To sum it all up: We love our daughter. Elizabeth is a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent little girl. We thank Russia for giving her to us. Otherwise, we did not enjoy Russia.

In their defense, we weren’t there under normal circumstances. It was not a vacation. We felt under pressure and stressed-out as we spent most of our time dealing with their infamous bureaucracy and obnoxious “authorities.” The fact that it was below freezing outside and we were trapped for days on end in hotels made it worse.

Despite all the negative aspects of the adoption “experience,” however, thanks to Children’s Hope, especially Vika and Galina in Russia, we now have a beautiful child. Still, I like Tara’s idea of telling Elizabeth that her original “homeland” is Florida so we can go there instead of Russia for her “homeland tour” if/when she ever wants to do that. 🙂

Here are the videos:

Stay tuned

I hope to get the rest of the photos and videos on here, at least in raw form, over the next few days. I think I’m getting over my post traumatic stress disorder from the trip and can now face looking at the video again. 🙂

Regarding Comments, I had to set those to require approval before showing up on the site because spammers have discovered this site and started adding spam comments. I don’t know how.

Actually, here’s some raw video now. When viewing them, they all have the title of the first one by mistake. Just ignore that. I’ll fix it before the “official” Adoption Video is put together:

Airport arrival

Some pictures as we arrived in the airport. There was a great welcoming party there! We’ve never had an airport welcoming party before!

airport1.jpg airport3.jpg airport2.jpg airport4.jpg

A few pictures

Finally, some pictures of Elizabeth. They’re not even the latest, but it should hold you over if you’ve never seen her before.

with orphanage director in the snowsuit When we first got her in the hotel Putting on clothes

Riding the Metro, part deux

All three of us went to Red Square this time. I’m glad Tara was able to see it. Elizabeth was fascinated, too, but probably won’t remember a thing.

We then had lunch at Sbarro in the underground mall, where Tara bought some more souvenirs.

One more night, then we leave! We’ll see some of you Sunday night at the airport. Some of you others, well, who knows? 🙂

This is the last blog post in Russia!

Riding the Metro

We’re going to attempt to ride the Metro subway to Red Square today. Wish us luck. The exits aren’t numbered, they are listed by name … in Cyrillic. Of course, the overhead announcements are in Russian. One helpful thing is that the announcements are in a male voice if you’re going toward the center of town, and in a female voice heading outward. Hopefully I’ll figure it out.

Then again, with Tara now sick, we might not go at all. We’ve got to do something to kill the time, though.

UPDATE: I went ahead and took the Metro down to Red Square myself today. We wanted me to go through the process once myself alone before trying it with a 2-year-old in tow. It ended up being no big deal, though it was fun just to think I could now say I’ve ridden Moscow’s Metro. I walked through Red Square and took video of St. Basil’s and all that just in case Tara can’t join me again tomorrow. It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, so that’ll make for more interesting video. Anyway, we’ll probably do it all over again tomorrow. I went ahead and got lost in the underground mall on the way back, so I’ve gotten that out of the way. 🙂

Still in Moscow

We’re in a different hotel, the Holiday Inn – Moscow Sokolniki, for the rest of our stay. This is the one that was originally reserved for our return from Astrakhan. It has a reliable internet connection, costs less per night than yesterday’s, and provides a great FREE (not $60) breakfast. The only drawback (if that, given that the Metro subway is so close, cheap and fast) is that it is farther away from the Kremlin/Red Square. With this much downtime we’ll probably do some touristy things, after all.

We had lunch at the McDonald’s across the street from this hotel. Elizabeth does NOT like McDonald’s. That’s good, actually, even though Tara and I agreed that it was the best McDonald’s meal we’d ever had. 🙂 I tried to order combo meals for us, but that didn’t work. All we missed out on were the fries, which I should probably avoid, anyway. In fairness to McDonald’s, Elizabeth probably just doesn’t like beef. It might be the first time she’s ever tried it. Her distaste for beef is also a good thing, though I don’t expect it to last. We have nothing against Russian restaurants, we just can’t read the menu to know what to order. That, plus the fact that they’re usually too expensive.

Can’t leave early

… but at least it’s all over. The Embassy visit went fine.

Delta said that the only way we could take the available seats on earlier flights was to pay $2800 extra FOR EACH ticket. We said no. Unless someone wants to donate that to us, then we’ll call them back. 🙂 As it is, we can’t leave until Sunday as originally planned.