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…my true love gave to me:

  • 11 hour plane ride
  • 10 hours of taxis
  • 9 dollar sodas
  • 8 mafioso
  • 7 inches of snow
  • 6 nights in Moscow
  • 5 hundred dollar ATT bill
  • 4 bucks a minute phone calls
  • 3 bulging suitcases
  • 2 tix to Russia
  • and a picture of our new baby!

When the adoption agency called a few weeks ago with the referral for this little angel, the owner told me not to be surprised if this particular child was not available for adoption by the time we actually arrived for our appointment. She told me it would probably be wise NOT to print her picture and stick it on our refrigerator or share it with the grandparents. After I hung up and really seriously mulled this over, I thought, “Screw it” and posted the picture via text to everyone I know. You gotta believe, right?

So for three weeks, I’ve had this gnawing fear that I didn’t share with a soul. Not my mother. Not my husband. Not my best friend. No one. I tried to block it from my mind, but it kept resurfacing as weird dreams/nightmares where my house would catch fire and I had to run back in to get my passports and visas. I had this particular “dream” three times. And then there were the snake dreams and the getting lost dreams. I have a very active imagination when I’m sleeping. I also have the gift/curse of remembering my dreams vividly. All this resulted in my dire need for meds by the time we actually began our travels. Which I didn’t have. Which was kind of a problem.

On Friday 12/16 – our first full day in Moscow, we made a visit to the Ministry of Education for our “official referral” for our lovely Svetya (or some other kid they might be planning to dump on us). You know, the old “bait & switch routine” like Best Buy on Black Friday. As we ran (literally) down the streets in Moscow to catch the trolley for our appointment, my fears began to resurface. I was pleasantly surprised THRILLED that our referral was indeed for the child we expected. Shortly thereafter, we were en route to her orphanage to meet her for the first time.

When her caregiver brought her in to meet us, she smiled. When her caregiver left her with us, however, big tears began to roll down her cheeks. It’s so heartbreaking when the child you love (or want to love) doesn’t love you or even like you or worse is AFRAID of you. Fortunately, children are pretty trusting as long as you aren’t inflicting physical pain upon them, so she warmed up to us quickly.

By the end of our two hour visit, Svetya was laughing and smiling and dancing and crawling and talking as only a 10 month old can. She bit me and pulled my hair. She was highly entertained by my necklace and John’s two-day-old scruff. I’ve since had to trash the necklace because it was a cheap thing that came from an Old Navy sale rack and probably had toxic lead levels. Another of my phobias. Clearly.

After Svetya was taken away for dinner and bedtime, one of our coordinators came in to translate all her medical records and family history and our visit ran a bit late. Like five o’clock traffic late. After a THREE AND A HALF HOUR trek (20 k) to our hotel, we walked back to Corner Burger for a $15 bowl of soup and a $10 beer.

Broke and tired, we were asleep by 11 pm. Unfortunately, neither of us had been able to resist napping on the rides to and from the orphanage and awakened at 3 a.m. And so we faced ANOTHER long, dark day.