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Archive for the ‘Russian Adoption Story’ Category

Thank you all for all those crossed fingers and toes! It worked!

 

I am now Sasha’s mother and the judge has waived the 10-day waiting period.

 

More details to come after I put Sasha to bed…

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My luck may have turned around a little bit – I am knocking on wood all around me! Irkutsk responded to the court inquiry after all. When I met with the judge she showed me a fax that came in from the orphanage. They basically stated that the child had left their establishment and they could no longer provide input on her adoption, as I am now her legal guardian. I am very grateful to them for doing this.

The final hearing has been set to Monday June 1 at 5:30 pm Moscow time / 9:30 am EST. I am going to need to bring two witnesses who will testify that I am a good person, treat Sasha well, and am financially stable. A social worker and a district attorney will need to be present as well. I have hand delivered the subpoena to the social services office.

I am asking the court to waive the mandatory 10-day waiting period after the hearing. If they do waive it we may be home in just a couple of weeks.

So please keep your fingers crossed for us on Monday at 9:30 am!

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Irkutsk received the court document along with a copy of my petition. They called me back early Monday morning to tell me that they were not able to prepare anything for court, as they had nothing to do with Sasha any more. She had left the orphanage and all her files had been forwarded to Moscow, so they could not longer be an interested party in my adoption case.

Later that day I also visited the Social Services office to drop off the subpoena . The social worker there also confirmed that the orphanage in Irkutsk had nothing to do with us any more. She also said nobody was going to attend the preliminary hearing this Thursday, as they just don’t do this, they would only attend the final hearing. So I am going to be alone with the judge there and will have to explain to her that she was wrong asking for the orphanage’s consent for adoption. Hopefully, the judge won’t get too upset about this….

Ok, now the fun part.

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Big day today, I have filed my petition in court. It was the culmination of a 3-day marathon of collecting various paperwork, making tons of photocopies, visiting a notary a few times, and registering Sasha at our apartment in Moscow (which required almost as many pieces of paper as applying for a mortgage and visits to 6 different officials).

I had to submit the documents personally to the judge who turned out to be a blond around 40, with long James Bond girl style hair, in a short cotton summer dress and high heals. If I met her somewhere outside of court I definitely would have never guessed she was a judge.

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Sasha’s charm helped me speed up the process today. I had an appointment for next Thursday, the 21st to pick up some documents.  Knowing,  social services also have office hours on Mondays I decided to try my luck. Sasha and I "stopped by while on a walk in the park", so the ladies at the office could meet the baby.  We were actually late. Office hours are 2 to 5 pm, but Sasha took a nap till after 4 pm and we only made it to social services by 5:15 pm. Nonetheless, all the ladies there were happy to see us. They all  started to ooh and aah over Sasha.   Miraculously, all our paperwork turned out to be freshly sighed and sitting on someone’s desk.

Sasha was calm and brave(no smiles though!) until I was asked to sign some paperwork and had to put her down. Ob boy, does she have lungs! She was terrified when I let go of her and just started screaming!  So I had to sign the papers with Sasha in my lap. ALL of  the social workers  were present which was great, since at least one of them will have to testify in court that Sasha is better off with me, that she is already used to me as her caregiver.

Tomorrow, on Tuesday I am going to try to register Sasha here in Moscow – this is a required step before I can go to court.

I expect to be able to meet with a judge and file my petition no later than next Monday, May 25.

Oh, and minus another snag… I do now have the original Consent for Adoption from the orphanage. It arrived from Irkutsk with other documents and I had no issues getting it from social services.

So not bad at all!

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My social services office received the originals from Irkutsk last night! I finally tracked down the vanishing social worker.  I am so relieved, I have been stressing about this ever since we got back and wishing I had had an opportunity to bring the originals with me.  I will post the details of my battle in Irkutsk at some point.  It was  exceptionally nerve-racking, so don’t feel like writing this down yet.

I left 1600 rubles (=50 USD) along with detailed instructions for the social worker in Irkutsk to use the express service (DHL), which arrives to Moscow the next day. When I called on May 7th to check if the documents had been sent I was told they were "being sent".  Hmmm… they arrived exactly a week later.  I guess it takes several days in Irkutsk to focus and call DHL to arrange for pick-up.

I really should not complain; a week is just super-sonic fast for Russia, especially outside of Moscow.

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First an update on the red tape saga. I have submitted some documents to the Social Services office, so they can start the processing. Next Thursday I have another appointment to pick something up, so I can register Sasha in Moscow – this is required before I can file an adoption petition in court.  So our return date is nowhere in sight yet.

Another snag that I have is that Irkutsk office may not have mailed out the original documents to Moscow. The social worker who they were addressed to is about as unreachable as President Medvedev, so I cannot confirm anything. WIll try to track her down on Friday.

I am also missing another important paper  from the orphanage  ( their Consent for Adoption) that is not required for court, but is required for the US Embassy. In case I cannot get it from the package that supposedly was mailed to my social services office (see above), my back-up plan is to ask the orphanage to fax it over to Moscow,  and hope Americans will not be as tough as Russians and won’t require the original.

Now a more fun update. It’s been a week since we came back from Irkutsk. Sasha’s personality is just blossoming. She is becoming more confident every day which of course means more trouble for me.

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