It wasn't pretty, and it was LONG, but we made it home! We got into St Louis about 9:00 last night (after a 3 hour delayed flight in DC) and then made the long drive home (thanks, Brad!) getting here about 12:30.
I will post more details (many, many more) soon, along with more pictures. It has been an amazing experience that I know I need to share with all of you. Thanks so much for your prayers and good wishes!
It's EARLY here, and I'm really tired and out of it (something like maybe 10 hours of sleep in the last 3 days!), but I wanted to let you all know the important news. We left Kaluga early yesterday, with all of our paperwork, etc. done there and arrived in Moscow before the agency office opened. Thanks to the advanced planning and hard work of the people at the embassy, and the fact that Karina is a trooper-beast baby and Susan is a trooper-beast aunt, we got our medical exam done, and our US Embassy approval finished before everything shut down yesterday for Christmas. We'll get the Russian consulate stuff done today. Finally, we were able to get our plane tickets changed so that we can leave here on Sunday instead of Wednesday!
After we crashed yesterday afternoon, we all kind of gathered a second wind to celebrate Christmas Eve. Just wanted to wish you all a very Merriest of Christmases from Moscow!
It's now 9:45 pm. By some hard work, constant running, and some miracles (yes miracles) here (and because we haven't slept more than about 2 hours since we got here) we're headed back to Moscow and the embassy tomorrow at 4 am with Karina. We're hoping to get everything done tomorrow before the holiday weekend. If not, we're prepared to stay over, but hoping that we're done on Christmas Day!
I hope that you all are safe and warm today! Weather cancelled our flight into Philly. So. We're headed to the airport to throw ourselves on the mercy of the airlines. Trying to take deep calming breaths here.
I don't have much time to post...we have to head out in a few minutes and we have to turn our modem back into the hotel this evening.....BUT I did want to share the news:
The judge of the Kaluga regional court ruled this morning (about 11:45 Kaluga time) that baby K is OURS!
Happy dancing here---it would be serious happy dancing but we're both just REALLY tired! We went to see her after court, and we're headed back for about an hour visit this evening. Then we leave for home early in the morning, and should be back in the states tomorrow night.
Thanks, all of you, for the words of encouragement and prayers! They have meant so very, very much to us!
This was the view out of our hotel window in Kaluga on Sunday morning: And today, we woke up to a bit of a different view:
It has been snowing lightly ALL day today. They said that this is the first real snow that Kaluga has had so far---and we were here to see it. It has been a bit cold, but not terrible, and just enough snow to make it feel like Christmas is coming! The driving has been a bit crazy (a few accidents that we've driven past), but not too much worse than normal.
We had a good day today---two visits with baby K, dinner at "the Pub" and now we're crashed---court is tomorrow morning at 10 am. I'll keep you posted on what happens!
We got to see baby K today!!! She's grown so much in the last couple of months, and she can walk all around the music room in the baby home if you hold her hands. Steve swears that she recognized us, and that's proof that she's a sharp little cookie. I'm not so sure she knew exactly who we were, but she was very glad to see us. We played, walked, sang, and just enjoyed being with her again, even if it was for a short time. We'll be back to see her tomorrow, I have to get my picture taken (for her passport), and then who knows---probably getting ready for court on Tuesday.
Just wanted to let you all know that we made it safely to Kaluga this afternoon after a LONG journey yesterday (3 hour drive to the airport, 2 hour flight to NYC, a LONG wait in NYC and then a long wait on the tarmac in the plane, and then finally to Moscow about 1:00 this afternoon).
Joyously, NO problems other than the length of trip and that we were both tired to start with. Our luggage made it safely, and we did too. Now crashed in our hotel in Kaluga and trying to unpack and VERY HAPPY to have internet access this time. We're headed out tomorrow to see Karina (about 1 in the afternoon) and then court on Tuesday morning.
Seriously, SO MANY thanks to all of you for your words of support and your prayers. I am just going to try to relax now and enjoy the journey. Love you all!
From Kaluga, with much love, Carolynn (and Stevie, too!)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. ---Proverbs 3:5-6
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption. And by him we cry "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson
Dec 27, 2010------HOME 1 YEAR! Oct 17, 2010------K's 2nd Birthday (the first one with us)! Jan 17, 2010------K's 15 month birthday
Dec 27, 2009-----Finally HOME with baby K
Dec 24, 2009-----To Moscow and to the US Embassy
Dec 23, 2009-----Pick up baby K from the detskii dom in Kaluga--she's ours forever!
Dec 23, 2009-----Finally arrive in Moscow EARLY in the morning
Dec 19, 2009-----Leave (try #1) for Russia with Auntie Susan
Dec 14, 2009-----Final Exams at MSU and Drury
Dec 9, 2009------Leave for home
Dec 8, 2009------Court Date in Kaluga---10:00 am. The nice Judge said YES!
Dec 6, 2009------See baby K again for first time in month and a half
Dec 4, 2009------Leave for Trip 2 to Kaluga
Nov 17, 2009-----Travel dates for Court in Kaluga!
Nov 5, 2009------Last payment to CSS :-)
Nov 3, 2009------Pick up and apostille the notarized copy of Homestudy Agency's new license and Fed Ex to CSS
Nov, 2, 2009-----Homestudy Agency emailed scan of Homestudy Agency's Updated License to Kaluga
Oct 17, 2009-----Baby K's First Birthday
Oct 14, 2009-----Police background checks and updated dossier documents mailed to agency
Oct 7, 2009------Steve's Birthday AND 70th Birthday of the Baby Home in Kaluga
Sept 29, 2009----Petition to adopt baby K notarized, apostilled, and Fed Exed to agency--ALSO, as of today, we've officially been pursuing this adoption for 4 YEARS!
Sept 20, 2009---Our first meeting with baby K
Sep 17-26, 2009--Travel to Russia to meet baby K
Aug 11, 2009----FBI fingerprints taken and mailed
Aug 7, 2009-----Visa applications mailed
July 28, 2009---Travel dates to visit baby K in Kaluga
mid July 2009---Dossier registered in Kaluga region
July 6, 2009---- Dossier pulled from Tula region
Apr 9, 2009-----Dossier registered in Tula region
Feb 24, 2009----Dossier #2 in Russia
Feb 20, 2009----Homeland Security fingerprints renewed
Feb 13, 2009----Dossier #2 apostilled
Feb 11, 2009----Dossier #2 to notary
Feb 6, 2009-----Homestudy #2 finished
Nov 21, 2008----Physicals for homestudy #2
Nov 7, 2008-----Fingerprints done for homestudy #2
Nov 4, 2008-----Homestudy visit with social worker
Oct 21, 2008----Contract signed with CSS
Sept 26, 2008---Received paperwork from CSS
Sept 17, 2008---Visited Dr. and diagnosed with shingles, received call from CHI that Izhevsk is "closed"
Sept 10, 2008---First call to CSS
Aug, 2008------CHI guidelines for correspondence with regions "changed" but no clear communication as to how or what this will mean for us. Follow-up call to agency gives us very different information than just 3 months previously
July 18, 2008---CHI denied Hague Status
May 27, 2008---Visited in CHI office, bad vibes, representative had "lost our file"
Early Feb 2008--Assigned to Izhevsk region
Jan 25, 2008---Dossier #1 Apostilled
Dec 24, 2007---Received Homeland Security Approval
Dec 21, 2007---CHI reaccredited to work in Russia
Dec 13, 2007---First trip to Homeland Security, first set of fingerprints for Homeland Security
Oct 25, 2007---Homestudy finished
Aug 10, 2007---First set of fingerprints for adoption
July 31, 2007---First physicals for adoption
July 5, 2007----Homestudy biographies finished
July 2007------First agencies reaccredited to work in Russia
April 2007-----Began to work on homestudy
July 2006-Spring 2007--International adoptions from Russia basically shut down during this period, while we were also attempting to get settled and moved-in. This was the "black night of the soul" period for me
Early 2006-----Attempted to straighten out the miscommunication with CHI, began the process of paperwork for homestudy, but then learned around March that we were to be moving in June. Agency advised us to wait until after we were settled in new home to begin the homestudy
Dec 2, 2005-----Applied for new passports
Nov 30, 2005---Contract signed with CHI
Nov 21, 2005----Initial phone conversation with CHI representative (mistakenly told to pursue our I-600 first before the homestudy)