Moscow ~~ The last of the last


Our ride showed up and we were off to the medical exam. We arrived at what looked like a large apartment building and inside there was a long line that I gratefully found out had nothing to do with us. We wove through a couple of hallways to the office.

Inside there were several families already waiting to see the doctor. We took seats and Oksana went and talked to the desk.

It wasn't long before we were called in and the doctor had Katherine strip down to her undies and he put her up on the table. He weighed her on a baby scale, just having her sit in the little baby holder.

"5 years old and 31 pounds" he proclaimed. "Oh she's a skinny mini".

He chatted with her in Russian while he ran his hands up and down and pushed and prodded on her, all the while pretending to look for her tickle spots. She giggled a lot.

He proclaimed her very healthy but said her tonsils were a little swollen. We said she had been coughing a little. A nurse came in and took her away for a chest x-ray that would tell us definitively about what sort of exposure she had had to TB.

We went out to the waiting room so I could spend time worrying that maybe she still had TB and they wouldn't let her leave the country. Or maybe her lungs had been badly damaged.

Jeffrey was sliding in and out of his seat and looking for something to do when he suddenly struck up a conversation with another adoptive parent who was holding her one year old baby. Jeffrey made faces and pretended to be a monkey making the baby smile. 


I was just thinking was a sweet boy he was when he suddenly turned to me and said "Mommy, isn't that an ugly baby?"

I checked to see if the floor would open up and swallow me. No such luck.

Jeff began apologizing and I tried to tell Jeffrey that that wasn't a nice thing to say.


"But Mommy, it IS an ugly baby isn't it."

No way kid, you're not dragging me into this conversation.

The mother was so nice about it. She smiled and said "Oh well WE think he's cute".

Thankfully she got called at that moment into the exam room. Before I could scold Jeffrey he immediately struck up a conversation with a another family, this time however he refrained from placing judgment on their child's looks.

The X-ray came back shortly and the doctor looked it over and said that any concern for her having TB was overblown. He said her lungs were clear and healthy. Finally something to smile about today.

We went back to the hotel and met up with Emily. Fortunately for her I was still in a state of relief from the doctor visit and abandoned any thought of throttling her. We decided to have a celebratory lunch at their Japanese restaurant "Tokyo" in the hotel lobby. It was delicious.

At 1:30 our driver showed up again and took just the 3 of us (me, Jeff and Katherine) to the American Embassy for the final paperwork. Emily stayed with Jeffery in the room.

Oksana was not allowed to come with us into the building so we went in alone.

Inside we paid for her visa and then sat and waited. We talked to several other families. Two of them were also bringing home older children. One family was picking up their 7 year old daughter who they had hosted the previous summer and another family was bringing home 2 girls who were probably about 9 and 12. They said "We're older so we started older". Its nice to see the older ones going home.

At exactly 2 PM a very American young man came out and explained what we were about to be given and what we had to do with the paperwork. He said as soon as the plane touched the ground in the United States our kids would become citizens. Then he said to watch for our number and step up to the window.

We were the second family to be called. I was expecting an interview or at least for them to ask us questions. I thought this was still a hurdle to overcome.

But it was nothing like that. All they did was give us the paperwork and made sure we knew what to do with it. The young American man was the one who helped us. He reminded us 10 times not to open the manila envelope, that it was to be given to the INS in New York. He said if it was open when we got there they would send us back to Russia. Then he said he wasn't joking.

At this point I didn't even want to breathe on the envelope because as soon as I was outta this country, there was no way I was coming back. I handed it to Jeff and told him not lose it or let me touch it.
The whole thing took about 5 minutes and before we knew it we were back in the car and heading for the hotel.

Our driver dropped us off and told us they would be back to get us at 9 AM the next morning to take us to the airport.

At first when we got back to the room I was gung ho to go sight seeing. Until I looked out the window and saw it was snowing.

Since I didn't have the clothes or the stamina to face the weather, we settled down and watched Aladdin and Shrek 2 on the DVD player we brought and hooked up to the TV.

By dinner we were pretty hungry but didn't want to spend too much since lunch had been a small fortune.

At both ends of each even numbered floor there was a small cafe. Each was different. After checking out a few of them, we found only one on our floor had a menu with some English.

I asked first if they took Visa (yes) then asked if the prices were marked in rubles. I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice... no way... THIS time I was ahead of the game!

Yes the girl said... those are rubles. WOW I thought... only $5 for entrees.

We ate well and the food was delicious. I couldn't get over the prices. 120 rubles for an large delicious salmon steak. I should have known something was wrong right then.

The kids got restless and since Emily joined us late and I hadn't finished yet I sent Jeff back to the room with them and Em and I stayed for a bit.

I asked for the check and when it came it seemed rather high. I paid but kept looking at the bill trying to figure out how she over charged me. I gave Jeff the itemized receipt when we got back to the room and asked him to figure it out.

He looked at me and said "Well.. yes the salmon was 120 rubles..... Remember when you asked her about the price, if it was in rubles and she said Yes but then pointed to the other side of the menu where there was another number and said 'And that's grams'? Well she didn't make it clear that the rubles were per 100 grams, not that the food was only 100 grams."

So they charged me 120 Rubles ($5) for each gram of food I ordered.

Well I found a way to do it again.

Paid way more than I wanted to. The quick bite to eat, so we didn't have to spend too much ended up costing us over $100. Each plate that I thought cost about $5 actually cost $20 each. And that was $20 for each of kids chicken dinners too.

Live and Learn.

The problem was I thought I had learned already.

**SIGH**