Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Second Trip - Part I

               (Tried posting this several times, but the internet wasn't allowing me access to this page so hopefully this works!)


   It’s fascinating to me that coming here for only the second time has seemed so normal….as if it were part of our ordinary routine.  It’s as if we have just picked up where we left off.  We visited a store today that we had briefly went to during our first trip and the woman asked how long we were staying…she thought it was quite a long time we were spending here.  I suppose people don’t usually travel to another country twice within a couple of months, so she reasonably assumed we had never left…..and that is sort of how it has felt to me.

    This trip has seemed so condensed and a bit more chaotic…but that was to be expected given the length of time we are staying and all that had to be done.  We arrived Sunday night and were able to go to see Levi first thing Monday morning.  There was a music class being held in the room we typically meet in so we spent our time in the Director’s office.  At first I thought we were having a meeting and then they brought him in!  He didn’t seem to remember us as I had hoped he would…..he clung to his caregiver as she tried to hand him to Luke, but as soon as he came he seemed to relax.  Oh he is so precious and my heart went out to him….we really are still strangers and as exciting as all of this is for us, it is scary for him.  But it didn’t take long and he was enjoying himself again.  He sure does love to play and is entertained with the same toys and games for all of the hours we spend with him.  We brought a mirror toy this time as we were told he may never have seen himself, and that was quite the hit!  He would look at us in the mirror and then look up at us in person, as if trying to figure this out.  We built towers with some blocks which we taught him to knock down and he got quite a kick out of that.  Books were only good for chewing on and I noticed four teeth had come in since we last saw him.  We tried holding his hands and helping him to walk, but he much preferred doing it on his own….holding onto the couch and walking back and forth between us, pulling up and sitting down over and over again.  It is such a joy to watch him figure things out….I love to just sit and watch his face as he seems to process what we are doing and then tries to imitate us....so precious!

    Court was scheduled in the afternoon, and I suppose I have a very “movie-like” image of what court should be, because it was nothing like what I expected.  We separately answered a few questions and signed our names in an office, waited for our facilitator to take care of some aspects and then it was official!  As with almost every major part of this journey…it feels surreal.  I think that having to wait 30 days for the court decree to go into effect and not being able to bring him with us, has some bearing on that….but soon enough it will be as real as it can be and I cannot wait!

   Our time has been dependent on when we can meet with various officials or offices to obtain adoption and birth certificates, take care of passports etc.  Fortunately we were able to spend a couple of hours with him again this afternoon and this time he smiled when he saw us and was rearing to go!  He was a busy little guy for most of the afternoon…..and then as it usually goes he suddenly feels worn out and just wants to cuddle….no complaints here!  He has the funniest facial expressions and has really started to use his voice in a way that lets you know what he thinks. 

   We will be able to spend the morning with him tomorrow, the afternoon will be more paperwork and then we head back home!  This time it’s a little easier, knowing we will be back so soon, and for the final time.


   There is one more thing I’d like to share…..yesterday on the day we made this adoption final, there was an article in the newspaper here declaring that there may be a ban on American’s adopting from Russia.  Obviously we were thanking God that this will not affect us since we have already had our court date….but I felt physically sick at the thought of the many other families who are in the midst of this process and may be affected, as well as for the hundreds of thousands of orphans here that so need a loving family.  Nothing is concrete at this point, but the reason behind the ban is even more disturbing (I have copied and pasted a brief article below regarding the situation).  The reason I share this is to ask that you join me in praying for this situation, for the families trying to bring little ones into their families, and for the future of these orphans who are just so precious!


NCFA Responds to Possible Russian Ban of Intercountry Adoptions to the U.S

Russian Parliament Proposes Ban in Retaliation for the Magnitsky Act; International Politicking Would Force Orphaned Children to Pay the Price

December 18, 2012 – Alexandria, VA – Legislation has been introduced in the Russian Parliament that would ban intercountry adoptions with the United States.

This radical amendment to the Dima Yakovlev Law was proposed as retaliation against U.S. passage of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, a bill that imposes sanctions against Russian officials perceived by the U.S. to be guilty of human rights violations in Russia. Among the sanctions is a prohibition on Russian criminals visiting the United States.

This threatened ban on intercountry adoption comes after years of discussion between Russia and the United States to address areas of needed reform, strengthen protections and increase accountability, and better serve adopted children and adoptive families. Recent negotiations resulted in a bilateral agreement between Russia and the U.S., which went into effect on November 1, 2012.

“Orphaned children could become collateral damage in this round of international politicking,” says Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of the National Council For Adoption. “The proposed Russian amendment is a punitive, excessive, and highly unfortunate reaction to a U.S. policy that has absolutely nothing to do with intercountry adoption. The opposition of some Russian politicians to the Magnitsky Act, which prevents Russian human rights violators from entering the U.S., should not threaten the possibility of adoption for orphaned and vulnerable Russian children. NCFA and other U.S. adoption advocates are pleading with Russian officials to do the right thing for the more than 700,000 children currently living in institutions in Russia who deserve loving families of their own.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, while displeased with the Magnitsky Law, promised an “adequate and not excessive” response. “Banning intercountry adoption is excessive,” says Johnson. “Russian orphans are counting on their President to hear their voices.”

Download a PDF of this statement here >>

Lauren M. Koch
Director of Development and Communications
National Council For Adoption

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