Where do I start.. ok..
(I apologize in advance for jumping around so much…. Lots on my mind and LOTS to say!)
Yesterday morning they picked us up at 10:30 and we went straight to the notary’s office here. Svetlana made an additional form for the judge hoping to please her regarding our income. The forms we are required to give…. Show the average household salary in the state of Oklahoma. The judge DOES NOT understand or choose to believe us regarding the forms.. and she has it in her head that you take this amount and multiply it times 6.. (for a family of 6)… and we HAVE to make above that amount. This would mean that we make an annual salary 6X’s the average salary in Oklahoma… Let’s just say that’s it’s safe to say that we do not… ;) Hence the problem. She DOES not understand the form… or what it means… URG!!!
… so Svetlana provided another form with a chart… showing the average salary for a family of 6… and she now has it in her head that we make $1500 per year LESS than the poverty level for a family of 6 in Oklahoma… (which again is insane…. She doesn’t understand the forms)
Sorry.. I got ahead of myself there..
Ok… so we get the ‘new’ form.. and head to court. When we arrive at the courtroom the bh director is not there.. and it’s 11:15… (15 min. late)… Svetlana calls her and learns that the judge called the director 15 minutes before court started and said if she doesn’t bring one of the Dr’s that are on the twin’s Commission (group of Dr’s) to court.. she will not rule in our favor… or postpone court once again. So Baghdad (director) is busting her rear to find a Dr who is available in 15 minutes to come to court for us… These are the INSANE sort of things that she is doing and requiring…. Absolutely INSANE! (Svetlana also said that this is only the 2nd adoption case that this judge has EVER had...)
The Judge then calls our names and court begins @ around 11:30… BH director is NOT there… and the judge is upset.. but, allows us to start and she arrives (with a Dr) at about 11:45.. WHEW!!!!
The judge calls the Dr to the stand… and RIPS her a new one. There are these issues with the latest medical evaluation that was completed and the judge is being SUPER picky about the forms and says that they were not completed properly… etc.. and threatens to shred them all… The Dr. was an idiot… I am not kidding - a pitiful excuse for a Dr… she didn’t even know what to say regarding the evaluation that was completed and honestly… I can’t blame the judge for not accepting her witness as true. It was the most INSANE we’ve ever seen.
The judge jumps from the financial forms and DRILLING us about them.. to the medical forms.. to the other ladies in the room… She asks us all the SAME questions over and over and over.. at one point… she was asking me for the 4th time why I would choose to sacrifice my attention of my biological girls and share that attention with these two girls.. I just started bawling… she told me to not be so nervous and emotional and stop crying! NICE!!! I apologized and said it was my daughters we were talking about – ALL 4 of them! Svetlana later said that she was proud of me showing emotion… it showed her that we really do LOVE the twins…
I can’t even explain or type out how she raked us over the coals time and time and time again. She continued to ask the same ?’s over and over and over… and as soon as we felt like she was ok with an answer… she would find a new thing to drill someone about.
We could NOT get her to understand about the income. She has it in her head that we make BELOW the poverty line… We explained time and time again.. that this was the average salary… and that it was for an entire family NOT one person…and that you don’t multiply it times 6. URG… she NEVER understood (or choose not to)…
Keep in mind that we are average middle class… we don’t make a lot.. but, enough to support a family of 6. What is crazy is that the average salary here is $400 per month… we make a little more than that… sigh….
After 2 hours and 15 minutes of fun.. she decided to recess and give the director a chance to get a surgeon to come at 3:30 to speak as a witness…. This is all regarding the medical forms/issues that she has. This all has NOTHING to do with us. However, is one of her biggest issues as well.
We wait and go back at 3:30… and the same thing all goes on again and again.. more ?’s about income… attempting to explain that she’s not understanding the chart correctly.. etc.. the other women in the room try to help her understand as well.. NOPE.. she will NOT budge… she says that she will give us a chance to show her with additional forms…. And postpone the date until Jan. 20th… giving us a chance to get forms proving what we “say”… This being that we are not at poverty level… and that we do make well above the average salary for a family of 6.
She repeatedly asked us if we knew about the 'bad' adoptions of Americans in Russia... and about the woman from TN that sent her son 'back'! She grilled us the last 3 sessions about this and what will we do when we decide we don't want F and G... how can we be certain that is not going to happen... NO matter what we answer or what we say she comes back with something... URG!
Numerous questions about our bio. daughters being jealous... and having to give up their lifestyle for F and G... it just goes on and on and on....
So… we left about over 4 hours total of grueling questions and attacks…
My description doesn’t really do it justice.. to be honest.. it’s hard to even explain it all…. And I’m so emotionally drained. Everyone who walked out of the courtroom was DRAINED. The DOE, BH director, Dr’s, prosecutor and everyone who is involved continually told us how sorry they were… and hugged us and just kept expressing how sorry they were they she doesn’t understand the form about our income and that she is being SO awful to us… They all spoke up for us repeatedly and said that they have told her that they 100% support a positive decision from her regarding us and the twins. They continue to tell us to just get the forms she wants… and show her… and she will grant us the twins. They keep encouraging us saying they just know it will happen… and that the twins were meant to be ours..
We just know this too..
The forms have been created, updated, notarized and apostilled and are on their way to us… thanks to Janet, my mom, my brother, and our social worker in Oklahoma!
However, it takes 5 days to get a package… and Thursday (the day of court) is the 5th day… PLEASE pray the forms make it… PLEASE…. Svetlana does have the scanned forms….so she’s saying we can get them translated and ready to go with the scanned ones… Just pray the originals make it by Wednesday!
As all this was happening… I just repeatedly thanked the Lord for what he was doing through all this…and promised him that I would indeed shout it from the rooftops when this was completed… and that I trusted him!
You see… It hurts… my heart is breaking inside… I got an email from my mom telling us of her telling Bailey and Brooklyn… there were TEARS and as you can imagine heartache… You see we’ve been gone from home since Oct. 20th… away from Bailey and Brooklyn…. We were home with them for 13 days (in December)…. It will be a little over 3 months soon… that’s a long time…. And they are so ready for this to end as well..
Brooklyn said to my mom through tears.. “Nana, why can’t that judge just let us have our Mama and Daddy and sissys home NOW!” yeah… sobbingly heartbreaking… HUGE sigh!!
I just continue to remind myself through my sobs and tears that God knows and knew that he’s already blessed us with Bay and Brook when he spoke to us and orchestrated this very journey. He knows all things and he wouldn’t have placed us on this journey and abandoned my precious oldest 2…
So… back to yesterday.. we got back to the apartment about 5:30-5:45 pm… It was a LONG day. We had to get our flights changed, contact agency, family, employers about updates.. and get the ball rolling with LOTS of things… there was NO internet in the apartment…. Really? Can we catch a single break here?
I couldn’t make myself start the process of chain of events of getting online etc.. and walking down there right away… plus, I really needed to let off some emotions…. So those who know me know what I did… I started unpacking our suitcases… we had packed up the entire apartment because we were supposed to leave @ 6:20 last night… As I am taking everything out of the suitcases the tears start and I have a good bawl…. Phil and I cry together and encourage each other. We got our bible and asked the Lord to show us something to cling to…
Phil’s bible fell open to the follow passage:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his might power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your wait with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this , take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and request. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6: 11-18
Wow! As I started reading this outloud to Phil.. I just bawled… there are SO SO SO many nuggets of GREATNESS in this for us (where we are today) and for all of you reading this.
Please know that I realize and know that most of you reading our blog and keeping up with our journey are facing things in your daily lives/walk with God that you are struggling with. We all do… and no matter how little the things you are struggling with seem to you compared to others… KNOW that God does not see it that way… he is just as concerned about what you are facing as what I or anyone else is facing…
Let me share some of the things the Lord pointed out to me in these scriptures…
First thing was his confirmation that we indeed are not fighting a fleshly battle here…. This is not a battle with the judge… this is a spiritual battle of good verses evil. The first part says to “be strong in the Lord and HIS might”.. in other words… when you feel like you can’t stand anymore… No worries.. God didn’t ask you or me to stand…. He said to STAND IN HIM… ;) Next he tells us to “put of the FULL armor of God”… meaning get prepared.. be prayed up… have the word stored away on the tablets of our hearts.. be ingesting God… everywhere you turn put more of him in YOUR Life.. through music, reading, listening to others, reading books, the word, etc…
Then it says, “When you have done EVERYTHING.. KEEP STANDING!”.. WHEW!! That was JUST for me… I have done everything I knew to do… for the past 3 years… trusted God, tried to put on the armor of God daily (I could have done so much more… but, I’ve tried)…. And you know what… God says here…. KEEP STANDING… KEEP SMILING, my child…. VICTORY IS MINE and it’s ON the way!!! Thank you JESUS!!!
Then it goes on to say, “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”…. Wow…. Our feet fitted with the readiness of PEACE! Peace… No fretting… no worring… no crying, screaming or fit throwing… peace that you TRUST him… Peace that you KNOW He has it all under control… PEACE.. Sweet wonderful perfect Peace that comes straight from the thrown of GRACE!!!! I think there’s something to learn from “our feet fitted”…. Not just half-way thrown on flip flop kind of peace… but, serious WINTER shoes that fit YOU…. FITTED peace… Peace that regardless of what is thrown at you… or who attacks you… or what is said…. You DO NOT waiver in KNOWING that God is in control… Peace that SURPASSES all understanding!!!! Lord, Help us ALL get enveloped that kind of peace!
I then went on to read this:
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Ephesians 6: 19 – 20
This is exactly how I feel here…. I want to share with this dark place… (yet wonderful people) about the Lord… however, feel like an ambassador in chains…. And feel like an ambassador in chains regarding the court processes as well… This is my prayer…. Just as Paul prayed from prison…
The commentary in Phil’s bible says the following about this scripture:
“Undiscouraged and undefeated, Paul wrote powerful letters of encouragement from prison. Paul did not ask the Ephesians to pray that his chains would be removed, but that he would continue to speak fearlessly for Christ in spite of them.”
As I read this and thought about it… I realized that instead of begging God to deliver us from this… and to end this soon…. We should be praying… Lord let this very journey conclude when YOUR will has been completed. I think we often times BEG God to deliver us from things that he is trying to use for his Glory.
Now… don’t get me wrong… I’ve know that he was using our story/adoption/journey for his glory… but, don’t want to get so selfish in my own ‘wants’ that we miss an opportunity for God to SHINE through in Greatness!!!!
As I was sharing all this with Phil and we were discussing all this etc… we talked about how we had made SUCH connections with ALL the ladies involved in our case. I will look up and one of them will catch my eye and smile gently…. Trying to reassure me that it will all be ok… I just trust God and know that he’s up to something here…. ;)
If we hadn’t been to court 5 times for hours… we would NOT have made such connections with them… and they all keep saying they’ve NEVER seen anything like this…. Our family… F and G will FOREVER be remembered in their hearts and minds… and hopefully… I pray and cry to God that this is true.. they are seeing Jesus in us! I pray that this judge is as well…. She must be seeing something she likes in us… she keeps making us come back and back and back.. ha ha!!!
All these ladies have made us promise we’ll send pics of the girls and our family… and I just know that we’ll forever be in contact with them… Jesus shining through us for years…
F and G have NO idea the impact they are making on so many people…
They are changing so much it’s incredible. Grace doesn’t even smile the same as before. She looks for us when she wants to show us something and is making appropriate eye contact…
They remember EVERYTHING we teach them… I’ve been teaching them body parts… and they are quick to tell me the English word and show the body part the next day!
INCREDIBLE!!!! I just held them today and cried…. I don’t know how to explain my emotions except that we feel like we are the blessed ones… to have the opportunity to love these two babies as our own… wow… we are so humbled and honored.
I got a little off track there… but, let me go back… I got up this morning to check online on the documents and with the travel agent to ensure that our flights had been successfully changed etc.. and still No internet in apartment… so I bundled up and walked to Hotel down the street. We had so many messages and sweet comments, emails, etc… from all of you. Thank you… you will never know how much it helps and how great it feels to read just the simplest comment of praying… we enjoy hearing from everyone so much…
I was reminded of the lyrics to one of my favorite praise and worship songs….
I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength
So.. I of course had to go to You Tube and listen…. TEARS streamed down my face in the Hotel lobby as I felt our savior trading out my sorrows…. Take a few minutes and praise him with me:
(remember you have to pause the music on the blog at the bottom)
Did you notice the small font at the bottom of one of the screens? Yeah… isn’t that JUST like the Lord… ;)
When my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I.
You’re my refuge and a tower of strength against the enemy.
Psalm 61: 1-3
INCREDIBLE and JUST LIKE OUR GOD!!!!
No matter what you are facing today… Please join us in trusting God… His word does NOT return void and if you allow him… He will use the very situation you are in RIGHT now.. for HIS Glory!!
I pray right now for everyone reading this blog… I ask that you’re amazing presence fill the room where they are sitting and that they will feel you and know you are with them and alive and well! Lord, grant them the desires of their hearts… heal whatever thing they need healing from… Lord move in their lives in ways they would have NEVER ever dreamed you even could…. Father, Your word says that we are MORE than overcomers in YOU!!! We are standing in your word today… TRUSTING you… help us all Father to put on the WHOLE armor of God… like your word says to do.. so that we can stand against the enemy… Thank you Lord for defeating him for us.. now all we have to do is claim that victory in YOU!!!!
We are amazed by you… and in total and complete surrender to your divine plan and purpose for our lives… Dear Lord… I thank you for your amazing grace and mercy… and I thank you for what you are doing in all our lives!
We love you Lord and we give you all the praise and glory forever!