Thought I might post and give you my point of view on the 'big trip' since I realized that all the posts from Russia were written by Lisa. I can truly say that last week was the most experience filled week of my life. I would have never imagined that my first trip abroad would have been to Russia, much less far eastern Siberia. Our flights to and from Khabarovsk went quite well considering they were so incredibly LONG. I was extremely happy that the flights were mostly turbulence free since my traveling companion has the tendency to get motion sick :) I am also quite convinced that if we want to have another child that we're going to adopt again since I am most likely sterile from all the security screenings that we had to go through. But we made it Russia safe and sound and that's all that matters.
The people in Russia are very gracious and must also be very patient to put up with us stumbling through the few phrases we knew in Russian. The food was pretty decent. I only encountered one meal that I didn't like. If you ever travel to Russia I suggest that you stay away from the 'fried river trout'. We never felt unwelcome even though I'm sure that we stuck out like sore thumbs. People seemed to stare but that may be because we had on the brightest clothes in town.
The trips to the orphanage were something that I'll never forget. I too was amazed at how clean it was and how well that the children were taken care of. The smells, sounds and colors are ingrained in my mind. Like one of the other adoptive parents said, the play room at the orphanage will be forever burned into my memory. It is the place where you meet your child for the very first time. For me it also contains many other 'firsts': The first time I saw Alexander, the first I got to hold him, the first time we played together, and probably the most important- the first time I saw him smile and heard his incredible little laugh. His laugh was amazing, bringing a warmth to my heart that I've never experienced before. It filled the whole room and was contagious. It really amazed me that after all that this little man has been through in his short life, that he was still able to laugh and enjoy life. It speaks volumes to type of care the wonderful workers in the orphanage must give the children they watch over. Like Lisa said in one of her posts, we also got to meet the director of the orphanage. She is extremely personable. She told us that Alexander look liked me (except he's more chubby) and that we were invited back to 'get him a sister'. I have no doubt in my mind that these women would like nothing better than to be unemployed because all the children had found homes.
When it was time to go home, there was some obvious sadness on our part but also some peace that came knowing he was healthy and well cared for. I don't think that it really hit me until we had to board the plane to come home. It was hard to leave Alexander there, but we knew that it was only temporary and we'd be back soon. I had a chance to hold him in my arms one last time and tell him exactly that before we left the orphanage.
Well, this post has gone longer than I expected. So I will leave it at that. Next time I will post some more on the town and the other wonderful couples that we met while we were there. Thank you again for all the support and prayers as we continue this wonderful and exciting journey