Monday, November 21, 2011

Nov 21 - Court Day

It is official (well almost - dang 10 day wait).  It is a closed court so I won't share the details here but all went as expected - about 90 minutes total.  The judge sustained my petition as they say here and today, DRS (will share her full former name after 10 day wait) officially become Audrey D Reardon.   There is now a 10 day wait for both sides to consider the decision and Friday, December 2 - it is final.  No turning back.  The deal will be sealed.  Lock the door and throw away the keys.  All's well that ends well.  That fat lady will have sung... What other euphemisms can I use?  Anyway, our Gotcha Day will be Monday, December 5th which is the day I can pick Audrey up.

I am going to have a glass of champagne to celebrate at the hotel lobby bar.  Svetlana and Tanya and I had a little celebration at the courtroom cafeteria.  Boiled potatoes and ground veal cutlet (maybe??).  No champagne but I did want to do something special so - I had my first cup of coffee ever!  I wanted it to be a momentous occasion.  The ladies were drinking coffee so I decided - why not.  Why not have my first cup of coffee (and probably the last to be honest) to commemorate the day I became Audrey's mom. Ha!  Funny way to celebrate but a moment I won't forget.  Lunch for 3 of us 310 rubles.  3 cups of coffee about 90 rubles.  Being Audrey's mom - priceless!

I feel so relieved and so happy and even a little shocked.  I just wasn't sure if this would really happen.  The threat of Russia closing.  Then the threat of Russia closing to singles.  Then 3 referrals that didn't happen for all different reasons.  All of those twists and turns but here am I - ready to be Audrey's mom with only a few more days to wait and prepare.

Early flight tomorrow morning.  Poor Gregory is picking me up at 4:30am.  Ouch.  I made the mistake of saying to Tanya that perhaps I could take a taxi so that Gregory wouldn't have to get up so early.  She about to went into orbit on that one.  I got the picture and won't bring up a taxi again.

Thanks for following along.  Later!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nov 20 - Day 2 with Audrey

Audrey was asleep when we arrived this morning - about 11am.  She awoke maybe 5 minutes after we got there and was in a great mood.  Lots of laughing and interaction today which was so nice to see.  She still shies away from lots of eye contact but is getting better.  She has the cutest little smile and laugh when I can pull one out of her.

Her congestion seemed much better today too, which is such a relief.  She is also teething.  She already has 4 on top and 2 on the bottom but her next 2 bottom teeth are poking through so that explains the drool and constantly sucking on that bottom lip.

We played for almost 90 minutes (and by played I mean I hold her and try to get a smile out of her).  Then it was time to go they said because it was lunch time.  When i put her down in her crib, she just cried and cried.  I couldn't leave.  Just couldn't do it.  She was just desperate for love and attention and I was going to give it to her.  I was not leaving her like that.  No way, no how... so they said I could feed her which was so amazing.  They brought in a glass bottle which was really hot to the touch.  Inside was a weird brownish, yellowish liquid.  Pureed vegetable soup with some mashed potatoes whipped in...  They basically take what the older kids are eating, water it down, puree it and throw it in a bottle... Voila - baby lunch!  I was worried about it being too hot for her but she was okay.  Ate it down - fast!  Most babyhome kids eat too much, too fast.  We will work on that once we get home if it becomes a problem.  It can be pretty severe for some.  We will see how Audrey is...  After she ate, I was able to put her down, with the bottle in the crib, and she was okay.  I didn't like leaving her with a glass bottle in her crib but the nurse said they would come back and get it as soon as we left.

Just like last time, it was really hard to leave her.  This time though, I know I am only leaving for 2 weeks and when I next see her - I am going to break her free forever!  2 more weeks.  14 days.  336 hours.   We can both survive that.  Then a lifetime a together.   Do you see what I see?  The light at the end of the tunnel!!!

Tomorrow is court.  Tanya, Gregory and Svetlana will pick me up at 8:45am and off to see the judge.  Tanya said it should take about 2hrs so hopefully I will be Audrey's mom by lunch!

That is all for now.   I am off to walk around Tverskaya for a bit before dinner and then think through everything before court.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nov 19 - The Baby Hospital

Tanya and Gregory picked me up at 10am after what I might possibly call my worst case of jet lag ever.  I think the jet lag, coupled with nerves and excitement just left me wide awake - all night!  Finally at about 6am, I fell asleep until 9am.  Hey - 3hrs of sleep is better than none.  I will take it!  Then off to the babyhome.  We had to get a piece of paper for court, showing that I had visited Audrey.  Unfortunately, she is still suffering from her upper respiratory infection so was at the baby hospital.  It wasn't too far from the babyhome - maybe a 5 minute drive or so.  She is going to be there until next Thursday they think.

You want to talk heartbreak - go to a baby hospital in Russia.  Audrey was in a room with 5 cribs.  The room was literally no bigger than my closet - granted I have a huge closet - but it was maybe 10x10.  There were 2 other children with her.  One little boy who was severely physically and developmentally challenged and a little girl who looked to be about 2 years old who kept reaching for me to hold her and calling me Mama. Tanya said this was probably the rooms for orphans as other kids had their parents with them in private rooms.   Honestly, I just wanted to cry right then seeing Audrey all alone in that room with these other 2 kids.  It is bad enough to be sick but to be sick and with no love or comfort.  Heartbreak!  I really can't even think about.  It was so incredibly hard to leave her there.

I was able to spend about an hour with her.  The social worker who will be with us at court joined us too.  She was observing me with Audrey and also asking me prep questions - how long will I stay home with Audrey before going back to work?  Who will care for her once I do go back to work?  What if she gets so sick that I need to quit my job - how will we afford to live?  Am I aware of her diseases?  All pretty basic questions - but nerve-wracking nonetheless on Monday when the judge will ask me.

As for Audrey - she looks the same, still cute but tiny.  She still isn't sitting up but she has been sick so is probably pretty weak.  I was glad to hear her little voice today.  So sweet.  She smiled and let out a little screech when I first picked her up.  I felt my heart just burst that made me so happy.  I don't think she recognized me necessarily (although I can dream).  I think she was more just so thrilled to be cuddled close to someone.  I will get to see her again tomorrow which will be the last time before our GOTCHA day which should be December 5th if all goes as planned.

The weather today is just what you would expect from Moscow in the winter.  Cold, dreary, with snowy sleet falling.  I don't mind though.  Feel like I am getting the full Russian experience.

I will write again tomorrow after I see sweet Audrey again.  Thanks for following along!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nov 18 - Arrived safely

My flight landed on time and I am here at the Marriott Grand.  Tanya was waiting for me (as always) when I exited Customs.  Unfortunately, my driver and now good friend, Sasha (Alexander) wasn't with her.  Not sure why but there is a new driver - Gregoire.  Very nice man as well and same Russian driving techniques so I am in good hands but I will certainly miss Sasha.

I didn't do much today.  Was at the hotel by 3pm and rested for a couple of hours, caught up on some work email and now I am going to have a salad at the hotel lobby bar.  Tanya and Gregoire are picking me up at 10am to go see Audrey, who has been sick and is at the baby hospital.  Nothing major - a fever and bronchitis is what they have told me - nothing to worry about...  To help ensure others don't also get sick, it is typical to take the kids to the baby hospital when they have a fever.  Tanya wasn't sure if she would be back at the babyhome or not for our visit but if not, she said that we could visit her at the baby hospital.  While obviously I would prefer that she is better and staying warm and as cozy as possible in the comfort of her babyhome crib, I will just be happy to see her and hold her and kiss her and talk to her - wherever that happens to be.

As for sweet Monkey, Clare, she is having a blast with Charlotte and her family back in Nashville.  Charlotte sent me a video of Clare playing with her daughter Hannah, just giggling and having so much fun.   I have the best friends who love Clare so much and  take such good care of her when I am away.  That makes leaving so much easier.

I will post again tomorrow and let you know how the visit with little Audrey went.  Hope all is well back home.

P.S.  Alice Cooper and his entourage are sitting at the table next to me at the lobby bar.  I didn't know his name but knew the face.  Google helped me figure out who he actually was...  The wonders of the Internet - so glad Al Gore invented it.  Ha!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On my way for court

I am in the Dulles airport with just about 2hrs left before I board the plane for Moscow, on my way for my court date, Monday.  All of the emotions are starting to finally hit.  I have been so focused on making sure Clare was going to be okay for these last two trips and preparing all my work stuff for my absence and getting everything I would need for trips 2 and 3 that I haven't even really thought about what I am actually getting ready for...  Audrey and I were family long before I knew her and before she knew me.  This long, emotional journey is almost to an end and I just couldn't be happier.   Now we just need a judge to tell us what I know in my heart already - that she is my daughter and I am her mommy.  It will be a great day.  Then 10 days later, we will have our long-awaited GOTCHA day and I can bring her home to meet her sister and the rest of her family and our friends.  So thrilled and anxious and ready...    Looking forward to holding and kissing sweet Audrey on Saturday and Sunday!  Will post again when I land in Moscow on Friday.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Court Date!

I have a court date!  November 21st!  So exciting and so much to do to get ready.  It will be just a quick weekend jaunt to Moscow.  Arrive on Friday the 18th, visit Audrey on Saturday and Sunday hopefully, court on Monday and back to Nashville on Tuesday.  Then the dreaded 10-day wait before I will go back to Moscow for my 3rd and final trip.  If all goes well, we will land back home and Audrey will become a US Citizen on December 10th.  How amazing.  I am off to check on flights, get my visa, book boarding for my dog, Ginger and just celebrate that the end is in sight!  Hooray for court dates!

Happy belated Halloween from me and Snow White, who is patiently waiting to meet her little sister soon!