Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dasvydanya Russia!

The day we have been waiting for is finally here …we’re coming home!!!

It’s 1:30am on Saturday here, and we are busy packing while Roman sleeps. We tried packing while Roman was awake but he kept pulling everything out of the cases (we think he was trying to help). This is an ongoing theme with him, as he likes to open drawers and cupboards and pull everything out.

Our flight leaves Vladivostok at 3pm on Saturday, and we arrive in Seattle at 11:00 am on Saturday (due to the 18 hour time difference, we get home before we leave). We have a 2 ½ hour flight from Vlad to Seoul, 2 hour layover in Seoul then 10 hours from Seoul to Seattle. As soon as the wheels of the plane touch American soil, Roman automatically becomes a citizen of the United States. We’re sure he’ll be completely unaware of the significance of this and will probably be busy blowing raspberries (his favorite activity). Helen, on the other hand, has to take a history exama nd pledge allegiance to the flag if she wants to be acitizen…

On Tuesday, we went down to the frozen bay and watched a beautiful sunset. Roman enjoyed playing in the snow. We met the owner of the skating rink, who was excited to show us that they had Miller beer in the snack bar. Our Russian was actually better than his English, buts omehow we managed to communicate. He had a cute cat named Chorny (which means black in Russian) who looked a lot like our shorthaired black cat Brother Tom. He and Helen had a “We hate President Bush moment” whileR ich decided not to tell them they were both crazy. Helen knows how to say “I hate Bush” in Russian, she loves to say it and it amuses the Russians (we have not yet met a Russian who doesn’t agree with Helen on this subject). In case you want to try it for yourself, it is “YA NEE LOU BLU BUSH!” If you love Bush (like Rich) you would say “YA LOU BLU BUSH!”

On Wednesday, we took Roman to some Vladivostok landmarks. He won’t remember (of course) but it will be nice for him to see photos of the three of us inVlad when we are telling him the story of his adoption. We took him to the Trans Siberian Railway,the Children’s Puppet Theatre, and the old Russian Submarine. We bought him a few souvenirs, including a Red Army Partisan Hat circa 1920 and a fuzzy warm Soviet fur hat. Helen has a thing for the Russian sailors so Roman (and Helen) had their pictures taken with a sailor. Rich is not too worried but if she had a little vodka in her … well let's not go there. Most of the sailors were too young for her anyway. For fun, Rich and Helen bought a couple of Russian hockey jerseys. Hers is a Soviet style jersey with Sergei Federov’s name on it. Rich has one that is a Moscow area club team.

Each day Roman is socializing more. He is not as afraid of strangers but he is wary. If he likes them, he will hand them a toy or a balloon, or something interesting he has found on the floor. At certain times when our hotel room becomes too confining, we will go to different parts of the hotel. One area is the White Rabbit Room; a bar with a pool table, some toys and a TV. Roman decided to climb up on the pool table and started throwing the pool ballsi n the pockets and everywhere else. We managed to catch most of the balls but a few hit the ground. They are loud when they hit and he has the best laugh. Roman also likes to go up and down stairs any chance he gets. He can climb up by himself on all fours, butc an climb up properly if we hold both his hands. In fact, he likes to climb most anything.

He is starting to cut his canine teeth. Sometimes he’s a bit cranky as a result, but mostly he’s a happy, giggly guy. Feeding time is always interestinga nd at times deliciously messy. We found out that he likes spaghetti, as you will see from the photo. Our little trooper usually eats pureed babyfood, but we have been transitioning to more grown upfood the past few days. We have had some super (“cynep” in Russian) messes. We are slowly dialing back his schedule to fit ours better. He actually slept until 10:30 am today. He usually takes about 2 naps a day and is very difficult to wind down. He is also starting to like having books read to him. When we first read to him, he seemed more interested in putting the books in his mouth. Now he pays attention, looks at the pictures,and will bring a book to us for us to read it to him. We think it is because the English words are beginningto make sense to him now.

We can’t wait to get home! We missed our pets so much the other night that we called our wonderful housesitter Mari and had her put the telephone to Missy’s ear just so we could say hi to her (she apparently responded by licking her chops).

We have met many wonderful people over the last four weeks here in Russia. The Russian people have been very kind and welcoming. We can’t wait for all of you to meet our son. Roman has now been with us for 10 days. Our love for him is indescribable (but if you have children, you will know). From that first night, when he fell asleep in Helen’s arms, every day has been magical. Our agency WACAP and the people in that organization have been great. There are frustrating moments but overall it has been fantastic. Every few nights we find ourselves in tears of happiness over this joyous occasion. It has been highly emotional, stressful,and at times, overwhelming, but we wouldn’t trade any of it.

See you soon,

Helen, Rich and Roman

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