Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ethiopia - Court


What a busy day it has been!  Now it is my first opportunity to journal!

We had court this morning.  We were a bit delayed in getting there because the agency van was out taking some infants to the clinic for vaccinations.  I find sometimes that it's just best not to look at the time.  I figure we'll get there when we get there.  One great thing about a later start was that we were able to stop by the transition home before going to court.

When we arrived at the transition home, we were told we could go upstairs and see Feven!  We wasted no time in climbing the stairs and making our way to her room.  Her crib is right next to the door, and so I like to peek in on her before she can see us just to see what she's doing on a normal day.

We had maybe 10 or 15 minutes with her, but in that time we were able to see her army crawl and roll over.  What a treat!  Yesterday we learned that she could, in fact, smile.  Now today, two more things we had been wondering about have been confirmed.

Soon the babies were back from the clinic, so we hopped in the trusty van with our entourage and made our way to the courthouse.  Upon arrival, we took the elevator to the 3rd floor and entered a waiting room filled with people.  There were more people than chairs, so we stood in the middle of the room for awhile until more seats opened up.

In the waiting room, we were supposed to be silent.  The judge's chambers are directly off of the waiting room, and I heard one story that the waiting room got so loud once and she was so fed up that she sent everyone away for the day and saw no other cases!  Today in the waiting room it was not silent, but most people were talking quietly.  At one point I guess it did get too noisy, because the secretary came out and pounded on the door.  We all hushed like school kids!

One by one, different families were called - both Ethiopian and American.  The place began to empty out, and soon it was just us and about 6 others.  Finally they called our orphanage's name and it was our turn!

We stepped into the judge's office with our translator.  The judge spoke to us in English and asked us about 5 questions, things like, "Do you have any other children?"  "Have you learned about Ethiopian culture?  "Do you have connections to other adoptive parents?" "Have you met Feven?"  I smiled really big when she asked us that question, thinking of our wonderful daughter.

The judge then said that adoption is irreversible and will be forever.  Do we understand that? (Yes) And we still want to proceed with adopting Feven? I smiled even bigger and was so excited to say yes!  We are thrilled to be Feven's parents forever!

After the questions, she informed us that not all of our paperwork was there.  Because of that, we couldn't hear those sweet words, "She's yours."  Our file is still waiting on a letter from the regional court and a letter from the Ministry of Women's Affairs.  The judge told us that our paperwork should arrive by Tuesday, and if so, then the case will be approved.

We were dismissed and rejoined our group in the waiting room.  I felt a little let down; I would have liked to have everything taken care of at that court appointment and be able to walk out with some sort of finality or closure.  However, that wasn't the case, and there wasn't anything I could do about it.  Thankfully our agency's in-country staff will be handling the case and appearing on our behalf on Tuesday.  We don't have to reschedule flights or anything like that.  Our part was to appear today and answer the judge's questions.  That, we did.

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