Let's start from the top!
We found out about our court date at about 6pm the night before it was supposed to happen. We spent the night trying to ponder deep philosophical questions about ourselves and our family that we might be asked. We tossed and turned and were both awake hours before the alarm went off. We paced and planned and eventually made it to the court house.
The judge was very nice and asked a bit about our families, why we wanted to be Julia's parents, and complimented us on our photo book. The social worker asked about how we'd been playing with her, if she'd have her own room and if we would say that, at this point, we loved her. Try answering that last one without choking back tears! Luckily for the sake of our nerves, they took just a few minutes to deliberate and came back with our verdict. The judge read the statement and made sure to say slowly and directly to us 'mother' and 'father' as he handed down his approval for us to become Julia's parents. He also gave us approval to change her name to Julia Melissa Call and--our favorite part--made the court decree for immediate execution! That meant we were off and running for the rest of the day.
Sometimes I have to say ignorance is bliss. If I were in charge of as many things as we had to accomplish yesterday, I would have been so stressed that those butterflies that I mentioned before court would've found their way out one way or another. In 6 hours we got a new birth certificate made up, bought train tickets, withdrew her government account to give to the orphanage, and had her passport issued. Our facilitator was absolutely awesome to work with and she took care of every little detail. I've never been so happy to follow orders of 'sit and wait' and 'sign here' all day long! :)
|Our very own facilitator super hero!|
By 5:45 we were back downstairs at the hotel and on our way to pick up our little girl from the orphanage! We stopped at the grocery store on our way to buy the nannies champagne and chocolate to celebrate. When we got there, our driver came up with us to help explain that it was Julia's turn to leave. "Da?" (Yeah?) a couple of them asked. Even they were surprised at how fast our process was moving along. They got her dressed in the clothes that we brought and sent her out to us. I have to say I was surprised at how little fan fare there was from these women that had raised Julia for the past almost 5 years. I am sure they have to distance themselves a bit or their hearts would break every day at the situation of some of these children. Or maybe they didn't want to cause a commotion in front of the children. Regardless the reason, that's all there was to it. She was dressed and they handed her over.
We stopped for one quick picture all together in her groupa room for the very last time.
When we were in the car headed back to the hotel, she got a little bit nervous and started rocking a bit to self-sooth. It was a little bit sad, but she kind of went in and out of it and started to relax a bit as we drove. I swear I have never seen eyes so big as that little girl watching everything that went by!!! It was an amazing thing to witness as I realized that she was too little to remember anything before she went into those gates of the orphanage for most of her little life. And here I was--each hand grasping tightly onto mom and dad's fingers, taking it all in as best she could, marvelously curious but a little bit scared and oh so unaware of how much her life had just changed.