As you can imagine, it's been a crazy hectic week! Of course news of the impending court date trumps all, but in preparation for the trip, I had planned a super busy week at work. It's Murphy's Law that I would have found out about the court date during such a busy week!! Looks like I'll be leaving Michigan on 3/5 and returning home on 3/28. Let's hope the best laid plans remain the best and laid!!
Believe it or not the actual choosing of the flights was rather stressful. For those of you familiar with Russian adoption, you are aware that 90% of the families adopting have to return home through Moscow (regardless of their region) and make the famous Embassy stop. If you aren't aware - you learned something new today!! However, because Vladivostok is SOOOO far from Moscow - approximately 9 hours by plane!! - this region allows families to send a courier to Moscow for them to do that Embassy visit and paperwork. So I'll actually be flying home to the east vs. flying over most of Europe.
Going to Moscow IS an option. Do you pay a courier or do the leg work yourself? My wonderful friend Rhonda (yes, she of the first Tatiana trip!!) had volunteered to go back with me for part of the trip to help get Little T home. She and I BOTH would LOVE to see Moscow -- and when in Russia... so we looked at the options. While the flight was cheaper for her, it was tons more expensive for me. But I balanced the cost of hiring the courier -- until I found out that the driver in Moscow was basically the same price as hiring a courier to do all the leg work for me! I just couldn't make it work.
On top of that there was some confusion about the long plane ride home. Another challenge about the flight home from Vladivostok is the timing of flights. As you can imagine there aren't a ton of flights in and out of the International terminal there. Many of the layovers were LONG - leading an over night stay in a transit hotel. My travel agent didn't know about the hotel that was IN the airport and was leading me to believe that I couldn't stay overnight because Little T couldn't leave the airport. Thanks to my friend Nancy for the wonderful advice on the Hotel Air Garden!! (Her blog is on private, otherwise I'd link you to her great blog!)
Finally when we had all the dates figured out and made sure we weren't leaving too soon, then the preferred flight home through Chicago was so crowded that there weren't even 2 seats together. It's likely that the airline could have done some rearranging in the airport - however... I really didn't want to take that gamble on a 12.5 hour flight with a 2 year old! So now we are coming home through Atlanta! Which of course added some additional $$$!
That's it! I am BOOKED, Dano!
1 week ago