Monday, May 28, 2012

Our day in Court!

Well first I should apologize for not updating since our last trip.  I just sort of left things hanging for those of you who follow my blog but not Facebook.  It was easy to give quick updates there once back home.  At home my life is sort of crazy…..  we were home nearly a month before returning to Kherson for our day in court, which was May 24, 2012.  I was super excited about this date, because Anya entered the orphanage on May 26, 2010 and my birthday was on May 25, so I thought it would make for a great birthday to have court behind us and have Anya with a new family less than 2 years from entering the orphanage.
Trip #2 had to be super fast since it is considered unheard of in Todd's family farm business to be away from the job for any amount of time during this time of year, let alone 5 days.  If it was bad going in April (it was) it was even worse going in May.  But now that were back home I can say that the farm survived, Todd still has his job, and his family, coworkers and employees are glad to have him back.
We were gone for a total of 106 hours door to door.  54 of those hours were spend traveling to Kherson (26 hours there and 28 hours home), with only 52 hours in Kherson, all for a 30 minute court session.  We weren't even there long enough to let the 7 hour time change affect us.  We returned home and so far are having no problems adjusting.
We arrived in Kiev around 3:30 on Wednesday the 23rd and then had a taxi take us to Kherson (7 hour drive), but our driver was really fast (not necessarily a good thing) and we made it in 6 hours.  This really messed things up for our in region facilitator (whom we are pretty sure she doesn't like us anyway) since she wasn't expecting us until the next morning via train.  She was able to finally find us accommodations, but they were not available until midnight, and thanks to our fast taxi driver, we arrived in Kherson 1 hour too early.  No worries… we met up with our friend Jake J. (who was still there… waiting out his 10 days since his court date on the 17th.) at John Howard, the Cheers of Kherson.  The waiters even know our names I think (at least for sure they know Jakes.  He has been there for a LONG time.)

The apartment was lovely…. I wanted to cry I hated it so much, but according to our facilitator, that was all she had, she said we could move the next day, but when I asked to move the next day, she got really annoyed with me on the phone, so I said forget it.  (We need this woman to not hate us, as she has the power to make things much easier and/or much more difficult for us.)

On the 24th we woke up and got ready for court, not having had anything to eat since lunch the previous day, we really hoped we'd have time for breakfast before heading to court.  We ended up at the John Howard again.  There is where we first saw Anya again, all dressed for court.  Our facilitator, one of Anya's teachers (orphanage representative) and a woman from child services all arrived with Anya.  From there we all walked to the courthouse.    

Having breakfast before court.

Todd taking his turn holding Leo while we wait.

First meeting with Anya before court.

On my last trip there, I took Anya shopping, and she picked this shirt out which surprised me.  It wasn't until this trip that I figured out why she wanted it. 

After court photo, everyone in the courtroom except the judge.

After court photo, I guess you could call it our New Parent photo.  For those of you who know Todd, your be amused to know he was disappointed he couldn't wear the same green shirt that he wore when we became parents of all our other 3 children.  (he did bring it though, and wore it the next day!)

Jake, aka babysitter!  He is a lawyer, yet he was late for court, and called us on our cell phone (not too pleasing to the judge) to let us know he was there and we could give Leo to him.  It really was no big deal, I just thought it was funny!  
On the 24th we woke up and got ready for court, not having had anything to eat since lunch the previous day, we really hoped we'd have time for breakfast before heading to court.  We ended up at the John Howard again.  There is where we first saw Anya again, all dressed for court.  Our facilitator, one of Anya's teachers (orphanage representative) and a woman from child services all arrived with Anya.  From there we all walked to the courthouse.    

Court was a breeze…. before we went in, Oxsana (our temp translator for the day, because our facilitator Tonya was unavailable) told us that this was the judges first adoption case, so she had no idea what to expect.  It could be really fast and easy, or long and difficult.  Also we were told that the lawyer to the orphanage was supposed to be there too, but he was sick, and therefore one of Anya's teachers had been granted temporary authority to represent the orphanage and stand in his place.  The director could have easily made us reschedule (meaning our trip would have been for nothing) so the fact that he allowed a teacher to stand in for him, tells us he really does care about the kids, and I have decided to drop my grudge against him for all the delays he caused us in trip 1.  Of course we now know that in Ukraine they do not take well to American's being pushy or demanding (no matter how nicely they do it.) so all my efforts to make our trips quick and smooth backfired on us.  But it's all water under the bridge now.

Thankfully court was really easy!  Yay, finally something in our favor!  We were asked a few questions about our jobs, kids, house size and sleeping accommodations for Anya, school for Anya, how we would communicate with her, if our kids were in favor of the adoption, who watches the kids when I go to work etc.  Then they asked Anya a few questions… if she wanted us to be her parents, if she realized her father would work long hours in the summer and she would more than likely be expected to help me (her mother) care for the smaller children.  She replied "I have no objections".  She stated she had been there last summer and knew what it would be like and she was okay with it.

Now we have 10 days where anyone in that courtroom can change their mind… no one else has the ability to object.  So we I can return on June 5 to pick up the court papers and start the process of getting her a new passport with her new name on it, and getting her home.

May 25 was graduation at Anya's orphanage….  Jake Jacobson did a great job on his blog telling and showing the graduation, so you can read his blog if you want to see more about graduation.  I was glad we got to see it!  Anya had a small role in it where she recited something…. we have no idea what.  She said a poem.  The entire student body dresses in black and white attire, even the little kids.  And the little kids wear big white bows in their hair, it's quite adorable actually.

After graduation we took the kids to lunch and then did a little shopping.  Eating and shopping are clearly foreign to these kids… they are uncomfortable in both situations it seems.  They ate like birds and trying to find something to buy them was nearly impossible.  We had a mission, 1. to buy a cell phone for Anya's best friend Suzanna, and 2. summer shoes for Anya.  The cell phone wasn't so bad to find… it was trying to talk to the salesman to figure out what kind to get and what plan to get.  Quite complicated really.  Then for the shoes… we looked and looked and nothing we saw she liked.  (did I mention Anya is VERY picky) finally I figured out she wanted rubber flip flops.  Sheesh!

Okay, this is getting long and my fingers are tired and I am tired (and I want to watch the bachelorette.)  So I am signing off for now.   But I will return to Kherson on June 5 to pick up Anya.  I will add photo's soon.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting continues….

So I guess I just sort of left those following along hanging… maybe you think I'm still in Kherson.  I'm not.  I had to go home.  I waited an extra 3 days after Todd flew home, and then I flew home too.  My people in Ukraine that are helping me assured me that going home to wait for the director was not going to hurt anything.  Work and family were needing me, so home I went.  I have been home now for a week, and it feels like the longest week ever.  Still no news.  Our new friends the Jacobson's stayed in Kherson until they got the directors signature and they got it 2 days after I flew home.  Yay for them!!!  I am so happy for them.  I wasn't terribly surprised that he signed theirs and not ours.  They were very patient and didn't ask for anything, they waited until the director asked to meet with them.  The complete opposite approach that I took. So now I know that being a little pushy probably wasn't in my best interest.   So long as the story has a happy ending, it doesn't really matter how we get there right?

So the waiting continues…  tomorrow is day 7 of 10.  Director has 10 business days to sign.  He either signs that he agrees/supports the adoption, or decides he does not support the adoption.  His support makes the whole process faster, and less complicated.  If he decided to not support it, it will mean he must go before the judge and say why he feels we should not adopt Anya.  We have already been approved by the USA and Ukraine to adopt, so his decision is specific to the child only.  So as long as Anya wants to be adopted (she does) and we want to adopt her (we do), I can't imagine what reason he could give.  So that being said, I am assuming he is just waiting the 10 days to prove a point.

I am really thankful that Ukraine is 7 hours ahead of us, so when I go to sleep tonight, I will wake up tomorrow and it will be 3pm in Ukraine.  So I will know by tomorrow morning if he has signed or if the waiting continues.  I sense another long sleepless night coming on.  Oh how I've had so many of these throughout this whole process!

Meanwhile, I am getting sweet messages via Facebook from Anya that keep me encouraged.  She had a birthday just a few days after I flew home, I'm so thankful that the Jacobson's threw her and her roommate Suzanna (who turns 15 2 weeks after Anya) a birthday party!  If it weren't for them, the birthdays would have gone by with no acknowledgement.

I promise to update just as soon as I hear anything, but don't assume no news is good news, lack of blog posts most likely means, I'm still waiting….