Today was court day! This is the most important day in Russian adoption. We had a few unexpected surprises, but all went well. We were supposed to have the first court hearing this morning at 9:30, so we were up really early. We talked to the kids on skype while we were eating breakfast...we miss them!!!! At about 8:15 we got a phonecall from our translator, E. She told us that our court hearing had been postponed until 3 PM due the judge having to take care of some issues with a family....we thought she meant another adoptive family, but we later got the clarification it was a personal family issue with the judge. So, we had another 6 hours of waiting....
We changed clothes & headed to the grocery store. The way of life here & most of the world is to shop in small amounts every few days. Only buying 3 days of groceries seems so small to us, but is a lot compared to what the other people in the store were buying. We are getting familiar with what's safe & recognizeable to eat! We talked to the kids again before they went to bed & they were very disappointed that we did not have the news of the adoption being official yet. Then we just killed some time watching a movie on the laptop & studied the prep questions a few more times.
We changed into our dress clothes again & were finally picked up at 2:30 by Y & S. The courthouse is only a 10 minute drive from the apartment, so that was nice. It was a VERY hot day here today...85 degrees!!! It was bright & sunny which helped the overall atmosphere here. E was all ready there waiting for us as well as the orphanage director & rep from the MOE. We went up & down several staircases & ended up in what seemed like the basement floor. We entered the courtroom & there was a big white cage for criminals & 3 big "thrones" behind the judge's table. The seal of Krasnoyarsk was on the wall & the Russian flag was of course there, too. When the judge entered, we all stood up.
Russian adoption court is closed, so we can't post the specifics of the questioning. Basically, the adoption petition is read, the husband gets 90% of the questions, & the wife gets a few questions plus makes a speech. Then the orphanage director & MOE rep read their statements. Then we left the room for a few minutes & were called back in. The judge gave a favorable consent to the adoption & the decree will be signed at the end of the 10 day waiting period next Saturday!! So many people want to know why there's a 10 day wait...basically it's to give the child time to bond with the parents in their environment before we take him. It also gives people who decide to change their minds 10 days to cancel the adoption (seriously SAD!) before the official decree is signed. We were in & out of court in EXACTLY 60 minutes! E told us that is record time & the average hearing is 90 minutes to 2 hours. We think the judge was ready to be done for the day & had other matters to tend to, so she was very matter of fact & quick. That definitely worked to our advantage! E & Y also told us that we did a very good job answering the questions & that my speech was very good :) We are SO RELIEVED to be done with that & feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of our shoulders!! We get a visit with baby tomorrow at the orphanage & should have visits on all of the weekdays during the 10 days.
We changed into CA wear since it was so warm & headed to New York Cafe for our celebration dinner. It's attached to the hotel we stayed in on the first trip & the big town square is right in front of it. All of the fountains were going, there were street vendors, pony rides, music playing, etc...so we walked around & took in the happy, sunny side of Krasnoyarsk. Below are some of the pictures we took. Thank you all for praying! We are past the biggest, most stressful hurdle! We plan to just enjoy our visits with baby over the next 10 days & then he will officially be ours!
Court House Fountain
Horse and Carriage Rides
Fountains in the square