For our last visit we had to go pick up the social worker on our way to the baby house so she could evaluate us. I was pretty nervous about this as we were told she would be asking questions like, “Why do you want a child with Down syndrome?” How can I explain to someone who might not see things the way I see them, that God is the creator of all life and He doesn’t make mistakes!?
Well, we arrived at the baby house and went into the visiting room to wait for Maria. There were a couple of toys I had brought this time that we didn’t get a chance to play with yet. When she came in and she started to get into the toys on the shelf, I whipped out the Hello Kitty purse and lured her to me. Instant hit! She opened it and immediately started brushing her hair. I showed her the mirror and she would hold it in one hand and brush her hair with the other. I also showed her the beads and put them over her head, but she DID NOT want the bracelets and promptly threw them across the room! When I showed her the pretend lipstick, she also knew what it was for and began to swipe it across her lips.
Then we went into a play room so the social worker could evaluate us. Maria would not let go of her now prized girlie possessions. I think I was also nervous because she is so independent and she has shown us that she will come and play with us when she feels like it. We prompt play and sometimes she responds great, but other times she pushes us away. I was hoping the social worker would see how much we love her and want to give her a family over everything else. She actually only observed us for about 30 minutes and only asked us two questions: How did you find her: the internet or here at the baby house? and How do you feel about her not being a biological child? Is that all you’ve got? That was pretty easy. The translator said she said, ok, everything looks good. I hope so, because she will be testifying in court about our interaction. She also gave us the original photo of Maria in the red beanie- priceless!
They brought in her snack and we took turns feeding her yogurt. She let us and it was fun! She can do it herself, but let’s just say it’s a mess! When it was all gone, she actually took the spoon and tried to get every last drop out of there. And she wouldn’t eat her pear- hmmm…
Then we joined her playgroup outside for some playtime and lastly for some pool time. They pour boiling water seasoned with sea salt in the pool. They don’t want the kids to catch a cold in the 90 degree weather you know. It was so much fun to watch her and the other kids play! She was a hoot! She would splash another boy and then when he splashed her back, she would yell at him, “Kostya, ay yayay!”
Look at the difference in size! Maria and Charlotte- only 4 months apart
Finally it was time for the children to get out and get changed so they could have lunch and then naps. We left a blanket for her and a baby doll in her bed. I hope she can keep it. The other children were all trying to take her purse items, so maybe they won’t let her keep the baby either. We also left the photo album so they could show her the photos of her new family.
We had to say goodbye and she didn’t really want to give us a hug. She was tired and a little cranky, so we understood. It hit me then how much I was going to miss her and I started to tear up. I put my sunglasses on so they wouldn’t see me. It’s going to be a hard 3 months to endure!
In the afternoon, we ventured out to Red Square on the metro with Katya, our Russian host, Traci Williams, her mom Freida and Anna. It was quite an adventure! We’re glad we got to go see it before we came home. When we were in the metro station, people were running by us. I asked Katya, “Why are they in such a hurry?” Her reply, “They want to get home.” Maybe it’s like driving 80 on the freeway so you can get home sooner. Traci found out Anna's passport will be ready on Tuesday! Praise the Lord! They will have been here for 4 weeks before they go home.
The next morning we had to leave around 8am. I woke up with a sore throat. I also started sneezing and sneezed the entire 18 hours home. I was really uncomfortable and congested, but we made it home no problem.
Just a little note to those traveling after us, when we were in the airport, we had no idea what the process was. There is a security check when you first get to the airport, then you check in and get your boarding passes. Then we went up an escalator and there is gate A, with a passport/visa checkpoint you need to go through, then another security checkpoint and then onto your gate. We were hanging around, thinking the passport/visa checkpoint was our boarding area. It’s so hard to tell because there are so many people crowded around. We were a little stressed because it’s a long line for the visa check and security and we only had about 45 minutes to spare. We actually made it to our gate right when they started boarding!
We arrived Saturday night at my parents’ house after traveling for 24 hours! Our kids tackled us and were so happy to see us! We had a good night’s sleep and made it back to Santa Barbara Sunday evening.