Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Moscow Girls...

Two Moscow girls to be exact.... Momma and Leanna! We made it this far. It was without a doubt our worst airplane experience ever. Transaero, our Russian carrier, must be the equivalent of our Airtran or some other discount airline. Everything about it was subpar. Compounding things, and clouding our impressions I'm sure, was the fact that Anya was absolutely inconsolable for the first four hours of the nine hour flight. Leanna had said that the flight back home was going to be the substitute for a prolonged difficult labor of having a child by birth. That was proven to  be only too true.

We got our passport, and the medical exam without a hitch, so we were psyched when we got to the airport. We said a tearful good bye to Oksana, who has been an absolute godsend to us, and we boarded our plane. One observation about Russians is this- They do not queue up for anything, not in traffic, not in stores, and certainly not when they announce the boarding of a plane. Any circumstance in which several people are expected to pass through one point, it is always a bum rush to be first. no matter what, or whom you trample to get there. Kind of like playing chicken with everyone you meet in any circumstance.

Let me paint a picture. Leanna, Cameron, Anya and I each had two carryons a piece, if you count the diaper bag and stroller we were carrying for Anya. This means that each of us adults had at least three things to carry, and Cameron had his backpack and roll on. Plus a Baby in my arms. Did we get any help or special consideration for this?? Not a bit. We had to jostle and shoulder our way to the gate attendant, and then manage two sets of stairs, then a bus ride out to board the plane, then another clot of people to maneuver through to climb yet another set of stairs to get on the plane. Not one person offered to help us at any point of this fiasco. Maybe I'm a little bitter here, but I sure miss a little bit of southern hospitality right about now. And you can only imagine how Leanna took all this......

Anyway, we all survived the trip and met Val, who is our Moscow liaison. He is very good at what he does and has a marvelous personality as well. He made us all feel better right away. We passed through the Moscow airport, and each of us shuddered a little when we saw the places we had spent time during our eighteen hour layover there on the way into the country. We had an hour and a half drive into the city, but both kids were asleep and Val kept us entertained by answering all our questions about Moscow.

When we got to our hotel, we checked in and Val and I went over the paper work that he would submit to the American Embassy on our behalf in order to get Anya a visa as a permanent emigrant to the good ol' US of A. That went smoothly, then we got tour room, which is a wonderful, western style room in the courtyard Marriott. We look out our window and get to see the spires of the Kremlin, which is only blocks away. Lots of good steady hot water, high count linens on a king sized bed, and a minibar that provided us much needed snacks after what turned out to be another twenty four hour stretch for Leanna and I to be awake.

The sleep was rejuvenative, and everyone awoke to a better mood and feeling better, including Anya. Hopefully the antibiotics are kicking in. We are about to go get breakfast in the lobby, and then decide how we will spend today and tonight. We meet Val again tomorrow for an interview at the consulate, then hopefully we will have the all important document that will allow Anya into the US.

No photos were taken yesterday. I don't think any of us wanted to remember any part of yesterday in the future. Maybe we'll take some today and get another post in be fore our departure Christmas eve.

Best to you all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It ain't over til its over.

It's Monday 730 AM. It has been touch and go for the last twenty hours or so. Last afternoon, Anya woke with a 102 fever, and was feeling terrible. We dosed her up with tylenol and called oksana. She started trying to get in touch with a doctor. Reaching them on Sunday in Russia is no easier than in the states.
We filled Anya up with liquids and tried to keep her comfortable. Eventually her fever came down some, and Oksana called back and still hadn't been called back. We were trying to figure out what to do if she was too sick to travel. 
After dinner, oksana called and said she had reached a doctor and they had prescribed some antibiotics and some decongestant. A driver came out and dropped us off the drugs, and we kept doctoring Anya as we packed our bags and hoped for the best.
She awoke this morning with a much reduced fever, and we are going to go for it, unless the doctor we see this morning says otherwise. then its off to the pass port office to get her pass port, then to the airport just in time for our flight.
It's just amazing how much of this is like wait, then hurry up, then wait some more, then hurry up again. It sort of reminds me of how some one once described sailing as "hours of absolute boredom interspersed with moments of intense activity."
Thats been us for the last several weeks. I've had a good time and a great adventure, but I won't miss the up and down stresses.
We are going now to breakfast to say goodbye to the many friends we have made over the last three weeks. Wish us luck today and tonight and we'll update as soon as possible.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Yesterday was kind of a wash. Anya woke up congested, so our plans changed dramatically. We were going to go out souvenir shopping, and purchase last minutes items for the flight to Moscow, but instead stayed home trying to figure out what was up with Anya. No fever, just congestion, and it went away mostly when she got up and moved around. Probably just a cold. New surroundings, lots of kids and new people to be around probably did her in.

We talked to Oksana, and she picked up the necessities we asked for, and brought some sort of Russian herbal tea to help with her congestion. The rest of the day we just sat around the room and tried to entertain ourselves. Cameron borrowed some play doh from Colin and Jamie, so he was busy creating creatures all day.

Our biggest concern right now is managing Anya on the 9 hour flight to Moscow on Monday. Particularly with getting her to sleep on the plane. She does not like any one to touch her, let alone hold her, while she is going through her pre-sleep rocking ritual. Seems to just piss her off when we do. But on the plane she will be in our arms the whole time. I know, I know, you experienced mothers and fathers out there are already thinking to yourself, "just drug the little bugger, and she'll sleep like a baby."   WRONG. We tried that on a trial basis for the last two days, and all benedryl does is make her more restless and uncomfortable. Cameron was the same way. So we will just have to grit our teeth and try to push through. I'm thinking of just handing out money to all the people seated around us and tell them to either buy themselves a drink, or stuff it in their ears...

Today its been snowing off and on, but nothing like what I hear is happening in the states. There are fewer and fewer families here. Should be just two or three here over the christmas holiday. There was a new couple that just checked in today from Wisconsin making their first trip. They are both teachers, and no kids, so the holiday break worked well for them.

We are a little apprehensive about packing and traveling again. The last two weeks have been such a cocoon from the outside world. Now we have to go forth and conquer the travel world again, and that causes a little concern. I always freeak out the last couple of days of a trip anyway, because I project forward to what will be waiting for me when I get home. My neighbors and friends have been wonderful helping with our pets, and caring for our home, and my staff and partners are I'm sure managing the business just fine, but there is still in the pit of my stomach, some dread of what the "real world" holds for us when we return.

Anya is a great kid, and she completes the family for us, so we are blessed, and any challenges we are faced with will be managed, so I really will try to take it all in and ejoy the "now" as best as I can.

Here are Anya and Cameron watching the wiggles on Australian TV.

Another cute outfit!

Heres a couple of Cameron's creations.

The Front Desk, Manager, and waitress from the hotel staff. They are all wonderfully helpful and understanding of the adoptive parents and childrens needs.

Teodoro(Teddy) and Ivan came and had spaghetti with us for dinner last night. Cameron is the big brother to all the toddlers being adopted here. He has run of the place and feels very important.

Pile up on the couch!!

Its hard to say what the next few days will hold, or what sort of internet connectivity we will have. We are supposed to be staying at the Marriott downtown on Red Square in Moscow, so it should be nice. I now take nothing for granted anymore, and assume nothing either, so we'll play it by ear, and if I can get another post out before we leave here tomorrow, I will. Oksana says we will leave here at 9, go get Anyas passport, then go for a summary medical exam, then we are off to the airport. We are to depart at three fifty in the afternoon. An eight hour flight gets us into Moscow at six in the evening their time, then to our hotel and off to bed. At least that's how its drawn up in the play books...... Wish us luck!!