Here's a record of what happened, as best I can remember it...
October 12th: After the 6 hour ordeal, the Judge even leaned over to Matt and said "everything is going to be okay, do not worry, your paperwork is fine. You just need to fix this one problem."
October 13-24th: Matt, Lena, I run around to gather the one document that the Judge said we needed for our paperwork to be complete. By 3:00pm on the 24th, we have it in our hands! Victory!
October 25th: 10:00 am: We all show up to court with the fresh document and filled with excitement. The Judge asks us if we still agree to our original request to adopt, we say 'yes'. He then asks if anyone has any questions, to which the Prosecutor asks us where the children will sleep exactly. We tell her and then she says that she has no objections and is for the adoption. He asks the Psychologists from both Orphanages and they say they have no objections. The Jury has no objections and the Social Worker has no objections. Then we are asked to wait in the hallway while he makes his final decision.
10:20 am: Everyone in the hallway is giddy and completely confident that everything is decided and are beginning to plan the next step for passports, changing birth certificates, etc. I had a sense of dread and told Oxana that he doesn't like us and he's going to find some reason to say 'no'. Oxana kept saying, no, there is nothing wrong with your paperwork, even if he wanted to say no, he cannot. She assured me that this was it.
10:30 am: Everyone shuffles back into the court room. He stands up and says: "I am announcing that I refuse to allow this couple the right to adopt these children..." the rest was a blur. Something about how we wanted two at first then three and they're not all boys or all girls, so how will they get along. Where exactly will they sleep, and some other nonsense. I start to say, well almost yell... in English 'This is ridiculous, all you want is money! and I will write an article about this so that everyone will know how corrupt you are, etc.' To which Matt was trying to calm me down. A few times the Judge actually stopped me to try and understand and asked Oxana to translate. I think he was hoping that I was threatening him so he could throw me in jail. She finally translated a little bit of what I said very hesitantly. I stared him down in righteous anger and said that he was being ridiculous. Matt was breathless.
Everyone was shocked.
We left the court room and the Social Worker and two Orphanage Psychologists along with Oxana gathered around Matt and me and tried to explain what he wants and what the next step is with an Appeal and how we needed a Lawyer, blah, blah, blah. I could not speak for quite a while. The ladies kept saying they had never seen this before. Oxana said she's helped more than 500 families and this was the first time she had seen this. The Social Worker even said she was glad that never insisted on taking money from us because she would have felt bad knowing that this was the outcome! Finally I told them that I needed to get out of there. Matt drove the three ladies back to their jobs and Oxana and I walked over to a coffee shop. I cried and just sat there physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. She called several people trying to find a lawyer, trying to get information and trying to comfort me.
After a while, Matt came in and we just tried to talk through what had just happened trying to make sense of it.
12:30 pm: We drove to the Orphanage to tell the boys. Dima was there but Vitya was at the park (he had worked hard all summer and got special privileges to go on this field trip). Dima was sad but the kid is so used to not having any control over his life that he took it in stride. He tries not to hope anyways, so when he is disappointed he doesn't have far to fall. Even so, I could tell that he died a little on the inside when he heard the news.
We then asked the Director if the boys could at least come stay with us for the Fall Break to which the response was an adamant 'no!' This was surprising. They said not unless we do months of checks could they allow Dima and Vitya to come home with us. Or until the courts say we are able to adopt them. Another blow. Really? After seven years.
We finally made it home around 2:30pm and I just wanted to cry some more. My sweet sister, parents and friend from the states called to check in with me. I also posted on FB the news and since Matt and I both have been humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and concern from FB friends. We truly feel blessed to be supported by so many people.
Yesterday was a very important Muslim holiday: kurban bayram. It's basically the story of Abraham and how he almost had to sacrifice his son, but God provided the sacrifice. We had talked to a few neighbors before court, wishing them a happy holiday and told them we were hoping to share their special day with our own celebrations as well. Several invited us over upon our return.
When we returned one neighbor came over and just sat with us for a long time feeling our pain. She is trying to help us by getting us a lawyer and praying, etc. She sat there in disbelief and said that she is so ashamed of her country. It was so humbling that our Tatar friends and neighbors feel so much love for us that they are willing to sit with us in our grief.
We have prayed all along that God would use this adoption to spread His glory. That others would see the goodness of God and come to know him. I keep thinking about Abraham and how God allowed him to even lay his son on the altar before He provided the lamb. What in the world??? It was so close. Abraham had to keep walking through his obedience until God intervened. And what about Isaac? I'm sure he was thinking, 'what are you doing Dad?' I don't know if I feel more like Abraham or more like Isaac in this story. Or more like Sarah, back home worried sick.
All I know is Abraham was tested and found faithful. And this happened LATER in his life, not in his 30's, but in his 80's! Yikes.
I wonder if Abraham sort of worshipped his son. I mean it was something he had wanted for so long and then God finally gave it to him. Maybe he was too attached and God wanted to make sure that Abraham didn't love his son more than Him. I need to be willing to kill off anything that is a potential idol in my heart.
I have had to die to many things to insure that God remains first in my heart throughout my life. It's cyclical. Today I had to die to the dream of being a family by Christmas. In the past I have had to die to the dream of having our own children.
Maybe I will need to die to the dream of having these three kids as my own?
I do not know. I pray that God remains first in my heart but He sees more clearly than I do.
This could be a simple case of the Judge worshipping his own god -money... and nothing else.