Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Return To Serov

May 11. 2005

Return to Serov...sunny and down right hot

We're up at 3am and eat fruit loops in bed while we watch television. There's a surprisingly good selection on this time of the night (and it is actually night. The sun has officially gone down, though it's due to be up in a couple of hours) and we watch parts of Basic Instinct, Far From Heaven, Crossing Jordan and Scrubs.

We meet Katya and Sergei at 5am. Wendy puts the baby bag in the trunk. I throw my backpack in and we're off. It's a five hour drive from Ekaterinburg to Serov.

I try to sleep but the road is rather bumpy, much worse without its protective layer of snow, so I don't end up sleeping much. Instead I watch the scenery. As dumb as it sounds, everything looks so different than it did in November. It's pretty. Lots of birch trees. Parts of it look like home. The sun's coming up and I curse myself for not having my camera with me. Don't panic, people. It's in my backpack in the trunk.

We get to the Greek restaurant rest stop at 8am. Katya begs me to eat so I have stewed beef and potatoes and a coke. We sit down with Sergei and he says how nice it is that I'm eating and not starving. I try to explain that I didn't starve on the first trip. Wendy tells them how I've always been a picky eater which doesn't have anything to do really with me not eating on the way to Serov on the first trip but it doesn't much matter. I tell them I've managed to keep myself alive this long, I must be doing something right.

Sergei announces our arrival to our destination by saying "Baby Home!" Wendy's been bouncing in the back seat since we saw the Serov (Cepob in Cyrillic) city sign and bounces right out of the car and inside.

We're told that the judge has added a new requirement for the hearing set for Friday. We need to submit four pictures of the first visit, this visit. Preferably happy pictures of the mother and the baby. Katya asks if we can do that. I think I'm up for it. The real challenge will be only picking four pictures.

Jupiter arrives, walking on her own into the room. We didn't know she was walking and are so surprised and pleased to see it (she's been walking on her own since December). The caregivers tell us that she had a fever yesterday but is back to normal today. I get the cameras out and start clicking away.

You can tell Jupiter still doesn't feel well. She snuggles right up against Wendy (making for some nice pictures) and they stand and hug for a long time. One of the caregivers hands Jupiter a cookie and she doesn't immediately inhale it. Another sure sign that the baby girl isn't one hundred percent.

I spread a blanket on the floor and Wendy and Jupiter play with some of the toys. Jupiter dispatches the stacking cups with little effort. Just don't make them into a tower. She doesn't like that. It's not how they're supposed to go. The stacking rings also pose little problem.

Larissa (the baby home director) comes in and says "Together again" making me feel like Wendy and I are Butch and Sundance or, more likely, Laurel and Hardy. She speaks to Katya and then Katya asks if Wendy would like to take Jupiter with us when we move into the apartment. Wendy wonders if this is a trick question. Katya explains that we're not supposed to bring the baby with us but Larissa will allow it anyway. We decide we love Larissa even more.

Wendy tries clothes on Jupiter to judge what size she's wearing now. The shoes are entirely too big but everything else works. This is a girl who knows she's getting new clothes and loves every moment of it. I tell Wendy Jupiter is a clothes horse in the making and Wendy replies, "It's a good thing she has you for an aunt then."

They bring Jupiter's lunch at noon and we discover that Katya is allergic to cats and dogs and that I am slowly killing her with my fleece vest. As I am fond of Katya, I take off the vest and shove it into the very bottom of my backpack. I don't think it helps very much though.

After lunch, it's time for a very tired Jupiter to go to bed and for us to head back to Ekaterinburg. I sit in front with Sergei so Katya can discuss the court visit with Wendy and tell her everything she needs to know. Watching Sergei pass people is scarier in the front seat but at least the speedometer is broken so I can't tell how quickly he's doing it. I opt for sleep.

We stop again at the rest stop. I don't eat this time but neither does Sergei. So there. After Wendy and Katya eat, we use the pay bathrooms (15 rubles, please). Not the best, but not the worst Russian rest room I've been in and it does have toilet paper. Bonus!

We get back in the car and go back to sleep. I don't know about Wendy but I don't wake up until we get to the city outskirts. Wendy asks if I had a nice nap in a way that makes me wonder if I was snoring or talking in my sleep or something. I decide not to ask though.

We go to the photo shop to pick pictures for the judge. We pick 13 candidates and print them all (130 rubles). They'll be ready in an hour so Katya sends us back to the hotel with Sergei and she will wait for the pictures. She'll call us later though and tell us if we're going to Serov again in the morning (there are currently seven families in Ekaterinburg so there might not be staff enough to send us). We hope so because there's a court requirement saying we have to make two visits before the court date. Katya says it's all right if we don't go. The social worker will lie and say we have been there twice. I don't know if I should feel reassured by this or not. We go back to the hotel though and collapse from heat and regular exhaustion. We eat more peanut butter sandwiches and go to sleep around 9pm. Katya calls an hour later and tells us we're not going to Serov after all so we don't have to get up at 3am. We say goodnight and roll over and go back to sleep.

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