Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It Is Not Everyday that You Visit the US Embassy

Today was our last full day in Russia! The only obligation that we had was our US Embassy appointment at 2pm so we decided to sleep in until 8:30am. We got up and had breakfast and played a little. We were able to feed Emma lunch and get her down for a one hour nap before leaving our hotel so we were relieved about that.

Our driver came and picked up both families at our hotel and drove us to our Embassy. He could only show us the door as he was not allowed to go inside with us. When we pulled up, there was a long line of people outside the doors (maybe 50 or more people). We initially thought that we would have to get in this line, but we were ushered right in by the guards standing outside by the gate bypassing all those other people. Once inside we had to surrender all electronic devices at a desk. JC remembered his cell phone and had it checked. Then we went through the security checkpoint where they checked JC’s book bag. He set the buzzers off, and it was Emma’s pink cell phone. That had to be checked as well! We finally made it upstairs to the room where US Adoptions were processed. We waited about 30 minutes with a room full of other parents and children. Finally an officer came out and basically told us what was going to happen in that room as well as what to expect once we land and go through US Customs. She left and about 15 minutes later, the three windows opened and families started getting called up. We were the third family called. We walked up and handed the lady behind the glass our passports. JC had to sign a few forms, and we both had to raise our right hands and swear that we had provided them with accurate and truthful information. She then proceeded to show us Emma’s photo that they had and what the doctor had written down about Emma’s heart condition. We also had to promise that all of Emma’s vaccinations would be updated in 30 days. Then she told us to sit down and wait for the coveted brown envelope. Thankfully we had brought snacks, juice, toys and books. Emma was even sharing with other children in the room which was nice. About 30 minutes later we all got called up individually again. This time we went to a different window, and the guy showed us Emma’s visa. It has her photo on it, and it is the coveted IR-3 visa. This means that once our little one lands in the USA and we hand the mysterious brown envelope over to the US Customs Official, Emma will become a US Citizen. She will retain citizenship in the Russian Federation as well so she will be a dual-national. At this point, we were finished at the Embassy, and our driver was waiting for us.

In Russia, the baby’s passport and visa have to be registered with the Russian Consulate within two weeks of leaving. If this does not happen, the agency could lose accreditation. We were driven to another side street, and a guy came running up to our car. We each paid him $200 (US), and signed a few forms and handed him the babies’ passports. He walked off down the street, and half an hour later he was back saying that it had been taken care of – this is just how things work in Russia. At one point, I was just hoping he was going to come back and bring the passports with him because he told us it would only take 10 minutes.

When were finished on the side of the street, it was time to venture back to the hotel. Let’s just say that I don’t ever want to endure that ride again…5 adults, two babies, traffic jam in Moscow downtown = not a good thing!

Tonight we had Sbarro pizza for dinner and packed our suitcases. We gave Emma a bath (which she loves), and we put her down at 7:30 since she didn’t get her full nap.

As I type this, I am almost giddy about going home tomorrow. We cannot wait to see our boys and love on them. It feels like ages since we left on the 26th of September, and we have missed them like crazy. Part of me though is feeling a little sad that we are taking Emma from all that she knows. No one will be able to speak to her in her native tongue at home like they do here, and life will be about 180 degrees different in North Carolina compared to St Petersburg.

Tomorrow, we fly straight from Moscow to Washington DC (Dulles), and from there onto NC. Our connection time is short so we are asking for many prayers, well wishes and positive thoughts that there is no line in Customs and that we can cruise right through with Emma.

We are already head over heels in love with this little girl, and we could not imagine our lives without her now. She is our little princess, the one we’ve been waiting for since March 2008. It is amazing that this adoption journey is finally coming to an end, but oh we cannot wait to see the journey the Lord has planned for us once we all get home. I know that I have posted this quote on the blog before, but now I can say that I truly understand it. Not only have we as parents been blessed to have two beautiful sons born to us, but we are now blessed to have an angel who was born in our hearts.

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. ~~~ Kristi Larson
Mama and Emma before leaving for the US Embassy
us embassy
Quick snapshot outside the US Embassy (no cameras allowed inside)
Look at those curls (just after bathtime)
All packed up and ready to go!!!


Jodee Leader said...

Whoooo hooo! You are officially on your way home! I can't wait to see what the boys think about their new little sister. She is absolutely adorable. I love her curls! You are soooo blessed! Travel safe.

Rachel said...

Yeah! Safe travels to you!

I'm sure your boys will love their little sister!

I love the picture of Emma in the suitcase! She is a doll!

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog for sometime. I am so glad that this adoption is finally almost over and that you have your sweet little princess to love on. She is just adorable.

When you get home please continue to post and let us all know in blog land how you guys are doing. A lot of people just end their blog after they get home after adopting a little one. Unfortunately for some of us we feel like we are your blog friends and still are interested in your life at home with your 3 precious kids.

I cannot wait to see pictures of her at home and how she progresses here in America.
Oh yeah! Do not spoil her to much for it will be hard to stop it when you get home. LOL!!


Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

OH WOW....I am so happy you are on the way home!! Safe travels my friend!!

Emma is beautiful.....I love those curls:)



findingourdaughter said...

Love her curls!! Praying for a smooth, easy journey home for you three....traveling with a toddler! So glad you are finally on your way home!
Safe travels and God bless!

Jo said...

Safe travels home ~ I'm sure the boys are thrilled that you will soon be on your way.

I'll be thinking of you during your adjustment period as a family of 5.

Emma's curls are adorable ~ oh how I wish my poker straight hair had a curl or two.


Jo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristine said...

So glad that all of this went well. That little Emma is just gorgeous..oh, my those curls...I longed for hair like hers growing up.

Regarding taking her from everything she knows...I understand completely the feelings you have about this...but just know that having a Mommy and Daddy and brothers to love her completely outweigh anything else that she will miss in Russia. She has a family and you finally have your daughter. All part of God's plans.

So happy for you.


PS...you can't spoil that girl too much. It isn't possible ;)
She's a girl...give her whatever she wants..ha.

Bama Girl in AZ said...

So very happy for you! I will pray for a safe and swift journey home!

Stephanie said...

WOOHOO!!! I'm so excited for you all. Have a safe trip back!

CarolinaGirl said...

WHOOHOOO!!! She is such a doll, and she reminds me so much of my little Mallory. That brown curly hair and those big brown eyes, so sweet!

Stacy said...

YAY.........it is almost over - long plane ride home and then it will be all over! CONGRATS to the both of you and I can't wait to continue following little Emma as she grows with your family! :)

Good luck and keep posting!

Over-Caffeinated X 4 said...

Oh my goodness, I am seriously jealous of that hair! GORGEOUS!

I laughed at the part about the guy with the money running off with the passports. That is definitely the way things are done and definitely what I would have been thinking (am I going to see this guy again?) I have done some things in Russia successfully that NEVER would have worked in the US. That's one thing you can say for the Russians. :)

Can't wait to hear you are home and happy with your boys!

Heather said...

I have tears in my eyes right now. I am so happy for you! Good luck on your trip home.

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