We had our day in court. It was very cold(I didn't think they had heat). When you are before the judge you are required to take off your outerwear, so I was shivering and nervous. The courtroom is very different than in the US. for of all there are 3 large chairs in the front(the center one the largest) and this is where the judge and jury sit. The jury is what they call the two witnesses who have no claim and are completely impartial. There are 2 tables which face each other perpendicular to the judges table. One table is where the Inspector and the Director of the orphanage sit and the other table had 2 other people who have some say but never excercised it. Directly behind them, next to the wall is the cage. Yes, I do mean a steel, iron bars type cage. This is a little unsettling for some reason. Randy was told to stand, state his name, address and birthdate. I was told to stand, state my name and address, and birthdate(all through our interpreter, mind you) I watched as the people in the courtroom, including the director who we had spoken to and has been very friendly, looked surprised.
Its hard to read other cultures expressions and it is a bit unnerving to try. All I could think was that there was some rule that said that the woman needed to be younger than the man or that our paperwork had been messed up but no one said anything. It still gives you the jitters when you don't understand and can't ask.
The director stood up and told the court that there were no opportunities for a child like Lera in Ukraine and that she would receive these from us. He said that we were experienced with the needs of a child with down syndrome and that we had come to this specific region because of another family that had adopted a child with down syndrome. He told the judge that this was a good opportunity for all the children in orphanages to find homes because we would go home and tell the very strong DS community that these children needed families and care. The inspector said that she could find no fault with our application and agreed that this adoption was in the best interests of the child.
I thought I would not get a chance to speak but the judge asked me why I wanted to adopt Lera. I kind of froze and then explained that we wanted a companion for our daughter who also had DS and wanted to have another child like her. I showed them Lera's photo and Caelia's photo. They were all impressed by the similiarities between the two girls. Just a note - if you want your interpreter to have a heart attack - start walking toward the judge with a book. He seemed amused. Maybe Wendy got to him first. Anyway, Randy got to say the important stuff about how we would love her and show her a world that she cannot begin to dream about.
Adoption approved. BIG BANGING STAMP and then we were done. We have a ten day wait and then we can get passports and bring her home.
We had unfinished business at the orphanage. Before we left Izmail when went back to order a nebulizer for the orphanage. We talked to the director and he will have the medicals on the other children with DS when we return for Lera. He also teased me and Randy about the difference in our age. He said I don't look my age and that Randy did but he hadn't caught it until the court. I said thank you and smirked at my husband the rest of the day. For the record, he is 33 and I will be 41 in April.
I've got to go, we are leaving tomorrow morning for home and to see my kids. I'll blog more later.