Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Trip 1, Day 2

Well, after getting in to the Vlad Inn at 5pm yesterday, we finally got to our room and decided to lay down just for an hour or so before we went to eat dinner. Yeah. Next thing we knew, it was the middle of the night. No dinner. Luckily, after reading dozens of adoption blogs, I knew to expect this. We were prepared with our protein bars and about 4am (Vlad time) we had tuna fish from a little snack pack.
We had breakfast at the Vlad Inn restaurant this am. For anyone coming here in the future, the Greek Omelet was very good! It is decently priced (adoptive parents get 25% off) and we got plenty of food.
After that, we were picked up by Ivan. First stop was the MOE (Ministry of Education) although I have also heard it called the DOE (Dept of Education)-- I think it is the same thing (?). It went fairly fast. We spoke with a lady who asked us some questions about ourselves and our lives. They were all things she probably knew the answer to already since she had our homestudy. I had heard somewhere that this was just a formality. If they had any doubts about us, they never would have given us a referral in the first place. She gave us the official "ok" to go and meet our referral. Yiipppee!!
The baby home Sweet Pea is in- is approximately 2 hours outside the city. A little less, but far enough, so we will only get to see her once daily from 3p-6p. On the way, we stopped to pick up a translator, Lana. Watching the landscape go by made the trip go pretty fast. I forgot to mention yesterday they are expecting The Asian Summit--or something like that next year. In preparation, Vladivostok received monies to fix up the city and they are re-doing the roads---ALL of them- at once! The roads are entirely ripped apart, but they still use them, it's a little bumpy (understatement). Driving is not for the faint hearted either. In Michigan, if you have a road with 3 lanes going a particular way--it is divided into 3 lanes and you choose one to drive in. Here, the 3 lanes are all one big one.  You can drive anywhere in the lane, pass on either side, use the shoulder if you need to. Things get a little tight some times, but I haven't seen any accidents.
Ok, back on topic--we arrive at the baby home. They brought the baby up right away. We are a little late and they have been waiting for us. They bring her in and she is so cute!! We were hooked at this point, everything else is just a formality. She is a tiny little peanut, she looks more like a 6 month old than a 9 month old. We expected that. I knew her weight and height and other vital stats. It is expected for every 3 months in the baby home, the child will be developmentally and physically behind by one month. From the blogs I have read, it is amazing how much they grow (physically and developmentally) in the first year they are home.
Sweet Pea allowed me to take her from the caregiver right away although she was looking around and seemed confused. She didn't cry, but she was definitely a little weary of us. The caregiver gave her a rattle and that seemed to hold her attention and break the ice for us a bit. We have video to share when we get home. We cannot post anything until the adoption is final because she is not our child at this point.
I held her and we played with her- just talking to her, playing with her rattle. We brought a few little toys and books. It was fun to watch her focus on the toys and explore them--turning them over and looking at them, shaking them and of course, in true baby fashion, she tasted every one too- putting it into her mouth and biting it. She has 2 lower front teeth so far. She gets spoon fed in the baby home and is given liquids in a cup with someone helping her. No sippee cups here.
She got a little concerned when I gave her to Joe. The caregivers in the baby homes are all women. The kids may never see men at all, so often they are afraid of them as men tend to be taller and larger than women and have deeper (scarier :( ) voices. She was about to cry, but we were able to distract her with the toys and talk her out of it. We watched the videos we took of her on the car ride home. She was quiet and reserved at first, but she warmed up and in  the later videos, she is responding to our cooing and evens babbles back at us a bit. She made more eye contact by the end than she did in the beginning. (Important point!) She was content to be held the entire time. When we tried to take away a particularly tasty book about Big Bird (we only wanted to give her another toy), she started to fuss and try to reach it. We, of course, melted and folded like a house of cards and gave it right back to her. Hmmm...is she running the show already?
We are back at the Vlad Inn. Ate some dinner and will be going to sleep. We are having a hard time connecting with people at home. The time difference means you are fast asleep while we are awake and vice versa. We are still coping with the jet lag too.
We finally figured out how to get some of the pictures taken on the Iphone into the blog...
Feel free to comment, We enjoy reading them...
On the jet way in Detroit. We're really going to Russia!

A "brontosaurus" in Chicago O'hare
Decorated bench in Chicago
Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle...
The instructions on how to eat my dinner on Asiana Airlines
Hmmm....what's the brown stuff in the middle? Meat? Soy? Other?
"Put rice into veggies, add Korean hot paste and a few drops of sesame oil, mix and enjoy!"


  1. Yay!!! I am so happy for you guys!! I now have the update and have read it to Amy since she is driving... LOL!! We are both so happy for you!! keep the updates coming!! And ignore my e-mail!! :)

  2. Hey guys, how exciteing! This is so cool! I am so glad your first meeting went well! Can't wait to read more. Can't wait to see the pics. The Asian airlines food actually looked pretty good! Talk to you soon.

  3. Can't wait to read how your second meeting goes with her!

  4. From Steve...
    Hi Joe, Leigh and Sweet Pea!

    Thanks for sharing your journey as it is exciting and interesting to read. I would stick with just saying the "brown stuff" from your Asian flight was in fact soy...no need to investigate any further. :-) During your Sweet Pea visits are you able to bathe her or put her to bed or are they strictly just standard visits? As far as the driving scenarios of passing on both sides, merging 3 lanes into one, etc....I do not see any difference in the way Leigh Ann normally drives. Ha..just kidding and trying to provide a little humor for you during your trip. Keep updating your blog and best wishes on your rewarding journey! Steve P.

  5. Yea!! I am so very excited and over the moon happy for you all! So glad you made it there ok and are enjoying your visits. Drop me a line and let me know which baby home she's at... I think I might know, but not sure!

    Loving the updates. Keep them coming!

    Other Vlad Inn items worth trying - smoothies, pizza wasn't bad, 1/2 chicken (Joe) with roasted potatoes, beef stroganoff (again, Joe!) was also good, but they serve it over potatoes not noodles.

    Also -- tell Lynn next time that you want to request a vegetarian meal. I bet if you drop her a line today she could have the request in for your return flight. Worth a try! That way -- no guessing!! hehehe

    Congrats -- enjoy! Hope you meet up with the Overstreets. Say hi to everyone for me!

  6. Just saw this today - I didn't realize this was all happening NOW! What an adventure!!! Love the posts - I"ll be checking for updates! Congrats!!!

  7. Thanks for the posts. We're also in MI and waiting (so hard to be patient!) for our trip one travel dates to meet our little guy also in Vlad. It was SO helpful to hear about the Vlad Inn etc. where we're headed in 3-4 weeks.