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?


  1. Novodevichy Convent and the cemetery there are really neat. Lots of famous Russians buried there. Sergeiv Pasad(Zagorsk) is outside of the city (maybe 1.5hrs) but you could probably take a train there, it is a really old. If you have a weekend or time you don't need to be in Moscow, you could take the overnight train to St. Petersburg (2-3 days there would be amazing (Hermitage, Peter and Paul fortress, Russian museum, walking on the Neva River, Catherine's Palace, Peterhof). You could find members to stay with. Vladimir and Suzdal' are very old Russian cities with churches outside of Moscow that could be a day trip, but a very long one, but you get to see more real Russia than Moscow city. The World War II momument and park are cool. They are on the dark blue metro line on the west side of the city. Churh of Christ the Savior (rebuilt in the past 20 years after being a huge swimming pool during Soviet times). Circus is good, lots of ballet and concerts, theater is great but hard if you don't understand Russian. Tretyakov Art Gallery. So much to see.

  2. Thank you for your posts keeping us up-to-date. You are so strong! Keep up the good spirits as you turn to waiting the 2-3 week period you have. As for things to do and see, you have done many of the things I would do, Red Square, the Kremlin, St.Basil's Cathedral (in Red Square), a ballet, the metro, and a market. It also sounds like you have a few more things I was thinking you should try to do.

    Here are a few more suggestions:

    And here is one for when you have Gabe:

    And here is a more exhaustive list:

    Safe, fun touring!

    Always praying,
    Randy C. and family!

  3. My grandparents served a mission in Nizhney Navogord, Russia, about 6 and a half hours east of Moscow. But they did do some sightseeing in Moscow and I asked them what they liked there. Some of these things you've already done, but this is what they said...

    Those are brave people! They have probably done the usual things: Red Square,GUM etc. It's not a great time to be out of doors in Russia. There is a cemetery whose name I can't remember where famous writers (and Mrs. Stalin) are buried. There are 2 museums. The Pushkin is very pretty inside, but most of the pieces of art are reproductions of famous European art. The Tretyakov Museum has Russian art--originals, and I liked it better. The Bolshoi ballet is very expensive, but when we were there, the Kremlin Palace Ballet was quite inexpensive, and the dancers were good. The Moscow Symphony was also quite inexpensive. We paid more for the ice cream at intermission than for the Symphony tickets. If they are in town on Saturday, they might want to go to the Ismaelosky (I'm not sure about spelling.) outdoor market. It's a huge souvenir place, and they take dollars (or at least they did).I wish them luck.

  4. Huge huge hugs!! Thankfully it sounds like there might be an end at least in sight now! My continued thoughts and prayers are with you guys!! (From Caldwell)

  5. Praying that things go faster. Glad that you have a friend to pass the time with. Is she on the same time table with her adoption?

  6. Becky, if I were you and had time to get through with nothing to do but wait - I would SLEEP and read! I'll bet you could find some interesting books at your friend's home, or online -- but sleep sounds so good. Try, okay?

  7. I cannot believe they are putting you through all this beuracratic crap. I am so sorry!