Thursday, October 21, 2010

Our First Day in Moscow

From Denise:
The Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow from parking lot
   We're here! We're here! Even after a full day in Moscow, it's hard to believe that our dream of traveling to Russia to go to court as part of the process of adopting our newest three children has come true. But even as I type I hear Russian being spoken in the hallway of our hotel and every word on our blog's sign-in page is now in Russian.

Our flight landed about 40 minutes earlythis morning. We easily passed through immigration and then customs after finding that all our luggage had made the trek successfully. This was even a greater reason for a prayer of thanksgiving than usual because in addition to our clothing we also have the clothing of our three new kiddos along. Just their heavy winter coats and other cold-weather paraphenalia fill a large suitcase. As in our other two Russian adoptions, we've been asked to provided all clothes for the children so that their orphanage can continue to use the clothing they've been wearing for other orphans. We're also toting a large suitcase of donations for the orphanage.

We were picked up by a driver named Sasha. Sasha teaches English, and his use of our language is quite good. This made the two-hour trip from the airport to the medical clinic where we were to receive our physicals more pleasant. We were in heavy traffic, even though rush hour was long over. During one of the many times when we were inching along, we asked Sasha how many people live in Moscow. He said that 12 million are registered residents, but that the city's population is probably closer to 20 million because of migrant "peasants" who move in and out of the area looking for work.

Near the medical clinic, Sasha stopped at one of the seven train stations in Moscow and picked up our interpreter for the appointment, Katya. The medical appointment took nearly two hours and was really more a series of interviews than an examination. Four physicians, who specialize in general medicine, oncology, pulmunology, and infections disease, each inspected the documents from our doctors at home, asked us questions about their findings and then signed a report.

At one point, three of the physicians sat across from us at the enormous oval table at the same time. One of them asked how many children we have adopted. One question followed another as they quizzed us about our unusual family and its origins in two different countries. As their eyes grew larger and larger with each detail of our story, we held our breath to see whether they would respond negatively. Thankfully, they just laughed incredulously and the process continued.

In the same large room with us on the clinic grounds being interviewed by the physicians at the same time was an Irish couple from Dublin. They later told us the adoption process has taken them SIX years! They finally got their referral this summer and met the little boy they're adopting in July. He turns one next month, and they hope to have him home right around his birthday.

We learned today that we should be able to be reunited with our new children and hopefully tour their orphanage on Monday. That happy thought is almost enough to keep these two jet-lagged bodies from sleep tonight. However, physical weariness is making sleep sound very inviting. It now been 30 hours since we've rested in a bed.

Below are two pictures taken from our hotel room on the sixth floor. The tall building in the background is actually closer than it looks and is one of seven skyscrapers all sharing the same architectural style that Stalin had built during His years in control of the country. This one now houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We finish the day with hearts filled with gratitude for the Lord's many mercies since we left home!


The Nordstroms said...

glad to hear you've passed the 1st stage of your trip - in Moscow safely and passed the physical exams. We will pray you get some good rest today/tonight and have some wonderful time together as a couple in the next 2 days. Have fun shopping!!

MacMeister said...

Praise God that everything is still going smoothly! Looking forward to reading about your continuing adventure! :-)

Caitlin said...

It sounds like God is paving your path! It's so exciting!

Natalie said...

Just the fact that ALL your suitcases got there is a HUGE praise!

I love the reaction of the doctors! Very typical. Even when we share with our friends here about your family the eyes get huge in total disbelief! What an amazing testimony you all are!!!

hennfamily said...

Oh how exciting to read about your first day! We loved spending time with your family back home tonight as we celebrated a very special 13 year old's b-day. Our prayers our with you!!

Our Family said...

Thanks to all of you for your encouraging comments! This is so much fun to be connected to you all while so far away. we're all that much more grateful to God for this grand adventure because we can share it with you.

Natalie, after a full day in Russia I am that much more in awe that you are fluent in three languages, one of them with a completely different alphabet. The Lord has given you the perfect gift for the life He has called you and Jon to live in this country. It's hard to be so close to the four of you and yet so far! Keep on Keeping on serving these precious people, the Russians.