Sunday, January 3, 2010

If God made you He's in love with me...

I listened to this song over and over and over on the plane... My dog's name is Lyric... words and music speak to me and like the Tricia Yearwood song says, "a song remembers when".  This one remembers looking out the window taking off from Khabarovsk Russia headed for Canada and away from my boy... but one day closer to returning.
I'm back and starting to right myself into the day and night schedules of home.  I have never felt a more comfortable bed than my own and it was nice to be greeted by smiling happy family and friends.  The travel challenges continued but in English, there was nothing that I couldn't handle.  In the end, I am home and I went... and it's really only the stuff in the middle that ever mattered anyway. 
My sister and 3 nieces made the most amazing frames and printed out photos I had sent them from Seliheno and I cried in my kitchen.  I managed to put together the photo slide show and download my favorite video to it yesterday.  Of the things that will get me through, having 200 photos and 100 videos of little man will make it easier.  I wanted to make a list of things that were helpful to pass on to other PAP's so I am going to wing it (thanks Amy for the idea!)

Things I took that I'm glad I did:
  • Instant oatmeal (there were times I was too tired to go to eat... but I could boil water in the room)
  • Protein bars: nervous tummies during Aeroflot adventures could choke down this rather than foreign food
  • Tea in a ziplock: this is my comfort food... figure out what yours is and put it in a ziplock (unless it's chicken pot pie or something) lol
  • 2 pairs of black pants - wore them interchangeably and no one cared. 
  • Warm fuzzy socks / slippers to wear - floors can be cold 
  • various colored tops - mix and match
  • An aresenal of toys: noisy toys, puzzles, bubbles, blow up ball, small cars, books that make noise, soft stuffy, soft blanket.  My facilitator told me that I'd be surprised the number of famillies who show up with one toy... Be prepared - give them options.  Grisha eventually loved everything but the stuffed animal and soft blanket was what brught him out of his shell. 
  • Sleeping pills / gravol... I was so stressed out and off my schedule it was the only way I could rest. Can't highlight enough how important these were to me. eye mask for sleeping on the plane.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE!!!  it was $125 and in the end will save me abut $2500
  • my brand new netbook loaded with skype.  I loaded $14 on it before I left and talked for probably 2 -3 hours while I was away and still have 9.50 left.  Pray for internet connectin and skype away!
  • Video camera.  I have 100 videos to get me through the wait.  Priceless. (thanks mom and sis!)
  • photo album for him, disposible cameras to leave behind with a note from mama
  • postcards to give to the babushkas showing where he will live (they LOVED them)
  • Ipod... time killer and calmer downer
  • notebook filled with emergency numbers / emails / contact / consulate phone number / MAP of THE AIRPORT (Moscow has 4 terminals... know where you are going)
  • Take / Learn some basic baby Russian to interact with your child (if they are old enough). This was very helpful. I recommend Theresa Kelleher's (just google her name) set. It's a CD and handbook
Things I wish I took:
  • I had a power converter (Russia has two round prongs) but it didn't fit the 3 prongs needed for my computer.  (go check - everythign else is 2... not your computer).  I borrowed one thank God but will have one for the next trip.
  • Phone number for peace travel in Russia.  If you get lost, they will fetch you and rescue you... at a cost but there is no price worth a friendly face in the world of NYET!!! 
Things I would leave behind:
  • Big heavy reading book.  didn't have time. couldn't have cared. Lugged it around though
  • Wardrobe of "comfy hotel clothes".  PJ's and baby home clothes are enough.  I didn't have time to lounge.
  • Took too many fruit bars - they are heavy. Just take the protein ones. 
  • My flat iron.  Blow drying was good enough. 
If I had to weed down my luggage I would have kept the toys for him first and weeded out clothes.  The toys are your bridge to them... they don't care what you are wearing.  Be engaging, be entertaining, be prepared. 
That's my unsolicited advice.  That, and if you are adopting from the far East... for the love of God... FLY THROUGH SEOUL!!!  Seriously though, give yourself enough time to get your travel visa and flight schedule that allows for weather / baggage / stupidity delays.  The stress I endured as a result of tight timing could have ruined the trip or caused a breakdown.  It seriously was that bad.  I have never been so afraid, alone, terrified and almost primal in my life.  Don't be afraid to ask and keep asking for help.  There  are amazing, kind, friendly people out there and you would help someone in distress if you could right?  So will they.  Be prepared, be flexible and be ready for the most incredible trip of your life! 

P.S. if you have to take a train it is fine - I actually really enjoyed it.  P.S.S. if you have to go to the middle of nowhere to meet your child and your facilitator tells you that the MOE was concerned you would decline the referral because they are so remotely located... know that sometimes you have to climb the tall tall tree to reach the best apples :)

With all of the travel foibles, I'd do it again tomorrow to meet that amazing little boy that Russia chose to be my son.  If God made him He's in love with me...
One more P.S. His name is Gregory and I will be keeping it as his middle name.  When court is over I'll share the new name his mama gave him :)


Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

Can you email me your address???
take ziplock bags of various sizes for trip two. You can put soup in them, and then pour the hot water over it into a bowl and let it warm up.
Will you stay in Komsomolsk or Khabarovsk for your ten days???
will you get the baby during your wait????
So thrilled to read that you are home safe and sound..I told you it was a long trip, but worth it!!
love to you!!!

amy and kevin said...

this list is awesome! totally agree the netbook with skype was invaluable (and lightweight, which we found was very important)

also totally agree about going thru Seoul... going through Moscow was way too stressful, not to mention too long