And now, let us introduce to you the newest members of the household..... drum roll please.... Alex and Alona. Court went very well for us today. The judge read our paperwork out loud, asked Amy and I each few questions individually, requested the witness and testimony of social worker, caregiver, and Alex himself (Alona was too young to be required in court). She asked if Amy was ready for 10 children, and gave an approving and smiling nod at her reply. All in all we were in session for about 20 minutes maybe and the decree was made. The next step is to wait 10 days for the court paperwork process, at which time we can get Alex and Alona from the orphanage and move forward with the final stages of documentation and immigration. So on May 15th they will be officially in our custody, BUT...
We still have one problem that we are praying about and hoping to see God move a mountain or clearly direct our steps...this is regarding Alex's birth certificate change. Our facilitators seem to be hitting a brick wall with getting this thing done in coordination with Alona's. We are told that we must take the Ukraine court paperwork (after the 10 days), send it to Kiev for translation, certification, and apostille along with all the other relevant documentation and send it to Russia for their own bureaucratic processing. A Russian court hearing will be held whereby they should issue Alex's new birth certificate with his new name. Then we can proceed in Ukraine with the final immigration stuff and bring him home. He will not be able to leave Ukraine without this process occurring, even though he will be officially ours and able to be in our custody. The worst part of the situation is that realistically this could drag out for 6-9 months. We are praying for a miracle to occur that will get this done sooner.
Of course the next question involves what will become of Alex if he is officially ours to take, yet unable to leave the country. Here we have another dilemma, and are seeking direction from the Lord on what to do if it does take this long. On the one hand, he could likely stay in the baby house with his friends and continue life as normal until the process is complete. On the other hand, if he is not officially an orphan on the books - will he be allowed to stay so long and use resources still? If he is unable to stay, perhaps he would stay with our facilitator in Kiev until this is done and we can come get him (she assures me that he will not be put out on the streets, and her family would step in to do this). Finally there is the looming question or whether or not we should bring Alona home and then send Jeff back to get him immediately - living in Kherson with Agape until the paperwork is all finished and we can come home together. We really don't want him to stay in the orphanage any longer and want to begin recovering as much of the lost parent/son time that we can. So we mull these thoughts over and wait to see what the Lord will do or how He may lead us.
Thank you for your prayers with us in this matter.
Alona and Dad this morning playing games before the court appointment.
Alona posing for the camera
A happy crew after court was finished....the first 5 minutes of life with a new name.
Alex our facilitator did a great job for us!
Notarizing the request for Ukraine passports to be updated with both Alex and Alona's new names. (Apparently Ukraine can process the new passport based on their own decree, they just cannot issue a new birth record with it for some reason - that must come from Russia directly).