Sunday, March 27, 2011
We made it!!
Well, we made it to Krasnoyarsk yesterday (Saturday) around 10 AM....but our luggage didn't! When we landed in Moscow on Friday afternoon we were supposed to claim our bags & go through customs before checking them on our flight to Kras that night. It turns out JFK in New York didn't load the luggage for about a third of our flight to Moscow. We spent 5 hours between lost luggage counter & customs trying to get correct paperwork filled out & stamped. As you can imagine, the language barrier made things VERY difficult for us. We learned 2 very important lessons: 1) There is no such thing as a single file, orderly line in Russia. 2) People do not wait their turn, but instead they push past everyone else to get to the front. Andrew had to fight his way up to the front & we finally got some help from a very nice airline lady. She let us use her phone to call P, our Moscow facilitator who had been waiting outside for us for about 2 hours at that point to take us on a tour. He said to do what they told us & he would be waiting for us with his driver. Three hours later.....we were finally finished with this disaster after dealing with a customs officer who spoke a little English. At first he seemed annoyed with us for being American & we weren't sure if he was helping or not. In the end, he signed & stamped all 6 forms we had to fill out & told us we could go. At this point is was about 6 PM. We were exhausted & starving. We just wanted to meet up with P even though we knew we wouldn't be able to do the tour. When we got outside of customs...no P & no driver! AHHHH!!!! We had no phone to use & we walked up & down the corridor a few times to check all of the signs the drivers were holding. NOPE. So, we decided to just go upstairs & get checked in for our flight to Kras & get some dinner. After checking in, we sat down for a few minutes as the frustration & feeling of being helpless really hit both of us. Andrew took a chance with the laptop & got a Wi-Fi signal for a few minutes to send P an email. It was out last attempt at trying to get communication with him & we both prayed. About 20 minutes later, a little Russian man holding a sign with our name on it started walking toward us!!!! It was the driver & we had somehow missed each other downstairs. He called P to let him know he found us & took us to get some dinner at a cafe in the airport. P had left airport around 6 PM....so we talked to him on driver's phone. We gave driver official stuff for P, ate dinner, & said goodbye to driver feeling some relief. We boarded our flight for Kras at about 1 AM & arrived at about 10 AM Saturday. It's cold, but nice & sunny here. It's in the high 30's/low 40's during the day. Our facilitaor Y & driver picked us up, but still no bags. We had hoped that by some miracle they had made it onto that flight. We spent all day Saturday & this morning stressing about no luggage. Not only did it have all of our stuff, but also our nice clothes for MOE appt. on Monday, 2 bags were orphange donations for the children, & gifts for officials. Y called Moscow & we learned this morning that our bags made it to Kras airport & we just picked them up!!!! We had one change of clothes & toothbrushes in the carry-ons & that was pretty much it. Thank you, God for getting our bags to us!!! In the middle of all of this, we realized the enemy does not want us here. He does not want this baby to have a family & has been working hard to discourage us & cause problems since the issue with our visas last week. Well, he's not going to win!!! After some much needed sleep, we both realized we didn't need our luggage to accomplish our purpose here. We are here for that baby & we will be his parents no matter what! We both came to the point of total brokenness & realization that God is bigger than anything that gets thrown at us in this process. We are almost to the end & He will see us through it. It's now Sunday evening here & we are sooooo happy to have our stuff, but even happier that we get to hold our son tomorrow for the first time!!!!!! Through all of this stress I have gotten some perspective & comfort by looking through his pictures when I need to. He is why we are here. Our appt. at the MOE is at noon tomorrow & we sign the referral acceptance. Then we get to go to the orphanage for the first time. Please pray for tomorrow-it's a BIG day! Well, we are starving & going to check out an Italian restaurant ddown by the river for dinner. Andrew took some great pictures, but was having a hard time getting them loaded on the blog. They'll be up soon. We'll post an update tomorrow after our big day. Goodbye from Russia! Andrew & Charity