Serbia Trip - Waiting in Belgrade -Days 2 and 3

Randy's cold seemed much worse with a nasty sore throat by Sunday morning.  Since our girls had been diagnosed with strep before we left, he started on antibiotics right away.  Our doctor was very kind to send us medications for common travel issues.  We are covered for strep, yeast and bacterial infections.  We have always taken cipro and amoxicillan with us when we travel overseas. There is nothing quite like trying to explain stomach flu to a non-english speaking pharmacist with gestures.

Sunday was our day to reset so that we could be alert for our Monday appointment with the Ministry.  This appointment involves lots of people all of which are responsible for seeing that the prospective parents are fully informed about the child they have come to adopt. There were so many people!  This government has representatives, the US Embassy had representatives, the center for social work in the child's region had social workers and her legal guardian and her foster mother was there.  All of these people who are there solely looking out for the best interest of the child.  It was very heartwarming after the corruption of other countries.  Actually, the only one who was paid by us to be there was the court translator (roughly $150 for those who are considering adopting from Serbia.  She is required twice - once for the 1st appointment and for the adoption ceremony) Our girl was very fortunate in that she had a foster mom who brought her into her family and helped her enormously.  She was pretty fragile when she was brought from the institution but had progressed really well in the year since she came to a loving home. We are still not allowed to call her by name, so we will call her little carrot.  This was the first word that made her smile for the foster mom.  We were very lucky to have her foster mom at this meeting because she obviously cared a great deal for our girl and knew her so well that she could answer all of our questions about what she was like

We heard about her biological family and the circumstances of her birth.  Her medical history including surgery to repair her heart and medications that she takes.  We got to ask lots of questions and our contact from the ministry asked if we felt the information given we were given before coming to Serbia was accurately given.  Yes, it was very accurate but we also asked specific questions before we agreed to accept her referral .  We understand what adopting an orphan can really entail and have a clear picture what will work with our children who are already home.

I probably should explain that Serbia has independent adoptions.  There is no fee paid to the Serbian government to adopt a child.  The costs that incurred are homestudy costs, apostilles, document fees in the USA, travel, passport for the child ($52), Visa for the child ($275), medical for child ($100). We are fortunate to have discovered COCI, who was a great help with logistics. They found us lodging (25 euro per day in Belgrade)  made sure our dossier was translated (10 euros a page (1600 words per page max)by the court translator and provided transportation in country.  COCI does not have anything to do with choosing a child, contacting the Serbian ministry or making a decision on this child.  We contacted the ministry after our dossier was complete with specific requirements that we had in mind for a child.  And we asked questions directly regarding this child.  You do not receive a photo until you have made the decision that this is a good fit for your family.  You still have the option of rejecting the child if you don't approve of the photo BUT keep in mind that photos frequently do not capture who that child is really.  Actually, you are asked at each step of the process if you still want this child for your own.

There were things that made us nervous about what shape she was in but we are practical by nature and having completed 2 adoptions previously, we know that our definitions are sometimes very different from other countries.  So finally, we were asked if after all of this information, did we still want this child?  Yes!

A tentative schedule was made: 1st visit- TOMORROW (Yay!), 1st report on the 6th, 2nd report on the 12th and adoption ceremony on the 15th.  The adoption ceremony is where she is officially ours.  It is also the one date the no one has real control over.  It requires a signature from the minister and sometimes he is gone for a few days.

So tonight we get to pack up most of our things and tomorrow we travel to her current home in Topola.  We are excited and nervous about meeting our new daughter.

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