‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Another Day of Red Tape, Bootless Prayers and Russian Bullying

I don't think I even have the mental energy to type out what our day was like today. A simple list might be easier:

# of government authorities we met with in person today: 16.
# of government workers who basically told us they couldn't help us: 15
# of buildings I entered today: 11.
# of buildings that I wish to never enter again: 11.
# of times I was told to sign something I did not understand:3
# of times Nastia had to sign something she did not understand: about 7
# of hours we spent waiting in line at all places combined: about 7.5
# of useless extra forms they requested of us throughout the day: infinity.
# of people that needed $$ from me: 5 or 6
# of squat toilets without paper we were forced to use: 4
# of people who smiled at us today: 0
# of people who yelled at at least one of us today: too many to count.

Everytime we thought we had all the paperwork they required, we would be told about yet another one we needed and then were sent on a wild goose chase all over the city to get it. At one point, we thought we were done and suddenly they decided they wanted a notarized letter in Nastia's handwriting and signature that stated she, as a Russian Citizen, approved of my being her mother and taking her out of the country to America. (What???)

Now the landlord is pissed at me because I couldn't let him in for the third night in a row to try to set up wireless. ( Would you like your evening to be dictated by someone fiddling with your computer for 4 hours at a time?) Sorry I'm so bitter. its been one hell of a day again, and my prayers seem to be met with silence. I'm just spent and don't know how to dig myself out of this ever deepening hole.

The next problem is that I MUST leave the country on October 13th. I MUST go to a neighboring country and get a new visa. Problems with this?
1. the cost.
2. I can't in good conscience leave Anya here, nevermind Nastia..so even higher cost
3. closest country is Ukraine and it involves a flight to Moscow and then on to Kiev...costly.
4.I have no way of knowing if the Russian Consulate there will even grant me a visa.
5. If they will grant it, I have no idea how long it will take.
6. They will only grant me a month-long visa and this is not long enough for the time I need to wait for Nastia's travel passport. So why even bother???

We tried to secure me an invitation from Svetlana so I can get a 90 day visa, but the local office that takes care of this is giving us the cold shoulder and says they cannot get it for us until Oct 23rd. But I have to leave by the 13th. And Nastia cant leave until 2 months from now.And Anya? God knows how long Anya is stuck here.

Can you say " INSANITY"????

As Shakespeare says " If this were played upon a stage now,  I would condemn it as an improbable fiction."


  1. oh sheesh. This is just beyond frustrating. ((((hugs)))) I am so sorry Keri!

  2. This is unbelievable, or as you said, insanity. My admiration for you grows as each day passes. May God grant you the strength to continue on your journey.


  3. Worse than waterboarding... Hang tough...

  4. i believe this is going to work out. i trust you are there for a reason.

    but for the record, AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH! i'm so sorry. an onslaught of thoughts and prayers in your direction, surrounding you and each of your daughters.

  5. Hugs to you guys, Keri.

  6. I wish I had some beautiful words of wisdom for you...or a magic wand I could wave to make everything ok. I have neither. Will a cyber {{HUG}} do? It's all I've got. :-(

  7. Goodness, INSANITY is about the only word for it!

  8. That's incredible. And what if Nastia wouldn't have wanted to sign that paper? YOU are legally her mother--in two different countries. How can they require that?! And oh yes . . insanity . . . serious, Keri, write a book when it's all done and sell it!

  9. I am so very proud of what you are doing for your girls. It will work out in the end, because you are doing what's best for them.
    Sending prayers.

  10. Well, I noticed one person said they could help you.....

    These things do tend to work themselves out. I really think sometimes people like to tell you things are hopeless, but when push comes to shove they don't want you stuck at the front of their line. Like the guy in Paris who swore that because Ilya did not have a transit visa, he COULD NOT leave that airport. No; he couldn't return to Russia; he couldn't go to any other city either. We all just stood there in front of him. The absurdity struck me because I'd just seen "The Terminal", so I didn't get as upset as Craig. Eventually, I asked, "Then you expect us to stay here in this airport forever?" and with very ill-temper he sent us on the trail of sanity. In Russia I can handle this stuff; in Paris it seemed so much more mean-spirited.

  11. Keri, I don't have much money to send you - only about $10 or $15. But I want it to go towards buying chocolates or champagne for the people at one of those offices. How do I get that to you? I see the paypal option but that expressly says it's for orphanage donations. Thanks.

  12. Wow, amazing anyone is ever adopted from that country. {{HUGS}}}

  13. Oh no....I will seriously keep you in my prayers. It really does sound like a nightmare. I got a headache just reading it. Your a good mom to be going through all of this.

  14. Keri
    I am keeping you, Nastya and Anya in my prayers@

  15. Stay strong. You have to. Big hugs.

  16. oooooooh, will that work, greasing the wheels like Rosemary said? You are welcome to use the little bit I sent last night in whatever way you need to help clear a way through this insane nightmare!

    Rosemary, by the time this is posted Keri may have posted a response to you, but I just made a donation to the PayPal button, but in the comments explained what it was to be used for. It all goes to Keri, so she will know what you desire her to use it for if you say so in the "leave a message" part of the donation (right before you confirm it), and I assume anything that comes without an explanation she will use for the orphans.

  17. Keri - Please, please use your contact to meet the Governor. As per Russian rules Nastya should renew her passport in NY Consulate (not in Kemerovo since she has no residency there). The Governor is the only one who may have a power to help you in this unique situation. Trying to get a new passport at local UFMS is a waste of time. As for your visa renewal I would head to Helsinki (Finland) via St.Petersburg. As far as I know it is pretty standard for expats working in Russia to go for a little "vacation" to renew their visas instead of going back to US.
    Good luck!

  18. Love you, love you, love you. Wherever you are.

  19. Agree with Anna. Do not go to Ukraine, you will stuck there again. They have the same and even worth mentality as Russians, hungry for money and power. To feel control over American gives them pleasure.
    I understand you completely and admire your heroism.
    Thinking about you, girls and all people who support your effort.
    Much Love from Israel


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