Saturday, December 27, 2008

One trip down......

We are home. Our last visit with baby B was so bitter sweet. He was in a good mood and happy to see us. We played for 1 1/2 hours with no complaints. With all the toys around, all he really wanted to play with was a tissue. (Hey Mom- that sounds familar doesn't it!) The game consisted of passing the tissue back and forth to John. It was very cute.

Tomorrow is baby's B's 1st birthday. ( 1 month to the day of his Daddy's birthday and the day before our 8th anniversary). They will celebrate at the home with a cake (for the care givers) and decorate his crib with ballons. I was also told that the care givers will give him more attention on that day. Happy birthday baby B!!!

We are now waiting for our court date which is usually 6 to 8 weeks from this point. The Russian holidays start on Dec. 31 and last through the 2nd week of January. This might slow down the process but I've been told that all our paperwork will be submitted before Dec. 31.

From now until our court date we plan on finishing his room and stocking up on toys, clothes and everything else we need. Once the room is finished I will post some pictures.

I plan to continue updating the blog as we get information. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed that we get out court date soon!!!

Thanks for all your warm wishes.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

This was a Christmas to remember. First Baby B wasn’t interested in us today. He was more interested in all the Christmas decorations in the room where we were playing and everyone else who walked in the door. We only visited with him for 1 hour today and will see him again tomorrow morning before we leave.

We officially signed the paperwork to start the process of adopting Baby B! We went with Galina to a notary and signed the “official documents”. The paperwork will be processed and we will await our court date. It is estimated we will be returning in 6 to 8 weeks.

We had the opportunity to see the Church of the Spilled Blood. The walls and ceiling are made of mosaic tiles depicting the story of the resurrection. It is breath taking.

Luda also gave us a walking tour of Nevskij Prospekt which is in the city center. Nevsky is the busy area with all the shops, cafes and restaurants. It was much colder today then it has been and I could only walk around for about 40 minutes.

Tonight’s plan is to pack. Tomorrow morning we will say our good-byes to baby B and go to the airport. To sum up I would say this has been some week--- and it will be the most memorable Christmas ever.

This is the last post until we are home—Merry Christmas everybody—I hope everyone was as lucky as us and all your dreams came true.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fun had by all!

What a day! This morning it was all about me. Baby B and I played, laughed and walked all around the room. It took about 10 minutes for him to warm up to us but after that what a blast we had. He still has his cold but that didn’t stop him. He spoke lots of ehs and ahs and offered us lots of smiles. We played with him for an hour late morning and when we returned in the afternoon his caretaker said he was all giggles after we left.

This afternoon it was all about John. John sat on a chair on one side of the room and Baby B crawled like a maniac to him, pulled himself up and wanted to sit on his lap. Then out of the blue he wanted a hug!!!! A HUG!!! I didn’t get a hug – I guess I need to grow some facial hair!

Now this is a tease picture. As you know I cannot post any pictures of him (his face) due to privacy laws--- but you all get to see his little work boots!! Enjoy!-Jodi

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our day in reverse

I will start today’s adventure out backwards…………………………

This afternoon we met Baby B. He was a little under the weather suffering from a cold but that did not stop him from checking us out up and down. He will be 1 year old next week and he is pulling himself up, walks while you hold his hand, and says “Da” (yes in Russian). After about 10 minutes of being cautious, he let his guard down and was comfortable with us. He was fascinated by John’s facial hair and insisted on touching every hair on his face with both hands. We were told that all the workers in the baby home are women and a man's face is not familar to him.

We played with stacking toys, books and a big red ball. John took many photographs and video tape of us playing and walking around the room. He crawled to a mirror at the end of the room, he pulled himself up and loved to stare at his and John’s images. He never cried.

We only had about 1 ½ hours to play with him today but will meet with him tomorrow at 12:30 and again at 4:00.

The only thing I can say is—ooooh those cheeks are so big and rosy!!!!

This morning we toured the Hermitage Museum---and although it was not a fraction as exciting as our afternoon, it was a sight to behold.

What we learned today is that the sun does not rise until 10:15 a.m. and it snows all the time!!!! I leave you with a picture of our translator Luda and myself this morning in snowy Russia taken in front of the Hermitage.


Monday, December 22, 2008

We have arrived!!!

We made it to St. Pete at 4pm and we were met by Galina (agency facilitator), Luda (translator) and Sasha (driver). We were able to go to the Ministry of Education for our meeting with the committee. She explained to us all the information she had on Baby B and advised us we are scheduled to meet him tomorrow at 3:15pm. Our plans for tomorrow are to meet Luda for breakfast at 930am. We are going to tour the Hermitage all morning and then go the baby home. We met another American couple at the MOE who arrived late from St. Louis. The baby they are meeting is at the same home as Baby B. We will most likely see them at the baby home.

It is not as cold as we expected. The temperature is similar to NY with the exception that there is snow everywhere! We are staying at the Courtyard Marriott which is a new hotel –only open 2 months. It is very nice. We are going to go to dinner in a little while and watch some Russian TV.

For all of you out there who are missing our faces—I've included our first picture taken in Russia!

Talk to you soon.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not quite there yet!

After 12 hours on a plane we made it to London. We sat on the plane at the gate in JFK for 5 hours before it took off. At first it was mechanical delays and then the plane had to be de-iced three times!!!! So frustrating---specially since the airline will not pay the hotel bill claiming it was all weather related. We arrived in London at noon and after waiting on lines for 2 hours we were told no more flights today! So we are making the best of it--- we are staying at the Sofitel Hotel (very nice) which is located in the British Airway terminal. I couldn’t wait to take a shower.

We have a 930 am flight which gets us to St. Pete Monday at 4pm. Everybody please keep your fingers crossed that our agency can get us another appointment to meet with the Ministry of Education early this week so we can get the ball rolling on the whole process. Our appointment was for Monday.

Thanks to Cary again for coming to the rescue and contacting the agency for me. I have varied cell service here. I can call certain NY phone numbers but not all. Don’t know what that is all about.

Anyway- we are off to dinner- we might take the underground into London. I guess we have to wait 1 more day to meet baby B—we’ve waited 3 years- what is 1 more day—right??? Ugh!!!


Monday, December 15, 2008

We're ready!!!!

We are ready to go!!! We are only waiting for the Visas which we expect to get on Thursday. We’ve booked the flights- NYC-London-St. Petersburg. We are leaving on Saturday Dec. 20 at 7:10 p.m. arriving in St. Pete at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. We are staying at the Marriott Courtyard (yeah points!!) Our driver and the agency facilitator are meeting us at the airport. We are meeting with the Ministry of Education Monday morning and hope to meet baby boy that afternoon.

If all goes well we expect to meet with Baby B everyday. We have to visit him around his nap schedule. I’ve been told that the orphanage is very strict on schedules.

I’ve been told by my IT department that my cell phone will work in St. Pete.
Mom, please remember that there is an eleven hour time difference from Vegas!

The only thing left to do is pack. From reading all the blogs this past year this is what I was advised to bring:

snow boots, gloves, hat (I plan to buy a big Russian fur hat while we are there)
lots of layers of clothes (average temp now is 17 degrees but they over compensate with heat inside)
warm socks
bubbles (for baby)
cherrios (for baby)
goldfish crackers (for baby)
stacking toys (for baby)
lots of new unmarked US dollars (for everyone)
gifts for orphanage and caregiver

I was also warned not be surprised if our luggage is lost—so we are taking 2 days worth of clothes in our carry-on bags, just in case.

We are leaving St. Pete Friday night Dec. 26 and we will be home early Saturday morning with lots of pictures and video.

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments.

Talk to you soon!

Paka (Bye!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas in St. Petersburg!

приветствовать Welcome all to our adoption journey blog. After years of waiting, our time has arrived!!!!!!! I have finally moved from being a blog stalker to a real blogger. Before you all question me about the blog’s name “Baby Steppes Home”…I just wanted to say… I did not spell “steps” wrong. Cary came up with the idea (as per John – “the brilliant idea”) of using “Steppes” in the title based on The Great Steppes which describe the terrain located in southeast Russia. (Thanks again Cary!)

Now on to the purpose of this blog.

It’s a Boy! YEAH!!!!! We will be leaving on December 20th travelling to St. Petersburg to meet the little boy who will become our son. Our plan is to update the blog with the daily events while we are in Russia. Unfortunately we cannot post any pictures of him until he is officially adopted, so expect to see many pictures of John, myself and all the sights of Russia. In the interim I will continue to update the blog daily with any details we receive with regard to our travels and anything else that comes to mind.

I want to thank everyone who has supported us through this process. It has been a long haul. We started the process in 2005 and were “paper ready” to adopt from China by June 2006. After two years of waiting with no end in site, in March 2008 we decided to throw our names on the list for Russia. As you all know it has been emotionally draining. Although we know it is not over yet, we wanted to let everyone know how grateful we are to have you in our lives and thank you for your great support.

Please feel free to post any comments you like on the blog.

Talk to you soon!