It’s pouring down rain and 54 degrees. I’m no longer in Texas, Toto. I arrived back in Riga on Tuesday afternoon after a solo flight over the ocean. We had expected that N would need to accompany me, as the norm is that any child over 12 needs to appear for second court. But, we had received word that our judge decided that she didn’t need to come at all! This was a big surprise and a very good sign!
My court appearance was Thursday morning, 2 hours from Riga. I wasn’t nervous until we arrived in the court room. It was more formal than I expected, even though others had told me it was quite formal. I was pleasantly surprised to see the girls’ social worker and Orphan Court representative were also there. We were able to share pictures and tell them how well the girls were doing.
Before I knew it I was sitting next to a translator I had never met, and a man in long black robes and an elaborate, ornate gold necklace/collar walked in, and then it began. For the next 30 minutes I was questioned by the judge and prosecuting attorney over things like, “How do you know the girls want to be adopted?” (Um, because they told me?) and, “Why are you homeschooling them?” (Legally, they can’t attend public school, even if we wanted them to.) In all fairness, this was the first time our lawyer had ever worked with this court, so it’s possible this was the first foreign adoption in that region. I know the judge was just covering all the bases, but I went from freezing to sweating in minutes. I had this fear that if I said the wrong thing, or left something out, then he would deny our adoption. Then my lawyer had her turn to give all her reasons why the adoption should be granted. It was reassuring to hear her talk about my Latvian heritage, and mention how we speak basic Latvian and had lived in the country for 5 years, among other things. Then the social worker and Orphan Court representative shared their positive opinions about our family. This was all quite humbling to hear.
The judge finally left for a 10 minute recess and I felt I could breathe for a minute. My amazing lawyer assured me that everything was fine but I was still so nervous. Finally the judge returned and said the most amazing thing.
This court has decided that it is in the best interest of the children to be adopted.
He then read how the girls names will be changed and how their new birth certificates will be rewritten. In was in shock. My lawyer just kept smiling at me, and even then, I didn’t quite grasp what he was saying. He ended with, “Congratulations, and good luck,” and walked out.
And just like that, Chris and I became parents.
It finally started to sink in when everyone started to hug me.
That night I slept for 10 hours. It felt like I had just gone through labor.
I leave on Tuesday morning to go home to my wonderful husband (who has been caring for the girls in the midst of some personal issues in our extended family), and MY DAUGHTERS!
Thank you, Jesus!
So, what’s next? Both girls and I will need to come back one more time. It looks like that will be in either late November (right before Thanksgiving) or early December. During this third, and final trip, we will take care of all of the immigiation issues. We’ll get their new birth certificates with my and Chris’ names on them (!), new passports, and new immigrant visas so that when they are admitted into the USA on our return trip, they will automatically be American citizens! This last trip will cost us about $7000, depending on plane ticket prices. We’ll be doing some more fundraisers, but as usual, you are always welcome to use the Donate tab to make a donation.
This would be completely impossible without the prayers and donations of you, our friends. Thank you for helping make this dream a reality!