On Tuesday we left sunny, 85 degree FL and flew to JFK and then to snowy, 20 degree Moscow. We left JFK around 5:30pm and arrived in Moscow around 11am (I think - can't remember exactly). It was the best of our flights to Moscow yet. It wasn't as painful and the hours seemed to fly by (pun intended) and I drank a TON of water so I wouldn't be dehydrated. Alas, the fatigue was enough to give me nausea upon arrival. Before we boarded the plane in NY, we met two missionaries headed to Russia to begin their 2 year mission in Rustav - or someplace like that in Russia. It was fun to talk with them. I love missionary work - it's just easy to share the gospel of Jesus Christ when it means everything in the world to me. We also met another adoptive family. This is their third trip as well and they are adopting a 13 month old girl from Moscow. I was surprised at how inexpensive their adoption has been, especially since they are adopting a "healthy" young baby girl - $28,000 total. I had heard that adopting from Moscow and adopting a "healthy" child was about $50,000 per child. Guess that isn't correct.
Moving on...our taxi driver was super nice and helpful during our 7 hour drive to Nizhny Novgorod. He never complained about needing to stop FOUR times so we could use the restroom. I didn't want to be dehydrated....so I drank PLENTY of water. I am thinking that we will take the overnight train back to Moscow, so I won't have to worry about finding a restroom during that long drive, since there is one on the train. If you've been following this blog for the past year, or so, you will know that I have a fear of not being able to find a restroom in foreign countries. In the US, they are everywhere! Not so here in Russia (or Taiwan or Ukraine or etc). We arrived to the hotel IBIS on Wednesday around 7-8pm and crashed. Sveta and her now husband, Nicolas, met us outside and helped us to check in and get our visas registered here at the hotel.
Yesterday, we woke up and rested from our journey here. I haven't experienced much jetlag so far, thankfully. In the afternoon we went to begin the passport process for the boys. We were there for 3 1/2 hours and I got my fingerprints done. They lathered me up with black ink that Sveta said wouldn't come off...but it did.
We then drove to another building to submit the passport paperwork, however, the lady was busy and said to come back tomorrow. While we were waiting, we grabbed something to eat at the cafe nextdoor:
Some sort of sweet roll (that was burned on the bottom), a bowl of borscht, some rice, fish, and a chicken kabob. Not too shabby - Tyler and I shared it.
Views from our apartment.
So after the running around yesterday, Sveta dropped us off at the Foutz's house for dinner and to spend some time with them. We had brought them some items from the states that they couldn't find here (cream of tartar, cornstarch, etc) and they had kept some items for us so we didn't have to bring them home and then back again - blow dryer that I bought here, electric kettle, clothes for the boys, etc. Whenever I eat at the Foutz's house, I feel like I haven't left America. We had chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and homemade bread. We introduced them to Choffy and Sister Foutz loved it. Unfortunately, Choffy isn't shipping to Russia (yet) so she'll have to wait until she comes back to the states to have it. It's too bad because Choffy is the perfect drink for this cold country. :)
The current plan is to stay in the hotel until tomorrow and then move into an apartment. On Monday, we are driving to Vyksa to pick up Calvin! And then on Tuesday we will go pick up Silas! We have been waiting 15 months for this and it's finally here. Hooray! The passports should be issued by the end of next week and then we will travel to Moscow, see a physical who will evaluate the boys and then go to the US Embassy to drop off the passports and return the following day to pick up the visas. Then we leave for the USA!
Anna, Keith, & Iryna are doing pretty well back at home. Anna misses us but is doing okay, Keith is thrilled that we were on an airplane, and Iryna is struggling because she misses us and doesn't know how to express that other than by screaming and hitting and saying "poo-poos". It is nice to know that Danielle is doing well with the kids and that she is especially sensitive to Iryna and doesn't take her actions personally, which is so hard to do. We will skype with Anna today and that will be fun. As we learned from our 2nd trip to Russia, if we can skype with Anna daily, then she will do well in our separation.
As always, your prayers and support and encouragement are so appreciated. We love to read your comments to hear your excitement for us in this wonderful experience. It's been a long time coming and we feel so blessed by God to be where we are today.