Wednesday, July 9, 2008

She's Our Daughter!

We had court this morning and everything went smoothly. Everyone seemed to be more nervous than we were, and they were all so glad that court went well. At the hearing, there were 9 people: the judge, the prosecutor, the secretary, Steve, me, our interpreter (Yelena), Andrei, a doctor from the orphanage, and a lady from the municipal government. Steve went first and then me, and the judge asked us each basically the same questions: name, birthdate, citizenship, why we wanted to adopt, and why we chose Russia. Since Steve went first, he had additional questions like when we got married (He had to think about it, but he did remember!), our address, when our previous adoptions occurred (He remembered those dates, too!), description of our house, his job information and income. The judge asked me if our boys knew about us adopting a girl, and I said, "Yes, and they pray for her every night." She seemed really pleased with that answer, and I didn't even have to make it up; that's really true!

After us, the doctor talked about Katie's health diagnoses and about her personality in general. She talked about how it was in the best interest of her for her to have a family. The lady from the government then said that we had filled out all the necessary paperwork, that we had petitioned the court for this adoption, and that they had accepted our petition, etc. etc. Andrei then showed them the photo album we had prepared with pictures from our first visit. The prosecutor looked through the album, and it was obvious how much she enjoyed the pictures. With a little girl as adorable as Katie, how can anyone not love the pictures?! Lastly, the prosecutor spoke about how it is the opinion of the state that it is in the best interest of the child for this adoption to take place. Then the judge left the courtroom to make her decision. She returned after about 5 minutes, and ruled in favor of the adoption. Everyone shook hands and congratulated us, and it was smiles all around!

After we left the courtroom, Andrei took us to the orphanage with the orphanage doctor for one last visit with Katie. Earlier, before the court hearing, he said that we weren't going to be able to go see her today because he had too much work to do on our case to take us. We were very disappointed because we hadn't said goodbye to her yet. On the contrary, we told her that we would see her the next day, so we were glad when Andrei changed his mind. As it turns out, the office that he needs to go to for this document closes at noon so he couldn't go today anyway. When we got to the orphanage, Katie was dressed in a darling red and white checked dress. We only had maybe 15-20 minutes with her before Andrei returned, and I just held her in my lap the whole time. Steve took some precious pictures of the 2 of us. She was content to just sit and snuggle with me with a huge smile on her face. The doctor told us that she is going around the orphanage saying, "Papa, Mama, I will go home." Also, yesterday when we were walking around outside yesterday, she was saying, "Mama kharasho" to everyone. Sergei even said it when he picked us up. We asked Andrei today what that word meant and he said it means "good." She's telling everyone that I'm a good Mama. Does anyone have a tissue?

We told her goodbye one last time, and she blew us kisses. Andrei took us back to our apartment where we ate lunch and took another nap. We're still not sleeping well here. Our flight leaves tomorrow at 12:55, and Sergei will pick us up at 10:00. From here, we're not completely sure how everything will work, because Andrei contradicts himself. However, we think that this is what we can expect: On July 21, Andrei will get the judge's ruling. Then he can take that to get Katie's birth certificate and adoption certificate. Everything will need to be translated into English for us (court ruling, certificates, and anything else). Then we will return to Moscow. Once we arrive we will apply for her passport and visa. This takes 3 days. So, we think that we may leave to come back on either July 26 or August 2 (this is our estimate not Andrei's - he will not give one). We would arrive the following day (Sunday),pick up Katie, apply for passport and visa on Monday, pick them up on Thursday, go through embassy and consulate on Friday, and fly home on Saturday. Once again, we'll just wait and see.

We are now firmly in the "wait" portion of this "hurry up and wait" process. These next few weeks will be difficult because we are already chomping at the bit to return and take her home. Right now she is officially our daughter, but we have to leave her here. Ouch!

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Congratulations, Karen and Steve! I am so happy for you that court went well and you are officially Katie's parents! I got teary reading about you having to leave her but soon she will be home with you for good. I love hearing how excited she is that you are her parents and that she understands that she is going home. That is so cool! I hope time flies for you.
God Bless You! Cindy