For the first time in a while, we were able to sleep in today...until 6:30 am. Our trip to the airport was uneventful until about 10 minutes before we arrived. Candace had...how can I put this...some trouble. A word for the wise, never eat foreign fruit for breakfast and then embark on a 30 minute ride in the back of a fast moving minivan if you get motion sickness. Fortunately, the doctor, Alexandra, and myself were in the row behind her. Unfortunately, the floor, the two walls, and the ceiling of the van were ahead of her, as was the poor driver. I am not sure if it was all of the raspberries this morning or the week of eating borscht, but it was something else. I write this as Candace laughs hysterically beside me. To give her credit, as we were stopped at the side of the road with the driver cleaning the van and me cleaning off Candace she was laughing as well, although it was more of a combined laughing / crying thing.
After our little diversion, we started off again for the airport. Candace still wasn't feeling 100% so I got to sit with Alexandra for the whole flight. While I felt bad for my wife I couldn't complain about the excellent seating arrangements. At the airport we were greeted by another facilitator who was accompanied by one of the other couples that we connected with earlier in the week. It was a incredibly proud moment, I let the two bags go that I was pulling, picked Alexandra up, took her hat off, fixed her hair, and walked over to the other couple to show her off. Things are working out for them as well so we could not be happier. The 90 minute drive back was interesting...we had all of our bags with us so in order to get them into the trunk the driver wrapped the spare tire in a blanket and put it on the floor of the back seat. Then, we picked up the doctor's daughter who attends university in the city to which we flew. So, there were five adults, a three-and-a-half year old, and a full size spare in a car about the size of a Dodge Neon. Everyone seemed okay though, Candace and Alexandra slept, the doctor and her daughter visited, the driver drove, and I alternated looking at the countryside with head turns to make sure that my two girls were sleeping soundly. We got back to our new "home town" around 2:30 pm. We stopped at the orphanage first and I as I carried Alexandra in I started humming again quietly. Within about ten feet, and for the duration of our walk to her room, she sang her song once more. I am not sure what the words are, but when I hear it, I imagine she is singing "I love Mommy, I love Daddy" over and over again. Given all that she had been through since early yesterday morning, Candace and I decided that we would let her rest for the remainder of the day. It was so great to spend two full days with Alexandra. I imagine all parents are pretty biased when it comes to their children but I have to say she is amazing. When we first arrived at the hotel, Candace and I spent about an hour talking about her and all of the things that she did during our trip. Most amazingly was the fact that none of it seemed to faze her. She did many things she had never done before and she did it with curious eyes wide open and a smile on her face.
Some of the comments yesterday sort of asked about the process. Here is a quick overview of what we expect to happen. On Monday, we visit the local inspector and it takes a couple of days for him to approve the adoption. Then we wait for a court date, which could take place any time in the next two weeks. After the court date, there is a mandatory ten-day waiting period until the adoption is finalized. Until then we will stay in this faraway place, visiting the orphanage in the morning from 9:00 - 12:00 and then later from 3:30 - 6:00. After the waiting period expires, Alexandra is officially ours. We will then head back to Kiev for 2 - 3 days to get her passport and visa before getting back on the plane for Winnipeg and our new family life back home. So in 15 - 25 days, we will be back, and I will start thinking of reasons why all the four year old boys in town are nothing but trouble and why they have no business calling my daughter.