Since this was an unscheduled day off, I went out to lunch with the L family, our translator, our attorney, and another family, the O family, that got into down latenight/early morning. They were going to be meeting their son (Evan on RR), who is in an orphanage in a different city, at the same time as me. After lunch, our translator brought the L family to an appointment and the translator’s sister, our unofficial translator/assistant, Z, gave me and the second family a small, guided tour of the city. Our tour ended at the Vernissage but there weren’t as many vendors there, which is likely because of the holiday.
I went back to the apartment to hang out for a bit before we all met up for dinner. After dinner, we wandered around the outdoor mall that nearly connects the Opera Theater and Freedom Square to Republic Square. The other family who was on their first trip and I went to Republic Square to watch the dancing water show that started right at. They last for an hour but we didn’t stay the entire time. Republic Square was packed with people though, it was great to see. I believe the dancing water show is a nightly occurrence but I could be wrong on that, the only night I was in the area to check was night.
In the afternoon, our driver and Z brought me to Peaches’ orphanage where I first met with the director. She asked me a few questions and then gave me permission to meet her. We left her office and walked to the building where her room is. After arriving in the room, I scanned the area to find her. So many babies! Once I laid eyes on her, I melted. She’s so much cuter in person than in her pictures! Our translator talked to the nannies and informed them that I was there to meet Peaches and we had already talked to the director and she knows we’re here. Peaches had just gotten up from her nap so they gave her a new diaper and dressed her in a cute outfit before giving her to me.
They gave me a stroller to use and let me go outside with her since it was a nice afternoon. Peaches and I hung out under a pavilion and I held her, rocked her, and tried to get her to smile. She was so serious that first day! I didn’t get a smile out of her. Our visit lasted 2 hours and then I had to give her back. They drove me back to my apartment and I hung out there the rest of the night.
I got to spend two hours with Peaches in the morning and then two again in the afternoon. During our morning visit, I got her to smile a little bit. She was beginning to open up to me! I fed her a bottle and then she fell asleep in my arms. So precious! During our afternoon visit, she fell asleep on me. We were inside because the nannies believed it was too hot for her to be outside. The L family stopped by and got to meet Peaches, which was pretty awesome.
I had two visits with her again on Thursday. During the morning visit, she fell asleep on me again.
I arrived early for my afternoon visit to pass out the Beanie Babies two to of the rooms with the older children (3-5 year olds). I save “Christian”, who is a sweetie. Peaches and I spent the afternoon inside again. There was a couch in the hallway so we sat there and played.
After my visit with Peaches, I went with the L family to an orphanage run by nuns. There are children up for adoption there, too, but they’re only available to married couples. I got to meet a few children whose parents are in process of adopting them and one whose family arrived for court a few weeks after I left. I got to play with “Laura”, a child available for adoption. She’s so sweet! Her and the L family’s daughter hit it off well. I gave out the last few Beanie Babies to the 5 children who are in Laura’s group. Afterwards, the L family and I went to an indoor mall to get souvenirs and then out to dinner.
I had my last morning visit with her on Friday morning. In the afternoon, I got a short visit before I had to go back to the Minister of Justice. Both myself and the other family on their first trip went. We told him that we did, in fact, want to adopt the child we met. After this, we met the other family for dinner and then I went back to my apartment to rest and finish packing up before heading to the airport at 1 in the morning. The O family’s flight left an hour before mine so I figured it would make more sense to just go to the airport with them than to have our driver come back for me right after he dropped them off at the airport.
My flight left at approximately . The flight was just under 4 hours and we received a full breakfast courtesy of Austrian Airlines (this is the same airline I flew on from Dulles to Vienna and then Vienna to Eastern Europe). I would highly recommend them! Great service! It was about Vienna time when we arrived (flight was due to arrive at ). My layover was just under 4 hours. We took off from Vienna at am (approximately) Vienna time and had a flight that was 9 ½ hours. Our flight path brought us over England, Greenland, Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario, and even much of Michigan! Too bad I couldn’t just parachute out of the plane, it would have saved so much time. :) We arrived at Chicago O’Hare at approximately . This was the first time I’ve ever had to deal with customs. There were several other international flights that arrived about the same time as mine. Going through customs was confusing at first but it did go quickly.
My layover was 5 ½ hours but then the plane was delayed because the plane our pilot was flying on his way into O’Hare was delayed getting there. I was supposed to arrive back in Grand Rapids atbut didn’t get back until or just after.