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Monday, May 31, 2010

And finally, the best title yet - I am a Mama

Today at 11 am I walked into the Khabarovsk Court house donning my specially chosen "court dress" (a black and white patterned dress with a red belt and matching red patent shoes which will hopefully yield the same results as they did for Dorothy after having their heels clicked together 3x).  The drive there seemed like it took forever as we wound through an industrial looking area to the new court house.  It's an impressive cream colored building made of big masonry bricks and adorned with the appropriate 2 headed Russian Eagle emblem over the main doors.  We went through security with no issues - Ole even was allowed to enter with only her Canadian Drivers license as Anna had her passport for her to be registered (Russian Requirement).  I nervously fidgeted as we quietly stood and collected our troops near the door.  The director of the baby home (Irina) was there to greet us.  I inspected her more closely today than I have at the baby home.  Today she is here to advocate for the best interests of Grisha and is no longer donning her nurse type scrubs.  Her gold capped tooth would stand out at home but here, it seems as though it might be a symbol of wealth (dental work is frivolous I think).  Ole began charming Irina immediately.  It wasn't long before her camera was out flashing proud pictures of her son and telling tales of Canada.  I watched sadly as another couple came out from the stair way... I can only assume they were adoptive parents - I'd guess they are Spanish... and they didn't look happy - I mean the sort of relieved happy that a family is when they receive happy news.  I began to sweat just a little more.  I asked if it was OK if I didn't wear my suit jacket over my dress - thankfully it was.  We signed in saying that I understood that the details of the adoption prceedure are secret (so don't tell anyone OK?) and headed up to the third floor.  After signing in I learned that I have the "good" prosecutor (read: the less ornery one) - I felt myself take a deep breath.  I just prayed that the judge wasn't in one of her "moods" that everyone talks about.  It was cooler up there in the lobby - but not in the small court room. We sat on uncomfortable plastic chairs in the hall waiting to be called.  When it was time,  I hugged Ole and headed in.  Lena the bitchy lawyer (who I still can't figure out how she is involved on MY behalf) was forced to remain outside.  Apparently being married to the crown prosecutor doesn't get you a hall pass into the court room.  I found her strange not only in her commentary and lack of professionalism but in her personal presentation.  She showed up at court wearing skin tight jeans and a short top that showed her big tattoo across her lower back.  And to think, I was paranoid enough about the tattoo on my ankle to have covered it for the occasion.  The proceedings were formal and impersonal.  I was seated at the back facing the judges "throne" which was behind a big wooden platformed desk.  To the my right, Irina and the social worker representing my son were seated.  Next to me on my immediate right was the translator who we picked up on the way to the courthouse.  Next to her, Elya.  To my left sat the prosecutor and a court recorder.  The judge rarely made eye contact with me and I was warned not to smile unless entirely required. The fact that she didn't look at me made me more comfortable consulting (or maybe it was just gathering my thoughts?) as I stared down at the table with my notes.   I was asked the planned for questions and things went easily.  The judge smiled and chukled at some comments from others (like why peri-natal encephalopathy appears on EVERY orphans medical and then suddenly disappears???) and my questioning was quickly over (about 20 minutes maybe?).  Next, the director spoke followed by the representation from the social worker agency.  Each one of us was questioned by the judge and then the prosecutor (forgive me if that is spelled wrong... right now I just don't care!).  The judge left to consult with herself for a short (like 2 minutes) time... she returned and read the outcome and I waited on baited breath... she said yes... I am a Mama.  I really want to cry right now... as I did just then but it's not the time or place... I'll save that for later.  The translator was wonderful to me - I like her a lot.  She grabbed my hand as I sat down from speaking and squeezed it tight telling me, "you were perfect. She will have no problems at all with what you said. Perfect. Perfect.  You will have a positive outcome".  She told me to relax and try and take the process in.  I did try and study each person to remember them... but to tell you the truth, if the judge sat down next to me in this internet cafe... I'd have no clue.  I did however remember to breathe.  Once the ruling was read, the translator grabbed me in the best hug ever... followed next by the director and the social worker... everyone was so happy!  We walked out and I hugged Ole... but I didn't cry (did I mention I want(ed) to???) We took some pictures where we were not supposed to and took some good shots outside the court (they will be posted soon).  Irina joined us for a fancy lunch where I enjoyed a nice glass of wine (OK - who am I kidding - I have no idea if it was nice... it was red... it went in a glass that looked like it is supposed to hold wine... I breathed... a huge... sigh... of... relief!) The restaurant was close to Annas so we were dropped off and I was able to run and grab the gift I had for Irina.  It was nice to give it to her and explain that the big polar bear and babies reminds me of her and the children at the orphanage.  She was very happy with the gift.  Best news for last?  (are you still reading?) I get early custody. I attribute this to Ole's charm and the support she is showing me.  Irina recognized that I will take good care and that Corbin should be with his Mama.  I heard repeatedly today that between trips he would go to the window and look out and ask, "where is my Mama?"... melts my heart.  So, we will gather our forces and google up a storm over the next day to find out where to get the things Irina asked for with the money:
15 new cribs, one fax machine, playground equipment.  So, with that, I head into a contented nap, a good dinner with Anna and Ole, a massage on Friday followed by the most famous Russian Ballet - Swan Lake (which everyone is laughing about since I insist on calling it swan river).  Life is pretty perfect right now... yes, from a dingey internet cafe in Khabarovsk Russia, I am happy, contented and as the Russians say... very satisfied with the day.  In about 4 days, my son will not be alone anymore... and neither will I.

It's been a long way home.
With Much love from Russia
Stacey

19 comments:

Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

you will enjoy the 10 days I promise....
I will get ya all the cool fun places to go..Yet anna knows them!

so happy,
gotta work and will get back in a bit,
julianne

Nicole Brueck said...

Thrilled beyond words for you.....

Silvana said...

Stacey congrats!!! MAMA!!! I was checking my email all day, I am sooooo happy for you! You are brave not to have cried...wish I could have been that brave. Now the fun really begins!!!!
Silvana

Mel said...

and that title fits you perfectly!

Congratulations my friend!

Mel

theflower said...

Not sure how you didn't cry! I cried just reading about it. I'm happy beyond words for you both!! xo Flower

Shelly and Steve said...

Congratulations Mama!!!! I'm happy court went so smoothly for you and Corbin is offically your SON.

Such an amazing job you have dont being able to donate soooo much for the baby home and all the kiddos there!!!

Tracey and Chuck said...

I was so hoping there would be a fantastic post here from you today....WOW.......SO SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!!! Big giant hugs coming from Alabama to you!!!! And wonderful news to hear you will get Corbin early...what a wonderful surprise!!!! Enjoy every single minute with him!!! Cannot wait now to see pictures of that beautiful little boy!

Amanda said...

I am so very thrilled for you. The joys of a little boy are simply amazing! Wishing you a wonderufl time in Russia and then you can get back HOME where you both belong.
Amanda

Linda said...

I am so happy to read this post. I cannot understand how you did not cry ~ I am crying reading it.

Enjoy the rest of your time in Russia with your son.

Hugs,
Linda

terence and carala said...

ok, you may not be allowed to cry...but I am! So happy! So excited, and so relieved that it's OVER! We've been praying for you a lot and know you and Corbin are loved from SO far away.

Our great news...we have travel dates! I am in the midst of booking flights. I'll email you when it's final. Wahooo!

Congrats girl! You are a MAMA!!!!!!!!!! :-) So happy you got custody too! Sweet sweet sweet! :-)

nicole said...

congrats my friend soon youll be a busy busy mama big huggs..

HilaryS said...

I am so happy for you. I am sure it is such an amazing feeling and sense of relief. Who was your court translator? Now go celebrate, just not at the Golden Bird. Post pictures if you can!

Hilary

Lynda said...

Hey that's great! You will make an amazing mom. Trust me, your life will never be the same :)

judy said...

so so happy for you and Corbin...

I know that feeling of relief and pure joy after court...

Take care and post a photo of your son when you are able!

Hugs from Rhode Island,

Judy

Michelle said...

AAAHHHH!!! I am sooo happy for you!! Congrats Stacey!!

David & Jodi said...

I am so happy to hear that court went so well for you and to have early custody is so amazing these days. Congratulations! I'm so glad after all this time that this story is coming to a happy end, and a new story of your life with Corbin will begin soon:)

Izabela and Shawn said...

Congrats, enjoy every moment!

amy and kevin said...

CONGRATULATIONS Mommy!!! I have been waiting so long to type that to you :) So, so, so happy for you two!!!

Barb said...

Oh yay! I have goosebumps for you! Can't wait to see pictures! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!