Her proud parents present to you...
Klaudia Eve Andrews!!!
As of August 11, 2009, according to the court in Gliwice, Poland, Klaudia is our daughter!! Needless to say, this family of three is ecstatic!
The day was quite a journey...only fitting, considering the journey the entire process has been. We woke up at 6 a.m. (Klaudia wakes up soon after the sun, no matter when she goes to bed), and were picked up at 9 a.m. Rain storms and insane toll booth lines lead to us being about an hour behind schedule. This meant we were not able to stop by the orphanage on the way to our 11:45 a.m. court hearing in Gliwice. We were supposed to stop by and pick up Klaudia’s medical information, and leave her there during the hearing because children are not permitted in court. Let’s just say, we were not disappointed that we were not able to leave her at the orphanage during the hearing. I can’t imagine what she would think about us leaving her there. Maybe she would have been fine, but it was still the last thing we wanted to do.
Instead, our driver, Tom, was going to watch her in the court hallways. However, when they called our hearing, our lawyer asked if Klaudia could come in, and the 3 judge panel agreed. Apparently this is pretty rare. I’m glad that Klaudia reciprocated with being very quiet and attentive. She fussed at little at some points, but hey, the rest of us would too, if we could.
The court hearing took about an hour. We understand this is on the relatively short side. The panel was three judges, all women. I was glad to see that at first, but despite that, I do not think we received one smile! I think they want to make sure the seriousness of the hearing is not compromised by emotion. The lead judge went through our whole file. They looked up our passport numbers in some database, read through all of the documents in the file, stated the evidence for the record, asked us questions individually, and asked the orphanage director (who has been listed as Klaudia’s guardian) a series of questions. It was serious enough, that it made me wonder if there was a chance they would find that it was not in Klaudia’s best interest to be placed with us. There was no fact that made me think that, just the reality of going through every detail of our application, our reasons for adopting, our reasons for adopting from Poland, etc. added a seriousness that I had not expected. Perhaps it was just making a good record.
The director of the orphanage was wonderful. She is thrilled to place children in homes, and despite the great care they give at the orphanage, she admits that the children thrive immediately on being placed in homes. Although there have been times that I felt mean for taking Klaudia from the place and people that she knows, the directors confidence in her placement in our home and all children placed in good homes, has helped us get through some of the more difficult moments. Her testimony at court was great. She explained Klaudia’s history at the orphanage, knowledge of her biological parents, and her thoughts on Klaudia’s placement with us. She and I do not speak the same language, but we exchanged several words and smiles that, at a minimum, said thank you. It was touching when she said goodbye to Klaudia and gave a blessing with the sign of the cross on her head. I do not speak Polish, but I understood every word she said then.
Also at court, there was a prosecutor present. She is in the position of scrutinizing adoption petitions to ensure the placements are in the best interests of the child. She asked us both one question related to the care of Klaudia when we return to work. We answered to her satisfaction, and she did not have anything further.
Following the hearing, we waited for the court to issue the decree/order. After about 20 minutes, they called us back in and read it to us for accuracy. It was all good in our book, so they said it would be issued that day, and considered final after 21 days. Then our lawyer stood up and talked, and the prosecutor responded. Magda turned to us and said, the prosecutor is fine with shortening the waiting period from 21 to 14 days! Apparently this is VERY rare in Silesia, but she agreed to it because our US Embassy expiration date is approaching in 2 weeks. We were amazed and grateful! This means we should be able to return home on September 5 instead of September 12, giving us one more week to settle in at home.
Following the court hearing, we lugged all of our luggage to the train station and took a 3.5 hour train to Warsaw. The train was fine, and Klaudia (although getting tired, but not tired enough to nap) was a trooper. In the pouring rain, we got to our Warsaw apartment and are thrilled with it. It has a washing machine, bathtub, deck you can stand on without getting accosted by pigeons, a couch that you can get up from, internet access from one spot in the kitchen window, and a bed that creaks, but not every time you breath. Sigh . . . we can stay here for a few weeks just fine!! We had our first day of exploring today, and there is a lot to see here. It will be a fun few weeks. We even went out for thai food for dinner.
Klaudia is doing well. She loves the apartment, probably even more than we do. She has been crawling like crazing and pulling herself up on every doorway, chair, etc. She only crawled once at the Krakow apartment, and now she doesn’t even want us to hold her, she wants to explore! She even drank out of a sippy cup tonight for a few minutes (here is hoping it wasn’t a fluke). She despises naps unless she is in mama’s arms, but we will work on that one.
OK...enough for now. We will update more soon! Looks like we are meeting up with two other families in town tomorrow – yay!