Archive from April, 2013
Apr 17, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Our Day in Court

Our Day in Court

We had court on Thursday, April 11, 2013. It was scheduled for 11am, but time is very flexible in this country. Our driver arrived much earlier than necessary, so I assumed our facilitator hadn’t told him we were going to court, not the orphanage. I called her and she said she would call him and let him know what to do. She told us to be ready and go at 10:15. (I had been ready since 8:30!) So, at 10:15 we went downstairs to the car. She said the drive would take about 20 minutes. Our driver went the opposite direction of the orphanage. We got in some traffic. He detoured through a shack-type subdivision and in the estimated 20 minutes, we pulled up in from of the City Council building. This is the same building that we pass every day on the way to the orphanage and it is 6 minutes from our apartment! I’m not sure what that wild goose chase was about! Then, we wait in the car for, as he says “5 minutes.” The five minutes turn into 20 and finally the local social worker comes out, joins us in the car and we are on our way again! At 10:52 we pulled in to the parking lot at the court building. Our facilitator was waiting inside. We went into the court room and all the other official participants eventually made their way to the court room as well. The judge began the proceedings around 11:15.
They started with all the preliminaries. Each person introduced themselves and told about their official position. Our facilitator translated the basics of this for me. Then, the judge read the report about us that the facilitator had written. She translated this as well. After all that the judge asked the facilitator and I to stand up and she asked some questions which I answered and the facilitator translated. The first question was more like ten questions, one after the other. It was all basic stuff about our life, our family and why we chose this country. I answered as much as I could remember and when I finished, she didn’t ask for any clarification so she must have been satisfied. Then, she asked things like where I work, what my husband does for a living (she didn’t even ask why he wasn’t there), where do my other kids go to school, what do we like to do for vacation and to tell her what I know about NK’s condition. It was easy stuff. Then, she asked each member in the court room if they had any questions. The only one who asked a question was the prosecutor. He asked, “Is it correct that your other two children share a room?” Umm…NO. They each have their own room. I don’t know where he got that idea? Then, the judge asked each member to give their opinion. Everyone said they felt the adoption was in the best interest of the child. The judge said she would take a break and be back with her decision. That’s pretty much a formality and we felt really good about everything!
So, everyone left the court room except for Michael, the facilitator and I. We sat and waited and waited and waited. I’m pretty sure they all went to lunch!  Finally, at 1:55 (after waiting TWO HOURS) the secretary came and got our facilitator. She gave her the paperwork for the judge’s decision and told us we could leave. As we started out the door, the secretary motioned for us to sit back down. The judge came in, told us to take care of NK and meet her medical needs and give her a good life. That was it.
Yay, finally this little girl is legally mine and we just have to wait it out for ten days until we get the official decree!!! Then, off for more paperwork!!

Apr 5, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Random Tidbits

Random Tidbits

We’re staying in a nice apartment in a nice little city. I’m not much of a city girl, but I don’t mind walking across the street to have dinner. Of course, it would be better if there was a Cracker Barrel across the street, but we are surviving on pizza. You can get most anything on pizza here. Some of them have tomato sauce, some don’t. They make it with salami, chicken, corn, broccoli, squid, shrimp and other stuff I can’t translate. The best thing I did in preparation for this trip was to learn the Russian alphabet. It’s amazing how many things I can understand after I sound out the words (just like my first graders!)
We have a driver who takes us to the orphanage and back twice a day. His name is Serge (not to be confused with Serge the Great in the capital city who helps with all our adoption stuff!) He’s probably twenty-something. I’m not good at guessing ages. He doesn’t really speak any English, so our conversations consist of Hello and Dasvahdanya (Good bye). All that matters is that he is ALWAYS early to pick us up and he seems to be a good driver. Some of the ones here are scary since there don’t seem to be any particular traffic laws that are enforced, but Serge does a great job. Some things I have noticed: drivers are very good at giving pedestrians the right of way; there may be two lanes, but if there is room for three cars, go right ahead; maybe it’s a Spring thing, but crews are intent daily on digging up every blade of grass in the medians (with a small tiller, hoes and rakes) and replanting or something. There are also some guys down the road who are laying a new sidewalk. It’s somewhat distressing to think I will probably be here long enough to see them complete it!
I know there are other random things I am forgetting, but if so, I will add them later.

Apr 5, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Enjoying the Journey

Enjoying the Journey

I will admit that since we have the private facebook page, I have neglected the blog. I will try to catch up and summarize our journey so far.
As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to travel. However, as I was growing up I must admit I was probably thinking more like New York or the Grand Canyon or maybe Australia (until my first long plane ride to Israel and then I definitely ruled out Australia!) I never would have imagined I would have so many stamps in my passport and that they would actually represent members of my family.
This trip has been absolutely perfect so far (other than the fact that I am miles and miles away from all my family (except Michael!) and friends!) We arrived in the capital of this country and were greeted by lots and lots of snow. After a couple days of paperwork, we took a 12 hour, overnight train to the region where our Little Girl is living. We bought a “first class” compartment and squeezed into the tiny little space with ourselves and our luggage. It was a rocking, starting and stopping trip involving lots of dozing and lots of waking up. I’m not sure if it was the effect of the train or just the fact of knowing I was going to meet Our Little Girl face to face the next day!!
At the train station, we struggled off with our luggage but a stranger volunteered his help to make it easier. Yay! Then, we dragged our belongings and trudged through only an inch or so of snow to the train station. As we stood there, looking quite out of place and lost, I’m sure, our facilitator and driver found us. We followed them, loaded everything into the tiny car (some stuff in the trunk, other stuff piled on top of us!) and headed off to the “city council” building to meet with the regional social worker. (I brushed my hair and freshened up on the train because I imagined we would hit the ground running!) We met the social worker and then she headed to the orphanage with us.
When we got there, it seemed like forever until we got to the good part! We had to wait for the director and meet with him. Then, we had to wait for the doctor and meet with her. She read Our Little Girl’s file and our facilitator translated for me while I took notes. As I was writing and listening, I was shocked to hear that she was already receiving treatments here for her bone condition! Wow! I never dreamed that would be possible! Only God could pull that together. This country puts very little value on orphans, especially those with special needs, so for Our Little Girl to be getting this kind of treatment shows that God has some big plans for her!
Finally, the time came to meet her! They walked us up to her groupa room. As we walked inside, I immediately spotted her in her crib!! I will never forget the smile on her face! I’m convinced she knew why I was there and she was thrilled! They took us into the sleeping area and showed me how her arm was bowed and how her legs were bent, all due to the OI. None of that mattered to me. I just knew I was looking at Our Little Girl and there was no way I was leaving this country without her! They talked to her a little while and got her to tell me her name and the city where she lives. They asked a few other things I didn’t understand, but she was very verbal and bright! When they put her back in her crib, I played with her a few minutes. Then, the facilitator told me they were waiting for my answer. Did I need more time to decide? I didn’t realize that’s what they were waiting for! I could have told them my answer months ago! Yes! I want her! This is Our Little Girl!!
Afterwards, we went back to the director’s office. He told us we could visit everyday from 10-11:30 and 4-5. We could bring a snack in the morning. They are closed on weekends, but we can come and knock on the door and they will let us in. He told us that we should take good care of her and continue her medical treatments in the US. Then, that was it! I haven’t seen him since. 🙂
When we left, our facilitator took us to a place called AMCTOP (which is Russian that reads “AMSTORE” where we could eat, exchange money and buy groceries. We took care of what we needed. Then, she took us to our apartment and got us settled in. The day was only half way through, but it was exhausting! Thankfully, we were finished and could relax until time to go again!