I know, I know! Anyone interested in the adoption updates has been left hanging. Well, if you are on FB or in the family then you already know this, but this is for the rest of you.
At least my inconsistent posts mean you didn’t have to read through all the drama associated with each baby step of the process. The bottom line is, YES! We finalized Niya’s adoption on December 28, 2011! Chris was here just two weeks between travels to Ukraine and Azerbaijan and the social workers helped to make it happen on our short timeline. This was no small feat because with Christmas and New Years on either side, the court was closed certain days, and is already very limited on which days they will do adoptions.
The adoption was set for early that morning. We made ourselves look respectable and dashed off. Upon entering the courthouse, we went through security, like at the airport, only much quicker. We greeted our social workers and two sets of church friends joined us too! There were pictures by the dozen as we waited to be ushered into the court room (The friends we invited are both shutterbugs).
Lots of hushed talking as we waited. We had been to court with Niya several times before, but more to observe the proceedings with birth mom, than to be spoken to by the judge ourselves so we didn’t know exactly what to expect. I must say, it was easier than expected! The judge and others in the room were so happy for all of us that there was nothing to feel nervous about. Mrs. Judge spoke candidly toward us and we signed just one paper there (many, many, many had been previously signed, weeks earlier). She explained the court room set up to the kids. We had pictures taken with her. Everyone was happy. Then more waiting outside the court room to get papers signed and filed which eventually generated the new birth certificate. Hugs. Pictures. “Thanks for coming!” We went to breakfast, just the six of us. It is official. Welcome Niya Beth Bergstrom!
fYI-Deciding to keep her given name, Niya, was a no brainer. From the beginning we called her Niya and we also really liked her name. Of course, we didn’t know if we would keep her or if she would be returned to her family in the beginning. Anyhow, after a few days we learned that her mother had called her Nee-a, the Spanish way to pronounce the name that had we read as Ni-uh. So for months we used both names interchangeably. We preferred Ni-uh, but wanted her to be familiar with Nee-a, should she go back to her birth mom. Eventually we got lazy and it seemed less and less likely that she would leave our house. We gradually gave up Nee-a altogether and she has been Ni-uh ever since. As for Beth, we just thought it fit! She had been Niya Beth, to us, for well over a year by the time the adoption made it official.
Time with Bergstrom family prior to adoption: 17 months
Visits to bio mom: Unknown, but there were many. Regular contact for eight months with a few episodes of her spacing out of contact.
Visits with grandma: about 3-4
Visits with dad: 2-3
Visits with aunties and cousins: less than five
Response in our offer to have final visit before we leave the country: zero
There is joy in having Niya and knowing the cycle of drugs and poverty is being broken for her. We believe God gave this specific little one to us to display His glory. It isn’t always easy. Actually it isn’t often easy. I am naturally selfish and as you know, each child takes an unmeasurable amount of dedication. But I pray that Niya’s life can be changed for eternity as we introduce her to God Almighty, her Maker, in our home.
There is a sense of sadness Chris and I have too. It is for her birth family. They lost Niya. They come from what appears to be generations of drugs and poverty. Her mom didn’t have it any better, it seems. She didn’t know how to be a good mom to Niya, even though she did love her. She didn’t always make good decisions for her little one or for herself. We tried to be kind. I believe there is an “open door” between us as I have sent pictures and hope to keep that up, about yearly. This isn’t required, but I figured she would be interested, nonetheless.
I hope to be able to allow you a peek into the adoption day photos soon…. (the computer with a disc drive got packed)