After breakfast at our lovely hotel in Vladimir, Tania took us to the Ministry of Adoption where we met with the director and her assistant, pictured below (in navy) with our family:
Evidently, the stories coming from the US relating to adoptive families have not been positive (abuse, returning adoptees, or sending them to another home, etc.). She was in tears to see us, and to know that Mario and Olivia were well cared for and loved. I felt like that was a great testimony in itself, but then I was able to give her a Gospel of John, too!
We discovered that you can't outgive a Russian. The Director gave Olivia a beautiful drawing on glass done by the children in the Vladimir Orhphanage. She was so touched!
Then came the biggest gift of all: the ladies got busy and found Olivia's dossier and discovered that her baby half-sister (she had four siblings) was adopted,too; and her name? Victoria! And guess where she lives now . . . Ohio!!!!! Wow! They will contact her family (they happen to be Italian, too) to ask permission for us to visit her. And here is a photo of Victoria when she was four:
She is now 13!!
Then we went to the Vladimir orphanage for children ages 3-6, which is the model for all orphanages in the area. It has been supported by European Adoption Consultants, the agency that facilitated both our adoptions. Here are a few photos from the interior:
Then it was time to visit Kovrov, but Mario's orphanage was empty and being rennovated:
Here is the room where Mario slept:
Obviously, it looked much nicer back then, and had beds. ;-)
We actually picked Mario up at the local hospital (which looked like a factory building), since they needed to rule out hip dysplasia:
Mario was not as keen to dig up his roots, so I'm glad Olivia had more to uncover!
We had a delightful dinner at "Café Chekov" topped off by "chai" and dessert:
(spokoynoy nochi)! Tomorrow we visit Olivia's orphanage, and the judge who presided at her Russian adoption. Then,it's a four hour drive back to Moscow!