Legal Progress

It’s a long day of paper chasing. If you aren’t keen on the process or details then you may lose interest quickly. Bottom line is we hope to get all three kids tomorrow (Wednesday).

Our day began sun shiny and pleasant. A clean and comfortable hotel, a nice breakfast, and a two+ hour drive from Zaporizhya to Berdyansk through the green countryside. The cows, sheep, and goats graze contentedly. The locals are tending their gardens the old fashioned way by the sweat of their brow using wood handled tools, wearing wide sun hats, and head scarves for the older women.

We just received the good news, while driving, that the court decision document is ready for us to pick up (at the court this morning)! Woo-hoo! Praise God. That is why we came and where we were headed anyway, but there was a bit of tensity as we heard AFTER we were already on our way south yesterday that the judge, who needed to sign the court decision now that the ten day wait period is over, was staying home yesterday and today. This would have had us sitting around waiting an extra day instead of Chris working at his usual job on Monday. So while we were frustrated at the possibility of it not being ready as it was supposed to be, and previously promised, we kept driving instead of turning around for home. Of course now we are glad that we stuck with the original plan and the court came through. But our incredulousness is with the Ukrainian system and that if a judge decides, on a whim, that she wants a longer weekend, then there is much uncertainty that another judge will be able to sign off on it. That there is no regard for the people traveling a long journey, taking off from their own work, booking hotels, buying train tickets, WALKING AWAY from their normal schedules and duties for an appointment that is held so loosely by the governmental power. Why? Is it because we haven’t given gifts to them for their flippant treatment of us? We don’t know for sure, but it unfortunately is a common mindset that we “owe” them for doing their jobs properly or on time. Us, being impatient Americans, perceive it as passive aggressive treatment, but this is just speculation. Either way, we are “at their mercy” but know that ultimately no judge on earth can alter God’s perfect timing for our adoption, our family, His will.

Fast forward to 12 noon and we are now driving from Berdyansk BACK to Zaporizhya! Yes, it is a 2+ hour drive! And yes, we just left there this morning! BUT this is a good thing because it means we were successful in picking up the court decision (x 30 copies!) this morning. Praise God! It was quite a simple process as we went through their security entrance, showed our passports (which get documented in their hand written log book as part of the entry process), went up to the office and Chris signed saying we received them. Yippee! It took longer for our attorney to read them over the in the hall before we left (just to make sure things were properly written) than the process of receiving this document that we have waited for since the court hearing on April 30.

The wait period between then and now was a customary built-in ten day period. Should any (biological) family members have stepped forward to contest the decision to allow us foreigners to adopt the kids, etc. That would have been their opportunity. However, we didn’t fear or anticipate anything drastic like that happening as the orphanage staff has told us that they hadn’t ever had any family members visit in all of their time at the orphanage…which is sad, but good for us because family members still involved can slow down and complicate the process.

So, back we go to Zaporizhya to file this court decision document at the office that will create their NEW birth certificates. Best case scenario is that they will be ready today…. (And the reason it is this office is because they were born in Zaporizhya so that is where the original birth certificates are filed, and where the new ones need to be created.)

As for the 30 copies, seven were taken to Berdyansk social services office before we left town. They will keep one for themselves, mail three to Kiev Child Department (better known to me as the SDA although it now goes by a new acronym), and three to Kyiv a Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We arrived in Zap at the registration office shortly after two p.m., where we were quickly next inside the office. Much writing, signatures, and a nice lady behind the desk. I think she is working on new birth certificates. Yes!

We were next off to find the notary office which we used in March. A call was made ahead of our arrival so once again, we walked right in for quick service. There we obtained notarized copies of the kids’ old birth certificates, notarized copies of the new court decision, and two extra notarized copies of our (Chris and Wendy) passports.

Now shortly after four p.m. and we are once again sitting in the office of the birth certificate official. Can it be true?! Will we leave just a couple hours after our initial encounter with new birth certificates?! I think so and it is very exciting. There are so many built in wait periods that I was holding my breath for more delays.

I was told our next goal is obtaining new tax ID numbers for the kids. Perhaps we can eek that out today before close of business too?….

Yes! Birth certificates in hand. Trying to rush to the tax office. Just “.8 km” away, says the GPS. Will it close in five minutes at 5 p.m.? No! We quickly find it and the sign states they are open until 6 p.m. Our attorney begins the paperwork, one child at a time, Chris signs, submit, next two children, Chris signs x 2, they submit. Wow! It is 5:20…. 5:30 and they call Chris in for the signature on the Father line!

Our attorney states there are two more places we need to go. Surely they will be closed for the business day, right? No, we make it to the immigration office at 5:55. Our attorney goes in to ask a question. He comes back with answers by 6:09: Foreign passports inquiry man said tomorrow we need to: bring notarized copies of new birth certificates, do something with new tax number, bring kids, apply for Ukrainian passport, plus some other stuff which I forgot.

We are now on our way to Ministry of Justice, they have a bit of difficulty locating the correct office on the street. I’m waiting in the car about 6:20. Are these government offices really still going to be open? This is absurdity to me. They just got more questions answered because the office was open until 8 p.m. On a Tuesday evening. Hooray. We are to return at 7:50 p.m TONIGHT to pick up the legalized (apostilled) birth certificates.

We check back into our local hotel (the one we left this morning because we didn’t know which city we’d land in for the night). A short break until we head back for the appointed pick up time.

We arrive on time and our attorney is back in the vehicle just 2-3 minutes later with the prize: 3 apostilled birth certificates with the children’s new names!

We are so thankful we drove for this portion of the journey. It would have made all the running around agonizing had we relied on arriving by train and finding public transportation…not that any U.S. adoptive families would do that for this portion of the journey. I think they most always hire a driver. Our GPS was priceless today since we were our own driver. A few streets were tricky to program at first, but it never steered us wrong.

What a day. Whew! We ended with a yummy dinner and have an early wake up call as it is the day we anticipate getting all three kids….

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3 Responses to Legal Progress

  1. Carol Tavris says:

    So glad to read the good news. What a wild ride you have taken! Can’t wait to read the blog tomorrow! Love, AC

  2. Maggie says:

    Yeah! We prayed to day that God would line up all the right people to make this part go smoothly and quickly! We will continue praying that everything goes well tomorrow and that everyone has an easy transition. Can’t wait to see pictures of everyone together for good!! -Susanna

  3. Liz Bergstrom says:

    God wants them with our family. He left all the doors open.

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