Monday, February 8, 2010

Home at last

Just wanted to update everyone that I am now home. the trip went well except for one minor (haha) little incident--will explain later. This is a long message as a lot happened since I last wrote.

The flight from Krasnoyarsk was good but delayed. Nothing was announced in English so I wasn't sure what was going on and I almost got on the wrong plane because it was boarding at the time that mine was supposed to--good thing that the ticket takers check that as you go through or who know where I would have been. So I was afraid to miss my plane and I went to wait near the gate but two old Russians ladies scolded me for having Hannah there--it was too close to the door and thus too cold for kids--so I went and waited where they told me to which was much farther away.
This put me at the back of the line when boarding started. We have to go outside on the tarmac to board and everyone was crowded around the plane and we were at the back of the crowd. It was at least 30 below zero this morning. One man saw me and started shouting in Russian. I did not know what he was shouting but pretty soon the whole crowd was shouting and the people just parted and Hannah and I were pushed up to the front for getting on the plane--apparently he was shouting something about a child and it being too cold so we got to go first. Unfortunately Hannah decided at that time she didn't want to go and she sat down. I couldn't lift her and handle my carry on luggage so some nice man took my luggage and I took Hannah. They are very protective of their children. It's pretty cool.
Hannah was perfect on the plane ride--she only slept a little but traveled well--stayed in her seat the whole time and even kept her seatbelt on.

My time in Moscow was really good. I did not like the city on my way through when I arrived but I think I was just over tired from the travel because I really enjoyed it this time (except for how expensive everything was).
The day we arrived we had to go right to a Russian Doctor that works for embassy for Hannah's medical appt. She passed with flying colors. the Doctor said that he thought she must have been a favorite at the orphanage because she did not look or act like a typical orphanage kid--meaning that she was normal size, looked healthy, and wasn't afraid of him. He did tell me to expect one big problem as she grew older--keeping the boys away. HaHa. She also had her Visa picture taken that day. We just spent the afternoon at the hotel that day so that I could rest up--Hannah didn't seem tired by the long travel but I was.
The next day was totally free so we didn't do much again. The agency lent me a stroller so I just walked all over the place around my hotel to check things out. We were out for about 2 and a half hours walking around (with Hannah in the stroller). Little did I realize at the time that I was so close to the major attractions. To me it felt warm after Krasnoyarsk but I felt bad when we got back to the hotel because Hannah was really chilled--I dressed her warm and she sat on my lap for about 30 minutes wrapped in a blanket before she wanted to get down and play--the Russian women would not have been impressed with me that day!
Friday the agency took me on a site seeing tour--to Red Square and St. Basils and Christ the King Cathedral--Everything was gorgeous. Only then did I realize that when I was out walking the day before I had come only one block away from Red Square without knowing it. They also took me to a hill overlooking the whole city which was pretty awesome. I asked about the Kremlin and they said we didn't have time to go in there so I was bummed about that. We went to the Embassy where I got all the papers needed for Hannah to immigrate to the US and that all went very smoothly also. We were done by 3pm so I decided that I wasn't going to be in Moscow and miss the Kremlin so I put Hannah in the stroller and we went on our own--it was walkable from my hotel--while I didn't spend a lot of time there I was so glad that I went--it is pretty awesome.
As I was walking around there I was thinking--"Here I am, pushing MY daughter in a stroller through Red Square and inside the Kremlin--I could never have imagined this and yet it's reality--so amazing".

We left the next morning at 4am from the hotel. While waiting for the plane in Moscow I met another couple that had been to a different region to adopt their child and were returning home. they had the exact flights as me up until Chicago--then I went to MSP and they went onto St. Louis. It was great to meet them and have some one else to navigate the airports with me--they were really nice and a great help.
the first leg of the flight to Frankfurt was uneventful.
Then--I had to go through security in Frankfurt which was quite eventful.
To back up, I had bought a Faberge Egg in Moscow and it was in my carry on bag--big mistake. When my case went through the x-ray scanner, it stopped and was never brought out. They found out it was my bag and they closed all the security lines in that vicinity and diverted all the other passengers to other checkpoints. They took Hannah and I into a small room and roped off the area and questioned me about the contents of my bag. I eventually remembered the egg and found out they thought it looked like a granede on the x-ray machine. We had to wait until a bomb squad came and denoted my egg. I was very nervous and actually started crying because it was getting so close to my flight leaving--I was envisioning being stuck in Germany. When they finally let me through I went right to the gate and onto the plane as there was no time to spare. Fortunately all turned out well and I can laugh about it now but it was not funny at the time. At least I know they are hard at work keeping America safe!
The rest of the flight was very uneventful and we arrived home as planned. Hannah slept very little but traveled like a gem. Many strangers commented about how cute she was and how good she was on that long flight.

My sister Kathy picked my up with my car and drove us home which was a good thing as I was in no shape to drive at that point. My mom and my brother and sister in law (Dave and Pat) were there also to greet us. It was really nice--they had balloons and flowers. If Hannah and I hadn't both been so tired, it would have been nice to stay and visit with them for a while but all I could think about was getting home. Hannah cried after I put her in her carseat and closed the door. I think it was because I closed the door and the rest of us were all outside and she got scared so I had to say very quick good-byes and get in the car. It took her a little while to settle down and realize that I was going with her. Being over tired didn't help.
Hannah slept the ride home but was very excited when we got in the house and she saw all her new things. She ran from thing to thing and was having a good time. It was so cute to see her playing with her kiechen and her dolls--she knew exactly what to do. She also took to my sister Kathy right away and was playing with her and talking in Russian to her--Hannah was obviously directing her play. I am sure she was glad for a new face after being sequestered in a plane with Mama for over 20 hours!

Hannah is still on Russian time and woke up at 3am. She was ready to play but Mama wasn't. I ended up falling back asleep in her bed while she played in her room and slept for 2 more hous--she was still playing. She then slept for 6 hours this afternoon. She has been just a delight this evening--alternating between entertaining herself and wanting Mama to play. We are having fun. I am hoping to get her to sleep through more of the night tonight--we'll see.

Thus ends my journey to getting my daughter home and begins my journey of being Mama!!

Here is a message from Hannah. jcrtgkvtr8uhn675ihh7nio i6uy i6yiui5--that means hello everyone.


Jeff Morris said...

Welcome home and welcome to the official first day of the most amazing journey I've ever been on -- parenthood!

I love ya Mary and am thankful that you were, despite the obstacles, able to stay the course to accomplish what God wanted in your life. Be blessed!

qmiller said...

Welcome home to you both!

lisa said...

I am alternating between laughing and crying Mary! what a priceless, priceless journey! So glad that the EGG did not go off, that would have been a mess! So happy that you are home at last with your little sweet Hanna!

Much Love, Lisa

Annie said...

Happy to read that you and Hannah are really home! ENJOY!

Aaron and Julie said...

Welcome HOME Mary & Hannah!! I am typing this through tears. I held it together until you wrote about Hannah running through your house, excited about all of her new things. This has been one heck of a journey and I am so blessed to have been able to follow it. Thank you. Your daughter is stunning, you are glowing and you are now enjoying the best thing in the world - being a mother!! I am so happy for you!!

Kelly and Sne said...

Wow - so good to hear that you had a great time in Moscow and a good trip home (except for the security thingy... I have a similar story and it was equally as scary). Those will be memories that you will treasure forever. And great to hear that Hannah is loving her new life and new home - and of course her Mama. Congrats again, Mama.

Anita said...

Congratulations and welcome home!! I'm glad you're home safe and sound - and with your beautiful daughter!

JaneMM said...

I'm so glad you are home!!!! Now the real journey begins. I hope to keep in touch, relax and enjoy your first days at home with your daughter. Doesn't that sound great!


Cameron and Kyle said...

Oh Mary and Hannah, welcome home. I am just so happy for you both. Glad you can laugh about the egg "bomb" now. Congratulations!!!

Robin said...

Welcome home! I can't wait to meet her :)

Alysa said...

Welcome home to both of you! Just think, "home" means so much more now and a place full of love and hope for your darling little girl. I'm so, so happy for you Mary. Congratulations!

Lou Ann said...

Welcome home Mommy and Hannah!!It sounds like you had quit the adventure on your trip home. You can use that story to remind her what you went through to bring her home when she doesn't want to come home by curfew!

Enjoy these first days and weeks as mom and daughter. The first are so very special and yet just the beginning. It's life wonderful!!

Lou Ann & Lexie too

Mama Andrea said...

I know you'll be having a blast and the bonding sounds like it is going very well. You're both home! Let the fun begin!

Kim said...

Yeah! Welcome home mom and daughter!!! Seriously, your stories were hysterical! Although I am sure the bomb issue wasn't at the time. Oh man! So funny about them parting the line for you. They did that for us in Volgograd as well. I was shocked that they put children first. The way you described it was exactly the same. David and I looked at each other like "what the heck are they yelling at!!!" :-)

I am so incredibly happy that your journey to your daughter has ended with much love and success. Now you can begin a completely different journey! Your journey is such a testament to faith and how God knows, always.


Gretchen said...

Wonderful story Mary!! I am so overjoyed that you are home with your daughter.

John & Jenny Morgan said...

I'm so glad you made it home without blowing up anything! Happy mommyhood to you!

Irishdrums said...

Hi Mary!

Thanks for the phone message the other day -- it was so sweet to hear Hannah's little voice say hello! Sorry its taken me a while to get back to you.
How are you both doing today?
I forgot what size clothes Hannah wears. I found this adorable t-shirt that is pink and says "my uncle is in the Navy"... we ordered it in 4T and it just came today ...I'm not sure that is the right size?