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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. :)
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Here is the complete blog of the adoption experience in paperback form, Russian Adoption: From Nashville to Astrakhan and Back (PDF). And here is the fictionalized, future "homeland tour" (action adventure) version in various forms: on Kindle, various electronic formats, and in paperback.
This time next week.... Preparation The day before Travel day In the air We're in Moscow Moscow Check out time We're in Astrakhan It's only Monday? What a day... Tuesday (2007-10-02) It's a girl! It's a girl! Wednesday Thursday Great visit Sights of Astrakhan Another great visit Last visit for a while Atlanta! We're home! (10/06) Round two Skora mweh tam boojum Internet access Elizabeth's room Mweh yeddum v aeroport eta ootra In the air again Back in Moscow (11/26) Tuesday (2007-11-26) Back in Astrakhan Russian adoption consultant Comments welcome Showtime! And the judge says...... Success! The day after Saturday morning Much better visit today Beet salad Went for a walk ... Its going to be a good week She's warming up to us Light at the end of the tunnel Picture of us before court More pictures She's ours! The first hours of parenthood Bowel movement Sleep, what a concept Update Nothing much to update about 51-1/2 hours Just another week to go Pictures of our life in Astrakhan Back in Moscow (12/18) Moscow update continued Update to the update's update To the embassy Can't leave early Still in Moscow Riding the Metro Riding the Metro, part deux We're home! (12/23) A few pictures Airport arrival Stay tuned More pics Summary Doctors say she's normal Adoption video Holmes Russian adoption videos Adoption videos updated Our Russian adoption story