I think I left off with us waiting for the court decree. We were told that according to Russian law, the Supreme Court had 5 days to prepare the decree. So we waited. And waited. And waited. Until Day 7. Timeframes are merely a suggestion in Russia. If you're reading this blog and you're early in the process of adopting from Russia, please go ahead and wrap your mind around that fact. :) Our facilitator called every day to check on the status of the decree, and everyday he would tell us, "Maybe it will be done tomorrow. We will hope for the best." Now we have learned that "We will hope for the best" from our facilitator (who is a wonderful man) really means, "I don't know." Again, the Russian way is so much different from the American way. This is neither good nor bad, just different. Russians do not get their panties in a wad about things they have no control over...they just "hope for the best."
We started to get worried when there was no decree after the fifth day. I felt uneasy until we had that piece of paper declaring Kirill was legally ours. We had so much disappointment in the course of our adoption; things that were not only unfair but also things that went against international adoption law happened to us and so I had a hard time trusting anything anyone said. In my mind, even a ruling from the Supreme Court might be changed somehow. During those days I had a lot of anxiety and didn't sleep very well. God used that to help me pray to him more, seek his peace, and trust him more deeply.
After the sixth day, panic increased because our visas were going to expire on June 10th. We had to get Kirill, get his paperwork processed in Pskov and Moscow, and get out of the country before our visas expired. If the decree didn't come through on the next day, there was no way we would be able to get out of the country in time, even with expediting our U.S. Embassy paperwork.
We prayed and prayed that God would move the judge to finish the decree. We were advised not to pressure him too much because that could make him take longer just to exercise control. It's a frustrating place to be, trying to gently persuade yet not pressure....when you really just want to go camp out at the supreme court building with signs and loudspeakers until they give you the decree.
On day 7, our facilitator called and said, "I think the decree will be ready today at 5 p.m. Or tomorrow. But we will hope for the best." LOL! I was beyond hoping for the best. So we packed up, not knowing if the decree would be ready, but if it was we had to immediately get on a train that left at 6:30 p.m. for Pskove. We went to the courthouse at 5 p.m., frantically ran to meet the secretary who brought down the decree, got back into the car, sped to the train station in 5 o'clock Moscow traffic, only to find there were no train tickets left.
WOMP, WOMP, WOMP.
Now it's funny, but at the time I was about to burst into tears. We HAD to be in Pskov on Friday morning because we needed to get Kirill's passport application in and pick up his birth certificate. The office that does birth certificates was going to be closed on Monday so if we didn't get to Pskov by Friday, we would not be able to get his birth certificate until Tuesday, which would mean there would be NO WAY we could get out of the country by the 10th.
We watched as our facilitator talked to the woman at the train ticket counter. He came back to us and told us that he would drive us if he had to, but that he was waiting to see if she could locate two tickets. Miraculously, she found two tickets together, but we would be sharing a sleeping compartment with two other people. I didn't care as long as we were on the train!
So we boarded the train and got settled into our lovely compartment with our two Russian "friends." One of the guys was nice, but the other one was NOT happy with sharing his compartment with "Americanskis". He kept chewing us out in Russian and every other word was "Americanskis!" The nice guy kept looking at the guy and rolling his eyes, kind of a signal of solidarity with us. Although we didn't speak each other's languages, no one had any trouble understanding the other. Greg and I just laid in our beds and read with headphones on while the angry Russian guy continued to spout angrily at us. It became funny at one point because he'd been going for about 45 minutes and we were not paying him any attention. He got frustrated with us not listening to him, so he started listening to music and singing over his headphones really loudly to annoy us. I guess he didn't realize that I've worked with kids and adolescents all my life, so that really doesn't bother me. I can tune out most anything. During the night, he got up to go to the bathroom or smoke, not sure which, and I noticed a knife in his bed. I motioned to Greg because if I was getting slashed in the middle of the night, I wanted to make sure he knew who did it. In the morning, as he was gathering his things, another knife fell out of his blanket. How many knives does one need on an overnight train to Pskov? Several apparently.
We got to Pskov unharmed and checked into the hotel. We had a couple of hours to shower and eat before our appointment to get Kirill's birth certificate. We found out that birth certificates are not issued on Fridays because they do marriages that day. But, our WONDERFUL facilitator had called and gotten special permission for us to get the birth certificate due to our circumstances and the fact that the office would be closed on Monday, as I mentioned earlier. We got the adoption certificate and birth certificate; an amazing moment. I cried as the woman read the certificates to us with Kirill's new name and our names listed as his parents.
We took these documents to the passport office to get Kirill's passport. There, I got to see his passport pictures, the first pictures I had seen of him since our visit in March. I was taking pictures of the pictures with my phone and the lady at the passport office was looking at me like I was crazy.
|Cutest passport pictures ever!|
We found out that the orphanage director wouldn't be able to bring Kirill to us until Monday. They had an official state visitor that day, so we had to wait over the weekend. It was tough after all the waiting we had already done, but we rested and got to see a lot of Pskov, which is a beautiful city.
Monday morning we woke up and anxiously awaited Kirill's arrival. It was such a wonderful reunion. I'll let the video do the talking!
Stay tuned, Part 4, the final installment, coming soon!