We've been all over the place with how we wanted to do this trip. A few months ago, before we went on trip one, we were very seriously considering taking both of our boys for the court trip. It's been three years since they've seen where they came from and aside from all the pictures and videos that we look at quite often, they really don't have much in the way of memories, even of our time there picking them up. Unfortunately, the timing just isn't there this time, so we're not taking the boys. Someday we'll take them all back to visit. Someday!
Here's the plan for the court trip. We leave from St. Louis on August 13th. We fly to JFK and then on to Moscow. From Moscow we take the long flight to Vlad. We arrive in Vlad on Monday the 15th. On Tuesday we have our medicals. Wednesday or Thursday we'll visit our boy along with Svetlana the social worker. Friday is court. On Saturday Clarion will fly home and I will stay on in Vlad. Clarion is a teacher. She'll be missing the first week of school for this trip. Her school counts her time away in Russia as maternity leave, so we decided it would be better for her to get back to the classroom for three more weeks. That way she'll save the bulk her maternity leave for when our little one is actually home. It didn't make too much sense for me to fly all the way home. I'm a pastor. As you know, pastors only work on Sundays. Wink. Wink. Well, Sundays are big days anyway. So if I came home during the ten days I wouldn't get there until late Saturday night. I wouldn't be worth a whole lot the next morning, less than I usually am. :-) And I'd have to start making my way back the next Saturday morning. Between that and the cost of flying home, I'm better off staying put in Vlad.
Unfortunately, I won't have my boy with me during the ten days. The Artem baby home has never gone for that as far as we know. In our last adoption, Slav stayed at the hotel with us during the ten days. He was from the orphanage in Artem City. Sergei, who was at the Artem baby home, had to stay put until the ten days were up. So, I'll be spending ten days in Vlad after court, visiting my little buddy maybe two or three times. That ten days is usually kind of a lull after court. After the ten days things get busy running here and there and then heading to Moscow. So, I hope to find myself relaxing a bit. I am, after all, using my vacation days for this adventure. But I'll probably do some work too. I have some plans to do some teaching with our school kids through Skype or FaceTime. That'll be cool. I hope to do a bit of exploring in Vlad too.
The good news is that my mom is planning on joining me in Vlad just before the ten days are up. She'll arrive on the 28th. We pick up the little one on the 30th. We'll do his doctor visit and then pick up his Russian passport. We head to Moscow on September 1st. Since Labor Day is on the horizon, the embassy will be closed on Monday the 5th. That will necessitate a little extra time in Moscow. Our agency also gives the option to have your child registered while you're in Moscow instead of sending their passport and all the paperwork in after you get home. So we'll do that while we're there as well. We leave Moscow September 9th for home. During that time we also hope to see Nadya, our exchange student from this past year. We haven't figured out all our plans for that just yet.
So things are hoppin' here on this end. Flights are booked. We already have visas since we did 12-month multi-entry ones. That was definitely smart! Clarion and I are both scrambling to get work stuff in order. I have guest preachers covering for me. Clarion is getting her classroom and yearly planning all in order. This past weekend we were fortunate to have the opportunity for a weekend getaway. My student pastor intern (we call them vicars in the Lutheran church) was ordained and installed as pastor of a church in Iowa. On the way there we decided a short stop in Macomb, IL was in order. One of our fellow adoptive families, the Overstreets, live there. After about three years or so, it was great to finally meet them face to face. It was awesome, in fact! One of the greatest things about adoption is those you meet along the way! Saturday we drove into Iowa to see some college friends of mine in Cedar Rapids. That was awesome too. Nothing like hanging out wit old friends and watching your children play together. Very cool. We went to church with them Sunday morning. Then in the afternoon I had the privilege of participating in the ordination of a my dear brother in Christ, Sam Beltz. Today we made the five hour journey back home. Back to the grind tomorrow.
Anyway, that's where we're at. We have a few documents to get together, have notarized, apostilled and take to court with us. Those are coming together nicely. We'll probably do our chest X-rays this week too. Fun, fun! Clarion's folks will arrive a couple days before we leave. They'll be staying with the boys and getting them through their first couple of days of school until Clarion gets home. All is well here. The Lord is good. Everything is coming together.
For those of you who are waiting, know that we pray for you. May Christ be with you. May God give you patience and strength for the wait. All things will happen in His good time, which is rarely what we would ever choose as the right time. I'm speaking from experience you know. The Lord of heaven and earth knows what He's doing. Entrust yourselves and your little ones to His gracious care and keeping. Psalm 46 comes to mind: "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress (46:10-11). God bless you all.