# 13 : Court… then the Countdown Begins……

Day 36. From my Journal. Thursday January 5th 2017. Today Teneille sent us a video clip of Micah, Grace and Hope. Micah was singing ‘Jesus loves me’ and it was so beautiful and it makes me miss them immensely! Why do some things have to hurt so much?’ I love our beautiful grandchildren and I can’t wait to hold them again! Thankfully Rob and I slept much better last night. We both feel so much improved today. I am so thankful!

Today Rob asked me ‘How come you brought stuff for 1 girl and 2 boys?’  The only answer I have is that The Lord prompted me to.  I have no other answer.  I had ‘felt‘ for some time that it was going to be a girl and two boys but I couldn’t say how I knew that?  Feelings are not always reliable. That’s what I brought to the Ukraine: 1 girl blanket and 2 boy blankets and one girl gift and two boy gifts. There is no other way for me to have known as Ukraine is very specific about adoptive parents not knowing anything about their potential children until their SDA appointment. We didn’t have any idea who we were getting until that first meeting with the SDA official on December 5th 2016.

Praise Jesus! My sinus infection is better! Three days ago I felt like I needed 4 root canals but today my bite is back to normal and I have no pain! This is a miracle again!

Practicing for another Christmas performance.

We had such  a good visit with the children today. They are practicing now for Ukrainian Christmas and we are invited for Monday 9th January to see them perform. They are singing and carrying a banner with the Madonna and Child. They are all involved this time. Niamh had a little hissy fit with the lady who is teaching the singing today. Not sure why? Some disagreement over her part perhaps? She sat with a face like thunder but then she wanted to go outdoors after practice. She played on the swings until 5:30 pm!

Day 37. From my Journal. Friday, January 6th 2017. This morning Teneille sent us another adorable video from Micah, Grace and Hope saying ‘Hello Grandma and Grandpa and children’ and introducing themselves. They pulled silly faces. It was so cute! Then we got a text from Michael saying he had an accident and broke his hand! He’s in the ER. A truck engine slipped of a hoist and fell on it! He sent pictures! (for our readers, I won’t post those) It’s a really nasty wound. It was good to hear from him but the mom in me wishes I could be there for him right now.

Today it is blowing a blizzard! We made it as far as the coffee shop but we were unable to make it to the Orphanage. The roads are just too bad! Yura brought us from the coffee shop back to the hotel but he said the roads are not ploughed here and they will only get worse. He also said they will all be closed an hour from now! We spent the rest of the day in our room after getting a few groceries to keep us going on case we get snowed in. Very stormy! It was a difficult day and fear overcame us at times. Still waiting on some paperwork to be approved. Finally go an email late in the day to say they would be issuing a confirmation letter soon. ‘Praise Your Name Jesus’!

On the way to the coffee shop.

Day 38. From my Journal. Saturday January 7th 2017.  We woke up to a white and very windy landscape! Don’t know if we can make it to the Orphanage today either. We set off walking later in the morning but had to turn back: it’s just too cold! I’m inside now while Rob is getting a few things at the little store down the street that we can just eat cold later, without heating up.

Later this evening we were able to get Yura to take us to the Orphanage but the roads were awful! Our children were outside playing and we didn’t stay long. We are glad to get back to the hotel though. The weather is getting worse! Thank the Lord for a warm room! I hope all the children will be warm and safe tonight.

Walking in the snow across town. See how the warm air coming up from the underground sewers melts the snow in places. It doesn’t smell too good walking past sometimes.

Day 39. From my Journal. Sunday January 8th 2017. We had breakfast in our room again as it’s snowing. Big, soft, white flakes falling slowly outside our window. We are watching ‘Fine Living’ on our little tv. Somewhat difficult as it’s all dubbed in Russian. Rob has a headache and I jokingly diagnose it as caffeine withdrawal. We haven’t been able to go for coffee now for two days. We finally brave the weather and walk to the Bdzhilka for coffee and a tart but really just to get out of our 9′ x 13′ roomNo headache now! The streets are snow-covered and not cleared. So thankful we are able to get around! The fresh air is good for us.  Inna called to say court is confirmed for January 10th at 2:00 pm! Yana is to come here just before that. It will be good to see her again.

The children put on another Christmas pageant.

Day 40. From my Journal. Monday January 9th 2017. We went to the Orphanage for Ukrainian Christmas pageant this morning. It was very good! The costumes were lovely and the children did very well.  Again the only ones to watch them were Rob and myself. We went back for 4:00 pm and played mostly outside in the snow.

Playing in the snow!

Then Rob and I walked across town for pizza. Inna called to tell us what to expect at court tomorrow. Also to tell us the Orphanage already got their donation and were hoping to do some renovations right away. Waiting now on Yana to come. Also got texts from Marlene and Kaylene as well as our kids in Canada wishing us well for tomorrow.

Day 41. From my Journal. Tuesday January 10th 2017. Today we have court. We decided to fast from food before the hearing. I did allow myself some black tea as I am still recovering from the infection and don’t want a relapse. Anyway, it’s not a legalistic thing where we can’t eat, it’s a choice not to at present, so we can pray about the day ahead. Read from Psalm 91 this morning. ‘Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty, I will say to the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my strength, my God in whom I trust’ and also ‘He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways!’ That’s where we are dwelling. I can’t think of a safer and more secure place to be right now! Thank you God that You are my strength. So often I feel I have none of my own but then I remember that You say that Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. At 11:30 am we had still not heard from Yana. Getting a little anxious! Emailed Inna and then Yana called.

Myself and Rob all dressed up to go to Court for the Adoption Hearing.

We got a taxi to the courthouse at 1:30 pm and waited inside for the children to arrive. Only Niamh and Conor came as Declan is still not in school and he didn’t have to be here apparently. I am disappointed as I would have liked for him to have been here for pictures. I want to make memories for him too but I didn’t know he wouldn’t be required to attend and it’s too late to go and get him. I wish this had been discussed with us in advance. Never assume anything I guess. Present is the judge, the Orphanage lawyer, Yana, a court stenographer who writes with pen in a book, a representative from the Office of Children’s Services and two jurors (one male and one female). The whole proceedings took just less than an hour. They asked both Niamh and Conor if they wanted to be adopted by us and they both said ‘yes’ they did. The representative from Children’s Services talked to the judge about the children’s family situation before the Orphanage and how no one has shown any interest in adopting them or even coming to see them since entering the Orphanage. It’s all very sad. I wish that the children hadn’t been in court to hear some of what was discussed. I wanted to hold them to protect them but they seem stoic and maybe it’s okay that they know. I think we sometimes unnecessarily shelter our children from the hard things in life. Yana continually translated for us as things went along. At the end they asked Rob, myself and the children to wait outside the courtroom for a few minutes while they deliberated, then asked us to come back inside again. Rob asked Yana later if the hearings are normally this fast? Yana said it was fast as ‘we are nice people’ but I think she was just teasing us as she was laughing as she said it.

Outside the courtroom door where our lives would change forever. Waiting on the children.

Before court started, the children wanted to play with Rob and myself in the hallway. Rob was a little unsure as he felt that they may get too rowdy. I felt it was ok as long as things didn’t get too carried away. They can get noisy! It really worked in our favour as the representative from the Office of Children’s Services remarked on the good relationship she observed between us and the children when she spoke during the court hearing. She said she noticed how well the children played with us and how they referred to us as ‘Mama’ and “Papa’ and how she thought after reading all the information, and talking to the Director at the Orphanage and the Orphanage lawyer about how our visits were going, that it was really in the best interest of the children to be adopted by us. Conor sat between Rob and myself and held our hands tightly throughout the whole court proceedings.

Outside the Courthouse after the Adoption hearing. The children are wanting hugs from their new Mom and Dad.

Finally it was over and now we wait the regulation 10 days ‘cooling off period’. (currently this has been increased to 30 days but when we were there it was still 10 days) This is to ensure that there are no appeals against our adoption, and that no family member would suddenly decide that they wanted to adopt these children instead. The children are excited to be adopted by us, and I know from what the Orphanage Director has said, that they have not had any visits from any relations in the last few years. We are hopeful but not complacent. I have read of cases where a family member files an appeal because they don’t want anyone else to have the children and even if they are not in in a position to parent, it can tie things up for a while as the court case gets dragged out.

After court Rob and I with the children and Yana, went to Mama Mia’s for wood-fired pizza to celebrate. The kids ate really well and were very happy and animated. I think they are glad that today is over too. I know they have been worried and stressed about the ‘sudpronounced ‘suit’ (Russian for ‘Court’) as they have mentioned it several times over the last few days. After supper we got a taxi and dropped the children back at the Orphanage. The Director was waiting and congratulated us on a successful hearing, shaking both our hands. Then back to our hotel room to text all our children and our friends in Canada and then finally to sleep! So thankful and so tired!

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