Thursday, October 15, 2009

Visiting Hannah

It is official; I am no good at Skipbo. Marc is beating me 14 games to 1. Pitiful! After 12 straight losses, I did finally win a game, but my luck was short lived.

The train ride to Petrazavodsk was long. After a dinner of ham and cheese sandwiches and delicious Russian cookies, we played a few card games then tried to get some sleep. We tossed and turned, and both woke up around 3am as the train was pulling into St. Petersburg for a pit stop. Since we were both wide awake, we played a couple of more games of Skipbo (I lost again!). We did manage to get a little more sleep before arriving just before 9am.

View from the train

Train hallway

Our cabin

Fayodor, our driver, was there to greet us. We went to the court house where Irina dropped off some paperwork and then we went to the orphanage. We met with the Orphanage Director and the head Social Worker both of whom were not there on our first visit. Then we met Hannah outside with her group and took her to another part of the playground. She was bundled up in a snowsuit, 2 hats, a scarf, boots and gloves. She had so many clothes on, she could hardly walk. We played on the swing and the slide and after about 30 minutes our toes were frozen, so we went inside to play in the gym.

Hannah is taking to us very quickly and is really enjoying our company. She has an adorable laugh and comes to us when we ask. She loves playing the piano and in the ball pit. She is incredibly strong. She scales the small climbing ladder attached to the wall with no assistance. We were really impressed!

Just before noon, we took her back to her room for lunch and nap. The kids know exactly what is expected. There were 2 little tables each with 6 chairs. Hannah knew where to go and ate what was served with no fuss. They had vegetable soup, mashed potatoes, zucchini and pot roast. Although Emily will be teaching Hannah a lot, she can learn a thing or two about trying new foods.


We had lunch at the Parisienne restaurant again then checked into the hotel. Irina went over a ton of details about court – what we should and shouldn’t say, what will give a good impression to the judge, the types of questions they will ask, and information we need to prepare in advance. Tomorrow is the day we have been building up to for the last year and will determine if we can adopt Hannah. The social worker from the orphanage and the city social worker will be speaking in our favor, but there will also be a prosecutor who will be arguing to keep Hannah in Russia. We are quite nervous but Irina assures us everything looks positive. After our 2 hour appointment, the judge will give her decision before we leave court.

From 4-6pm, we went back to the orphanage and played with Hannah in the gym. It was so much fun. We buried her in the ball pit, played basketball, looked out of the window at the snow (yes, snow!!!) and enjoyed some cuddles. Irina gave Hannah her cell phone to play with and when it was time to give it back, she had a little temper tantrum. It was so cute. She fell facedown on the floor and crawled forward with her head still on the ground, screaming… it was quite the sight. She eventually got over it just in time for dinner.

We are now enjoying a quiet evening in the hotel and will fall asleep pretty early so we are ready for what will most likely be a very emotional and stressful day.

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