rest of Jackson's story. We adopted our daughter from Novokuznetsk (Kemerovo) in December 2008. Our first visit was in July too. Sending you best wishes on your next adoption!