We have to admit to being "burned out" after yesterday's early morning and the stress of going to court knowing that the judge held our family in her hands... We were so strangely calm during the process... I knew that prayers were being said across the world for us!!!
We owe so much to the Lajoy family for taking care of Yannik all day yesterday...especially when he was fending off a bug and wasn't his cheerful self. They threw quite a Kaz Christmas and we weren't as celebratory as I thought we would be...just too exhausted. We've all had a good nice sleep and I'm happy to report that it looks like Yannik fended off that bug. It's really difficult for everyone, and we're so proud of him. Most of the time, he doesn't know what is going on, why we are always preparing papers, etc.... He just knows that we have to go through all of these hurldes in order for Annabelle to come home.
In any event, I know that everyone is curious about the court process...so here is a lawyer's account ;0)
"Court" was actually very informal, in the judge's office. We sat on plain chairs in front on her, with the prosecutor and the steno on each side of her. She was wonderful. Not intimidating. When I first saw her, I thought...phew...this will be ok. I wasn't wrong. She began by stating in French that her French was awful! I was soo stunned and just began to laugh in relief.
Sven and I had prepared speeches but the judge just preferred asking us questions which we had already prepared. They had told us that generally people get many questions of the financials...so we had all of these numbers in our head...but she merely asked...so, will you have enough money for another child? Sven said "more than enough"... and that was that! (I found it hilarious though that when it was time for me to answer the questions she said: Well...as a woman, you're in charge of the money...do you agree with your husband...is he right in saying that you have enough money since you know the situation better than he does?). Ok...I know that a ton of people are laughing out loud at this point.....I could barely keep from smiling as well. I'm not known as the financial savy one... I married a financial wiz!!! Just happy to be told when to transfer money in different accounts and I still manage to mess that up!
They all understood very quickly how an adopted child's point of view as an adopting parent is special....all the questions about biological child vs adopted child were almost irrelevant when I explained how being adopted by such a loving and supportive family had made a difference in my life. I also told them that my brother and sister in law were adopted and they were just awed!! (was like..ok, enough said...don't need to question this one!!!)
The only question that through us a bit was on religion. They knew our different faith backgrounds and I thought..ok, where are they headed...and I could tell that Sven was thinking the same. In any event, we were stunned... they asked whether we were adopting to increase the size of our church and explained that church and state were separate in Kaz. Sven quickly said..it's the same in Canada! We simply want to expand our family! I wonder if something happened in the past. They did ask us the question about discipline citing those sad cases of children being killed by their adoptive parents...once again, pretty easy to express our views on that one!
We got pretty teary eyed when Dr.Rhimma (the orphanage director) and the guardianship officer talked about how much they had appreciated our family and especially Yannik and how Anna had quickly bonded with the entire family. It meant the world to us to hear those words coming from them. Even the "prosecutor" HIGHLY recommended that our application be granted. He was a really nice fellow. We talked about our respective careers in the waiting room. He even gave us a lift back to the baby house where we celebrated with three women doctors. Dr. Rhimma invited us to a very special Christmas celebration for the kids on the 29th. We were also told that they had waited to give us a tour of the entire baby house since everything is being renovated (we could tell!). In any event, we found it very touching to talk with these 3 amazing women. She said that though they tried their best with the kids, they can't replace a family and that Anna would do great with such "Smart people". Again, laughter!! (hmmm...she was looking at Sven!!! - they think he's brilliant...and so do I). I was told that my daughter would always be smiling since her mother has a permanent smile on her face.
So, that's the story of how 3 became 4 on a very special Christmas day! I can't wait to tell Annabelle all about it, every Christmas eve. I'm thinking of writing a little story book for her about a Christmas angel...since that is what she is. That angel on top of the tree!