I thought staying with a family in Perm, Russia would be safer than being on our own in a hotel. One of the things asked of us was to take Pavol our interpreter’s brother, to the bank. My husband would exchange crisp one hundred dollar bills for Russian currency. Russian citizens were not allowed to have American money. Therefore all the couples coming to adopt children would take turns going to the bank and exchanging money.
My husband left with Pavol early in the morning to exchange money, and while they were gone there was a knock at the door. The family let in two men that had wires, hardware, and a camera. They walked in and out of rooms looking at the doorframes and windows as if they were inspecting the level of security of the apartment. While they installed a camera over the front door and additional locks I sat on my bed and watched. The men never acknowledged me. I asked one of the daughters who could speak a little English what the men were doing. She told me the Russian Mafia is aware many foreign families stay at their apartment while waiting to adopt children from the orphanage. These families usually carry a great deal of American money, so her parents thought it would be wise to increase security for our safety.