After picking up our referral paperwork at the SDA yesterday, we boarded an overnight train to Vika’s region with a new facilitator, Maria, who will assist us here while Nina continues to work on our behalf in the capital. The train ride was about 10.5 hours. The three of us shared a second-class sleeper compartment consisting of four very firm, rather narrow beds. The train moved quite slowly and stopped often to pick up or drop off passengers. Other than the sweltering heat and stuffiness (compounded by the odors from the very foul toilet room just next door to our compartment), the ride was reasonably comfortable and we slept better than we did on our overnight flight to London last week.

Upon arrival, we were picked up by our driver here and taken to an apartment where we will stay until we pass court. We had a couple of hours to shower and rest before Maria returned for us with a new driver. Apparently Driver #1 had picked her up at her hotel and then as they were coming to get us, the brakes of his car failed and they very nearly crashed. (!!!) So she  got a taxi off we went to the head social worker (inspector’s) office at city hall.

There were were interviewed by the social worker and another woman. They asked why we wanted to adopt since we already had biological children, why we wanted a child with Down syndrome, what resources were available to us for therapy, medical care, etc, what our education plans for Vika are (she even asked if we planned to homeschool), if we would receive governmental payments for having a disabled child (?!), and what our financial status was. Whew.  Honestly it was all a bit nerve wracking but Maria said she was pleased with our answers. She also enjoyed seeing pictures of Noelle and Levi, which I was of course happy to show off!

Then they showed us some new pictures of Vika that were just taken within the last few weeks. She is as cute as ever!

After we were done there, we should have been able to go and meet with the baby house director and meet Vika. Unfortunately, today is the 90th anniversary of the founding of the orphanage, and the director said she would be much too busy to see us, and therefore we would have to wait until tomorrow to see Vika. Maria took us there anyway, in hopes that she might change her mind and give us just a few minutes of her time, but it was not meant to be. We would have to leave and come back tomorrow. We had heard about this anniversary celebration the day of our SDA appointment so we had known this was a strong possibility. It was disappointing but we will be okay waiting one more day.

By 11 AM all of this was over and we were back to our apartment. There is another adoptive family staying here and we will be sharing with them until tomorrow. Their court hearing is at 3 PM and if all goes well they hope to be on the night train back to the capital tomorrow night. After they got back from visiting their little boy, Vanya, we rode the bus with them downtown and got lunch at McDonald’s. It was nice to get to visit with them and get to know them a little bit. They are a Christian family with 5 biological kids. The little boy they are adopting is blind and has other delays and medical issues as well. They showed us around and explained some of the bus routes to us, which we appreciated so much!

So tonight we rest and tomorrow. . . . VIKA!

(sorry, no pictures today – our camera battery died yesterday but is charged now!)