Well, Robert says, "Its a bouncing, hyperactive, extremely talkative girl!" She is officially ours! No chance of giving of her back. A year and a half labor, but no epidural necessary.
I'll admit I was terribly nervous about court this morning. I actually scanned the archieves of our friends' blogs to see what this judge would be like. No one else seemed at all troubled by the hearing. Natasha prepped us on what to expect and who would be there.
We arrived early and waited for Kristina, Dina the orphanage social worker, Alyona the translator, and a representative from the inspector's office to arrive. Kristina was all smiles and bouncy this morning, not a nervous bone in her body. We made our way to the second floor and waited on benches in the hall until we were called for. After about 15 minutes we were shown into the chambers. The room was about 20x20; there was a long table at the front of the room where the judge sat with a person on either side of him. A secretary sat at a computer in the corner. At the back of the room were two more tables and chairs where we were directed to sit. Kristina slid in next to me and took my hand under the table. The judge asked first Robert and then me to stand and give our full name, date of birth, and legal residence. He then directed a number of questions to Robert: What do you do? How do you know this child? Do you own or rent your home? Do you have any children? Why do you want to adopt this child? Do you have room for another child in your home? What do you see for her future and education?
He then asked me to stand and asked: What is your training (what do you do)? Tell me about the four children you have. How will you help Kristina to learn English and adjust to living in your home? I told him she already fit in quite nicely and that she was extremely bright. We have been providing her with Englsih lessons for almost a year and she is incredibly fluent. We know her teachers in America and they are all very anxious and happy for her to start school. Education has always been inportant to me and Robert and we will make sure she has all of the opportunities our other chldren have. He then asked Kristina to stand and asked her: Do you know these people? Do you want to be adopted? Why by them? Do you understand that you will go to live in America? It will not be easy and you will have to work hard. She answered confidently to each question and smiled at the judge until he was smiling back at her. He asked the social worker and inspector's office representative if there were any objections and there were none. He declared that Kristina Tarkanovskaya would be legally Kristina Hope Landrum and the adoption petition would be granted with the standard 10 day waiting period. I think the entire process took about 10 minutes. The judge congratualted us and wished us good health and a happy family. At that point Kristina grabbed the photo album we had brought along and skipped right up to the bench to show the judge her family. He was kind enough to take a few moments and flip through the pages as she pointed out people and places before he excused himself for his next meeting. That was it!
Since it is a school day, we returned Kristina to the orphanage for classes and made arrangements to check her out for the entire day tomorrow. We'll spend our last day together as a family in Odessa. Natasha, Robert and I went to lunch and celebrated. I feel like I can exhale now that court is done. God has been faithful to walk with us through this process and you have been gracious enough to pray for us as we have journied. Praise God! Our ransomed daughter is with her family!