Thursday, January 24, 2013
I am learning, once again, a lesson in patience.
Here is the latest. I'm sorry if it makes little sense, because I have gone over the numbers and scenario a hundred times since hearing it and it still makes little sense. Sometimes it feels as if logic does not exist. There is a saying we have heard many times here: This is Russia, meaning things work differently here and you just have to go with the flow.
So last Tuesday when we had our first court hearing this trip, when the judge said she couldn't issue our court decree, she issued a paper called a protocol that outlined why she couldn't issue the decree (because of the new adoption ban law that took effect Jan 1). On Friday we filed an appeal to that protocol. The judge said she was waiting for further clarification from the Supreme Court on the new adoption ban law before she could issue the decree. Her concern was that if she issued it, we may not be able to get the exit papers we needed to be able to leave the country with Gabe.
Working with Mr. Astakhov's (Russia's children's rights ombudsman) office and an attorney he appointed for us (this in itself is a miracle, because if you've read a word this man has said about American adoptive parents, you'd be surprised. He sort of spearheaded this adoption ban in the first place), we were able to get the Supreme Court to issue a statement saying that yes, they are required to hand over the kids whose parents had passed court last year. They issued this statement this past Tuesday evening. We thought, hooray! We will go to the court Wednesday morning and pick up our decree. Why oh why did I not realize that nothing in this process has been that simple?
Our coordinator called the judge Wednesday morning to tell her she was ready at any moment to come get the decree. The judge, however, had different plans. She said that because she had issued that protocol, the law says we have to wait 15 days from the date of the protocol, and then a panel of judges would meet to consider the protocol. This puts us at next Thursday. Once this panel convenes, they will set a date for a hearing to consider dissolving the protocol. We are hoping they decide to convene the next business day, which will be Monday the 4th of February. At this new hearing, they can dissolve the protocol based on the Supreme Court's new statement ordering them to give physical custody of the children to their adoptive parents. Then, it will still take a couple more days to issue the paper of their decision to us. Only then can we pick up our children.
So our coordinator has said the earliest she believes we can pick up Gabe is on the 8th of February. Two more weeks. Needless to say, the news did not sit well. Believe me, I have asked every possible question, demanded answers to every illogical tenet of this new schedule of events. It is the law, and there is no way around it (that we have found yet).
Once we have physical custody of Gabriel, there will still be at least 4-5 days of exit paperwork processing. We have to go get the adoption certificate and his new birth certificate that lists us as his parents. He needs to get his Russian passport (he will remain a Russian citizen and have dual citizenship), Russian exit visa, and his US entry visa. All of this takes time. The US Embassy, for their part, have assured us they will do same-day processing for us on their end, which we are very grateful for. But still, we are looking at a good three weeks before we touch down on US soil.
Disappointed doesn't begin to describe my feelings. I can say that I no longer have the lingering panic inside my gut that I may not even get to pick up my son at all. I feel that I will be able to get him eventually. Now it is just a matter of getting through all the bureaucracy. I will not breath a sigh of relief until he is in my arms. My next sigh of relief will come when we get on the plane for home. And my total breakdown will be when we land on US soil! So if you plan on coming to the airport, I will apologize in advance for the possible ugly cries you may see me engaged in! Jeana and I are putting up a good fight here, and every ounce of energy has gone toward that. So when my body realizes that is over, I'm sure it will unleash a whole range of emotion. And that's okay. Like a dear friend told me, feel the feelings. It's okay.
I wish this post could have been full of exciting photos or even better, good news. But that day will come! For now, Jeana and I will be moving in with an American friend here who has been so generous to offer her home as a refuge from this storm. Then, when we finally get to pick up our kids, we will check back into a hotel and stay there while we complete final paperwork. After talking with our husbands we all agreed that it is best we stay here for the duration. For one, it would cost us a couple thousand dollars extra to fly back again. Also, the jet lag is a serious issue, and flying home and then back within such a short amount of time would put us in a perpetual state of exhaustion. Right now we feel healthy and like we're definitely on Moscow time. Of course, there is nothing more that this mama heart wants more than to hold her children and husband close. But I have to take heart in knowing that we have an army of friends at home so willing to help us through this, and I need to let my stubborn heart let them help. I worry constantly for how my kids are processing all of this. I am sure my 3-year-old is ready to disown me because she probably thinks I'm just in Boise and refusing to come home. My 8-year-old is being brave, but I can see she is struggling at times. But I just have to put my faith in my husband and the kind hearts of those who are willing to help. I am so thankful for these people who are so willing to sacrifice their time and energy for my family.
Jeana and I are making a list of all that we want to see and do while we wait these two weeks. We will be able to visit our kids at their orphanages a couple of times a week, so that will be wonderful. I still haven't seen Gabe since Brian left because he's been sick, so I really hope I'll get to see him soon. We plan on going to the Armory and Diamond Fund at the Kremlin. Olga has sent us some museums and cathedrals to check out. We have heard the circus is pretty neat here, so we may look into that. And when we have the children, we'd love to take them to a children's puppet theater they have here. This really is a center of cultural arts and history, so I'm sure we'll find plenty to keep us busy.
If you were in Moscow for two weeks, what would you want to see?
Posted by Becky at 1:11 PM