We are leaving Monday to begin the process of adopting our new son and bringing him home. The pace will be fast and furious. Once we reach Moscow (Tuesday) we will be poked and prodded by Russian doctors to make sure we are fit to be parents. We have heard that we will be seeing about 10 doctors for about 2 minutes each. Most Russian docs have a speciality, so we will be seeing not only a General Practitioner, but also an Infectionist, a Neurologist, a Pulmonologist, a Narcologist, and (believe it or not) a Dermatologist. Obviously the medical system is very different in Russian than in the US.
If we are pronounced "fit", we will travel overnight by train to our region. There we will have just one visit with our almost-son (a fun 6-hour round trip by car), then it's off to court on July 4th.
Court is what I am most anxious about. I remember court from four years ago, when we adopted Alex. Court is intimidating. Our judge was a large, stern lady, who didn't crack a smile - even when she granted us custody of Alex. She did not speak English - we worked through an interpreter. At one point, there was some discussion about a document that was not filed correctly. Not our fault at all, but we got the impression that the court clerk was getting her ass chewed, in Russian of course. We laughed about it later, but didn't dare even grin at the time.
We are told court in this new region lasts about 3 hours. What will they ask us? Hopefully nothing too hard!
We are bringing along a letter from our pediatrician to ask to get the 10-day waiting period* waived. We did this with Alex and it was waived quickly. But that was a different region and a different time. This region typically does not waive the 10 days. But...what if they do? Then we will be bringing home our son about two weeks earlier than planned. Eeek! We will have to think on our feet if this happens, but it would be a good problem to have.
What we expect is that they will not waive the 10 days, and we will have to head back home after court. Then a week later, we will repeat the 11+ hour journey to go pick up our then-official son.
That trip is cake. No intimidating judges, no poking and prodding, just paperwork and bonding time. We get him a passport (Russian), get him a visa, visit the Embassy to emigrate him, and we are off. Then our main job is keeping him comfortable on all the legs of the journey back: car, train and plane. All of which will be brand new to him and probably overstimulating for someone whose world has been a large room with 15 other kids his age and two female adult caregivers.
Then, when we all get home, the real adventure begins...
* A period of time in which the judgement can be appealed. Sometimes waived if the child has medicial issues that require doctor's care.