We had an amazing, exhausting, exhilarating, emotional and heart-wrenching trip. 36 hours in the air in 6 days but all worth it for the 4 hours we were able to spend with our daughter. Since our last post we went to the Notary in Russia to officially accept the referral and spent another couple hours at the orphanage. We also had some time to explore Krasnoyarsk but could only handle the cold for about 15 minutes before we found an excuse to find some coffee. In front of our hotel they are preparing for Christmas and New Year celebrations with a huge tree and ice sculptures. The temperature hovered around -15 F most of the time we were there. This doesn't seem to bother the Siberians, but Peta would never be able to find enough paint to scratch the surface with all the fur coats.
Our second visit with Anna went very well and it took less time for her to warm up. She was laughing and playing and we were able to try some clothes on her as well. She loved to play with the toys we brought and was full of giggles when Ryan played "Airplane" (tame version) with her. We were comforted to see that she is really well cared for although any one-on-one time is scarce for her. Saying goodbye was excruciating. Having been able to spend time with her, see her environment, love on her and then have to leave her behind was as hard as we thought it might be. We rest in the fact that she is God's child and He will take care of her during this next phase.
Several people have commented that we have not shown pictures of her face...this is because the Russian government and our agency (as well as us) are keen on protecting her identity until we bring her home. We wish we could share the 175 pictures we took of her but that will have to wait.
After the long ride back to our hotel, we packed up and were up at 4 AM Thursday headed to the airport. We managed to miss our connection in Moscow so had a long layover but were in Amsterdam by that evening. It wouldn't be a full travel experience if our luggage wasn't lost so we were able to put a check in the box on that one for a night in Amsterdam. We were able to extend our stay in Holland and go check out our old stomping grounds. It was a really nice debrief and date day. We had coffee with our former Pastor and his wife, took pictures of the hospital where Brooks was born (filled a missing scrapbook page for Amy), ate Oliebollen in Wassenaar, caught up with our Dutch neighbor and had dinner with the Linkerhof's in Den Haag.
When we got home, we went straight to get Bradey out of school early. The boys did really well with Amy's Mom and we are extremely grateful to her for keeping the show running. We are so thankful for everybody's prayers while we were gone...we could feel it.