Well the past two days have been sort of a whirlwind! I’ll start with Monday….
In the Stavropol region Adoptive Parents have to be in court two days. The first day is sort of a preliminary hearing. I had court at 2. I was picked up at 1 and we headed to the courthouse. Promptly at 2 the judge arrived and the hearing started. It was myself, my translator, my lawyer, social worker, court secretary and the judge. During the hearing the judge asked questions. All of them I was prepared for and answered. It lasted about an hour. And I felt I was prepared and nothing came up that was questionable so the preliminary hearing was successful.
Tuesday was court day 2. I was picked up at 9:30 and court was at 10. I was very nervous. It was the climax of the journey. I mean all of the past 6 years was building up to this. Court started a little after 10. There were more people this day. Everyone from yesterday with addition of the prosecutor, the director of the orphanage, the contact from the MOE (Ministry of Education) and the health director. Everyone was very kind and there were lots of smiles and hellos exchanged.
Again I was asked questions. Only one repeat from the day before, and today’s questions were more direct and serious and one after the other. But, all of the questions I expected. And for me, I was talking from the heart so the answers came sincerely, naturally and easily. Just a note, I am Italian so I’m very expressive when I talk. Hands, voice, pitch and enthusiasm. Apparently the Russians loved that and all commented on it when it was their turn to talk about their thoughts and recommendations for V. They loved how passionate I am about Vera (yes, that is her name). After everyone spoke, the judge then goes through that big (and expensive at $25 per document) dossier page by page. I’m watching her go through those documents and was glad to know that she did review them and pay mind to them, because it was a lot of hard work.
All of the above lasted about an hour and a half. When everyone was finished speaking and there were no objections, the judge went to do what a judge does during recess… Consult, deliberate… We all exit the courtroom and wait out in the hall. My head is spinning and I swear it feels like the building is wobbly, but it’s just me and my nerves. Everyone is chatting. I’m watching and smiling and thinking to myself, that it is almost over. Not much longer now…. I’m praying and praying and then she calls us back in. I stand with my translator and the judge begins talking. I’m listening but not really because i am just hanging and waiting on the words that she is granting the petition to adopt. Finally, she says what I had been waiting for. At that moment, the emotion of it all hit me. The lump in my throughout made its way up and set off that burn behind my eyes and the tears welled. I kept breathing and smiling and I literally wanted to jump up and scream “YES”. But it wasn’t over. She was now going to rule on my request to waive the 10 day wait period. Once again the words I was waiting to hear flowed in sweet Russian and Vlad whispered them to me in his accented English and again, gratefulness filled my soul and at that moment i realized ….. It.was.done. She was now mine and I hers. The two of us were a family and our souls fused together. Mother and daughter. Forever.
Once court was done I ran up to thank the judge and she smiled and wished us much happiness and health. I thanked everyone and we scurried out. Outside Alex waited and congratulated me with a hug and a kiss. I said goodbye to my lawyer and translator and I was off to the hotel. Alex dropped me off and he raced to get the birth certificate and passport ready for the next days departure to Moscow. At about 4 he picked me up, we went to the records office and I signed some papers. Then back to the hotel. Then at 7ish Alex and his wife were back to drop off the Vera’s passport and birth certificate with my name as mother on it. The team here is AMAZING! They work nonstop and I don’t know how I would do it without them. I will forever be grateful to them for making this one of the best experiences of my life.
Today I am heading to the galleria as Mama didn’t bring a jacket for Vera. I don’t know what I was thinking! I seriously have 4 of them for her at home! But the temp is down in the 50s in Moscow and I don’t want her to get sick so we will get a new jacket and some tights to wear under her clothes. At 1pm I leave for Pyatigorsk to get her. Then, it’s goodbyes, thank you’s, pizza with Alex and Lyuba, then off to the airport for Moscow. We get in very late .. Outta be interesting… Heather, I’m thinking of your post when you and Roman arrived late in Moscow! lol
Tomorrow is Thursday and V has her medical Appt. Friday is exit interview at the US Embassy and pick up her visa and Sat morning we head home!!! Ok Mama is off to the mall!!!