Today we went for our second time at court. It was an interesting experience. The courthouse is a busy place, as expected, but it is a completely run-down building which I did not expect. We went down many narrow halls, which were mostly unlit, except for the occasional window. We had court in the judge's office.
As I mentioned yesterday, this judge is an unknown quantity, and as we waited, I prayed that God would be completely in charge. We entered and found a pleasant looking woman, no makeup, very no-nonsense looking, and who looked very smart. She is supposedly not familiar with adoption proceedings, so everything was very much by-the-book, and she read every document out loud. The translator told us that it is very unusual for the judge to read everything like that, and that it usually goes very quickly. She tried to keep up with translating, but after awhile gave up, since the judge was reading everything (very fast.)
Today the people present were us (of course,) the judge, translator, social worker, lawyer, prosecutor, and two witnesses (jurors.) Everyone was pretty solemn, and I tried to meet their eyes, and smile, but I think maybe that would be trying to influence everyone, and they all avoided making eye contact. In contrast, the judge looked us straight in the eye, and seemed very encouraging when we had to answer questions. Her body language was encouraging, if I can say it that way.
As we sat there, it seemed so surreal, and I couldn't believe that after almost a year, and all the hard work, and emotions and excitement, and stress, and wonder of connecting with the kids, that we were sitting there in that tiny room, and soon would hear the verdict of whether we would be allowed to take these children to be our own for the rest of our lives and theirs.
As she was reading, I could understand some of it, because legal words are like technical and medical words, and they are the same or similar in many languages. Plus, I knew the general content of the documents. When she started reading the social worker's report, in which the social worker recommended that we be allowed to adopt the children, because we will be good parents for the children, the translator interpreted it, and there wasn't any conflict with other people's rights, because everyone had given up their rights at the births of the children. Then when it came to the next part, and she read that the children have had no visitors, and the translator interpreted that, the feelings caught up with me, and yes--my kids know what I'm going to say-- I started to tear up, and here came the waterworks, flooding out. It wasn't exactly the impression I wanted to give, but it's who I really am, so--oh well. David rubbed my back, and the translator patted my shoulder, and I wiped my eyes with a kleenex, and tried to get my composure back.
I have a job in which I work hard to facilitate bonding between parents and their newborn child, and the thought that not only had these babies not been able to bond with their parents, and their parents had signed away their rights to their children, but also that no one-- NO ONE-- out of a whole planet full of people, had visited them. It was an overwhelmingly sad thought, but immediately after, I thought of the tender care I had seen shown to my children in each baby house. Life may not be rosy there, but there is still a caring hand and voice, and I have seen each of my children shown kindness by the careworkers. I thank God that he knows the names of each of my children, and he put a call on my heart from thousands of miles away, to come and get these particular children.
As I type this, and I'm thinking of all the christians all over the world, and our mandate from our father to visit the orphans in their distress, I was wondering, where are all the christians? Then I remembered the videos I've seen online of the visits from the church of Almaz, who come and minister to the orphans, and bring hope, love and needed supplies and building construction, and that I've seen some of my children on these videos. I've also gotten updates from other parents who have been here to get their children. So, my children have been visited, and I am so grateful.
Now, we are their visitors who come faithfully to see them, play with them, and love them. We have missed two days of visiting with them, and it feels wrong. David said, "I'm worried about our kids, that they might think we're not coming back." I actually thought he was talking about our big kids at home, and I said, "Why would they think that? They have no reason to think we're not coming home!" He said, "not those kids! The ones at the orphanage!" I just love sharing parenting with this man! I haven't thought about whether the kids can make those kinds of abstract connections or not, but he's already assuming that they might be able to, and it worries him to think they might think we're not coming back--after not seeing us for two days!
So, now you're waiting to hear our happy ending. Remember how I said that the judge was reading everything? Well, if you do that, you might find a typo, like a misspelling of one of the kids' names, which might threaten the legality, and which needs to be corrected before the proceedings can proceed... Tune back in on Monday, when we resume court... sigh...
Giant thing to remember: God knows. These are his kids, and this is his show, and he knows where we are, and he knows the ending, and anything else I want to throw out there, he knows. We are not worried, and we're not disappointed, and we're not mad. I think a few other people may be, but we're not. I'm happy, because everytime something strange or unexpected happens, I know that God has it all under control, and he's doing something different for us. That makes me feel special.
We are Not Trading Children!
10 hours ago