Monday, January 29, 2007

Happy B-Day Ryan! (and Court)


We miss you so much and wish that we could be home to celebrate your birthday with you! You have grown into such a wonderful young man and we are so blessed to have you as part of our family. We love you so much and can't wait to get home to see you!

Today, (for Ryan's birthday!), we get to go to court to petition the court to adopt Nadya/Emily. If all goes well, we will be at court at 10am, then we have a meeting at the records office at 11:30 to get all the final paperwork signed and filed. Then, at 2:00pm instead of our regular visit we will have our "going away" party for Emily at the babyhouse. We will present the babyhouse staff with our thank you gifts, we will take them a cake for the party and we will get to take pictures of the staff that have played such an important role in our daughter's life so far. At the end of the party we will bundle her up in her new snowsuit and whisk her away to the apartment!

We don't know yet when we will be flying home but we know there is more paperwork and details to be wrapped up in Uralsk and then whenever we fly back to Almaty there will be more paperwork and meetings to take care of before we can leave the country.

Take care and be blessed... and most of all - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RYAN!

- - - - - Later entry - - - - -

Court went exceptionally well. We arrived at 10am and didn't have to wait too long before we were asked to go upstairs to the 3rd floor to the Judge's chambers. Tom and I were both usually calm and we knew that God had everything under control. Everything went as planned and as our partners had told us it would. The judge went through the formalities to explain why we were all there and what our rights were. He asked Tom and I if we supported the applications to adopt and introduced those present for the hearing and asked if we would like to have any of the staff changed. Tom then handled most of the hearing, answering the judges questions that were the same as ones we were prepped for - for our pre-court hearing. The inspector, baby house director and records office representative were all given a chance to present their paperwork and to talk in support of our adoption. After that, Tom was asked if he would to add anything and this was his opportunity to give a short speech. He did an exceptional job and Aliya was very impressed.. (and I was very proud of him).

As part of our petitions for the court we had requested immediate execution (immediate custody) so that I could return to work as soon as possible and so that Tom could return to the bookstore and church and so he could return to his son, Ryan. We are also concerned for Emily's health as there are respiratory infections spreading around the babyhouse right now and she is very susceptible to them because of her prematurity. The judge didn't question anything in Tom's speech except for him mentioning his son. As Aliya explained later, it is VERY hard for men of the Kazakh culture to comprehend being a father to someone who is not your biological children. He could not imagine the kind of relationship that Tom and Ryan have or that they have been able to bond as father and son without biological ties.

After Tom's speech, the judge asked me if I had anything to add and I simply said that Tom had spoken from my heart as well and that I supported everything he had said. I also said that we were really looking forward to having Nadya join our family as soon as possible. The prosecutor was concerned with how I would balance my job and caring for our child. I shared our childcare plans and he seemed content with that.

In the end (and as predicted)... the prosecutor supported our petition to adopt but did not support our petition for immediate execution. However, without missing a beat, the judge granted both petitions and wished us well. With that, court was over and we had become Emily's parents!

The inspector and babyhouse director and record representative all congratulated us right away with big smiles and we got big hugs from Aliya and Olga. Ahhhhh... it's over!

We were taken back to the apartment to change clothes and then at 11:30 we went to the records office to finalize all the paperwork. We both signed the ledger to officially record Emily's adoption and then were presented with her Kazakh birth certificate and her adoption certificate. We gave those to Olga so she could begin the passport process.

We had Phillipich drop us off at the Chagala Hotel so we could eat lunch and access their high speed internet to post some updates. Then, at 2:00 we were picked up to get all the gifts, cameras and snowsuit from the apartment. On the way to the babyhouse we picked up a cake for the staff. We gave Aliya our clothes for Emily and while we waited we went to talk with the director and thank her. Once back in the music room, Emily was brought in by the 2 caregivers that were working with Emily that day. We could tell that the one caregiver was really attached to her and it was a bittersweet parting for her. After the caregivers, the doctors came in to talk with us and bid Emily goodbye.

We are concerned for Emily's health right now. She was burning up with a fever when we took her out of the babyhouse. We've also been told that she has an upset stomach and that respiratory infection has started to spread around her group at the babyhouse. The doctors have given us 2 medicines to pick up to give her for her upset stomach/diarrhea. We are also supposed to give her lots of fluids.

It seemed to take forever to get Emily back to the apartment because after 2-3 stops at places that should carry the medicine we had only found one of meds. Phillipich, being the grandfatherly type, insisted that we get Emily home soon and he would drive Aliya back later to look for the other medicine. The poor kid really isn't feel well and it was an interesting night of trying to make the right choices to help her feel better. We'll spare you the details.

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