We have our official appointment date. December 15th! We will be departing for Russia on Decmber 12th and will arrive the evening of December 13th. We are thrilled to finally being moving on in this process. I am personally a bit overwhelmed - I never expected to be given so little notice to plan our trip (although, I was told repeatedly by our agency)! I suddenly look about my house and see a hundred things that I wanted to take care of before leaving and put off because its more fun to play with the kids. So they are now on my dizzying list of things to do in a really short amount of time - wouldn' t you think that I would have learned with Lera's adoption?
Russia is different than Ukraine for adoptions. Ukraine has 2 trips - Russia has 3 trips. On the first trip in Ukraine, you choose a child from the SDA registry, travel to meet the child, accept the child, have your papers sent back to the SDA and then wait for your court date - you get acquainted with your child leading up to your court date. You then have your court and go home to wait out the 10 days wait period. You can stay but when you desperately miss your children, going home is wonderful but hard. Only one parent needs to return (or one parent and her parent, since her husband and her parent are protective) for the second trip. It is very nice to have someone to help with the child since she is an active child and not inclined to being carried or staying in a confined space. On this trip, you obtain her passport, her medical and her visa and then you may leave. There is no set time except for your first appointment date. You sort of leap into the whole thing and trust that it will work out.
For our first trip to Russia, it has really set times. We will meet with the MOE to choose our child from their registry, go meet her, accept her and get to play with her and then return home in less than a week. At which point we go home and wait for a court date. On the second trip we have court. Both parents attend court and this is a short trip. Russia has the same 10 day wait rule. I am hazy on the details of the last trip - I know that only one parent must return for the 3rd trip and at this point, I can only think about the first trip.