Exterior of the Russian Courthouse
Dear Friends and Family,
Thanks so much for the emails.
It is comforting to stay connected like this when on the other side of the world.
Sleep Is Quite Difficult
Last night we were all tired early. No one took a nap. Matt went to sleep about 7:30pm and Emma and I stayed up and watched some kind of NASA science show in Russian. Science class :) We went to sleep about 9pm. I woke up about 11:30pm, then fell back asleep at about midnight. Woke again at 2:30am and was awake till about 6am. Ugh! Then slept from about 6-8am. Similar with Matt. We are normally good sleepers, so this is all about the time change. Again, Emma slept great.
This morning Andrei picked us up at 9:30am, then we went to pick up the interpreter who is a wonderful lady name Natalia. She is a professor at the local university, probably about 50-55 years old. Speaks impeccable English. Teaches English composition, literature and creative writing. Very intelligent. She and Matt really hit it off talking of all sorts of things, mostly about some of the great American writers.
Court Started at 10am
It was very similar to yesterday’s pre-trial. Extra people there were the DA, Minister of Education, Minister of Health and Director of the Orphanage.
We were prepped again before the trial on additional things to do and say. They wanted us to basically repeat the questions in our answers instead of just answering “yes or no” to certain things, so they could record that we truly understood what they were saying to us.
Also they wanted us to emphasize our concern for his medical condition (strabismus – crossed eye) to get him home quickly, and to integrate him into our family quickly, and that every day is significant in his developmental process, and that a 2 week delay is a big deal. Whew! It is a court full of women and they want to see feeling and emotion. That shouldn’t be difficult!
Our interpreter and lawyer said we did a great job. It was nerve-wracking though. I went in the bathroom outside the courtroom, got on my knees in a stall and said major prayers before walking in there; to not be nervous, to say the right thing.
Our lawyer had a list of things she wanted us to include as we talked about our motivation for adoption. We each had to discuss this issue. So on the way to court we memorized acronyms to help us remember all that we wanted to say.
Also they mentioned Emma being here a number of times in the courtroom and how she interacted with Ilya and that she seemed to love him and play with him wonderfully. I think this was significant in the whole process. Three different people mentioned it. They also said that since she had glasses, that was evidence that we understood about taking care of a child’s eyes.
Emma in the orphanage playroom. The child in the playpen is not ours. She enjoyed playing with all the babies.
After 1 1/2 hours, the judge left the room to decide.
She came back 10 minutes later and pronounced us Ilya’s parents and also that she would waive the 2-week waiting period. Wow! Mommy cried. It was all so intense and the relief that it was over and the excitement that it was complete. Really just like a new birth.
Afterward, we talked to the judge with our interpreter. She was very sweet. Our interpreter asked if we would like to talk to her and Matt joked that in the US we must say “May we approach the bench.” Our interpreter told the judge this and she laughed and said (in Russian) “You are not a lawyer here. A parent. And we and Ilya are all blessed and know you will be wonderful parents. We can see that.” What a day! Wish we could have recorded the trial.
So, now Andrei, our coordinator is hurrying around to get Ilya’s passport and new birth certificate and who knows what kind of paperwork. Ilya will have dual citizenship until he is 18. Tomorrow we will continue doing paperwork and probably take Ilya with us. He will sleep with us one night here in Stavropol. Then we will fly to Moscow early Thursday morning to be there one week for, you guessed it, more paperwork.
My Mama WAS going to come to Russia.
My mother was going to come over here when Matt went back to the U.S. next week so that he could get back to work and we could have, at least, one of us with our other 2 children. She was going to help me here in Russia and we were really looking forward to that time together. Now that the 2-week waiting period was waived and we are going home early, she will not get to come. I am a little sad for that.
The Black Sea
Also, Matt really wanted to visit the Black Sea during our 2-week stay and now will not get to. But with Meg and Henry waiting at home; a month away from Mom was not my favorite thing. Deep down I did not want to stay that whole time and I didn’t really want to go to the Black Sea, but I didn’t say as much.
If we had to be here I guess we should travel about some, but I think I’ve seen too many Russian spy movies. I mean, the country of Chechnya is right below us! I just want to get all my little chicks home under one roof. I guess that is nature taking over when we become mommies.
Anyway I really did not know what to pray for on the whole 2 week thing, so I just said “God, you know the right thing for us to do. Make it so.” (As Jean LucPicard would say on Star trek:) And He did. We are all in agreement on that. The Black Sea will be another day. Maybe when Ilya is grown. Ah, life is good and God is good!
A Giddy High
During the trial, Emma and Andrei went to the internet cafe and played on the computer. Andrei was very impressed with Emma and her maturity. She has been great to have here. After the trial they were waiting outside the court for us, so we hugged Natalia goodbye and walked back to the internet cafe to wait for Andrei to do more paperwork.
I had 2 cappuccinos and was on a giddy high. We were all very excited and it was hard to sit still. Then Andrei took us to our hotel and dropped us off to do more PW (got that?) We walked to a wonderful outdoor restaurant that we had been to last time and had a celebration lunch. Matt and I had Russian champagne and Emma had Fanta orange soda. After lunch we had ice cream, which rivals the gelato in Italy. Then we walked to a beautiful little park and Emma and I rode a mini-rollercoaster.
We are now waiting for Andrei to come meet us at 6pm tonight to sign more documents.
We love you all and will talk to you soon. God Bless and thanks for all the prayers.
PS I apologize for the not-so-great writing. I usually end up writing late afternoon and I think that is when my body thinks I should be going to sleep so I try to rush through it quickly so I can go chill out.
Here is the email I sent to my Mama that night.
I’m so sorry you will not be coming to Russia. I totally expected that you would. I kind of thought it would be like Grandfather and you going to Greece, this time it being you and me. I was not sure what to pray for in terms of us staying the 2 weeks or not. Matt wanted to go to the Black Sea and it was going to be neat to be here with you. But Meg and Henry in Enid for a month is a long time. So I just prayed to God to do the best and the right thing and so this must be it. One of these days we will do a neat trip the way your father and you did. Who knows, maybe it is to Scotland. (Our ancestral country) I love you very much and so appreciate that you were willing to come all the way across the world. We will see you very soon.