As I said earlier, our first meeting went better than we could have ever expected. Neither of us knew really WHAT to expect and so consequently we tried to keep our expectations low.

After arriving at the orphanage this morning, we met with the head doctor, who gave us all of the information in her records (medical and social) and gave us an opportunity to ask questions. Then we were taken to Vika’s groupa to meet her. We were allowed to go right into her room to meet her. As soon as I saw her, the tears started coming and I knew she was meant to be ours. Ryan and I came about 5 ft from her and knelt down and one of her sweet nannies helped her walk to us. She was smiling and babbling and came right to us. I held out my hands to her and she happily came to me and sat on my knee. We told her “hello” in Russian and she stared right into our eyes for the longest time. I wish we had pictures of those first few moments but Maria told us it would be best if we waited. I know it’s a memory neither Ryan nor I will ever forget.

All of the other children in her group (there are 13 total) were laughing and calling out “Vika Mama!” and Vika Papa!” and the nannies were just beaming watching us. They seem so genuinely happy for all three of us.

After a little while we took her out into another room and Maria took our first picture together with her (which I posted in the earlier entry). Vika just stared and stared at us. She was very content and so snuggly. . . she just melted right down into our arms. After we’d had about 10 minutes with her, the social worker came in and asked us if we’d made our decision about whether we wanted to adopt her (technically we could go through this whole SDA/referral/travel/meeting process up to three times if we didn’t feel the first child was a good match) but it was clearly a formality- everyone in the room knew that we wanted her and she was meant to be ours. So we said YES!! and off she went to work on more paperwork.

Our visit with her only lasted about 20 minutes before we had to leave so we could keep things moving with our process, but we left knowing we’d get to come back and spend much more time with her in the afternoon. From there we went to the notary (which we refer to as “Hot Topic” because the Russian characters look like those words) to prepare more documents. Notaries here are much different than in the US. Here notaries are really like lawyers, with 5 full years of school. Then back to the social worker, then back to the baby house, and then back to the social worker!

It’s amazing how many steps there are to this process, and you can see how easily things can be delayed if someone is sick or not in a hurry. We are so thankful that everyone has dealt with our case very promptly, and at this point we are on track for court NEXT THURSDAY. This is a huge answer to prayer, as our flights home are booked for Saturday and we would so love to not have to change them (for several reasons).  Really it would be quite miraculous if it all moved so quickly, but so far Maria is so pleased with how it is going that she told us today that she feels like she is on vacation here- it has all been THAT easy. We are so thankful for such a wonderful facilitation team (Nina and Maria) and for God, who we know can move mountains on our behalf.

Later this afternoon we were able to go back and spend about 2.5 hours with Vika. Again she came right to us. We were somewhat amused because according to her records she “plays with toys but loses interest quickly.” We brought her two small toys, and she was completely fascinated with them for 1.5 hours straight, until we put them away and took her outside! She is a bit nervous around us sometimes, and has a few behaviors that she displays when she seems to be stressed. But overall she is completely content and loves just sitting and playing with her two little toys.

So far we are not getting too many smiles (she’s definitely still warming up to us) but it is absolutely PRECIOUS to see her light us when her nannies pass through and speak to her, or she hears other children. We are so happy to see what a good attachment she has to her caregivers and can’t wait to see her at home with her new brother and sister. She is really blessed to have been at a wonderful baby house, with loving, caring nannies.

So here are some more pictures from our second visit. Enjoy!