Well, we have been home from trip #1 now for 3 1/2 weeks & are still working on getting our court documents finished and sent. It's been frustrating, to say the least. We have done everything on our end & found out we needed to change one document. Then we got our petition to adopt from Russia & the English translation was less than perfect, so we made some changes. We are waiting to hear that our changes are ok & it has to match the amendment to our homestudy.....so we're waiting for the approval & then we can FINALLY get everything authenticated, apostilled, & sent! Then we'll get our court date & start making plans to go back for our baby!!!!
Every day this is not finished is one more day away from our son & it's getting SO HARD! I know that once we have a court date & travel plans it will be easier to wait. His room is just about finished (I'll get pictures up soon) & we are just about ready to have a baby in the house again :) All five of us are anxiously waiting for his arrival & there is such an emotional rollercoaster going on right now. We know God's timing is perfect & have to accept that...but honestly it's still not easy to wait & be on the other side of the world from our child. We want so badly to be back in Russia & are looking forward to our next trip, but with that comes the emotional struggle of having to leave our other 3 kids here for 25-26 days. Being away from them for so long is going to be SO HARD, but that will be mixed with the joy of finally finalizing our new son's adoption & bringing him home.
We keep getting the question of why Russia makes you do two trips to adopt. Here is the answer...
Yes, it's more difficult on the adoptive parents to make two trips, but Russia's adoption system puts the well-being of the child as #1 priority. The U.S. adoption system could learn SO MUCH from Russia!!! The child has to be in the orphanage system for 8 months (there's no foster care) before they are eligible for foreign adoption. During those 8 months the birth parents rights are 100% relinquished, birth family is given an opportunity to adopt the child, & then Russian citizens are given the opportunity to adopt the child. At the end of the 8 months the child is put into the available children registry for foreign adoption. We received our son's referral right after the 8 months. To avoid the problem of accepting the referral by mail & then having adoptive parents change their minds when they meet the child (which happens), Russia requires the first trip to accept the referral AFTER meeting with the orphanage director, orphanage doctor, & having 3 bonding visits with the child. THEN we signed the official referral acceptance which officially put his file with ours & took him out of the available children registry :) Russia requires that you go to court & basically prove yourself to the judge as being the best family for the child. They are tough on you, but again the child's best interest is #1 priority. This is not about us & what's easier for us...it's about him & what is best for him. You have to prove yourself & fight for your child. When the adoption is granted by the judge, that's it. He is 100% our child...no one can try to take him back. So, the waiting in between trips is all about your court date. Trip #2 is planned completely around court....we can't plan until we have our court date, but our court documents have to be sent & filed first....which is what we're working on.
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us & encouraging us over the last 2 years! We are grateful for every one of you. Keep praying-we're not quite there yet. Here are specifics on how you can pray:
1. Our court documents will get finished & sent ASAP!!
2. Our court date comes quickly!! We are hoping to be back in Russia by the beginning of June.
3. The rest of the finances needed for trip #2. God has provided some in the last few weeks, but we're not there yet. We know it will be when we need it. Thanks again to everyone who believes in this & has helped!!!
4. Preparation for us & all 4 kids in the adjustment of our family changing.
5. Protection for us as we travel & for kids as they are here at home. Praying for best childcare situations for kids while we are gone.
6. COURT DAY!! Praying for our judge all ready that his/her heart would be softened toward us & everything goes well. Praying for 10 day wait period after court to be waived so we can get home to our kids sooner. Praying that everyone will handle wait period if it doesn't get waived & get through being apart for so long.
"As for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in Your hand."-Psalm 31:14-15
We are hanging onto this with every thread of hope & strength we have. We wouldn't trade everything we've been through & learned over the last 2 years...even the waiting :) Soon there will be a sweet little boy in our family & the new adventure begins......