I do think I could have taken custody of Caleb today-it's been 10 days since court!! How time flies!! However, our translator, Dima, advised against it because he said it would be a LONG day in the car. I'm glad I listened because we left at 8:00am and got back to the apt a little after 3:30. I really can't imagine how fun that would NOT have been with a toddler-particularly when we do not know each other well. This time today was nearly all spent parked outside of a courthouse and then two different registrar's offices (the one in Irpin-the area where Caleb now lives and the other in some corner of Kiev where he was originally registered) and some other official place while Dima was inside getting all this paperwork done. Two times I had to come inside with my passport and sign my name. (The rest of the time I just sat and listened to the radio and people-watched and tried to figure out what signs said, and looked through my Russian-English phrase book and dozed and sat. Did I mention, sat? I can't believe I didn't take a journal or a reading book or puzzle book with me. The most fun I had was when I took the words off the notepad we got at Inn America in Boise the night before Kevin and I flew here and tried to write them using the cyrillic alphabet-that was truly a kick!) I got to see the new birth certificate with Kevin's and my names written in cyrillic as the parents. It looks so cool. I wanted to kiss it but refrained. We did walk over to a little stand where I got a pkg of pretzels for the equiv of 13 cents. This would have been a great day to have a couple granola bars or salted nut rolls tucked in your purse.
So Monday is supposed to be the DAY of taking custody. It's supposed to be a big paperwork day, too, except Caleb has to be with us cuz we are getting his passport photos. I'm feeling a bit nervous about taking care of him for the first time in a car--snacks, diapers, toys and sitting and waiting. Bananas were suggested and I mentioned my concern about how messy they are with this gray (not black, sorry) Audi's spotless black leather interior but the driver has already given his OK. You are all witnesses. Honestly, I am nervous and excited about a week with a toddler in this apartment. I'm wondering how many things will end up being kept on top of the tall fridge for safety sake. I'm a little extra nervous about it because it's not my stuff--it goes with the apartment. My friend Nancy and I had planned to go shopping for wet wipes and baby food and diapers and baby shampoo tonight but by the time I ate lunch it was after 4:00 pm and it gets dark around 5 or 5:30 so it didn't happen. Why do I always get nervous about things instead of just being ecstatic that our son is finally coming home?
I'm not sure if I mentioned I was sitting in the car a long time today (laugh here)? At the first registrar's office the toilet was 'broken' but thankfully 4 hundred hours later at the second registrar's office, the toilet was working. Dima pointed me in the right direction. I opened the door and thought I was in the men's restroom because it was basically a porcelain hole in the floor with porcelain foot rests on each side. He must have seen my face because he assured me it was the lady's. I was so glad for my squat pot training with Food for the Hungry and for the handy tissues in my coat pocket. It did flush and there was a sink with soap and water in the adjoining room. The thrill of modern conveniences!
It was really cold here, too, and SLICK on the sidewalks. While I was sitting outside one office I noticed 3 different people pulling their child on wooden sleds. Then 2 ladies were walking together and had these push sleds for their kids--looked like the old wooden sled but had a handle that you pushed, kind of like a stroller. I thought that was clever. I saw a couple elderly ladies walking out there with their canes--thankfully they didn't slip. In another park I saw people pushing their big bassinet-type strollers (I can't remember what you call those) At home in this kind of weather we just really don't get out and walk, at least I sure don't. I either stay in the warm house or else dash to the soon-to-be-warm car, drive wherever and dash into a warm store.
Yesterday when I was going to the big underground malls I was dressed in my long johns (top and bottom) plus jeans, sweater, wool socks, gloves and coat. It was none too warm when walking outside but when I got inside the mall I was sweating like crazy--seriously, even my passport pouch that I carry next to my body felt sweaty. I wonder how people here adjust to those temp changes. I did notice at least one gal carrying her coat but I was reluctant to do that because I was using all my coat pockets as my purse and didn't want anything to fall out.
Donna, Wendy, Kris, Shelley, Charissa (I know I'm leaving someone out but I'm having a senior moment), I keep reminding myself that you guys have all been through this and lived to tell about it. Thanks for going ahead of me and giving me hope and courage.