After a nerve-wracking trip to the airport and getting through the airport security we finally made it to our plane. We were told that our Rep, Galina, would be flying with us. We never saw her until we were already on the plane. She was one of the last passengers on the plane, she saw us and gestured to Bill. He figured it was Galina. Her seat was actually next to ours. That would have been great, except, Galina does not speak English. So, it was a quiet trip for the 3 of us. We didn't meet the translator until we got off the plane. Things got better after that.

It was already dark when we landed so we could not see much on our way to the hotel. But it appears that Astrakhan traffic is better than Moscow (nothing could be worse). The entire town of Astrakhan is under construction. They are celebrating a big anniversary next year and are making big plans.

Our hotel is also under construction. But it's nice and clean. The staff seems friendly and some speak English.

The plan for tomorrow is that Galina and Vika (our translator) will take all the new, updated documents to be translated and notarized (again? I guess they need a Russian notary?) then they will call us and make plans to meet us at the hotel around 11:00am. We will then go to the Minister of Education and submit our dossier and formally receive our referral. After that, I think we get to go to the orphanage to see the child and get his medical and history. I say “I think” because, we asked Galina a couple of times about when we get to meet him and she was vague in her reply. I think she is just being vague in case we run into problems at the Minister of Ed and we get delayed going to the orphanage by a day. But, of course I hope that is not the case and we will finally get what we came for – THE CHILD!

Bill and I both feel like we've been in Russia for a month already. It's really only been a day and a half.

Pictures of Astrakhan and our hotel room will come later! We are using the lobby computer tonight until we are able to purchase a calling card to use the internet in our room.

See more pictures

UPDATE: Recently discovered this map showing the entrance of the orphanage on


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