Our petition to adopt Borya and Julia has been granted by the judge!!!!! Hallelujah and praise be and amen and hot-diggity-dog!
Here's how it went down: we left at about 9:30 for our 10:00 court appt. Once at the court house Alma scurried around signing various papers as we stood in the middle of a crowded, bustling lobby while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive. For once an interior room was not scalding hot, but this time pretty darn cold. The unmanned metal detector was perpetually whistling its beeps as people passed in and out. Finally all the key players had arrived, and after waiting what seemed an eternity, they called is into the court room, which looked more like some kind of ante-room for signing doc-oo-ments than an actual court room. It opened right off the lobby, so we went directly in and arranged ourselves on the benches, per Alma's directions. Pretty soon the judge swooped in and we all stood and were again seated. As the speeches began, Alma leaned over to us and whispered the translations. As a Mom, I cringed to hear the directors and officials repeatedly state that in all the years the children have been in the orphanage, no family members have visited them, no one has shown any interest in their fate. I wanted so badly to cover their ears so they wouldn't hear those harsh words, that ugly truth, but all I could do was reach back to them to squeeze their hands. We stood and Fred read off our prepared statements, and Alma translated for the rest of the court. After hearing from the ministry official, the directors of both orphanages, and Fred and I, the prosecutor asked Borya to stand and answer some questions, and then Julia. They did a great job, standing tall, good eye contact, clear speaking voices. After a bit there was a short recess for the judge to review everything, so we waited in the lobby again. Poor Julia at this point began to cry, so the director of her school ushered her into a semi-quiet corner to talk to her. I didn't know what to do b/c she's gotta be just so scared and nervous right now and yet we still don't speak each other's languages, so I wasn't sure what I could say to her. She still really knows the director better than she knows me, so I just went over, and while the director was talking to her and giving her a hanky and a mint, I just rubbed her back and whispered "Ya tibya loublue" in her ear a few times (I love you). But she seemed OK, just slightly shaken and nervous. She's a scared 10 yr old little girl.
After only a couple minutes they called us back into the courtroom and we all stood (me with knees shaking) while the judge read his decision. It took him, I think, roughly four hours to read off all our names, address, kids' names, school names, and anything else he was creative enough to throw in the pot, before he issued the words, "petition is granted". Tears, hugs, hand-shaking and hand-holding all followed. I stopped short of doing cartwheels, afraid the judge might reverse his decision. Borya and I just gave each other a look that we mutually understood to mean, "Can you believe we finally did this?" I was concerned that Julia might cry again afterwards, but she seemed fine. And happy. We had a baby doll to give her, and she soon discovered that when you press its belly it laughs and says "I love you", which in turn made her laugh. That was music to my ears.
We then walked outside into snow flurries under blue skies, and handed out gifts, took pictures, and did more hugging and crying. It will be a long wait till we see them again, possibly more than a month. I'm sure that will be even harder on them than it will be on us. We leave today to begin our trip back to the US and our busy lives, and prepare for Christmas, to boot. Borya and Julia, on the other hand, will not even have each other, as they will be split into their separate orphanages to go back to the daily routine of school, carrying on as though nothing has changed until the day comes for them to be escorted home.
So now, if you're not all too prayed out, pls send up prayers once again that the two week post-court waiting period will pass without incident so we get our official decree on 12/5. And if you could throw in one tiny little extra prayer? Let it be that we can get our kids home in time for Christmas. Isn't that what it's all about?
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