Many of you have been wondering what the details of the Judge's decision really were.
Here is a brief description of his reasonings for saying no:
1. There are not enough bedrooms for each person.
2. Dima said he would like to maintain or build some kind of relationship with his younger sister in the future (his sister is in Foster care in Crimea). Therefore his desire to be adopted must not be genuine.
3. Victor has some mental and physical impairments, therefore it is of the Judge's opinion, that his sister, Tanya may not know how to live with him or be able to get along.
So for three days we have been gathering our paperwork and meeting with a wonderful Lawyer. God is so good to guide us to the right person. We had no idea what to do or who to trust in this city. So through a friend of a friend in Kiev, we got a name of a Lawyer... then through a completely different source down in Simferopol got the exact same name. We received both of these referrals within an hour of each other and figured we ought to go to this law firm and meet these people. So that is how we chose the Lawyer. She has had over 15 years experience and knows adoptions inside and out. She commented several times how thorough our dossier was and how many details it had compared to all the others she had seen in the past. She was shocked to hear that the Judge would refuse us and said his reasons were 'absurd.' This gave us much confidence that we have a very good chance to win in the Appeals court.
Yesterday she completed the official complaint/Appeal and it was over five pages long. She began by stating that all the opinions and reasonings from the Judge were not legal and not based on any solid evidence. Then she answered each issue separately...
1. The house has three bedrooms, yes, but there is a media room that is being used as a bedroom. (To this we have added a detailed home plan with photographs of each bed that will be stamped by our Texas Social Worker and appostilled by the Secretary of State!)
2. Of course Dima would like to keep up with his sister, but that does not mean that he does not want to be adopted. This 'opinion' by the Judge was just that: opinion and not legal ground for a refusal. More than that, Dima has not seen his sister in over 7 years and only met up with her recently because of this adoption. And due to the nature of the Grinn's job, Dima has more opportunity to build a relationship with her in the future because they live here in Crimea.
3. Again assuming that a brother and a sister would not get along is personal opinion and not grounds for refusal. More than that the physical condition of Victor is nowhere to the point that others could not live in the same home with him. And on top of that Dima and Victor have been in the same group since First grade and get along fine regardless of any physical problems.
Of course she added all kinds of other legal jargon but those were the main points. =)
In addition to this Appeal we will need the local Social Worker to write a letter in agreement showing her support and possibly letters from each Orphanage showing that they are in support. Legally they can decide to change their original positions of 'no objections' for the Appeals court. And we have been warned that they may want some type of incentive to 'agree'.
We will submit this Appeal to the first court asking them to 'reconsider' their first decision and to the Appeals court separately If the first court decides to reconsider, it will be faster and with only one new Judge in the same courthouse. If they refuse then we will wait for the Appeals court to contact us with their acceptance and date of when the court will be. The Appeals court can have up to 3 Judges and is in a completely different building. We will know in about two weeks what to do next.
In the meantime we tried to sign out the boys (along with the Orphanage Psychologist) to go bowling with us for Artur's birthday. It was very frustrating because the Director said no. After seven years of having them come over and taking them on trips, this new Director (been there for a year now) refused because 'it is too soon after the elections and the commission is checking on us every day.' The Orphanage is down to about 50 kids now. We have heard that if it drops below 50 they may lose funding and close. It felt like some monster tightened his grip and dug his claws in and around the Orphanage to make it even harder to reach the kids, even scaring the workers into doing what he wants.
As we walk through this fog we are truly living the 'lamp unto my feet' method out! God is only illuminating each step as we go along. We so desperately want to plan our future. We bought our cruise tickets back in July to go home for Christmas and now we have to cancel. We have no idea what the next few months will look like now.
However, after the pure stress, gallons of tears, and heartburn of it all, we are both feeling at peace. It's like we're in the eye of the storm. Calm, rest, peace. We trust the Lord and are leaning on His understanding not our own.
And we are so encouraged by you, our family, friends and even strangers that are lifting us up in prayer and supporting us financially to see this through. Over $1200.00 has been raised since we posted a few days ago our need for finances. Thank you so much! To God be the glory.