Sunday, April 22, 2012

Court Date!!!

The night before court we were sooo nervous!  Well, Ryan was nervous.  Strangely, I was not.  Maybe it's because I knew Ryan would have to do most of the talking or maybe God was giving me his peace that passes understanding.  But for whatever reason, I was not nervous at all.  Ryan went over and over the list of questions previous families had been asked, and I went over it once or twice and then slept.

However, once we got dressed the next morning and were waiting for Sveta and Dasha to pick us up, I started to get nervous.  By the time I got into the court room, I was feeling very shaky and thought I might forget my own name (and I almost did say my maiden name).

The court room was about 15 X 15, not that big at all.  And we all sat down at regulat desks around the room that had microphones mounted on them.  We had a court translator sitting next to us who gave us the rundown of how things would work, when we would stand, and the basic procedural questions they would ask us that we would just have to respond with Da or Nyet (yes or no).

This was our judge's first international adoption case, and we knew she had been preparing extensively for it.  We weren't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.  When she walked in, everyone stood.  She looked a little bit like Roseanne Barr, only nicer.

Court lasted an hour and a half.  For comparison, there were two other American families holding court in the next courtroom, and they started after us and were done before us.  So they asked us a lot of questions, mostly related to whether we were sure we wanted her, if we were informed of her medical history, how we planned to raise her, how our families felt about the adoption, and why we wanted to adopt when we already had two biological children.  Ryan stood first to answer questions and then me.  Ella's social worker and Dr. Zoda from the hospital also testified in support of us and to speak about her medical diagnoses and social history.  Apparently 3 Russian families had been offered to meet Ella and be her parents, but they all denied to meet her.  She never had one visitor at the hospital. This was painful to hear, but at the same time, I was thankful that God had saved her for us.

Once the questions were over, we were all ushered out to stand in the hallway while the judge deliberated for about 5 minutes.  Since there was nothing negative said about us in court, we knew this was just procedural, but it was hard to still not be nervous.

They called us back in and proceeded to deliver the most drawn out, lengthy court decision ever.  Halfway through, when I was pretty sure they were going to grant our petition, I started to bawl.  The relief we felt after months and months of worrying and wondering if we would ever get to this moment was just overwhelming.  It was as if a brick house had been lifted off our shoulders.  We wanted to celebrate!  So we all went and ate at an awesome sushi restaurant within walking distance of the courthouse. 

We ordered a platter for all 4 of us, and they brought it out in a boat!!! I can't imagine a more quintessential Vladivostok meal, eating sushi on the coast of Russia.  It was amazing.  We toasted to Ella and our new family and basked in the knowledge that she was finally ours.

After lunch, we headed to the orphanage to see our new daughter.  She was napping, but they woke her up for us.  Here is our first picture with our new daughter.

See the crazed look in Ryan's eyes?  That's because he can't believe it really happened!!!

Here are some more pics from our visit with Ella after court:

Sleepy after her nap

Playing ball with Daddy

This was one of her many self portraits.  She was playing with Ryan's phone and took a bunch of pictures.

It was an amazing day!  The next morning, we flew back to the U.S.  We will be back in 30 days to take her from the orphanage for good!


  1. Oh my, I already saw some of these and cried on TWW, and yet here I am crying again! I LOOOVE the picture of the three of you. Your husband looks so happy, and the way he is holding her is so sweet. It's totally one of those bear-hug-never-letting-you-go type of holds. So beautiful!

  2. Love the pictures! So happy for you all!

  3. Hi! I noticed that you mentioned being in Vladivostok for the adoption. My husband and I have started the process to adopt a little boy from that region through Reece's Rainbow as well! I would love to ask you a couple questions if you have time (I'm sure you are busy with the family). Maybe our boy is in the same orphanage?? Please feel free to email me if you get a chance: alyssabpittman(at)gmail(dot)com