We left our hotel this morning at 9:20 a.m.—well before the sun came up. This Saint Petersburg winter day—which are usually extremely short as it is—was practically non-existent since today is the shortest day of the year. But man! We sure packed a lot into this “short” day!
After making two quick stops for paperwork, we went to the “Baby Palace,” or where we pick up our official adoption decrees and new birth certificates. After a two hour wait and several Russians asking us (I’m guessing) “Are you in line?” they called us in. Signing the documents that officially state that we are Bennett and Celia’s “Mama” and “Papa” gave me chillbumps. Derek reached for my hand and we both glowed with excitement as we got up from our chairs and said “spa-see-ba” to the women who prepared our documents. (They also commented in Russian about how “young” we are. I suppose to be adoptive parents, we are rather young…)
Side Note: As we were off to drop off some of the documents to Bennett’s baby home, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” played on the radio. One of my favorite childhood memories is of me with my late brother, Trevor, in his red Chevy Camaro just listening to rock songs, one of which was “Pour Some Sugar on Me”. To this day, the song makes me think of my brother, who passed away five years ago. It was good to have one of those “hugs” from God at a time like this.
We dropped off the official documents to both baby homes so that they could take them to the local police station and have our kiddos legally released from the orphanage. After making both stops, I looked out the car window and pleasantly watched a mother pull her young son on a sled through the snow. At that moment, I wished for a little sled with which we could play with B and C this week, but realized that trekking through on a stroller would be adventure enough.
And then it hit me.
We left the stroller at the airport yesterday. Completely forgot about it! Not a single thought. Nothing until that very minute. Oy!
“Not to worry,” our amazing and laid back driver/translator told us. He took us by the airport—which, luckily, was a short drive away from the baby homes—and we picked up the stroller. It may have taken us filling out several pages of customs documents for unaccompanied luggage, waiting and hour and 15 minutes and paying two Euros per kilo (thank goodness this sucker was relatively light!) and a “service and handling” fee, but we got it! This was just Mommy Mistake #1 of what I’m sure is going to be a long list of “oops!”
We then got to swing by Celia’s baby home for a quick visit and to sing “Happy Birthday” to the birthday girl. Perhaps she could feel that I was a bit frazzled after the craziness that turned out to be our day, because she was particularly taken with Papa today—something I know he absolutely didn’t mind! I wanted to do more for our C’s birthday like bring a cake and celebrate a bit more, but the day didn’t allow for that. I told her I’d make it up to her when we got home.
After several other quick stops we went to file for B and C’s passports. Derek and our driver/translator took care of everything after waiting just 20-30 minutes. The Russian passports should be ready Saturday, which is a day earlier than was first estimated. That could put us home as early as the 30. However, since we already had tickets booked and it would cost us a minimum of $600 to change them, we’re sticking with our original plan and coming home on the 31st.
To those who would like to meet us at the airport (and we would LOVE to see you!), we will land at 6:20 p.m. if the weather cooperates and everything goes as planned. I hope you fall in love with our kiddos at first glance, just as we did!
We will head out tomorrow morning at 9:15 and make a stop at a store to pick up diapers, wipes, food and a scarf (for me, since I lost my nice black cashmere scarf somewhere along the way…). At about 10:30 we’ll be at Celia’s baby home, saying goodbye and THANK YOU to her caregivers, dressing her in her first outfit that 100% belongs to her, and take her from the orphanage. The three (plus our driver/translator) of us will then be off to pick up Bennett and do the same with him. Our babies will meet for the first time in their life, and the brother-sister-bond will start, something that is near and dear to my heart. We should be back in our hotel room tomorrow in time to feed them lunch!