Today is day 8 in Vlad and day 5 from the ten day waiting period. It’s so cold outside that our window is frozen shut and we can’t open it. Since there isn’t much I can share about our boy, I will post some updates from the 1st few days here and our court date.
Thursday - 12/10/09 – Trip to see our little boy
We drove out to Partizansk to see our little boy before court which is in a day. We arrived just for nap time so they had to wake him up. We had to wear masks because of the flu epidemic. The poor little guy didn’t recognize us and cried at first (not to mention that he lost his nap because of us). He seems the same except he has a bit longer and curlier hair towards the back of his head. Jason thinks he looks like a Russian soccer player. We stay for a just an hour and head back to Vladivostok.
The drive back took us 4 hours on the icy roads and we saw at least 2 completely overturned cars. We stopped to help but the people seemed ok and had already called for help.
By the day the road rules here are the same or similar as the ones in the US but everyone drives Japanese cars so the driver seats are on the opposite side (right vs. left) and it’s all weird. Also, most of the cars here have TVs and DVD players where the GPS is supposed to be so everyone is watching TV while driving….no worries, we made it back to the hotel without an accident.
When we came back, we go to a “party” for all adoptive families here at the hotel. The party is hosted by John Simmons, a man who has adopted 5 children (after having 3biological ones), 4 of the kids are from this region. He is visiting (he does so every year) and wanted to get all the families together.
We stay for a little bit to meet everyone and off we are to prepare for tomorrow.
We have some online homework to do based on what other families were asked during court. There is one family here that had issues and actually had to go back to court a second time a few days later before they were given parental rights for their boy.
Friday - 12/11/09 – Court Date
For some reason I was extremely nervous. I felt like I have a big test. Court was at 2 PM but we were picked up at 11 AM in case there are issues with the snow and roads. We had a different judge than the one Marcy and Doug had so she we were hoping she would be nicer to us…anyway, I looked up all possible addresses of Russian consulates in California and the US and info about the post placement process and reports so we are prepared for any questions.
The driver was on time. Jason and I were all dressed up and ready for court.
We got there early and were picked up by Anya (our coordinator) and her little girl Sasha. Anya had to run a few errands and off we go. The social worker met us there. Irina, Anya’s ex mother-in-law will be our translator.
Here’s who is expected to be in the court room: Jason, I, translator, social worker, court note taker, prosecutor and the judge.
We are asked to wait in the court room and soon the judge and prosecutor got in… here we go… and I am even more nervous than before… I was asking myself if it’s possible to fail, we both want this so much that it can’t be possible to fail…..
Both, judge and prosecutor actually seem to be very nice and reasonable. Yes, they asked a lot of questions but it’s all good. They both looked through the album we had prepared with pictures from the 1st trip, our home, us, Zorro and our families. I saw a few smiles when they looked at some of the pictures.
After 45 minutes of “grilling” we are told that the judge is ready to make a decision, we were asked to step out for a few minutes and to wait until we are called back inside.
It’s funny, Jason was asked a few questions only but I was asked a lot of questions: Is this my first marriage? Why a boy? Why not adopt from Bulgaria? Who would watch the kid after I go back to work? When will he go to daycare and why then? Is the house ready for him? What did I do in Germany? Was I there with the whole family? Did we try to immigrate? Why didn’t we stay there? Do I know where the closest Russian embassy is in California? Do you think your dog will be jealous of the baby? How are our families feeling about the adoption? Are they openly talking about it? What sports will he be enrolled in? Overall, a lot of questions but none of them were ill intended…I feel like we passed and I think we both handled all the questions well. They grilled the social worker a lot as well: mainly questions about the kid, his family, mother, her other children, have they tried to find a Russian family for him first and so on.
We were called back in and the judge reads her conclusion – SHE FINDS US FIT TO BE PARENTS AND GIVES US THE RIGHT TO CHANGE OUR BOY’S NAME TO YVAN ALEXANDER MAZNEV (how can you not… we are even giving him a very Russian, well Slavic, name).
I can’t tell you how excited and relieved I was. Jason handled it much better than me. I am not sure I cried when I heard her say that “in 10 days we will be parents! Good Luck!” I did have tears in my eyes when I was done answering my questions – I think it was because I knew that my answers satisfied the judge.
Now the waiting starts….