18 January, 2007
We slept in a little today....Had some nice pastries and some coffee!
Olga received a call from the judge at 8am telling her that he was in the office and his fax machine was turned on!
We decided to take a little walk this morning, so we bundled up and left the "Spa". We wanted to pick-up some envelopes and stamps for the orphanage so that Peter and Nadia's friends could write them whenever they liked, so we headed for the Post Office.
While walking back from the post office we received a call from the judge telling us that he had the documents from the US Embassy and we would re-convene court at 11am, as this was the only time we could be fit in today. There was A LOT of criminal cases going on this day and the dockets were FULL! This reminds me....We found out that the Judge heard about the rumor mill and brought everyone except us up into his chambers and informed them all that this was a private hearing which would be sealed and if he heard anyone talking about this case or the adoption....he would open up criminal proceedings on the people who was caught talking about it. That was cool!
So...At 11am we were back in court with all the people from before (except the kids)...PLUS, Irena's boss, whom we had met a couple times before. I think he was there because of all the rumors that had been started and he wanted to ensure everything was going well...He told us that he knew it was not within the law to make us follow up with the orphanage and his office on a regular basis, but it would be great if we would do it out of our own kindness, as this would make things a lot easier in the future if they were ever to have another foreign adoption in this town. We told him that we had always planned on following up with them and sending them some pictures of the kids from time to time.
Since there was a new "interested party", Irena's boss, the judge had to go through and ask him what was asked of us yesterday, name, age, occupation, address; do you have anything against the court, do you have ant concerns about the children, are you familiar with the documents read by the court yesterday. After all of that, the Judge read the letter from the US Embassy and then asked all of the interested parties if they better understood the I-171H Document and if they felt that we could proceed now, everyone said yes. The court recessed for 10 minutes so the judge and the jury could deliberate. When the judge returned he said the court was in agreement with our adoption and read the final decree (in it's entirety). When he got to the part when he announced us as the parents, everyone looked at us to see our reaction, we were smiling and Deanna was tearing up again. This time happy tears! The judge said that today was a special day (Ukrainian Orthodox Epiphany) and a very special day for us and the children. He congratulated us and ended the hearing. As everyone exited the court room, they all stopped by to say congratulations. Everyone seemed very happy for us and of course, we were very happy also! So on January 29th, the children are ours!
The 10 day wait....This waiting period is basically for anyone who would like to file an appeal to the court's decision. This only includes anyone who was part of the actual court hearing. Since the mother had never visited the children in the 6 years they were in the orphanage, (and had her parental rights terminated by the court) and the father, as we found out, isn't considered a parent since the couple wasn't legally married when the children were born (or something like that) we don't believe there will be an issue since they were not part of the hearing. The court decision and the hearing itself is private, we don't believe anyone can legally find out about the outcome BUT...Since we have had such a hard time of it, every step of the way with this adoption...Keep us in your thoughts and prayers for the next couple weeks....we can use any extra help we can get!!!
Troy and Deanna