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Five Days of Travel with Freshly Adopted Children // After Gotcha Day

One year ago at this time, Gotcha Day was over.  Our family and friends celebrated from back home after hearing they were out and with us, all our prayers answered, “Phew, it’s over!  They did it!” they said.

Meanwhile, we still had 5 full days before boarding a final flight to the US, with our fresh from the orphanages kids, of pure travel.  Intense long flights spanning the length, 9 hours, over the largest country, late night train rides, smoke filled taxi drives through the heart of cities while the first specks of snow whizzed by, all with two, small children, one of whom had not been outside in lights or weather.

Maria was the sport of all sports, obviously.  In fact, she was having such a good time, out and about with mama and papa.  She loved seeing new things, pulling a suitcase by a handle, eating a sandwhich out of a paper wrapper.

The first flight took us to the capitol where we need to see the consulate and sign final papers, stay in a nice hotel.
Elijah didn’t want to sleep on the flight.

“Oh what, it’s night?  Let’s chat!”

Ohhhhh my gosh.  He was the size of an infant, but mobile as a toddler.  I could not sleep because I was afraid he could crawl right out and bonk his head.  He was like a hamster, not concept of hights, no experience with them.

“Oh it’s day?  Time for me to sleep!”
This is the moment I tried to shut my eyes, right when it was time for a straight sitting landing.

After 9 hours, we landed in Moscow.  As soon as we stepped outside, I was like,

“Omg, Russia is cold!”

“Dis vay, dis vay!” our little guide in a fur hat beckoned us.

Catching up on sleep after the flight.  This was a good time for bonding for him; we could not put him down for hours upon hours and he has no choice but to sleep all while being fully touched.

 We caught a train with our sleepy kids hanging and snoring on us, our hair in a tired mess, as the most stylish and beautiful people boarded the midnight train.  Moscow, I tell ya…

Nope, I am not wearing stylin’ hot pink lip stick, that would be the ‘brisk’ Russian air

Elijah fell asleep on the train, we all did.

“Get up, get up!  We have to get out before the doors close!!” our guide urged us all of a sudden, shaking our shoulders.  I grabbed Maria’s hand as Elijah was also jolted awake and we ran off.  As the train wound down and away, so did my jacket that sat on my seat.

We crammed into a taxi, Elijah and I bundled into Andrew’s jacket.  As we approached  downtown, the bright lights hurt our eyes as they danced around us from all sides, and Elijah screamed.  He straightened his scared little body stiff and screamed and screamed.  He was cold, tired, his poor little senses so overwhelmed by the sounds, smells, lights, weather, extent of being held.

The longer he screamed, tucked close against me in the wrap, the more cigarettes the driver lit, sticking his head out the window into the biting wind to escape the sound.

If I were in America, I may have apologized, but I couldn’t have cared less.

45 minutes later, we arrived at our hotel.  Elijah’s weak body had collapsed into exhausted sleep 20 minutes prior, a sweaty lump and we walked in.

Once we got up to our room, I unzipped by jacket and looked at the extent of having a tiny toddler strapped to you for many hours.

Glory.  And he was dead asleep.

Needless to say, we sleep for a long time.  Past breakfast.

Moscow is beautiful, eery and dark for extended amounts of time in the mornings.

The next day we needed to travel to a main government building.  Elijah handled being outside a bit better this time, showing his fear only in his eyes.

I decided to keep him wrapped the rest of the time. 

(Also, we were in the fanciest hotel.  Ever.  With full access to the charming, all your can eat snack/dessert room.  Thanks to great in-laws with lots of travel points.)
The whole, “All you can eat thing was a hit with these two.  Food, always such a big deal when you grow up without

Once we were settled, and the kids were used to venturing out, we could sight see at night.  Our wimpy blood acclimated to the air and we enjoyed new sights, smells, tastes, and delighted in these sweet days with out children, so many first.

Moscow is maybe the most beautiful city we have seen, with such kind people.

Elijah slept when he needed, now feeling so safe and comfortable.

And what seemed like it might have been hard was good, and beautiful, magic in our eyes.


Once our time in Moscow was up, we boarded one last flight.

12 hours home.

Where a whole new adventure began.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Carla November 14, 2013, 10:23 pm

    Such beautiful pictures that so well depicted the reality of travelling during an international adoption.

  • Calamity Anna November 15, 2013, 6:18 am

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  • Crystal Kupper November 15, 2013, 9:22 am

    We just moved from Oregon to the UK (10 hour flight). Thankfully, our 3 kids were better than we imagined! Loved this post.

  • Sherry November 16, 2013, 2:25 am

    Such a terrific post! I’m glad you got to experience Moscow with them. Maria will remember the most beautiful city of her homeland, and that is a gift. Just in case she can’t go back for a long time. (boo.)

    And can I just say that I’m so thankful to see you looking like crap for once! My pictures in country have me looking like I’d been shoved through a wringer washer! Sideways.

  • Adoption Love November 17, 2013, 11:44 pm

    I seriously love reading about your beautiful family, so I nominated you for the Sunshine Award. Just a little blogging fun 🙂 http://joshandkrisloveadoption.blogspot.com/2013/11/sunshine-on-my-shoulder.html

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