While we should be traveling at 30,000 feet above sea level, the highest we will actually get is 8,800 feet. That’s the highest point on I-80 (east of the Mississippi). No, our plane is not taking the interstate. Our rented Subaru economy car is. New York suffered a bad storm Saturday evening. Our flight from Moscow had a very rough landing. And our connecting flight to Cincinnati was delayed … delayed again … then canceled. The next hope was a flight to Indy. It followed the first flight’s pattern. Then a flight to Columbus, Ohio followed the same pattern. So, we took a cab to a Quality Inn for some good sleep (thanks for the hook-up Jim!). The next morning’s early arrival to Laguardia Airport put us in the middle of hundreds of others who had similar stories to ours from the previous night. And we, flying standby, had no hope to make it out of there until Monday morning. “Maybe Monday” is the way the ticket agent put it.
Jessi didn’t want to miss any more school. And neither of us wanted to risk missing our appointment with the State Police for fingerprints on Tuesday. So, we rented a car and have just passed mile marker 95.6 on I80 West in Pennsylvania. Not stressed about getting home at this point, we stopped and helped a lady and her granddaughter change a tire.
We are both heartbroken with having missed the Palm Sunday celebration with our church family. We did, however, stop at Grace Church in Netcong, New Jersey for worship. (Yes, we only went to one worship service while traveling, Mary Kate.)
While we’ve had quite an experience getting home, these traveling difficulties are nothing compared to the difficulty we’ve had in getting our hearts to travel home from a certain baby house in Russia. We traveled to see Sveta. To bond with her. This trip’s purpose in a typical case is meant to provide prospective adoptive parents a chance to see the child, get to know a little about the child, and decide if they intend to continue/pursue adopting the child. Having made that decision concerning Sveta months ago, we intended only to learn more about her and to bond with her. Now, having bonded with her, we both feel there has been a tearing apart. We were expecting this.
We will keep ourselves busy in the net 2-3 months. Preparing her room. Finishing the second dossier. Finalizing financial options and plans. And sifting through the nearly 3 hours of video shot with Sveta while visiting her. (I, Barry, have attempted to trim the video to a short segment to share with all of you on the 22nd. It’s still a bit too long, but I promise to have something concise giving you a chance to hear her sweet voice, see her smile, and, in the end, melt your heart. So, bring a box of tissues … if not for you, for mama and papa.)
So, you’ve yet to hear about our last two days with Sveta.
Thursday afternoon we arrived at the baby house at about 3:10pm. Sveta joined us after she’d been napping. She would spend 15 minutes with us before being taken to get a snack. And we waited. During that 15 minutes of interaction she was very calm – we suppose she’d not yet had a chance to wake up.
When she returned she was more lively. Papa and Sveta played, while Jessi interviewed a caregiver (with the help of Vita of Global Adoptions). We learned more about eating habits, bathing situations, temperament, sleep patterns, discipline model, and other daily routine and personality bits of information. And papa’s summary of all of this is: “you’ll love her.”
We had a long visit on Thursday. About 3 hours in all.
We arrived earlier on Friday, hoping to provide Vita a chance to get back to her family about 9 hours away. Upon arriving at about 10:00am at the baby house we were told that Sveta was due back at any minute. She was at the doctor getting a check-up - this is standard for the adoption process. A little more than an hour later she arrived. And she was very mellow. We are unsure if she was just up early and tired or if she was perhaps exhausted from wrestling with doctors for perhaps hours. We had a nice visit, nonetheless. We read and held her. She wore my slippers, then Jessi’s boots. Then we tried to explain to her that we’d be back. But not soon. Then she went off to lunch.
On the drive back to Vladimir I thought back to the time I left her in December. I had cried most of the way to Vladimir while Jessi slept next to me. This time, I was sad, but filled with hope. Jessi and I talked a lot. And, even now, will ask one another, “how you doin’?” We both feel like we are, at times, ‘just holding it together’.