Today marks the 5th anniversary of us adopting our son Ben. As per the usual, we went out for Orange Chicken at Panda Express and then got ice cream. What can I say? The boy loves his Orange Chicken.
Five years ago we went to court in Russia and told the judge that we were so concerned about the dry skin on my son's cheek that it warranted immediate medical attention. Yeah. Some situations call for exaggeration and this was one of them. It was either that or spend two weeks in Russia waiting for all of the paperwork to go through. You'd be surprised at what you'll say in court when facing the threat of spending another two weeks eating nothing but granola bars and rationing the bottled water for teeth brushing so that you don't get dysentery.
After we went to court, we were supposed to go back to the hotel, get some sleep and then pick Ben up the next day and go back to Moscow but instead they decided that we'd pick him right up and drive back to Moscow. Just to set the stage for this trip, driving in rural Russia is one of the scariest driving situations you'll be in. The roads are atrocious, and thin. Everyone drives about a billion miles an hour, and if there's a large truck on the road, your driver has no problem swinging out into the opposing lane, even if another truck in said lane is about to paste your ass. Driving in these conditions when it's just you is one thing, but driving in these conditions holding on to your new, seven month old son is something else entirely. I thought we were all going to die, and worse, that I just spent a boatload of money adopting a kid that was going to die with us. At one point I went in the back of the van to mix up Ben's bottle, our driver hit a pothole at Mach 5 and the formula literally exploded all over me. Nice. It's a good thing our driver couldn't speak English as he would have learned a new English word, that word being "fuckstick".
Once we got back to the hotel they dropped us off and left. Linda and I had discussed this in the past, and I had said that there was no way they would take two people who have never had a kid, give them an infant and just leave. Not only would they do that, but they did just that. While in the room, everyone was all smiles, including Ben but once we said goodbye to our coordinator and that door shut, Ben erupted. E-rupted. It didn't help that we forgot one of the basic ideas of feeding a baby, namely that cold formula doesn't cut it. Unfortunately we didn't rectify that little mental error until the next morning, so we were stuck trying to pacify a baby who had been perfect up until that point. Somehow we managed to get him calmed down, get him fed and cleaned up his incredibly stanky person.
Then we rode in an elevator with a prostitute.
I'm not kidding about that last part. All of the adoption books we read about adopting from Russia mentioned that the hotel we were staying at had lots and lots of prostitutes that hung out in the hotel lounge in the evening. True enough, this place was packed with hookers. We decided to take Ben for a walk down in the lobby, forgetting this fact, and rode down with a hooker and her john. I'm assuming he was a john, because if he wasn't, girlfriend had a fetish for the dentally impaired. While we're going down in the elevator, the hooker kept talking to Ben in Russian. It was all very odd. I'm sure she was a very nice person, but I'd just as soon not have a hooker be one of the first people our son hangs out with upon being adopted. I'm kind of old fashioned that way.
There are other stories to tell, but those can wait for another time. For now, I'm happy he joined our family and glad that I never have to go back to Russia. Four times was enough, thank you very much. As far as I know, I've never ridden in an elevator with another prostitute, however I'm not in the habit of asking that of those I'm riding with. I may not know a lot, but I know that much.