Thursday, April 22, 2010

Court (out of order post...scroll down to read first)

At approximately 9:45 am (Ukraine), we officially became the parents of Anastasia, Tatiana, and Elijah!!!! We were picked up this morning at 8:30 am and taken to the court house in Kirovograd. Our favorite taxi driver in region, Nick, took us along with Katia our translator. Natasha, our lawyer, met us at the court house for our 9:00 am appointment. We entered a rather old building with huge ceilings and filed through a metal detector that I'm fairly certain hasn't been working in years. We then were stopped at the entrance to a stairwell to show our passports and write our names in some rather ancient looking book. Of course, in Natasha fashion, we were waved right through. I love being with her! She thinks certain things (like wearing brightly colored booties at the orphanage) are beneath her and so when you are with her formalities fall by the wayside. We were led upstairs and told to wait outside of a door. We stood there with our translator for about 15 minutes prior to being called in. During this time, our translator briefed us again on court, told us to expect lots of questions (because nobody understands why a young couple like us would want to do this ), and told us to be prepared for some strange, off the wall questions, like what kind of dog do you have? or why do you not just have biological child...are you too lazy? Apparently this judge had even told one couple that medically could not have children that the wife was just not trying hard enough! We find that being in the Ukraine never disappoints :) She also told us to hope the judge was in "good humor". Katia also prepped us for the fact that the prosecutor would probably come and that she would most likely say no to our adoption. Apparently she is known for saying no. No worries though, we were told the judge had the finally say. I must say that standing out in front of the judges chambers listening to all this made me really nervous! Finally our lawyer called us in and we all took our seats. There were two ladies sitting next to the judge, who didn't say a word the entire time. The official from the orphanage was there to read the verdict of the council and of course Natasha and Katia. Much to our surprise and delight, the prosecutor was a no show. Another lady from the orphanage was there as well, to state whether or not this adoption was in the best interest of the children. Court began with lots of sitting and standing (each time you are asked a question you must stand) and lots of formalities. Our petition was then read before the court and all the evidence showing that the children were legally free for adoption began. Again, it was so sad to hear how the children were abandoned and we even learned that Tatia's mom left a fake name, so that no one would know this was her child. Finally the part I was dreading began....questioning! Surprisingly, the judge only asked us a few questions. Why? How old is our biological daughter? What did my husband do for a job? What kind of medical care would the children receive? Then came our final question....The judge looked at us, paused and you believe in God? A loud resounding yes was out of both our mouths faster than anything. After all, He is the reason we are here. I think our judge could feel that this was not really his decision to make, but yet a much higher Judge was in charge. Definitely interesting! After the questions, Natasha showed him our photo book. I'm sure he didn't think I'd notice but I caught a few smiles out of our judge. Once he had looked over our book all of our dossier and paperwork (bound together by some sort of heavy string) was brought out and gone through. Every single agency (interpol, SDA, homestudy, medicals, orphanage etc.) was read through to ensure we had approval for "positive adoption." Both ladies from the orphanage stood, spoke about us and the children, our positive visits, and whether or not they felt it was in the children's best interest to be adopted. One lady from the orphanage almost had me in tears when she talked about how sweet the children were and how children with down's syndrome require love, love the orphanage cannot give them. Then the other orphanage official told the judge during our entire questioning before the council that we did not once refer to these children as "sick". Our lawyer then stood and raised the petition that our 10 days be waived due to the medical condition of the children and the volcanic situation. She really hammered it in that these kids need to get home! The judge then dismissed us all and said he would need to think about it. Back out into that old smelly hallway we went! Approximately three minutes later we were called in again. We stood in front of his desk as he read through "the verdict" - in the middle of reading it his cell phone started ringing with some really old bad sounding Ukrainian music and he couldn't find it to turn it off. When it stopped ringing he looked up at us and with this really funny face and said in english SORRY...ha ha I almost peed my pants!! He resumed his serious nature and announced that the children were officially ours and that our 10 day wait was WAIVED!!!! :) I must say, it was so very surreal! So, our babies are officially ours and we should, God-willing, be home on Wednesday. After court, Natasha told us that we were lucky to have her and this judge because they get along very well together. She has known him for years and this case to him was like going to the moon! I guess it was so strange to him that he just let us go! She said we were the quickest couple yet!!! Our God is truly awesome - thank you all for the prayers!!!
After our talk, George was whisked away with Nick, our taxi driver, and Katia, our translator, to drive 4 hours (2 hours each way) to get Anastasia's birth certificate. Apparently where she was born they have no heat (they burn wood) and no water...ha ha poor George!
Thankfully, Tatianna's and Eli's were here, in Kirovograd, so Natasha and I went to go pick those up and then we went to sign some other paperwork. The whole experience today was absolutely beyond words. When we picked up the birth certificate here, Natasha and I went into a really old building (that someone had to unlock and let us into), up the stairs (which I almost tripped on, but Natasha in her 4" heels managed just fine!), and then into a room that smelled like a nail salon. Apparently it must double as one, because on an ancient looking desk was even older looking nail polish and a lady doing okay?!? We went through a door, into a room with old children's wallpaper on the wall (patched with old flower wallpaper) signed a book, showed the court paperwork to a lady and then Natasha told me to leave and wait for her outside. We made one more interesting stop to sign paperwork and I was free to leave. One of Natasha's assistants (who doesn't speak english), drove me back to our apartment in a car straight from Soviet times, with a cracked windshield and a seat belt that was no longer attached and yet he insisted I put it on...strange, but who am I to argue with someone who doesn't speak English. He then drove me "home" while we listened to the Scatman (how old is that song?!?) and swerved to avoid potholes. I also got to see a dog taking a dump right in the middle of the road...nice! I must say that is much better than the dogs and cats we have seen getting "fresh" with one another all over town! I really think I will miss this's like being in some really strange movie! So tomorrow at 9 am we are going to meet up with our translator, pick up some things for the kids, and then GOTCHA DAY at 10 am!!! The plan right now is to head back to Kiev around 4 or 5 pm tomorrow night. YAY!!!!! Please pray that our little Gianna is completely better by tomorrow. She has been struggling with a stomach virus since Tuesday, and while the puke fest has subsided for the most part, she is still just not 100% herself yet. :( And we have had no wash macheenin - as our landlord calls it - we have been washing by hand! The drive back to Kiev is a very bumpy one and even a strong stomach finds it difficult! Well sorry for the long post but words just don't do it justice! We are excited to get the kids and get HOME!!!!


  1. What an amazing God we serve!!! He is so good! What a powerful testimony of His faithfulness - have been up a lot overnight and praying lots; I just had this overall feeling of excitement to see what God was going to do. Clearly He moved in that courtroom today. Continuing to pray for Gia's little tummy (thought - maybe this is why God kept her from visiting the kids?? so you wouldn't end up with everyone sick?) and for safe travels home. Wish you were flying closer to us - I can't wait to meet my new nieces and nephew!

  2. Yay!! Praising God with you guys~ :D How exciting for you all..Can't wait for you guys to be back home to start down your new path of this's a beautiful scenic route of life I tell ya :) Blessing to you all & praying for your family as you now come together as one. Hold on mama, it's gonna get a little crazy :)

  3. Now is the most interesting 'becoming a parent' story I've ever heard! :) Congratulations again!!!!!



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