Friday, April 1, 2011

Trip 1, Day 5

The big news today is we went to the notary in Vladivostok. Vladivostok is the major city nearest to our orphanage. Going to the notary was interesting. We parked behind an old building, went in a back door after Svetlana (our interpreter and today our driver) announced us via intercom. It was dark in the stair well that we walked into. Walking in was like out of a movie. It was a very old building, the cement chipping off the walls; it was painted a garish green color.  I trust Svetlana, but I have to say it was creepy.  We walked up a flight of stairs—think dilapidated building, turn of the century. We came to a 2nd floor landing, and opened a door which looked 1940’s-ish style and 1 foot inside that door was another door to open. Huh? I began to wonder what we had gotten our selves into. Do they really need that much security---or are they hiding from something? However, the office we walked into was warm and bright. Huh? Didn’t see that coming. The walls were a light peach color, there were desks with computers (!), big windows with plants in them and 3 nicely dressed ladies to help us. One read over all of our paperwork and we officially signed the paperwork, first asking that Sweet Pea be taken off the Russian Orphan Database, which meant she would not be offered to anyone else and the 2nd paper stated we knew about her medical history and still wanted to adopt her.  (Not a problem!) And so we have made our official request.

Signing the official paperwork at the Notaries

We then drove out to the baby home, from Vlad; with the traffic it took 2 hours and 40 loooonnng minutes. She was a little crabby today again. She still had her runny nose and felt warm. We did our best to comfort her, but it was obvious she did not feel well. We were able to change her into some of the clothes we brought. I had a onesie and sleeper from Carters, size 6 months. It fit her perfectly, so when we see her next, I will bring 9 month and 12-month sizes. I also had a 12-18 month Gymboree shirt which was way too big, I didn’t even put it on her—but it was probably be a little better in June (when we hope to come back for our court date).

We also had a bag of new clothes to donate and we donated all of the blankets and toys we have been playing with the past couple days.

All of the clothes we bought to donate. I only brought 1/2 this trip
It was very hard saying good-bye to her today. We know we will not see her again for about 3 months. We were told 8-12 weeks, but everyone here keeps saying 3-4 months—so we’ll see. We got to take her down to her gruppa—her room with her 9 little roommates. So sad to see all of these babies here. The caregivers do seem to care about the children and they do the best they can. But 2 caregivers to 10 babies is tough odds.  We handed Sweet Pea over, gave her kisses and they went and stood her in a crib with another baby. She just looked back at us and gave us that  “hey, where are you going" look. Uggg.

We left some things with her to remember us. First was a blanket we slept with for the past couple weeks—to get our smell (good smells of course).  Then one of those little tiny blankets that has a character head (ours was a bear). It has a satiny ribbon border around it . We also left a Build-a-Bear Bunny. We did not get clothes for it—but did add a voice box that we recorded our voices on so she can hear us while we are gone. We forgot to tell the caregiver it is there—hope they figure it out. (Thanks to Amy for that idea). Also to future PAP’s, we recorded ours in English and didn’t think about this until it was too late—we should have done it in Russian so she would understand it.  Duh!! We also left 2 disposable cameras. Hopefully they will take some pictures while we are gone so we do not miss this time with her. We gave them back a little baby today and in 3-4 months, she will be 1 year old and probably look different—maybe even walking 

We returned to the Inn, ate awesome 3 cheese pizza for dinner (mozzarella, fontina and feta) , huge “side” salads, and Russian beer (have to numb up a little bit after that good-bye). We are half packed and exhausted (it’s 9pm here, but the middle of the night at home—still can’t get used to the time changes). Ivan picks us up tomorrow at noon.
We will post pictures of Vladivostok when we get home. 
Leigh Ann and Joe


  1. Too bad they couldn't change their adoption sad that the baby has to stay there for another 3-4 months when she could have a home. That was quite the load of clothes you donated!

  2. I understand that feeling... the next weeks/months will be tough... but enjoy it... enjoy your marriage... take time to do all the little things that you won't take the time to do for yourself after sweet pea is home... maybe a mani/pedi... couples massages... a trip to Traverse... just whatever... but keep yourselves busy! Love you guys! Have a safe trip home!!

  3. Awww! So sweet and sad at the same time. Hope you guys have a safe trip back to the States and that the next few months go by quickly and without complications! Maybe I'll get to meet Sweet Pea when I'm in town in August!