Sunday, April 6, 2008

Last Monday

Silvia from the agency called shortly after I arrived to work last Monday morning. I knew as soon as she said her name and giggled, that she was calling with good news and that was the case! We had to be in Russia the following Monday (today)!!! I managed to contained myself but it wasn’t easy. I can’t even put into words the happiness and excitement I felt, and all I wanted to do was get off the phone and call Chris. Silvia gave me some of the details, including the court date of April 7th. For us this meant sending our Russian visa applications to New York that same day and getting the one-day expedited service. Fortunately, I had those all ready as well as the pictures that go with the applications because we knew we would probably get a short notice before travelling. Another call came on Tuesday letting us know that the court date was actually set for Thursday April 10th.
Chris was delighted with the news and started working with the travel plans right away. He did an amazing job getting our reservations made and approved by the agency by Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday and Wednesday we both had to work so we packed and prepared for the trip in the evening. We did get a call from the agency again Wednesday about another document Russia had asked for at the last minute. This was a bit nerve-racking. The agency had to sign-it, express it to our home-study agency in Tucson, and I had to pick it up there, and then take it downtown to have it apostillled. A thousand thoughts went through my mind of course, but it all worked out perfect and I had the document, with the golden seal from the state late that afternoon.
We left for Russia on Friday at 7:00. We had several connections to make and a long wait in Chicago, but overall the whole trip was very smooth. All our flights were on time and we (and our luggage) made it to Perm at 3:00 AM Sunday morning. It was nice not to have to go through Moscow and spend the night at their domestic airport as we had to do ten weeks ago. Instead we flew directly from Chicago to Frankfurt, the Frankfurt to Perm.
Just before we arrived to Perm another flight had arrived from Middle Asia so our pilot was instructed to stay on the runway until they were done with those passengers. We thought it was going to be just a few minutes but we ended up waiting for about 30 minutes. Later we learned that every single person on that flight was questioned and their entire luggage checked. I was the first person in line when it was our flight’s turn at Customs.
After an extended starred from the Customs Officer he stamped my passport and gave me the green light. However, another Customs agent took my passport and questioned the reasons for our visit. I had been warned about this and I was told to say that I was a tourist, which I did, but he didn’t buy it. He asked me if I had some proof or documentation about my trip and I told him I had an entire book in my suitcase and I think that threw him off. I was referring to the adoption book which has copies of every document I have supplied in the last 6 months. He asked me what I meant by ‘a book’ so I just told him that I was here with my husband to finalize the adoption of a child. I thought he would question the fact that I had originally told him I was a tourist but he didn’t. I also pointed at Chris hoping that when he came through he wouldn’t be questioned and that worked. A few miles from the airport we got stopped at a police checkpoint but this time they just talked to our Coordinator and after he showed all his paperwork we were let go. We arrived at the hotel around 5:00, slept for about ten hours, went out to dinner and then back to sleep until now. Roma will pick us up at 9:00 and we get to see baby Alex again in four hours and we can’t wait!!!


kelly said...

Yeah! Im so glad you all made it safe and sound! I cant wait to hear all about it! Say Hi to Roma for me

Jamie said...

Can't wait to hear about your day! I am sooo excited for you! Many hugs!

Chris said...

You guys are police magnets! We never got stopped the whole time we were in Russia. We saw several drivers get stopped. Seems like the cops like to check papers frequently. Most get checked and waived on in a couple of minutes.

Hopefully that is the last time you get stopped!

We felt amazingly safe while in Perm. We would walk to dinner in the dark, and then back to the hotel, with out trouble.