Our Court Date!
Before I get too in depth about todays events, let’s just cut to the chase….. Our Court Date went off without a hitch!!!!!!!!!!! Michelle and I are now the parents of a beautiful baby boy! Of course this does not become official until the 10 day waiting period is over on October 20th, but the court handed down a favorable decision for us this morning and granted us the parental rights over our little guy!
Now for the details of how the decision mentioned above was reached. We left the hotel around 8:15 this morning after a nice pep talk from the Duda’s (who are in court this very minute and are hopefully hearing the same news we heard this morning). Our Court time was 9:30am, but we wanted to allow for the unpredictable traffic in Vladivostok so we left with plenty of time to spare. We needed just about every minute of this time as there was a fender bender causing a huge traffic jam not too far from the hotel. It ended up taking us over an hour to travel the 20 kilometers to court (that’s right, I just went metric on you!). The social worker who was testifying in our case rode with us to court. Now that I think about it, this should have been a pretty good indication that she was going to give a favorable opinion for us or else the car ride back to her office might have been a little awkward. Anyway, we arrived at court about 10 minutes before our session, so we had a minute to take a deep breath before all the fun started. Once the prosecutor arrived, we all entered the court room and waited for the judge. The prosecutor was a middle aged woman in a uniform, and she seemed like she had somewhat of a personality which we took as a good sign. A minute or so after we were in the room the judge walked in. The judge was also a middle aged woman, but she was all business. No smiles or high fives or fist bumps or anything as she walked to her desk. The hearing began with some legal information spoken in Russian (for all we know, they could have been discussing the latest episode of Jon and Kate or something as most of this was not translated for us). The judge then asked Michelle and I if we would like to make any requests before the hearing started. We gave our answer of “no” from a seated position which is a very bad thing to do. We got scolded by the judge for this, and our interpreter, Elana, translated that we need to stand up when we address the judge. At this point the score was Judge 1, Curran Family 0 for those of you keeping score at home. We apologized, and Michelle made some comment that we “humbly ask for her forgiveness” or something, then we got on with the session. Everyone in the room identified themselves (while standing), then it was time for the grilling to commence. The judge indicated that I was first up for the questions (apparently she saw me as a slow learner so she reminded me to stand). She asked me questions ranging from our sons medical diagnosis, why we want to adopt and adopt from Russia, about our marriage and maybe one or two more topics. For the questions about our sons’ medical diagnosis, the judge returned to me two or three times stating that I had not properly answered her questions (I paused to make sure I had not accidentally sat down without knowing it therefore causing the extra line of questioning). Finally whatever I said satisfied her and she turned the questioning over to the prosecutor who had a couple follow up questions which were no sweat. I was then informed that I could sit down and Michelle was asked to stand. Michelle was asked questions about her job and how we will take care of our little guy when she needs to return to work as well as a few other topics. I felt Michelle got the hard line of questioning but she did a fantastic job. She did so well actually that the prosecutor didn’t even have any follow up questions. Way to go Michelle! Either you were so thorough in your answers or you intimidated a Russian prosecutor. Either way, I am tremendously proud of you! Once we were done being questioned, the social worker spoke on our behalf stating that it was her opinion that we would be suitable parents and that we should be awarded the parental rights for our little guy. After she was done, everyone had to leave the room so the judge could think over our case. After less than 2 minutes the judge called us back in the room. We figured the decision was going to go in our favor, or else we would have set a world record for the quickest denial ever. Once we were all back in the room, the judge read the decision that she agreed with the prosecutor and social worker and that we should be granted the rights over our son….. Our son!
After court was over, we headed to Artem to see the little guy and tell him the fantastic news. On the way over there, we asked our interpreter if she thought that we could take him out of the baby home and into town at some point next week so we could get his passport pictures taken. To our surprise she said, “let’s do that today”, so as soon as we got to the baby home we took him and headed to the van. He hardly cried at all today even at the initial meeting, and he really seems to be getting used to us. One of the caregivers rode to downtown Artem with us because I guess they figured we would make some sort of break for the States if we took him out alone. To our surprise, he really liked being in the car. He sat on Michelle’s lap and seemed to enjoy the new sights and sounds around him. Once we got to the passport photo place, he sat in a little chair and they took a few pictures of him until they got a good one. We rode back to the baby home and this time he sat on my lap, and again seemed to enjoy the ride (hopefully he likes planes as much as vans). Back at the baby home, we played for a few minutes on the playground before heading up to the gym for more sliding and horseback riding. He loves the slide, and his giant toothy grins never get old. We sat with him for the rest of our visit and just enjoyed being a family together. Wow, as of today, we are a family. That feels great to say, and even better to experience. We didn’t want to give our little guy back to the caregivers today, but we know that this week has been hard on him and that he needs some rest so we can have another great week next week.
Next up is a little downtime as we head into the weekend. Tomorrow we plan on getting some rest and organizing our gifts for everyone involved in the process. Sunday we think we are going on a little excursion into downtown Vladivostok with the Duda’s (stay tuned for more hilarity as I try to figure out a public toilet or something).
Guess that’s all for now. It looks like there is another Curran in the world tonight. For many of our readers, that means as you wake up back in the States on Friday morning many of you have a new Grandson, nephew or cousin as you head off to work or school today. We can’t wait for everyone to meet him!