Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Court

We were so excited and so nervous when we woke up that morning knowing that in just a few short hours a group of people would be deciding whether or not we would get to bring Stef into our family. Our facilitator told us she had no reason to think we wouldn't be given a favorable ruling. But still you can't help but be nervous! we went in the morning to visit Stef, hoping it would be the last time we were just visitors and that at the next visit we would be her parents!
 
When we arrived at the courthouse we couldn't believe it was a courthouse.it was a very plain old building with one of the front steps missing so you had to take a really big step up to get to the door. Boy was i glad i hadn't brought high heels. Our facilitator was wearing heels but handled it like it was nothing. I'm pretty sure all Ukrainian women are experts at balancing in heels. They wear them in snow and ice and walk all over the broken sidewalks with potholes etc. The hallways were narrow and dim and smelled like smoke. we waited out in the hallway for about 20 minutes while waiting to be called in. josh wouldn't let me take pictures because he is a rule follower and no one had specifically told him that it was ok to take pictures.

Court was a little bit intimidating. For some reason the judge seemed to want to hear more from me than Josh. She asked me a lot of questions. Mostly about whether i understood Stef's diagnosis' and what made me prepared to deal with her special needs etc. She wanted to know if i stayed home with the kids and cared for them myself. And i think everyone's eyebrows shot up when she read from our file that we already have a baby just 2 months older than Stef. I'm sure they though i was out of my mind :) She wanted to know why we would choose to adopt a child with special needs when we were capable of having healthy children of our own. We explained to her that we felt that God had called us to care for the orphans, that we had room in our hearts and at our table for another child , and that we believe every child has needs that are unique and has needs that can be challenging. We see her no differently. After about 20 min we were declared the parents of Stefanya! Josh says my face lit up like a Christmas tree, i believe him! 

We knew we still had a 10 day wait before the ruling would go into effect (a window of time in which anyone who was present at the court hearing can contest the ruling) and before we could pick up an official court decree.  Josh stayed until Sunday and then left for home and to get back to his job. I will have him write the next post about his crazy trip home. Here's a teaser for you, he left during a storm that brought more snow than they had seen in 100 years! No joke it was unreal!

Monday, June 24, 2013

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After the first visit

The Next day we woke up so excited to get to see Stefanya again and thinking we would get a longer visit. Unfortunately we got a call from our facilitator telling us the hospital would not allow us to visit. They said they had made an exception to let us meet her but since we had no rights to her and we not her parents yet we couldn't visit. we were so down. i cried i couldn't help it i was so upset. Our facilitator told us we wouldn't be allowed to see her until she was transferred back to the orphanage. we had no idea when that would be and they still hadn't told our facilitator why she was in the hospital. (she had already been discharged after surgery, so it wasn't because of her heart) . our first visit was march 6th. We didn't end up getting to see her again until march 19th! it was so so so hard to be sitting there half a world away from home  and in the same city as Stefanya and not be allowed to see her. finally our facilitator got angry lol no one was giving us straight answers so she called us one morning and said get ready to leave we are going to the hospital and we WILL get some answers!

We got there and she began to argue with i the staff i dont know if they were doctors nurses , probably both. She got them to bring Stef to us while they "talked" .  She basically told them look we have court in a few days. How can we tell a judge that they are bonded to her or understand all that she requires as far as care when they have only met her once for 10 minutes. They ended up agreeing to us having one one hour visit per day, supervised by a nurse. And heck that was better than nothing.


Our visits were in a tiny office in the hospital so the nurse supervising us was only a couple feet away from us which was kinda awkward but what can you do? They made us wear these cape type drapes, booties over our shoes, and face masks every visit. i suspect that Stef was being sedated because she could never stay awake more than 10-15 minutes of our visits so i would sing her lullabies and rock her and josh and i would take turns holding her. She was doing a bit of stimming during these visits. She would hit herself in the face and would chew on her hand until it was red and raw. She didn't do it much when we were there, probably because she was interested by us and because she slept alot. i suspect she did it more when we weren't around. Our court date was set for march 22nd.