We awoke this morning to fresh snow here in Moscow. Temps were well below freezing and the lingering moisture in the air was taking advantage of it. While most of the people here in Moscow went about their normal lives, we embarked on something not so normal.
Katia and Vladimir picked us up at 8:30 and off we went to the court house to retrieve the final court decree. Next, off to the 'Register's office', where we filed the adoption decree. Then, we set off for the orphanage.
We got there a little after 1:00. More snow had fallen in the rural areas around Moscow than in the central part of the city. I don't know if I can fully detail freshly fallen snow that surrounds a children's orphanage...somehow it's a little brighter, a little whiter and it has a power to take you thousands of miles from whatever bothers you.
Normal introductions, yada yada, best wishes, etc... They were all given in typical fashion. They asked if we would like to dress him or if we would like for them to in the interest of time. We were kind of overwhelmed at that moment and Mary decided it would be best if they dressed him before they brought him out. I've heard that they essentially meet you, greet you, put the kid in your arms and then push you back out the door...well, yeah, that's kinda what they do.
Within 3-5 minutes they had him out to us fully dressed in ALL the clothes Mary gave them to put him in. We're not talking 2 layers...4 plus! He definitely remembered us and was giving us his characteristic smile within minutes. About 7-10 members of the staff started pouring in giving Daniel hugs and kisses. Many wanted their picture taken with him. Several were wiping away tears. The young lady whom was primary caregiver for Daniel's group fell to the end of the line and took a few extra moments with him. After we finished and started down the stairs, I caught a glimpse of her pausing and watching us as we went out of sight; Daniel took a little piece of her heart with him today.
He did incredibly well in the car. Very overwhelmed but his personality showed through. He was flirting and playing the whole way to the Moscow Police Station. We had to go there to show Daniel to them so they could verify by pictures taken of him that we had taken custody of the right child. Also they are responsible for issuing the Russian passport so Daniel can get out of the country.
Here comes the second good news of the day! Normally this process takes 2-3 days...we're getting next day turn around because we asked nicely. This means we can leave Saturday!!!! I've changed our airfare (not a cheap thing to do, but we're coming out not too out of whack because of the savings in the apartment) to return Saturday.
We left the police station and went to the CSS offices where everyone took their time playing with Daniel. We were coached on the final 3 days and what to expect with the US Embassy.
We arrived back to the flat after 5:00. Daniel had dinner and we got on a video call via skype to his new grandparents and uncle. He did his typical laughing, playing and such. He's got a really laid back, playful personality.
After some more playing, he eventually wound down and fell sleep on Mary while I was on the phone with Delta. I tried finding the camera before they woke up...no dice. Mary woke up while I was stirring. I placed him in his crib and he's out like a light.
I know someday he'll asked questions about this day. We've captured as many pictures as possible. I can only hope I can retain as much as I can to help him appreciate how awesome of a day this way. The look of excitement and awe were so prevalent on his face at times today. We had the TV on for a few minutes and he watched SpongeBob of all things. He's got a funny sense of humor. He sneezed and I mimicked him. He thought that was the funniest thing. He then proceeded to do fake sneezes for about 30 minutes, just at random, to get a laugh out of us.
I know I'll have more thoughts on this day later. For now, Mary and Daniel are passed out and I'm sitting here looking down on the streets of Moscow.