Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dec 18--one year ago

One year ago today, we had court to adopt our boys. This was an extremely traumatic day. While I don't want to share all of the details, there was a family member who was opposed to the boys' adoption. This person was unable to care for the boys but did not want them to leave the country. This person came to court and testified to that effect. Deciding to adopt the boys knowing about this situation was one of the hardest things I've ever done. The judge and all of the other interested parties (regional social worker, orphanage social worker, orphanage staff, etc.) felt that it was in the best interest of the boys to be adopted.

Obviously, there was a lot going on while we were in Ukraine, and some of it I still don't feel comfortable sharing for various reasons. The long and short of it is that this person was very upset during court. The judge called for a recess. During that time, we asked our facilitator if we could show this person some pictures of where the boys would be living if we were allowed to adopt them. We talked for some time (during the recess) and showed pictures of our house, St. Louis, and our extended family. After recess, this person got up and through many many tears stated that the boys should be adopted by us.

I cannot imagine how that person's heart felt at that moment, and the amazing amount of love and trust it required to send two little boys halfway around the world, knowing that this person would never see them again.

We agreed to send updates to this person and we have kept that agreement. We send pictures, letters, and some of the boys' schoolwork so this person can watch them grow from afar. We also receive letters from this person and we keep all of them for the boys when they are older. We were told they had no attachment to this person, and we never saw any evidence of it while we were there, but this person is still family.

This whole situation--while not exactly how I had pictured it!--was a complete answer to prayer.

I had always wanted my children to have some information about their birth family, and so many kids who have been adopted from Ukraine have absolutely no information. We got information and so much more--a living, breathing connection to their family, and to someone who helped care for them when they were little. We have pictures of us with this person and additional family members. This person also gave us additional pictures of Dima and Zhenya from before we met them.

After court (during which our 10 days were waived), we exchanged addresses with the family member and then spent a few hours (literally!) waiting for the court decree. Kostya said if he'd known it was going to take so long we would have left and gotten lunch! We finally got the decree and then spent the next couple of hours running around getting other paperwork started. Although the boys were already legally ours, we didn't want to pick them up until we had most of the paperwork done. No need to run them all over the region too, and we weren't sure how they would do with traveling in the car. Mark and I were talking last night and decided that Dec 19 is probably our official "gotcha" day--the day we actually picked the boys up.


Debbie said...

God answers prayer! And I'm glad you have the family connection for your boys.

Tami said...

What a blessing to have that connection. Maddie has nothing...and probably never will. Also what a blessing that your judge waived those 10 days. At this point you had gone to court - and we hadn't even heard about or met Maddie yet. Aaaahhh...memories! :)

Ashley said...

This is a blessing for them to have this connection. I am glad you kept your promise and are continuing to update this family member. This is a precious gift.