Monday, November 30, 2009

Anxiety and Anticipation

I feel so sorry for my friends and colleagues at the YMCA. I returned to work today (after being in Buffalo for the last few days) a nervous wreck. I decided to have a meltdown this morning (when I woke up) worrying about the cost of the flights to Russia, the logistics of traveling on such short notice and of course, meeting our this really happening?

Of course its all happening, just much quicker than we ever could have thought. But everything happens for a reason and I am going to assume the reason is that we need to bring our boy home and bring him home quickly!

So lets just get this show on the road shall we??

We fly out Dec 19 thru Dusseldorf (where??) Germany and land in St Petes on Dec 20. We will meet with the Ministry of Education on Dec 21st and hopefully meet Marat that same day. We will leave St Petes on Dec 24.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Marat

Well I cant believe that i am announcing this, but Scott and I are traveling to St Petersburg Russia on December 19th.

I landed in Buffalo today (for Thanksgiving with the grandparents) and there was a message on my cell phone from the adoption agency. As I waited for my luggage to come through on the carousel, I called the agency back. Had we forgotten a document? Did we have to get another set of fingerprints done? Nope to all of the above.

They were calling to give us a travel date. The Russian Ministry of Education got back to us and confirmed that we need to be in Russia on December 21st, where we get our official referral of Marat. This means that we will be meeting Marat soon after (on that day?). We will be heading home on Christmas Eve.

All I can is OH MY GOD. We are meeting our son in one month. This is NOT what we expected. We figured it would be sometime after the new year but not this soon. But when has anything in this process ever been what we expected? I am so nervous! I am so excited! I am so overwhelmed!!

And all I said to Scott when i left this morning was "I cant wait to relax this week, no stress."

So much for that idea :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

INS approval arrived

"It has been determined that you are able to furnish proper care to an orphan as defined in Section blah blah of the Immigration and Nationality Act."

In the whole scheme of the paperwork trail that we have followed in the international adoption process, getting approval from INS may seem trivial (although if we didnt get that approval, we werent going to be able to adopt Marat!) but I am a total sucker when it comes to this stuff.

I am the person who walks thru Immigration at Newark airport, after being out the country for a week, and gets tears in my eyes when I see the American flag hanging near the sign that says "Welcome to the United States."

I am the person who gets goosebumps when the US Immigration officer stamps my passport and says "Welcome Home."

I am the person who will bawl her eyes out when we land in Newark airport next year, with Marat in tow, and he becomes an American citizen as soon as those airplane wheels hit the ground.

I guess this is why I am the person who is telling my blog world that INS approved our application to adopt a child. Oh and did I mention that I cried when I read it?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the risk you take

Wow, ok, so I understand the cathartic nature of blogging now! I am hooked.

So one month from today, Marat becomes legally available for international adoption. I called our agency a little while ago to check in on the status of trip dates, knowing full well there is no status update. There cant be, he isnt available for adoption yet. But we did find out that we wont be traveling until at least sometime after the Russian Christmas (January 7) holiday because all major government agencies will be shut down in Russia during that time. We are given a 2 week notice as to when our first trip date will be.

The social worker reminded me that because Marat isnt legally available yet, there is always a chance that this wont work out...he could be adopted by a Russian family or for whatever reason, not released for adoption (looming family members out there who wont sign off on his adoption). She said that although rare, it happens. We knew this all along, but her saying that really hit me hard today...Just one of the many risks you take in adopting internationally....

no pics will be posted of him until December 17 , lets just get through that date :) and then you can all see our son.

Monday, November 16, 2009

the process so far

Hi again all.

First let me say that I really have no idea what I am doing "blogging." So, if you ask me a question and I dont respond, its because honestly, i dont know how to use this blog thing (yes i am 98 years old)!!!

Anyways, I want to answer some overall questions that people have for me. See below.....

"When will you travel to Russia for the first time?"
Your guess is as good as mine. I have no idea. We assume sometime after christmas, as Marat is not officially "released" for international adoption until December 17. Our first trip to Russia will be for about one week. This is when we meet Marat and interact with him and find out any other info on him that we can (social history, etc) from the "institution" or "baby home" (as its referred to in Russia). However, I will not be offended if anybody says "orphanage" its ok....that's technically where he is living right now.

"Do you adopt him immediately after meeting him?"
Hell no..if it were so simple...we will return back to the US after our first trip and wait, yet again. We will wait to be assigned a court date, where we will return to Russia and officially adopt him in Russia. We should get assigned a court date about 6-8 weeks after we return from our first trip. This means we will travel to Russia two times.

"And then you are heading home with Marat after the court date?"
Hell no...yet again :( Russian law requires a 10 day waiting period which means that we do a "whole lot of nothing" waiting for that period to expire. Now we can visit Marat during this time, but we cant take him back to the hotel with us or anything like that.

I am hoping that Scott is able to stay in St Petes with me during the 10 day period (and not have to go back to work for a week) because I am not leaving St Petes again...which means that I am staying through the month (total trip time is about 20-25 days) alone or with Scott, it doesnt matter to me. Ok, thats a total lie, it matters a lot because I am a little freaked out to stay in Russia alone, but I am not thinking about that leave and come back AGAIN is too much $$, stress and emotions!! Plus, i freaking hate flying. It doesnt matter that I have flown probably 100 times in my life....still hate it. I should be a real comfort to Marat on the plane ride home to the US huh?

But, some people DO travel for a third trip. Not very common, but it does happen.

Once the 10 day period expires, we pick him up at the baby home (also known as GOTCHA DAY in the adoption community!)

But we dont head to the airport yet!! Instead we fly to Moscow where we get Marat's passport and immigration papers in order...thats another couple days and then, finally we head home.

Thats it...please ask me any questions you have. no question is silly

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And so today, I begin. I never thought that I would be a blogger; after all, who really wants to read my personal diary??? No offense, but there are a lot of boring blogs out there, so I will try to keep mine brief and to the point. The other adoption bloggers out there inspired me, so here I am today, writing my first entry. When we travel to Russia, it will be a wonderful way to communicate with all of you who are wondering where we are and what is happening. And of course, see pictures of Marat.

We have finally completed the dossier, the international package of documents required to adopt a child internationally. We accepted a referral for a 17 month old boy named Marat last month. He lives in St. Petersburg, Russia. We have 2 photos of him, a DVD that is about 4 minutes long and a growth chart. That's it. After looking through this tiny bit of information and having Dr. Jane Aronson ( review it as well, we decided this was our son. Well honestly, I knew it was our son when I opened the Fed Ex package and saw the pictures of him. But if you dont know this already, Scott and I are very cautious practical people. So ok, we sleep in huts (with indoor plumbing only, thank you very much) in central america and visit the gold souks in dubai for vacations, BUT, we wanted this referral to be "right" and thus, the delay in telling everybody. But I knew immediately...I really did.

And so, please come with us on our journey to Russia to bring our son Marat home.