Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Longest Day of My Life

Today gave us a new meaning to the term “Long day.” I will never complain again about what a long day it was, until I have another day like this one! First of all, thank you for all of your prayers. The meeting with the judge went well this morning and our facilitator said he was very kind! Hallelujah! She did also ask him, please can we only have one court date, but he said he could not promise that. Our facilitator confirmed today that we are the first couple ever, from any country, to adopt a child with special needs through this court in this region. We truly are pioneers and I hope that by us facing these problems head on it will pave the way and make it easier for others to do the same. Maybe God’s plans for us here were bigger than we realized. And God knows that if we knew all this going in there is a good chance we wouldn’t have trusted him enough to take the leap, so thank you to Him for not revealing this until we were already here. She said to expect A LOT of questions about why we want to adopt and how we will provide for a child with Down Syndrome. Court is *tentatively* scheduled for Tuesday March 30th at 3:30pm. I will tell you in a bit why it is tentative.
We were picked up at 9:00am this morning and drove around and did paperwork and other crazy things until right about now….8 hours later! We had to drive to the village where Zoya’s mom lives (an hour drive each way) and get 2 different documents…one of which was a copy of the book that documented that Zoya is in fact an orphan. The other document, I have no idea what it was still LOL. This part is pretty ridiculous and we were told other regions do not have to do this, but we know our judge goes only by the books and requests a lot of extra information. The people did not want to give us this information and told us it was illegal. The judge requests it, but apparently it is illegal. Part of the problem here (with this government) is that “the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing” so to speak. It can be very frustrating. Our facilitator begged and pleaded, or so it sounded from her tone of voice since we couldn’t actually tell what she was saying. I stood there frozen and just prayed and prayed. When I looked back down I saw an angel statue on this woman’s desk that I hadn’t noticed before. I was filled with a sense of peace that we were going to get this needed document. AND WE DID! The woman would not let us take this to the judge ourselves so we worked it out that we would take this woman with us! So in the car she went with the document and we made two other stops at the social worker’s office to get another document and then to the store to buy something for someone that did something for that called a bribe? Ha. Then off we drove back to our region (an hour away) with the woman and the document. Into the judge they went and out they came. We then drove the woman back to the village (an hour away…are you getting my annoyed sarcasm here? Hehe) and then of course we had to drive back to our region (an hour away lol--and so fast swerving through all the pot holes that we lost a hub cap ha). So 4 hours of driving and about an hour of begging and pleading later, we got the needed documents and took them where they were supposed to go.  We arrived at Zoya’s orphanage to pick her up to take her to get her photo taken for her visa (if that day ever comes). We got to take her in the car….with NO carseat or seatbelt…ugh my mommy brain said not a very safe idea.  When we drove out of the gates I pretended that we were never coming back.  That made me happy and then I remembered imagination is just that...imagination.  But soon I hope we will be able to really experience that feeling!  At the photo place, she was uncooperative and only wanted me to hold her facing me which was not working so well for the photo. We ended up managing to get one shot that will work, but of course she was wearing the boy outfit that I hate..haha! We took her back to the orphanage and played with her for about 20 minutes and then it was time for her to eat dinner. And time for us to finally come back to our house.

Zoya's first car ride...not so sure what to think

During this long, nerve-wracking day, we also got word that one of our forms is being held up due to a political issue. When we submitted our documents (on February 11th…before we even got here) one of the documents was an Interpol clearance to make sure we are not criminals anywhere in the world (as if the FBI clearance wasn’t enough…ugh). Anyways…those forms were processed and approved some time ago. They are all sitting in an office simply needing to be printed out. Without this form we cannot have court, even though we have already been cleared. This is extremely frustrating and there are several other families stuck in the middle of this. Our facilitators have called, and done everything short of banging down the door (they wouldn’t let them in) to get these forms printed out. It would take all of a minute to print out the forms. For reasons unknown to us, they are not printing these forms out. One friend has court scheduled tomorrow and she will not be able to have it now that this form has not been printed. This is a serious issue which could really cause some huge delays.  We have contacted and enlisted the help of the U.S. Embassy who is delivering a letter on our behalf tomorrow morning. The U.S. Embassy is telling us this issue should be cleared up next week. When next week? We don’t know. Our only shot at having court Tuesday and finishing court in one day is if this Interpol mess is cleared up and the judge only requests one date from us. The judge has agreed that either way we can start court on Tuesday.  If the judge requests more than one court, and/or our interpol forms are not done by Tuesday, we are hoping to finish court on Friday (if not sooner) as long as the interpol forms have been released. We need prayers bigger than you’ve ever prayed before. There is absolutely nothing we, or our wonderful facilitators, can do to move this along. This country is so different than home. The government is so different (I’d love to say more here but I will hold back).

Although we had probably the most challenging day since we have been on this journey, we were still able to enjoy parts of the day. For this we have prayed. During our 4 hours in the car today we had the opportunity to get to know more about the country Zoya is from and more about our facilitator. We shared funny stories and got to know each other a little better. We were laughing and having so much fun even though our butts were numb from sitting so long and our legs had turned to jello and our stomachs were growling louder than the stray dogs. Our facilitator said she would guess this country is about 100 years behind America. We are realizing how lucky we are to live where we live and to have all of the things we have. She says people here go from one day to the next just trying to survive. She says they do not have the opportunities to enjoy life as we do in America. Survival is their goal. Health care here is awful and they have to pay for everything out of pocket. They are lacking competent doctors. To wake up every single day with “survival” as our goal is foreign to most of us. We are so thankful for the opportunities we have been given as Americans.

Even with this scary Interpol issue looming over our heads, I feel a lot more peaceful than I would have ever imagined. Yes, we are stressed about it, but we know that sooner or later, we will be home with our angel girl. We are worried and hope for a quick resolution with this Interpol issue, but I’m not crying yet which is a miracle in itself! Now ask me next week how I feel if this issue is not resolved and I’ll probably have a whole new answer (ha)! We need prayers for continued patience, peace, and understanding beyond our own ability. Please pray that this Interpol issue would be resolved very very soon! Best case scenario…Interpol is resolved by court Tuesday, we have one court date (on Tuesday), and can come home for our ten day wait right after that (Marina says in this area it is impossible to get the 10 day wait waived). Thanks for your continued prayers and good thoughts. Now I am going to try to sleep (yes it's 6:30pm here but I'm exhausted!)


  1. Wow! Wow! Wow!
    Continued prayers and may you have a restful sleep. Hang in there my dear dear friend!

  2. Wow is right! I think I held my breath the whole time I read the post. What a crazy day for you all but our GOD is bigger than all these people! I still have faith that "pigs can fly" and you'll all be home soon!!! Thanks for sharing your days with us all. Tonight is prayer group guess who is at the top of my list :) Love you Kathy Sheldon

  3. We are praying and thinking of you guys, you are truly paving the way for all of us that are coming soon and will have to face the same struggles but I'm sure that God will lead the way the same way that he is doing with you.

    It is funny that it sounds a lot like Mexico, where I'm from, the level of bureaucracy is unbelievable and patience is a great virtue to have. Also, we are so use to driving around with babies and no car seats.

    Hector (Jennifer's husband)

  4. God is bigger than the Ukrainian government and their 10 days! God is bigger than the Interpol situation. God's plan can Never be defeated.


  5. Hang tight girl! The beautiful child will officially be place in your arms. God will not let you down...she is too precious to be let down too! I'm always thinking of you and Shawn. As Jennifer said, you two are paving the way for those of us going soon and I know myself I am grateful to get closer with you as a friend even though we have never met.
    Kim & Tom Baumann

  6. praying all goes well and we can ALL have court!! hope tomorrow is a nice quiet day :)

  7. Perhaps the reason you got the "new" because he is not of the older way of thinking, I pray he is more open and caring for your beautiful daughter and your new family, still praying! Hold on, you're doing great!

  8. Wow! I am so tired after reading about your day, I just can not believe what you accomplished in one day. Your facilitator is a blessing, keeping your spirits alive. Zoya is blessed in more ways than we will ever know. Keeping looking for those signs, GOD is always present to us, and the signs are there for your taking. Bless you all and may your family enjoy a more restful day tomorrow. Love to all, Debbie N

  9. Oh I know how it felt when you were able to take her in the car with you.
    You are now one day closer. We will continue to pray don't worry. I will put a prayer request in the Mother Theresa prayer site. Hugs
    Jenny Sousa brown

  10. Thanks for sharing all the details, after this L O N G day! We keep PRAYING for all these details!!
    Your journey is like mountainclimbing, you never know what the next step brings....slippery stones, solid rocks, a weatherchange, fog....
    But you may be shure: GOD is your GUIDE, the best"Bergführer" and HE brings you to the top of this mountain. Hold tight to His strong rope...and know: GOD himself is the lamp to guide you and a light for your path to bring your dearest Zoya home! Much courage and peace to you!
    Love Christina

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  12. Sorry, typo!:)
    I will be praying for you to have court on March 30th. It is a good day, it was a year ago on March 30th that I stood in a Russian courtroom hoping to adopt my youngest little boy who also has Ds. I was told to expect to be in court for a long time, answering many questions. But it went smoothly and didn't take long at all. Adoption was granted and 10 day was waived. Elijah was also the first child with Ds to be adopted from the largest city in Siberia! Miracles do happen, and I am praying for your miracle to happen soon!!

  13. I love reading about Zoya; what a doll. Thanks for the updates. praying...


  14. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers