Jun 21, 2004… We have spent the last two days visiting with Max. Each day we are noticing new personality characteristics. He is starting to recognize us and be more comfortable around us. At the orphanage, they are on very strict schedules. We are only allowed to see him from 10:00 - 11:30, 2:00- 4:00 and then again from 6:00 to 8:00. We have to drive over an hour each way to see him, so we generally just see him once (or twice) a day. The drive is an experience in and of itself. The roads are very rough with lots of potholes (more like craters). There are no centerlines or road markings on the road, so it is a free for all when it comes to traffic. There are a lot of slow trucks with thick exhaust fumes. The car is very small with 5 of us packed in it. No A/C and No seatbelts. Christy gets carsick, so this is quite fun to watch. The next two days, Max must go to the doctor to be checked out and released from the orphanage. We will hire a driver so he can make this same scary trip (with no car seat!). We may not be able to see him during these two days of doctor trips, it just depends on the schedule.
One big hurdle is feeding. We must be able to show that we can feed Max before they will allow us to leave with him. This may sound easy, but feeding a 6 month old premie solid foods is an experience. It is hard to describe. They eat a puree of vegetables and potatoes (and sometimes meat). Along with this mixture they get a bottle of brownish liquid. This liquid is made from boiling dried fruits. They way it works is that you SHOVEL a spoonful of food into one side of the mouth and then popped the nipple of the bottle into the other side. The bottle causes Max to suck and then the food goes down with the drink. If you don’t time it PERFECTLY, then he chokes and spits out the food. It is the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen!! The caretakers can single-handily feed an entire bowl of food in under 2 minutes and not waste a drop. We have yet to master this skill.
Still no real news on how long we have to wait here. We think it will happen soon. By the way, we had to come up with a name on Sunday (not Monday like we thought). So needless to say, Max has permission to change his name when he gets older. We have decided to wait until we get home to reveal his full name. Just so you know, it is none of the suggestions that have been posted on the website.
Jun 22, 2004… Today Max went to the cardiologist for a follow up. They said everything was normal. But he was completely worn out from his trip to the doctor. When we got to the orphanage, he had not had a nap, so he was exhausted. We then had to take him to get a passport photo in town. The weather here has been extremely hot, it turned into summer overnight. Getting Max bundled up for the car ride was not a happy experience for him (or us). He fell asleep during the car ride, and he was so precious. When we got to the passport office, we were able to completely undress him and put him in white clothes without waking him. He is an extremely hard sleeper (thank heavens). He woke just long enough for the photos and was a precious angel. The rest of the time he pretty much stayed Mad Max…Tomorrow we have a long day. We have a preliminary meeting with the judge, so we hope to get some information on what our future schedule looks like. And we want to go do some shopping for the orphanage. They literally have nothing, so we don’t even really know where to start. They have not asked for anything, but we just feel like maybe we can do a few small things to help. They have a very difficult job. Max also has to go back to the doctor to get his medical clearance so that we may proceed with the adoption. Oh yeah, Christy still has to pass the feeding test. Because of the schedule we haven’t had a chance to try again.
Max also went to the doctor again to get is final medical clearance. He passed with flying colors. They actually seemed surprised that he was so healthy. We are still worried about his developmental delays, but hopefully once we are home we can help him catch up. We also met with the judge for a few minutes yesterday. She just went over our rights and the procedures to expect in court. So, Today we go to court! The session starts at 1:30 and I have been told it will last until 5pm. This is a long time to be on the “hot seat”. During the court session we will find out if the judge will waive our 10-day wait period. I can’t imagine staying in this country 10 more days. Our journal entries will not be updated until we get to Moscow (unless we don’t get the waiver). If all goes well, Byron, Max and I will be in Moscow Friday evening (yes, we have to ride that awful Russian airliner again). Max will need to have a check-up from an American Embassy Doctor in Moscow and Monday & Tuesday we will spend the days getting all his documents. HOPEFULLY, we will start to head home mid next week. So, if you don’t see a journal update for a couple of days…smile…we are on our way. We love you…
Jun 24, 2004…(8 am) IT’S OFFICIAL…WE ARE THE PROUD PARENTS OF MAXIM!!! We had court yesterday. It was another adventure. The paperwork we needed from Moscow didn’t arrive, but the judge agreed to go ahead and have court anyway because the social worker and orphanage director had traveled from Votkinsk. The court started at about 1:30 and lasted until 5:00. They asked us all kinds of questions about our finances, house, parenting experience, etc., etc. Then we went one by one through all the documents. In the middle of court, the judge was interrupted and decided to adjourn the court until Friday. Well, the social worker couldn’t make it Friday, so it looked like we weren’t going to finish until Monday or Tuesday (AAH!). Then after about an hour everyone came back in and the paper arrived from Moscow, so we were able to finish. The final motion was us asking her to waive the 10-day wait period. (Thanks Debbie for getting us the doctor’s signature, that helped). We were approved as his parents and the 10-day wait was waived. So, today we go pick up Max at noon. We were going to try and take a 5 pm flight to Moscow, but the flights are full, so we might not get out until late Saturday. Once in Moscow, we will be there for 3 or 4 days before heading home. So if all goes well, we will be home by the end of next week. We’ll keep you posted. Now the hard part begins…traveling in a foreign country with a baby that’s never had real formula…should be another adventure!
(This picture is from tonight's dinner celebration. Max is with his Grandmommy!)
Stay Tuned...the adventure had only begun!!