So our court hearing was scheduled for 10 am this morning. Because you never know what you will get with traffic in Russia we arrived about 45 minutes early. When it was finally time we went into the court room where there was the judge, a "prosecutor", a clerk, our translator, the social worker representing the boys and a representative of the Department of Education.
Much of it was your typical court room procedure as you would expect. We had to state who we were, our birth dates, addresses, etc. (It is really difficult, by the way, to listen to your translator when the person speaking Russian never takes a breath!) Then our petition to adopt the boys was read aloud and we were asked if this was what we wanted to do. The each of us had to stand and be questioned by both the judge and the prosecutor. Most of the questions were basic things like "Do you have all the medical information about the boys?", "Do you have room in your house?", "Does your extended family support you in the adoption?", "Is your daughter happy about the adoption?". Nothing really difficult, but they did go back several times and ask about whether we could support 2 more children and there were lots of repeated questions about our parenting style. They were trying to be sure that the boys would not end up abused or worse. They even told us that several Russian children have died recently in the care of their adoptive American families and they wanted to be sure that would not happen here. We also had to share what happened on our first 2 visits with the boys and what their personalities are like.
After they were done questioning us, the social worker presented her case. She described the situation the boys were removed from, the birth mother's few (2) attempts to visit over the last year, their health at the time they were placed, and more. She was questioned by the judge and the prosecutor quite vigorously as they made sure that the decision to place them for adoption was the right one.
At about 12 noon they took a break so that the judge and the prosecutor could call the court and the Minister of Education in Borovichi (this is where the orphanage is) to confirm that there were no further petitions from the boys birth family to regain custody. That wait was very stressful!! But it wasn't long and they came back about 15 minutes later and said that neither the court or the MoE had received anything from the family. This was when I was finally sure it was going to happen. At that point, they read through some more documents and asked us again if we wanted to proceed with the adoption. We obviously said yes and then asked if the judge would please waive the 10 day waiting period since we had a 6 year old at home who is missing school as well as us. The judge left the room one last time to make her final decision and returned about 12:45 with the ruling in our favor for the adoption as well as waiving the 10 day waiting period. I am so glad that is done!