Here I was wishing I'd brought a book and here is a whole huge bookcase in our apt full of volumes--unfortunately nary a one in English
Here's the area right inside the door where we hang our sweatshirts, passports, key, purse and put our shoes
The 'living room' for Steven's group at the orphanage
And here is little Mister Steven--over 5 months since we saw him last
This handsome young man would often try to get in on some attention and lovin' during our visits
Kevin the Master Chef
The view out our kitchen window--this is a very busy street down below that goes between two VERY busy streets
We did sail through customs with no difficulty whatsoever and were very happy to see Alexey again who drove us to our apartment. Driving in at 10:40 pm does not give one a very good idea of the neighborhood--it looked kind of scummy and smelled horrid in the very dark hallway and stairway. Since the elevator does not work, our joke is that the last person who rode the elevator died in there and no one has removed the body. But the room actually looked better than the advertisement photos--separate bedroom, couch that folds into a king-size bed, separate kitchen, tiny room that houses only the toilet, and a separate room for the sink and tub/shower. There was indeed a computer sitting on the table in the living room but alas, even with all of Kevin's expertise, he could not get it working. The problem literally was trying to fit the mouses square connector into a round port. They did get the DVD player working so Teresa could watch some of her Cosby shows.
Tuesday we got to see Steven. I was unsure how he would react to us after being gone for 5 months. I would say he partially remembered us. (Apparently the director of the orphanage was under the assumption our family had been refused for adoption in court some while ago) We rolled and bounced a ball back and forth, tickled him, kissed him. I had to laugh when he shook his fist and said "nyet. Papa." when any other little boy tried to get in on the attention. However, though he seemed very proud to have a Papa, he didn't seem to want to get too close to Kevin--I think partially cuz Kevin was trying to make him mind. Teresa thought he was very cute and funny. After we'd been playing awhile in the coat room, a lady came in and we were whisked out to see the doctor. Of course they were trying to explain what was going on but we were pretty clueless and thought they were going to give us a shot. We had glass thermometers inserted and then our throats inspected. I was breathing a prayer cuz Teresa had just been complaining that morning of a sore throat. Well, she passed with no problem but the doctor kept showing me the reading on my thermometer. I didn't know what the normal Celsius temp was supposed to be but apparently mine was elevated. I felt perfectly fine so I'm guessing maybe just a little dehydrated. Anyway, Kevin scurried out to get Alexey so he could find out what the problem was. Apparently there is quite a scare here about swine flu and since the Dr. knows we are from the US she was concerned we might be spreading disease to all the kiddos under her care. So our directions now are that we must check in at the Dr.'s office before we can visit Steven.
Our final court was supposed to be on Wednesday at 3:00 pm then was moved to 4:00 pm. In attendance were the judge--a very pretty blonde woman who looks like she's in her 30's, the prosecutor with short, very blond hair; the inspector who seemed very glad to see us again; the orphanage psychologist (Nastya says usually the orph lawyer attends but this orph has no lawyer because they have no adoptions); and 2 jurors, a man and a lady--just normal folks, I guess. Nastya was there to interpret. Well, all we got done was going through the list of all the interested parties and then the judge said the file was missing a pertinent paper from the SDA. This paper was placed in our file with our original judge and apparently she has not wanted to release it. So court was recessed for 30 minutes to see if it could be located. Yes, the paper was found but the original judge was not in the building to sign a paper releasing it. So court was continued to Friday. Another missing paper was a letter explaining that the I-171H is indeed the official form that gives permission for an orphan to enter the US. Nastya and Alexey have tried and tried and tried and tried to get these papers to no avail.
Thursday we went to a notary so Kevin could give his permission for Steven's passport. We then stopped at an Internet cafe that was open and had available, working computers so I could write our last little ditty. Then over to the embassy so Kevin could sign his part of the paperwork there. I knew no pictures were allowed inside so I took a picture of the embassy sign outside and got in trouble--but I didn't lose my camera and I must admit I'm glad I have the picture (I'm controlling myself and not posting it on the Internet) However, we didn't get anywhere with the embassy. Apparently before they have opened in the afternoon at 2:00 pm (after lunch break) but now only open 9:00-1:00.
Friday we had to get up at 5:30 to be ready for Alexey and Nastya to pick us up at 7:30. Court was scheduled for 9:00 and traffic has been horrendous. Well, it was definitely past 9:00 when we got started. The judge went through our whole dossier page by page (not reading it but stating what each thing was) plus all the letters between SDA and court and embassy and whoever/whatever else pertained to the case. She read through our whole petition to the court. She noted that orphanage, inspector, prosecution have no objection to the adoption, etc. Then she went to her decision room. At this point the prosecutor stopped in front of Kevin and gave him such a sweet ------ I can't think of the word and I know I'm almost out of time--anyway she wished us much joy and that our children would only bring us joy and that sort of thing. It made me teary-eyed. Then she left as did the jurors.