Just got back from meeting little girl #2. But I will bring you up to date with what is going on right now.
First off it seems I can only get a signal at night here which means it's morning and rush time at home. Maybe I can try to use the web cam Saturday night which means it would be Saturday morning at home.
I am in my apartment in the bedroom with the laptop on the window sill with the blinds pulled up and leaning over the hot radiator to be able to type. It's the only way/time I get a signal in my room! I'm sure it looks comical from outside my window! What is the crazy American doing hanging onto the computer up against the window?!
Sunday I left the house at 10:30. Getting into the shuttle express van was one of the hardest things I've had to do. My children were standing on the porch waving goodbye. It makes me cry just typing about it. Lucky for me the van driver was a young woman with a special needs child, which she told me before we were out of the driveway. So all the way to the airport she distracted me with questions about therapy and her sons challenges.
The first thing that I found out when I got to the airport was that my bags were overweight. They had a scale sitting there as you get in line so I weighed my bags...one was over by 4 pounds the other 3 pounds. So I shifted things into my carry on bag, which was already too heavy, but i was determined to take everything with me. When I got to the window I was met with another surpirse, they would not let me carry on the strollers without a baby. It would cost $200 to check them in so I left them there. They were nice enough to put them in the "cage" and I can get them when I come back.
On the plane it was very nice, but very crowded. I sat between two young men who said hello and goodbye and that was all they said for the whole 10 hours. That was nice. They had movies on the plane and I got to watch "Mama Mia". I didn't sleep the whole time because I was going between being so sad to leave my kids and worried about my connecting flight since we were an hour late leaving the gate because of fog and a computer problem.
Sure enough when I got to Frankfurt my connecting flight had left. So I went to three ticket counters before someone could help me., Just in time - got ticket changed to Berlin and then on to my girls. But I didn' thave a phone number for the people who were to meet me at the airport and I was now going to be almost 4 hours late. Luckily they figured out what happened and met me at the later flight.
They took me immediately to my apartment even though it was only 7pm all I wanted to do was sleep.
Tuesday morning the facilitator/translator , Victoria came over and took me to get my money exchanged and get some groceries. Also the landlord came to collect the rent. $1000 for 18 days. It's a nice apartment. It's on the first level. It has a small kitchen with a stove top, microwave, coffee pot, and toaster. Set of dishes and cooking utensils and a few groceries left over from previous tenants. In the bathroom is a shower, toilet and sink and a wash machine! The bedroom is as bigger than my kid's bedrooms at home and has a bed and wardrobe, dresser and night stands.
First day, an ATM machine ate my card. I called the phone number to the bank and they said that probably my bank didn't have an agreement with their bank so they keep the card. But when I was fianlly able to call home this morning Mom called my bank and canceled the card. Good thing I brought enough cash.
While Victoria and I were at the bank and the store, the attorney went to the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs and got my referrals - 7 of them.
He came back to the apartment and we started looking at where all the children were. The two girls I thought I was going to get, plus two more, were at an orpahange about 30 minutes out of town. The other 3 were scattered. I was under the impression that if I wanted two children they had to be at the same orphanage. The attorney said, not necessarily so. The important factor is where is their court. That needs to be at the same place.
I told him that I wanted to go see E and N first and then if for any reason, I changed my mind we could go look at others.
He called the orphanage where the girls were to talk to the director and to let them know we were coming. He was on the phone with her for 20 minutes and I couldn't understand anything he said. When he got off he said - "Big problem. Orphanage Director says these girls are very damaged, had lots of problems and that he wouldn't show them to us without a medical doctor who could translate medical information and he didn't know of any that would come out."
Attorney said this director doesn't understand why you want such damaged girls and that I must not understand long range issues with girls such as this.
Ok God, this must be what I was asking for...lead me to my girls.
So attorney called another orphanage director that had one of the other girls. He knows the social worker there very well and he spoke to her about the child at that orphanage. She said, "This is wonderful girl. Very happy and very quiet, but very bright."
We went to see her. The orphanage was well lit and clean. We met the social worker and she took us to a visiting room. Very clean and nice with a whole bookcase full of toys.
She brought in the little girl and it was love at first sight. She is beautiful and chubby and very interactive. I held her and played a few simple shake-the-toy-like-me games and she responded and smiled. Then when I brought her over where the attorney and translator and Social worker were I was holding her and rubbing her head and she started to fall asleep. What a cuddler! So I said YES and she will come to the apartment on Friday.
I learned of another step in the process that I didn't understand. Once I say yes to a child there is a collection of papers that have to go to Orphan court. They read my Dossier and the papers about the child and give their blessing (or not) So those papers go to the court tomorrow, Thursday, and then the court hearing is 10am Friday and then I get to go get her.
Then after figuring out the calling card and calling home this morning, Victoria came over here again and we waited for the attorney who had been talking to orphanage directors to find a second child. So this afternoon we went to an orphanage the opposite way from the other orphanage and met another little girl. This one was another keeper! She is older, about 5 and she is walking and talking and very cooperative. She was shy at first and I just stayed away while she held onto the worker's hand. She kept trying to leave the room when she saw other kids in the hall, but when she was asked to stay here, she did. Then I got down on the floor and went over to her. I put out my hand and she took it. I had learned a few words so I tried one on her. I waved bye-bye to the kids in the hall and said "ata" (goodbye) and she smiled and waved and called something to them - probably meant ata, but not clearly. Then she heard a phone ring down the hall and she point to it and did that little sound you make when you are surprised. I imitated her pointing and going "uhhhh" Then I made the sign for telephone and she laughed and smiled. Ok I want this one too!
So tomorrow, papers to court, Friday at 10 court hearing and then I go gathermychildren!
- I'm home - Merry Christmas!
- Court is over, packing to go home
- RR Friends again!
- My second biggest life lesson
- The last night with the girls
- Tuesday night - It's snowing!
- Monday, December 15,
- Sunday night Day 14 of being gone
- Saturday - one week left
- US Embassy
- Tuesday Evening
- To answer a few questions....
- Sunday night Day 7 of being gone
- Tammy and Lori
- First full day with my new girls!
- RR Friends!
- They're in my arms and my apartment!
- Thursday's Tourist
- Charlie, Email me the password for messenger - I c...
- Still Wednesday night here!
- Wednesday evening
- I'm here! I'm ok!
- ▼ December (25)