Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Right now it is almost 5pm and Ilya, Ilyusha, Lutia, Luke (we call him all of these things at this point) and I are sitting in our hotel room in Moscow.  Matt and Emma went for a walk.

The Last 36 hours

Yesterday (Wed.) morning, Andrei came by for us to figure out our new plans since our 2-week waiting period was waived.  We had to redo our tickets back to Moscow.  We wanted to leave Thursday (today) because that would give us the 4 business days to do the Moscow paperwork and then we could hopefully fly back with Matt on Sept. 6 and he would, at least, not have to change his plane ticket.

Argh – The Paperwork Never Seems To End

Turned out there were only 3 business class tickets left to get there on Thursday, so we took them.  They were a little more expensive than regular ones, but not that much in the scheme of things.  Then we had to get the Moscow ladies, Ludmila and Elena, working to change our schedule for the US Embassy (that is where we get Ilya’s visa) and something about a consulate registration. We also had to cancel and change our Moscow hotel reservations.  They advised us not to change our plane tickets to the US until Monday afternoon after we knew for sure we had Ilya’s visa.  (You mean there is a question?!)

Picking Our Baby In A Few Hours

So then, Andrei told us we would go pick up Ilya at 3pm.  Oh my gosh!  I can’t believe this is finally happening.  Do I have everything I need?  Guess we’ll just deal with it.  I still need socks and shoes though.  So until then, Matt, Emma and I went to lunch at a nice place up from our hotel.  We had soup, bread and Emma had French fries and, of course, orange Fanta.  That is the big deal here.  I pretty much live on the soup and bread. The soup is always great and anything else is a little too weird.  You just never know what you might be ordering.

My favorite soup is called Salyanka (I think that’s it.) Sort of a beef, reddish broth with veggies and meat and actually who knows what else, but it does have some kind of great flavor.  Russian spices I guess.  They always ask you if you want white or black bread.  I like the black.  Really just dark brown.

The Search For Socks And Shoes

Then we split up and Emma and I went to the huge outdoor market across from our hotel to find socks and shoes.  I’m sure Matt thinks I’ve become obsessed with finding socks and shoes or yocks and yues as Henry would say and I suppose it’s true.  But that’s my job!  Matt went to a fishing store to get lures.  Lures?  He is excited to have Russian fishing lures.  He also got a knife, about 10 inches long opened up, to give to Ilya when he is 15.  I say, “Are you kidding?”  He is shaking his head saying “You have a lot to learn about raising boys.”   Well that may be true.  He says “They will be Eagle Scouts so they have to have a knife.”  Ok. Eagle Scout. That is a good thing.

1 Hour To Go

Emma and I found socks and shoes so we all met back at the hotel.  1 hour til baby time!  It’s like, 1 hour till your scheduled c-section.  In one hour we know, without a doubt, we will have a new baby.  Wow!  So we hurriedly start packing and turning my backpack into a diaper bag.  We have to wake at 5:30am and leave at 6:30 for the airport so we better get this done now before Ilya is here.  It’s so funny, I have this image of being able to do nothing else once he is here, but that is so not true.  Life goes on with a baby in tow.  Anyway, ready to go.

exterior of orphanageExterior of Orphanage

Andrei comes to get us and we drive to the orphanage

Matt videotapes everything.  It was amazing.  We walk in his room.

cribsPretend there are babies in the cribs.  Of course we couldn’t photograph while they were napping.

All the babies were still in there cribs from the afternoon nap.  There was just the one worker there; a wonderful lady.  She brought Luke into the empty playroom, took his clothes off and we brought ours to put on him.

Emma and Luke

He’d pooped so she gave him a quick bath.  She dressed him for us and then I asked her (with Andrei interpreting) all the questions I could think of.  Food, nap routines, cold treatments, fever history, allergies (no), soothing Russian words (just his name), etc.

DSC04096Andrei looking at me with my new, awesome Ergo Baby Carrier thinking “that child is never going to stay in that contraption.”  He was right!  Darnit!

Then we just walked out of there with a baby.  I felt like I was doing something illegal. Like out of a movie.   I held him on my lap and we drove back to the hotel.

leaving the orphanageGood gracious, this is a horrible picture of me but it’s the only one of us right when we left the orphanage and that was such a moment!  What WAS I thinking with that awful haircut!

Oh, and the shoes I got were way too big and we haven’t even missed them.  Socks have been fine.

Rocking to Sleep

So we played on the floor of our hotel for quite a while.  Emma was so great.  She played with him constantly.  He acted completely fine.  He didn’t seem scared or upset at all.  He just explored everything.  I fed him some oatmeal for dinner and he loved it and then at about 8:30 I put him to bed.  I put the two twin beds together and slept next to him.  He just rocked back and forth on his hands and knees for maybe 5-10 minutes and then laid down to sleep and slept all night.  Thank you God.

I wonder if that rocking has taken the place of a mommy rocking him to sleep at night?  Those days are gone, my son.  You may continue to love to rock like that to get to sleep, but you will also have a mommy and a daddy to give you everything you need.

And Other Details

Today, we got up at 5:30am.  Ate a little breakfast in the room and headed to the airport.  According to his schedule he should have napped from 8-10am, but that did not happen.   I thought he might take a bottle to sleep in my arms, but no.  Too much excitement and change, I’m sure.  Ludmila and Eugene (the driver) picked us up at the airport and took us to the hotel in Moscow; a 45-60 minute drive.

at airportEugene, Ludmila and Matthew at the airport.

Ilya fell asleep right as we arrived at the hotel, so I sat in the lobby with him asleep on my chest as Matt took care of checking in and dealing with luggage.  As I sat there I met a lady from Ohio with her 3 year-old girl she had just adopted and gotten the day before.  She was a sweet lady and had 3 sons at home.  She was excited to see Americans.  So this afternoon we just hung out in our room.  Matt and I took a nap and Emma and Ilya played.

It is now 6pm and Ilya just sacked out again.  We are way off schedule.  Wonder how this evening will play out.  He is just a very good and easy little boy.  Just loves to explore everything.  He is very content playing in the crib with toys and roaming around the room.

Tomorrow a doctor comes to our room to give him a physical and we will also give Ludmila our Embassy paperwork.  Then we have all of Friday, Saturday and Sunday free.  We plan on going back to the Tretyakov Museum and the Kremlin.  Emma wants to go back to Gorky park. She thinks Ilya will love it.

Oh, right.  Moscow is Expensive!

Ilya woke at 7pm, so he may be up for a while.  At the same time Matt and Emma came back to the room.  They had walked to the Kremlin, several miles, then hit the grocery near us.  Bread, cheese, wine, salami, snacks.  We will be trying to eat in our room or inexpensive cafes this week.  Breakfast for us in our hotel would cost $50 each day!

I walked down to the lobby to get on the internet and it wasn’t working so they told me to  go around the corner to a cafe.  So here I am, by myself, (the others are in the room).  No one speaks English hear so, somehow, we made our way through getting me an internet card.  No idea what it will cost, but I don’t think it will be too bad.  This is a casual place.  Better get back to the baby now.  Talk to you all soon!

Love, Allison


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