Waggs Walkabout

Monday, July 26, 2010

Our Import Program

For the past 16 months, Dave and I have been working on a special project to import a small Russian person into our lives – aka –adopt a child or children from Russia. Any adoption involves a long and arduous journey and the process gets even more complicated when attempted by American expatriates living in Australia. Those who know me well can attest that I rarely choose the simple path in life. It’s not a conscious choice on my part; for some inexplicable reason, I’m attracted to a challenge (which explains a lot about my previous relationships and career choices). But – I digress.

Not only have we had to satisfy the our U.S. adoption agency, the US government and the Russian adoption services and courts, we’ve also had to liaise with the adoption unit of the Northern Territory depart of child and family services and contract with one of their social workers for our homestudy and follow up reports . We’ve had to request documents from every state either of us has ever lived in and a list goes on and on and on……

At the beginning of the process we requested a set of siblings under the age of three and a half. At our ages we decided this was a one shot deal and there is a financial advantage to doing two at the same time. Not quite BOGO, but who doesn’t appreciate a bargain (PS – that was a joke).

As we rolled into the second year of the process, we’ve changed our request to be open to a single child instead of holding out for a matched set. This decision shortened our waiting time, only for the actions of a crazy lady from Tennessee set us back months in the process. It’s disheartening that the actions of one deranged individual can have such a significant impact on the lives of people she will never meet. I’d love the chance to have a chat (that involved sharp objects) with her; it’s probably a good thing that I live on the other side of the planet. The required paperwork includes police background checks. Because of crazy lady, we had to “switch regions”. Each region of Russia has a different set of requirements and forms to be submitted. We recently finished and submitted our request to the Perm region and are hoping a “referral” in the coming days. (Referral is adoption speak for the offer of a child)

In an effort to improve our Russian karma, we hosted a Russian themed dinner party last weekend. It was a great way to keep myself occupied for several days, researching recipes, finding appropriate ingredients and even concocting a substitution for one of the ingredients. The only failure was the search for caviar in Alice Springs.

Here’s the menu: (click on the name of food to see the recipe)

Delicate eggplant caviar – No fish eggs in this one, just roasted eggplant, mixed with onion, tomatoes and garlic marinated in oil and vinegar, served on pumpernickel as an appitizer.

Chicken kotletki with sour cream sauce – Ground chicken breast patties stuffed with sautéed mushrooms covered in cream sauce.

Braised cabbage – Cabbage, onions and carrots braised in bacon fat. (probably won't be featured on the Cooking Light website - but boy does it taste GOOD!)

Moldovan potato Salad – Boiled potatoes and garlic tossed olive oil combined with scallions, black olives, dill, a soft but crumbly Moldovian cheese called brinza (which isn’t available in Alice but a substitute can be created with some time and patience).  Shoot me a note if you want assitance on the cheese substitution.

The final course was a selection of cheeses accompanied by Gozinakh which is a sweet gooey treat made from walnuts and honey.

The dinner was a smashing success (two wine glasses bit the dust). Our friends were more than happy to assist in our karma improvement project as we didn’t require them to drink an excessive amount of vodka. I am however pleading the fifth regarding the amount of wine consumed that night.

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