On Monday, September 8th, we had our official court date to adopt Artem and Sasha. There were 4 families in our group (Morgans adopted Anastacia, Brent Milnes adopted Austin and Hatches adopted Logan). We arrived at 1:00pm and had to wait for the prosecutor to show up. He finally arrived 2 hours later and the Morgans were first. 45 minutes later they emerged with smiles and Alan gave us insight on how it would go.
In the courtroom was the female Judge, court secretary, 2 jurors, Sumy Dept of Childhood inspector (Valeria), the Sumy orphanage lawyer, the boys, our translator and of course, Arri and I. Everything was being recorded so it was very formal. I should mention that the courtroom was just a larger office with 2 desks and chairs around the side.
Arri and I each had to stand up, one at a time, and answer questions from the judge. She was very stern when talking to us and we were both a little nervous. Besides general information about ourselves (name, birthdate, where we live, etc.) for the record, she wanted to know about my relationship with Arri, about my job, my income, if the boys would be cared for, what is our house like, how will the boys learn english, etc. She wanted to know why we wanted to adopt these Ukrainian boys and all we could really say is that after we had them in our home, we fell in love with them and felt they were already part of our family. Arri broke down again expressing her feelings about the boys and said she felt like they were her boys from the first time she saw their picture.
The judge then read the boys' history. She openly discussed how their parents lost their parental rights, that their father died in 2004, that their grandmother had guardian rights for a while but she lost those as well a couple of years ago. We felt it must have been hard for the boys to hear but they seemed fine with it. As a side note, Arri asked the boys on Sunday if they want to visit their grandmother before leaving the country which they said that they did. When she asked if they want to see their mother, they both camly but without hesitation said "no." Sasha then pointed to Arri and said, "You Mother!" and smiled. I don't need to write how that made her feel.
The judge then had the boys come up next to her and she was very pleasant with them. They were very nervous. They answered all of her questions politely looking straight forward, not wanting to upset her in any way. When she asked about our daughters, Sasha instantly grinned and then tried to straighten up again. The judge laughed. She also commented how much the boys look like Arri and me. She made some statement that "God must have something to do with this." That was nice. Throughout all of this the lawyer and inspector were asked their opinions and they were very favorable of our adoption.
The judge and jury then deliberated for about 5 minutes and called us back in. She announced that Ukraine recognizes the adoption of Artem Kent Rogers and Alexander David Rogers to Arri and me. The Rogers becAme seven!
We now have the obligatory 10 day waiting period in case anyone wants to back out of the adoption or if a family member steps forward.
Today, Tuesday, we got up and all the families went to see the boys. I was sick today and after eating lunch, felt it was best to stay close to the apartment so I didn't get a chance to see them. They played soccer again as well as a new dice game.
Oh one other blog-worthy incident. After the adoption we all celebrated by going to McDonald's. The Hatch's older boys arrived in Sumy yesterday and David speaks Russian (mission). While ordering, a guy tried to pick-pocket David and David felt his hand and shoved the guy away. And then they were shouting at each other. The McDonald's manager came out and asked if David wanted the police to come. He said yes. They showed up and the Police hauled away the guy. It made everyone in McDonald's very nervous but we're glad David stood up to him.