I have to apologize - I meant to come back and blog about court and our prayer requests, but I keep forgetting. So... before my day goes any further, I will do that now.
We arrived at the court house on Monday morning at around 8:45am. It is a cement building, very non-descript, actually looking nearly identical to many of the buildings that appear to be apartments. We went to the back entrance and up several flights of stairs to the hallway outside the judge's office. Olga wanted us to be there well before 9am so that our hearing would take place first (two adoption cases were to be heard between 9-10am). We waited in a bench in the hall as people arrived. Shortly after 9am, we were called in to the judge's office. She was a young woman around 30 years old. A court reporter was present (writing minutes longhand in a book), two "injuries" (jurors), the social worker from the local SDA office, Olga, and us. Court was called in session. Everyone was introduced and we were given the opportunity to refuse any of the parties present. Mark and I were asked for our passports. We had to stand and state our names, birthdates, home address, and occupation. We were asked if we had received full information about Maia's medical conditions and I was asked to read a list of her medical diagnoses. Olga was asked many questions about Maia's spina bifida and hydrocephaly - why the conditions occurred, if there was alcohol use reported by Maia's parents, how her conditions were treated, what type of care she required, her mental capacities, etc. The jurors were especially interested in this (one is a pediatrician, the other a teacher). The judge asked why we wanted to adopt her specifically and what resources we would be able to offer her including insurance, medical care, finances, etc. The judge and jurors seemed to be reassured by our answers and our sincerity in wanting only the best for Maia. The judge asked the jurors if they had any objections to the adoption and they said "no." We were asked if we would be willing to send pictures and updates about how Maia is doing after we return home and of course, we said "yes." The judge stated that our adoption was approved and thanked us for being willing to adopt our little girl. I got tearful at that moment... I explained that they did not need to thank us - we are the ones who are blessed to claim Maia as our child and that our thanks goes to them and the Ukraine for this privilege. And that was about it. We have a daughter!!
Olga requested the waiver of our 10 day waiting period. This was denied and although I wasn't surprised, I was still disappointed. But, God is in control and He knows better than I do. The 10 day waiting period started the day after court (12/14). We are hoping to obtain the court decree at the end of the day on Dec. 23, although we may not be able to pick it up until Dec. 24.
After court, we went to the passport office where Olga confirmed that a red passport is still available. We can not apply for the red passport until we get the court decree so there are no guarantees that it will still be available on Dec. 24. Please pray that this will be the case.
I need to get ready to leave for the orphanage so will post more later, but thank you for your ongoing prayers and support - they are so appreciated!