There is one less orphan in the world today, and I am SO glad she's ours.
Never again will this sweet girl be known by an alias and a number, "Chloe 15h".
Gotcha day started early for me. Our driver picked me up at 7:45. We drove out to Katie's city, and our first stop was the "local inspector's" office. She is the person from the government agency that oversees adoption who observed our visits with Katie and testified in court that we would be good parents for her. We had to bring her the final court decision and get the documents to close her bank account and to pick her up from the orphanage.
We went next to the bank, which was interesting. The banking system here is much different than in America, and it was amusing to watch everyone there. There was some good people watching to be had! After we took care of that, we brought the inspector back to her office and headed to the orphanage.
They were waiting for us. Remember that she's the first child E.V.E.R. to be adopted from this orphanage. EVER......and it's been open for more than 20 years. I wasn't sure what to expect for Gotcha day, and I don't really think the people there were either.
I brought several gifts - for the director (a man), the psychologist who worked a lot with Katie, the assistant Director (Masha), and the 7 nannies. I also brought a gift for the inspector. I also brought a large bag of toys for the children, including several boxes of crayons, Play Doh, and a few shape sorting toys.
When we got into the building that Katie's groupa was in, the assistant director met us in the lobby and was very excited. At least I think she was - she speaks no English - but she was smiling and clapping her hands. She brought us upstairs to the big playroom we had our visits in, and asked me if I brought clothes for Katie. I thought later that it was funny that she asked me if I had panties for her, because she wears a diaper. Um, what was I going to do if I brought panties instead of diapers, even though they told me she was potty trained?!
Everyone has told me that typically the child takes nothing from the orphanage, so I was prepared for that. I gave Masha the dress, tights, and shoes I had for her. Vlad (the driver/translator) waited for about 10 minutes in the playroom, and Masha brought Katie in. In the jeans and orange sweatshirt she wore the last time we were here, with her red shoes on. Masha handed me back the clothes that I had given her. I was very confused, but just took them. I was happy to take something from the orphanage so we can show it to Katie later when she's older and talk about where she came from.
We walked downstairs, Masha told her we were going to go for a ride in the car, and Katie grabbed my hand, waved to Masha, and walked out the door. She never looked back.
She hopped right up into the car seat with no hesitation. She wasn't sure about the buckles, and tried a couple of times to undo it, but she was AWESOME! She looked all around as we drove away from the orphanage, and she waived as we left the gates. It's like she knew this was it.
She waived at several cars and yelled at the big trucks. She wasn't a fan of them getting too close to our car. And, um, neither am I.
She quickly dismantled her orphanage hairdo. And looked like a wild child! She definitely needs a haircut. She's rocking the Russian orphanage mullet.
We stopped to get gas and I stripped her of her orange fleece - she was sweating!
I brought a sippy cup, and she was a little unsure of it at first. She would just let the water drip into her mouth, then sort of spit it out. I think they use open cups at the orphanage.
She very quickly got the hang of it and sucked down two cups of water and a cup of apple juice.
She was so, so great in the car. And we were in the car for a long time.
She is the sweetest, sassiest thing. I cannot believe she is free.
And she's quite expressive!
We waited for three hours at the passport office. Our facilitator was in a car accident the day before on her way to the passport office, so we were a day late with the processing. Thankfully the facilitator was not injured, and Katie's passport was processed! She was so good on the wait. We played outside, went up and down the stairs about 100 times, and walked next door to the "shopping mall". It's like a mall anchored by Lowes and WalMart with some kiosks in the middle. I was a bit nervous she would have some sensory overload breakdown, but she was perfect. She looked around at everything, pointed, chattered, and was so great.
After the passport office we headed to the facilitator's house again with the passport and her documents, then finally home! We got home after 8 pm, and she was so fantastic all day.
She explored everything in the apartment, and then we had some dinner. She ate a yogurt, two bananas, a pierogi sort of bread stuffed with eggs and rice, some yogurt melts, had a cup of water, a piece of cheese, an apple, sweet potato and banana puree, and three ginger snap cookies. She eats very, very fast, like someone is going to take her food if she doesn't finish quickly. It makes me sad to think about why she does that.
After she ate, she had a bath. I was curious to see how she would do, because I have heard from many people that their child freaked out at the bath. Um, not little miss. She LOVED it. In fact she loved it so much we drained it and had another. (Please ignore the large bubble of boogers....)
She tried to climb back into the tub later when we went into the bathroom to brush her teeth. She's definitely a fan of the bath. I hope that translates into a fan of the swimming pool!
After her bath she wanted another banana, so she ate a little snack, then we got ready for bed.
I laid in the bed with her and turned off all of the lights. She chattered for a few minutes, then sat and rocked herself back and forth for several minutes. It made me so sad to think that she does that because for almost five years she didn't have a mama to rock her. I rubbed her back a little, but it seemed to sort of get her wound up again, so I just let her do her thing. She rocked herself until she was relaxed enough, then laid down and went right to sleep. It was about 10:30 p.m. I'm quite certain that was about two and a half hours after she normally goes to bed.
She was scooting all around the bed, and I was afraid she would scoot off the end. I finally picked her up and put her in the playpen. She slept all night long and didn't make a sound!
She is amazing, and we are so, so lucky to be her parents.
Welcome to your new life Katie!