I'll explain the title later, it was Heidi's idea. But it is fitting of the day we had! For those on the edge of your seats, we are officially the parents of Nadia Isabella, Julia Grace & Nikolai "Kolya" Daniel! It took only 15 minutes and we were outa there! Our facilitator wrote up a few letters waiving our rights to have the event recorded. You see, we found out that they are required to record the reading of everything, dossier, adoption papers, SDA stuff, etc, and this is what takes 1-2 hours in most cases. In our case, we waived it and got down to business.
We went to the courthouse building where, on the second floor, there were these sets of doors. Behind each door was a courtroom which resembled more of an office than a court. In our "office" was a female judge wearing jeans, a prosecutor wearing Gucci boots, and two court "witnesses" . The witness closest to me (just two feet away) was surfing the internet the whole time. I believe he was looking for a pet, perhaps a dog, but I digress. Accompanying us into the hearing was Galina the orphanage director, Olga our facilitator, Anna the district social worker (who I won over two weeks earlier) and the three kids.
They asked me to stand, state my name, state my address, state my occupation and my year of birth. Heidi stood next and they asked here the same questions. Next, they asked us why wanted to adopt and we told them. We were next asked if we were made aware of the children's medical conditions (which were none, except the outlandish stuff in their files). Next, they asked if Galina and Anna approved of the adoption and they said yes. Our kids were asked to come over and stand next to the judges desk (desk, not a big podium thing like in the US...did I mention that we were in an office?) one at a time. They were asked questions like, "Did your birth parents ever come see you?", "Do you want these people to be your parents?", "Do you want to be adopted?" The kids all wanted to be with us and the judge joked with Kolya "What if the the girls go and you stay" He smiled and said he was going, too. The judge had a sweet tone of voice with him and you could tell that all the ladies in the room adored him. The prosecutor never said a word!
The judge said a few more words to us that Olga translated, but I don't remember them now. I was too caught up in the moment and I was enjoying the glowing smiles and hapiness of our children. Just like that the witness settled on the black labrador, the Gucci boot girl collected her papers and the judge said, "Congratulations, you are now the parents of these three children."
Everyone went outside and we took a few photos, sorry I haven't downloaded them from the camera yet. We loaded up into Sasha's BMW and Olga's Skola and off we went to lunch. Everyone enjoyed a great meal with salads, a maincourse (I had Chicken Kiev) and soda. Galina ordered a bottle of champagne and she toasted to our new family. I told ya she rocks!
Next, we were instructed that a celebration party was in order back at the Diestski Dom with the staff. We needed to stop and get three more bottles of champagne and three boxes of various chocolates. We did and we were show into the directors office for the bash. The entire staff (I counted 11 ladies, caretakers, cooks, nurses) with Heidi and I and our three kids were treated to a little party for the next two hours. Males in this country are expected to pour the drinks, a lesson I learned at last night's Thanksgiving party. We popped a few corks and I filled the glasses. That's where the LOVE FEST started!!
It seems that we are Diestski Dom favorites around here. Galina and her whole staff have been incredibly kind to us the whole time we have been here. They made toast after toast to us and said that they had always hoped that a family would adopt these three, but that they had honestly given up and hope that this would happen. They were teary-eyed as they explained that noone had ever shown children so much love as we have and that these three were lucky ones, we explained that were the lucky ones instead. Nadiya said that she was happy, Julia snuggled with her mom and "Little Man" Kolya sat with me. Everyone took turns thanking us for giving these three a chance. They said that they were impressed that we loved them the minute we visited them and that we didn't ask many questions and never took them to a doctor to have them examined. They were happy that we accepted them as they were. I explained that we knew we wanted them during our SDA appointment and we fell in love with them at first sight. More tears emerged as a told them that my children will be brought up to be proud of who they are, proud of their former culture, never ashamed of where they came from, and encouraged to keep all three of their present languages. I made the same promise to the staff that I did to the children when they decided on us: We will always love them, we will always protect them and we will always take care of them. Love Fest was in full swing!
By the way, it seems that the last post about the "Mama & Papa" thing was not needed. When you're bored and evaluating every circumstance you can analyze every silly detail about everything. I should have waited, the kids surely were. After court it has been "Momma this" and "Papa that". In fact, Kolya calls me Papi and Heidi, Momi...all the time. I have been told that this is endearing terms to them. It's like Daddy and Mommy instead of Mother and Father. (Perhaps my Russian speaking friends can tell me if I'm correct on the Momi & Papi explanation.) In any case, it feels great and is way cool!
~ Felix ~
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