I'm happy to say that this time next week, we will be in Astrakhan, Russia! We leave the States on Friday, September 28 and arrive in Moscow on the 29th. Depending upon the schedule of the flights to Astrakhan, we may have to stay in Moscow one night or we will board another plane on Saturday and fly straight to Astrakhan. We're kinda hoping we can fly straight on to Astrakhan simply because the hotels are so outrageous in Moscow – $400 a night for a room at the Marriott! That will also put us closer to the little boy we are going to see. Right now all we know is that he's 4 years old, Caucasian and has brown eyes. We'll get a medical report and history on him when we reach the orphanage.

Being that we are going to arrive during the weekend, I imagine that we will go to the Minister of Education (they oversee the orphanage system in Russia) on Monday to formally submit our dossier and receive our referral. We will then go to the orphanage to get his medical, his life history, and finally meet the child! One of the first things we will do after that first meeting is send all his medical information, pictures and other pertinent information to an international adoption pediatrician at Vanderbilt Medical Center. They will review the information and tell us if there are any red flags that we should worry about. We will then spend the next couple of days getting to know the child and making a final decision as to whether or not we want to adopt him. IF we decide we cannot adopt him for medical reasons, we are allowed another referral while we are there. Of course, this could mean we have to stay in-country for a couple of extra days. I pray that this does not happen. We've already had to turn down 2 other referrals whose medical information we received ahead of time and it was very difficult. I can't imagine turning down a child after we've met him face to face. But, I've been warned that it does happen from time to time and I should be prepared for it.

We'll keep you posted on how things progress… we've been told that our hotels have good internet connections!

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