Sunday, February 1, 2009

Update for Friday

Last full day in Moscow...because of our schedule today we were not able to get to the orphanage today.

The day started with Katia picking us up at 11:00. We drove straight to the medical complex north of Moscow. Here at this complex is where all families that are adopting internationally go through their "medical review". There were 4 families there this day, all from the United States. We were the second family to go through.

Stop #1 - The dermatologist / Oncologist (Yep, one doctor, two specialties). He just sat there in his chair behind his office desk and wrote a statement while asking very simple questions. "Have you ever had any major skin diseases?" "Have you ever had any cancer?"... We could have been two Martians with scaly purple skin and bad breath...he wouldn't have noticed. He never looked up...

Stop #2 - (queue Law and Order "Dun-Dun" sound effect) "The Commission of Doctors" - Into the room Mary and I went. Sitting behind a desk were 5 doctors. Each had their own area of specialty, some had multiple. Again with the simple questions but certainly nothing that would have made Dr. Gregory House even remotely impressed (that would have been funny...Dr. House in the room with these ladies...)

Let me take this opportunity to tell you about 'Scary Soviet Doctor Lady"... I would say she's in her 60s, black and white hair, thick black glasses and a Soviet style look in her eye that would freeze water... She steps before me (Greg) and asks me to close my eyes. I did. Something I was happy to do to get her image out of my head... She immediately repeated the question... Ahhh, I do have my eyes closed... She immediately started rambling something in Russia which our translator (who was behind the screen) translated to English. She said something about my right eye wouldn't close and that I OBVIOUSLY needed to be examined by a Neurologist because my right eye wouldn't close (no jokes from those of you in the peanut section). Apparently my right eye was twitching, no doubt because I had "Soviet Sally" here in front of me making me tremble...

We had to take our shirts off and they took our BP, listened to our hearts and our breathing. Finally, "Soviet Sally" took out her hammer to test our reflexes. I have no doubt that Sally here once was on the Soviet Union's Mens Olympic Team for any and all sports (I bet she has a few gold medals). Anyway she proceeds to test my reflexes. God she was good with that hammer. Next, Mary... If there were a football in front of Mary's legs she could have easily cleared a 50 yard field goal with a few yards to spare.

We were done with the 'review'. This whole 'review' thing really is nothing more than a formality. A nice little "cottage industry" if you will. We were charged 38,000 rubles (about $1100 at Friday's exchange rate) for their 8 stamps and signatures, plus, what, 10 minutes of their time (over 2 hours of our time). I guess it is expensive paying for all those gym memberships and protein shakes for Soviet Sally.

(Note to future families: We've heard that St. Petersburg's medical review are very different. Actual blood tests, actual examinations, the whole thing...)

Following the medical stuff, we left to go a local photo store to have Daniel's picture printed so we'd have them for his American passport/visa (trip 3 stuff).

Traffic in downtown Moscow is crazy on Fridays. Everyone is getting off from work early so they can get out of town and go to their 'summer homes' out of the city. Plus, Raul Castro (Fidel's brother whose now in charge of Cuba) was in town visiting the Kremlin, so traffic all around the Red Square was congested.

We decided to run through a down-town store looking for children's books and CDs for Katie and Daniel. Then, that was it. We were done for the day. Vladimir and Katia took us back to the flat and we headed in to complete packing. It was snowing good at this point and the temps were falling quickly.

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