It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start. -Mother Teresa

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Adoption Day

Did I ever tell you about the time we went to Ukraine and adopted two kids?

Oh, it was one of the most important days of our lives and it happened it August but I have yet to mention it? Well, how about I catch us all up.

All hopes of documenting everything in the order it happened is gone so I might as well start with the big stuff.

And I guess you could say that Adoption Day is pretty big stuff!

We get up early and drive the almost 3 hours to the court house. We literally drive less than a mile away from the girls' orphanage. It is killer to see the driveway for it but not drive down it especially because we have yet to see our girls on this trip. I think that I shared in previous posts just how rural of an area we are in. We are thankful that there was no rain so we could drive through fields rather than taking the road. Rural roads do not have weight limits for trucks so they are in terrible shape making them almost impassible some places. We get to courthouse, stand out front waiting for everyone else to arrive, and are given last minute instructions and reminders. Soon the girls arrive with the social worker from their school!!!! It is so great to see them but we are all nervous and very aware of being the center of attention so it is a tiny bit awkward. Michelle is happy to see us but recovering from carsickness. It is market day so the town is overcrowded with people, trucks, noise, and animals. Our girls have borrowed dresses that don't quite fit them, aren't necessarily appropriate for court (or any other time!), and the girls aren't necessarily comfortable in them. I want to savor every moment but there is a lot of sensory input happening. We are motioned to come into the courtroom. 

We are not allowed to take photographs inside the courtroom, so our camera is tucked in my purse during this milestone moment. It feels weird to not be documenting this moment in any other way. I try to focus on the girls, on the protocol I am supposed to follow, and constantly reminding myself to remember the details. It is August 28th, and although the morning started off cool, it is steadily warming up. The building is not air conditioned and has no fans. The proceedings are recorded via microphone, due to outside noise from the market the judge orders the windows closed. the court reporter shows her unhappiness with his decision as she closes the window effectively removing any air movement in the room. For the next almost 3 hours we sweat as we stand when speaking and sit on hard benches the rest of the time. The judge sits opposite of us clothed in both a suit and robes flanked  by two middle-aged men in a collared shirts  who serve as the jury. The gentleman as do the county social worker, the prosecutor, the school social worker, and our translator, slowly turn red as the hours tick by. 

That was it...we were officially parents to Anastasia Grace Robey and Nadia Michelle Robey! 

Leaving the courtroom we run into Stacey's best friend...she is being adopted the very same day. The girls hug and chatter away in excited Russian. 

The town has three restaurants but none of them are open. Instead we find a small grocery and celebrate by standing in front of it eating  ice cream and Pepsi in the shade of the building. 

Do we stand out? Yes. Are we making the most of this awkward, hot moment? Yes and Yes. 

We pile into the back of the lawyer's car. Remember the roads are terrible, it is hot, we are crowded in the back of a small passenger car, and some of us are prone to carsickness...but it is an hour and half we had not expected to have with our girls! We make the most of it. Please note that I am the only one who did not eat ice cream and Pepsi and instead had a very small Sprite...would a good parent have refused the rest of her family their celebratory treats because of the expected car trip? Maybe. 

Our translator, our daughter, our lawyer, and our daughter back at the orphanage. 

We meet with the school's director one last time. He will not be here on our next trip so we have some things we need to take care of with him. While meeting, Stacey points out this pillow that she made. Our lawyer is anxious to file some paperwork and we have a few more hours to drive so our time at the school is only about 20 minutes. 

We pass along gifts for the girls, their friends, and the orphanage. This is a good distraction for them and makes the good-bye a little easier. How weird to finally officially be someones mom but have to leave them in an orphanage. (There is a mandatory 10 day waiting period.) We head back to Odessa to work on more paperwork before the offices close. 

That night we head to the train station in a superhero movie to catch an overnight train to Kyiv. 

Honestly, we are almost asleep even before the train leaves the station. We are awoken the next morning by the steward offering us coffee about 20 minutes before we get into the station at Kyiv. We don't have time to even find the bathrooms before we are at the station, in a car on our way to the airport hotel. You know how I said it was weird to be leaving our kids at the orphanage. It is even weirder to be boarding a train, then an airplane...and eventually leaving your children in a completely different country on a completely different continent.

Technically we adopted the girls on August 28th but we consider our "Gotcha Day" to be September 10th when we actually picked them up FOREVER from the orphanage.

1 comment:

  1. THREE CHEERS! These pictures make me SO happy! :)