Sunday, February 12, 2012

What Happened in Court?

I wrote most of this after I share it with you in hope that it will help another pre-adoptive parent...
Today, February 9, 2012 at approximately 11:30 A.M. (4:30 a.m. EST) the judge said “da” and announced the name of our beautiful two year old daughter, ECN. We will return to Pskov in approximately one month to celebrate becoming a family and finally bring our girl back to the US.
After two long years waiting, we finally have our daughter.
We were very nervous before court and didn’t get much sleep the night before. Our translator met us at 9:30 this morning and we walked the 10 minute walk from the hotel to the Pskov Regional Court. The day is very cold and there are pile of snow and ice everywhere. We went through security and then walked into the small court room. There was the judges table with three seats in front facing us, and a seat to the right (facing across another seat in the room) for the prosecutor and one to the left (assuming that might be for the defendant in other cases, facing the prosecutor). To the left of the judges table sat a court reporter or a clerk of some kind. The Mister and I sat on the right side of the general seating in the front row. The Mister sat at the aisle, then the translator (between us) and then me. Behind me sat the orphanage director/doctor and our facilitator and behind that sat the social worker. The judge came and everyone stood. She said that the prosecutor was running late, meanwhile she would go over the procedures while we waited for the prosecutor to arrive. She told us the procedures. The Mister stood and gave his name, birth date, home city and occupation. I was then asked to do the same. The prosecutor arrived and the judge announced the court and then introduced the people presiding. She asked if we agreed with the members as announced, the answer was "yes". She asked if we had any objections. The answer was "no". The court asked if there were any other documents that would like to be submitted to the court and the Mister requested that we add our medical records from Moscow. He brought her the documents. She then announced the particulars of what the court session was about (we are here today...blah blah). At that point the judge asked who would like to talk first and the Mister went to the podium with the translator. He gave his speech that was approximately six pages doubled spaced stopping between sentences for the translator. At one point during the speech he told the judge that he would like to give her the binder with photos from our first visit and notes and photographs from family and friends. He then gave the binder to the judge and continued with his speech. The judge looked interested through the binder. The judge interrupted on a few occasions with a small question or comment. After his speech the judge asked him about 5 or 6 questions. The questions were as follows (that we recall): Do you have any concerns about her medical conditions? Is the leave you are taking from work paid and will not affect your earnings? Will we tell ECN about her biological family? If later in life ECN wants to meet them, how will we react? Then the prosecutor asked him questions. These questions she asked were as follows: How old are our parents? How old are their other grandchildren and how many are there? Will these other kids take away from the attention to ECN? I was then called to the stand. After my speech the judge asked a few questions. The questions were as follows: Is the home safe for children? Are there any concerns about her medical condition? When did the adoption process begin (when was the first application? When did we get the referral for ECN? When did we meet her? When did we take the Hague education courses?). Did we get any other referrals in addition to ECN? The prosecutor asked me a few questions but I only remember: How will you communicate with your daughter? Then the doctor spoke. He went over her medical history, her current development and the history of possible adoptions for ECN. He also spoke a lot about possible conditions she may have. He then said that he was in favor of the adoption. Then the social worker spoke. She talked about the family situation and their interest and inability to adopt her. She said that she was also in favor of the adoption. The prosecutor spoke and she said based on facts such as our incomes, families, etc. she said she supported the adoption. The judge and the prosecutor left. The judge returned in three or four minutes and said the court was satisfied. She asked us if we had any questions and wished us the best of luck.
We rejoiced with the doctor, our facilitator, our translator, and the social worker.
We were not reminded to bring the social workers gift so if you are going to court ask if you need to bring gifts with you!
The whole process took about one and a half hour.


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