I arrived in Mosow, Russia on Sunday, November 14 and was met by my adoption agency representative who drove me to Tver, about three hours northwest of Moscow. The weather is pretty nice for November in Russia- in the high 40's and partly cloudy. I can get around with just a sweater and no coat, so it's much better weather than expected.
On Monday, November 15, I had my 'medical day'. My agency representative picked me up from my hotel in the morning and my first stop was, I guess, the psychiatric hospital. Yikes. The hospitals in Tver are not very nice at all- very old and pretty rundown. I stood in the hallway for about 15 minutes or so while they did some paperwork on me and paid 450 rubles (less than $50). Then I walked down a hallway to the psychiatrist's office. The psychiatrist was a very nice blonde woman probably about my same age. Through my translator, she asked me various questions like why did I decide to adopt a baby from Russia, how will I care for the baby if she has any emotional problems, will I have any help raising the baby, etc. My sister Monica was sitting next to me and the psychiatrist pointed to her and asked if my 'friend' was going to help. I responded in Russian "this is my sister" (thanks to my Russian I and II courses that I took at Johnson County Community College and my instructor Ginger Feather!). The psychiatrist laughed and was very impressed I knew some Russian. Then again, maybe she just laughed since I really introduced my sister as my cat (nah, I know the difference between the word for cat and the word for sister!). After the interview, she told me she was happy to sign the form allowing me to adopt and wished me good luck.
Then my driver/agency rep, my interpreter, my sister and I drove to another hospital (still scary looking). I stood in the hallway while my agency rep went into the doctor's office with my chest x-ray films I had brought from home. In about 15 more minutes, he came out of the office and said everything was fine, then we piled in the car to drive to another hospital.
At this third hospital, I sat in the car while my agency rep went inside with lab test results I had brought from home (blood tests for hepatitis, AIDS, etc., drug tests, etc). After about 15 or so minutes he came outside and asked for 350 rubles, which I gave him and he went inside the hospital again. A minute later he came out and told me the doctor wanted to see me. My sister, my interpreter and I went into our third hospital (don't get sick in Russia), and were escorted to the doctor's office. It was another blonde woman, that was again very nice. She told me through my interpreter that she was satisfied with the blood test results that I had brought with me and would sign the approval form for me to adopt.
And that was it! The visits to the three hospitals took about 2 hours and I was done for the day! It was not bad at all- quick, not as expensive as I was told, and the doctors were very nice.
The driver dropped my sister and I off at our hotel and we went shopping the rest of the afternoon. I bought many items for the baby for different stages in her life so I can always surprise her with gifts from her home country for special occassions- like a gold cross and chain, a doll, a keychain,a silk makeup bag, a fur hat.
When we finished shopping, we went back to the hotel for dinner. At dinner, we met other Americans also in town adopting babies too, so it's been nice to have some other Americans to talk with and share adoption stories.