It's over and we PASSED!! Slava Bogu (Praise God!!)
We had no reason to believe that we wouldn't, but getting through it is tough.
We were an absolute wreck when we got to the court house. Our facilitator prepped us on all the things to say, what not to say, what to do, what not to do. I thought for sure I was going to puke and cry and pee on myself right there. Nathan kept trying to lighten the mood by being funny, except... times like this when the air is thick, Nathan IS NOT FUNNY.
We had been told not cross our legs and not to fold our hands in front or in back because it shows that we are too comfortable and is a sign of disrespect. We were practicing our pageant answers and Nathan's hands were at his side. They s l o w l y floated up in the air like Ricky Bobby's on Talladega Nights because he didn't know what else to do with them... (okay, he's funny).
After an hour of waiting, it was our turn.
Gaaahhh, it is SO tense- trying to remember all these rules and you can't understand anything that's going on. The stacks of papers behind the court reporter are are millimeters away from toppling over. The judge is stone cold, all business. I very clearly hear the second hand on the clock moving. We each stand to say our full name. The judge checks her cell phone. It's lunch time. I'm not hungry. My right sock is slightly higher than my left. I think I heard someone say something about our citizenship?
Nathan hands the judge our passports.
The last time I saw his hand shaking like that, he was standing in front of me with an engagement ring.
She read through our paperwork, stating several times that both biological parents had "rejected" her. I nearly cried. No, they didn't. That's not fair. I know this is their culture and some terms are likely altered in translation, but that word made me HURT for her. In addition to being socially unacceptable, there are NO resources here to care for a child with Down Syndrome. None. We were told the child would likely never leave their home. By placing her in the orphanage, she at least had a chance at a life by adoption. I hated hearing them say my daughter was rejected, but I was still, hands unfolded and by my side.
She asked me to stand and started the questions. Most of which, we expected. We were told to provide "several phrases" and not just yes or no answers, but it seems like everytime I paused for translation, another question was asked before I could expand. Will you stay home with her? Do you know about her "disease"? I got upset (inside) because she kept asking WHY. Why would you adopt a child with special needs? Why HER? But WHY?
She wasn't asking because she was curious about our personal reasons. She really didn't get it. I had tried to explain simply that we were ready to expand our family. I tried to explain that we could provide love and opportunities for her. I tried to explain that our hearts were connected to her.
She asked Nathan, (translated) "Do you agree with your wife? WHY are you requesting to adopt HER, why not a normal child?". I wanted to scream, "She IS normal!!". Instead, I sat motionless, legs uncrossed. No tears.
A few more questions each and we made it through. We were asked to step out while the judge made her decision. She had no facial expression, no inflection in her voice. What did she think? Are we enough? Did we do it wrong? While waiting, both the prosecutor and the rep from the Children's Department shared big smiles and gave us thumbs up. Tatiana said, "You are parents, I know it!". I don't know how they "know" it, but they all seemed pleased with what had just taken place.
About ten minutes later, we stepped back in and the judge read all kinds of formal jargon for what seemed like forever. She ended with (translated) "from this day forth, she is not Varvara Evgenevich , she will be Anna Gray West."
Nathan squeezed my hand. Tatiana congratulated us quietly. We thanked the judge and a HUGE smile appeared on her face. For the first time, I noticed she was pretty. And I exhaled.
We were back in the hallway within seconds. Can I cry now?!
SO many emotions!
The obvious elation, dampened slightly by her loss.
I wish she hadn't said she is not Vara.
She is, she always will be. We have no intention of taking that away from her.
But we could.not.be. anymore excited that now she is also our new daughter!
Oh, we hugged so tightly.
WE HAVE A NEW DAUGHTER!!
Those are ridiculously happy faces!
I get to go see her tomorrow and tell her that I AM HER MAMA!
Nathan left about an hour after we got back from court. He is already on a train headed back to Kiev. He will fly out tomorrow and be home Sunday afternoon, God willing. I think he took it harder than I did. I couldn't tell if he is sad about leaving her, worried about me being here alone, or both.
I feel totally fine about it. More than anything, I am worried I'm going to be bored out of my mind! Tatiana and Edward (mother and son, btw) said they want to take care of me. Edward will get me whatever I need and I am to email Tatiana every day and tell her I am okay.
Starting tomorrow, there is a 10 day wait for appeals. These are going to be THE longest 10 days of my life. Regardless, they will be joyful days because THERE IS ONE LESS ORPHAN IN THE WORLD!!