So I want to answer some of the more common questions we have gotten since we lost Sergey and committed to Kirill. Please feel free to comment and ask any other questions you might have. Or if you're more comfortable emailing me, there's a link in my profile.
Q: Who is the family member that objected to you adopting Sergey?
A: We don't know. We aren't allowed to know. Think HIPPA here in the U.S...that's private information and we have no right to know. The only thing we know is that it is a first-line blood relative. All first-line blood relatives have to sign off on the adoption of a child in Sergey's country. Most of the time, this is done before the child is made available for referral. For some reason, in Sergey's case, it wasn't. So when the Minister of Education (MOE) got our dossier and started looking at Sergey's file, he/she realized that all of his first-line blood relatives had not been notified of his orphan status at birth. Therefore, he had to notify them in order for Sergey to be free for adoption. At least one of these family members objected when they learned about Sergey. According to the law, that family member has to either take the child (most likely what happened) or find another family who is willing to adopt the child (unlikely). We are so thankful that one of his family members wanted him...what a blessing he will be to them!
Q: What if that family member doesn't follow through with taking Sergey home?
A: If they don't take him within a specified time frame, Sergey will return to the database of orphans in his country. At that point, he will be free for adoption again. His family member cannot ever object to him being adopted again. If that were to happen, we would jump at the chance to adopt him. However, we really hope that this doesn't happen; that his family loves him and that they are blessed.
Q: Will you have to start the process over/Will you lose time?
A: No and yes...we don't have to start the process over, but we do lose a little time (about two weeks...not much at all). Since we stuck with the same country for our adoption of Kirill, we don't have to start the process over. Everything we have done (home study, USCIS approval, etc.) can be used toward our adoption of Kirill. We do lose a little bit of time, but not much. That is only because Kirill is in a different region. If he were in the same region as Sergey, it might have been faster because our dossier was already in that region, translated, and in the MOE's office. Since Kirill is in a different region, we had to transfer the dossier to the new region, and that region has a few different papers that they require for the dossier, we did have to redo some paperwork and re-send our entire dossier to the new region. We have already done that, so that lets you know that it wasn't that big of a deal. There were a few hiccups (as there always will be with adoption...ha!) and a couple of really stressful days when it didn't look like things were going to go too smoothly, but God was faithful and it all worked out. As our social worker told us, "Don't let the paperwork deter you from choosing a child in a different region." It was definitely doable in a very short timeframe. As of April 2, we are already at the same point in the process with Kirill as we were when we lost Sergey...waiting for our first travel date. Only this time we are praying that it ends with us getting a date and meeting our son! But if it doesn't happen for the same reason as it didn't happen with Sergey, we will praise God...because that means another orphan home with a family...and there are 147 million more to choose from so we will just keep trying!
Q: Will you still have to make two trips?
A: Yes, all regions of this part of Eastern Europe require two trips.
Q: Will you lose any money because you changed children?
A: No; all of the money we had paid our agency just goes toward Kirill's adoption. Now, had we changed agencies, we would have lost money. Luckily, we have a FABULOUS agency and we are very satisfied with their services. We wanted to stick with them and Kirill just happened to be one of the children our agency represented too! God's hand was in every detail of this journey to Kirill!
Q: How did Clayton take the news?
A: Like any other three-year-old. We explained that Sergey's "grandma" (even though we didn't know that for sure, we just wanted to give him an image of a family member) was taking him to live with her. We told him that we would not be bringing Sergey to our house. Clayton whined a little and said, "But I have a Gator (motorized ride-on thingie) with two seats; one for me and one for John Sergeant! We will have to get another baby for that seat." What can I say; kids are resilient. He still prays for Sergey (only now he's added Sergey's grandma), and he has added Kirill to his prayers, "keep him safe until mommy and daddy can fly on a big airplane to get him." He also puts on my glasses and says, "LOOK! I look just like Kirill!" He tells people that Kirill is a "big kid like me," and that "Kirill is just my same age!" I still think he has no clue what is in store for him when his brother comes to live with us for real, but he understands things as much as any other three-year-old.
Like I said, if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! Unless you're mean, then I will turn you into a goon. Just sayin'.