Friday, July 9, 2010

Introducing Joseph Levi and Zoya Caroline....URBAN. Long post.

It was a crazy and beautiful day. We had been told three different times about our court time so we felt that just to be safe we should stick around the apartment and wait for clearer instructions. We got a call two hours earlier than we expected saying there was one document that we needed to sign and notarize before court and that our driver was on his way to pick us up. Good thing we had already showered and ironed our clothes, just to be safe.

Turns out the Whites had to sign the same form so we rode a taxi with them to the notary's office, none of us really knowing for sure what time court appointments were (Whites had court today too!).

So we get a call about 3:00 saying our court appointments were for 3:30 and 4:00, and that a taxi was on its way to pick us up. We got to the curb just in time to see our taxi driving away. I guess he had gotten impatient waiting for us, so we had to call another taxi.

It is a moment I am sure I will never forget: Sitting in the back seat of a slow taxi in bad traffic on our way to a very important 3:30 appointment that we had worked so hard towards and waited so long for........stuck in bad traffic over a bridge, realizing it is 3:32pm and not knowing how far away the court house was, and realizing this important meeting was happening without us. Sherry White was sitting next to me and I looked over to see her writing this note on her hand. ha ha. I am sure going to miss her.

We walked through the court doors at exactly 3:40pm only to see a very panicked Yulia who informed the Whites that they were missing a document which Nicolai had run to get. Meanwhile our prosecutor hadn't shown up so the Urbans couldn't go to court either. And by the way, when are your return flights in case we need to reschedule? Can we say stressed out?

Finally it was decided court could proceed for the Whites even though their document was still on its way. The Urbans sat in the waiting room with white knuckles waiting to hear the verdict. Whites came out about 30 minutes crying. Thankfully it was happy crying, and there were now three less orphans in the world.

It was our turn.

We did indeed get the 'good judge'. She was very lovely, amiable, smiling. She asked about our family, if we were 'strong enough' to take on more kids. She wondered if our other children would be jealous and whether we were financially prepared to raise so many children. She wanted to know were we aware the children have significant special needs and how are we prepared to handle them? And by the way, why do you want 'these' children and not 'healthy' children? I guess we answered to her satisfaction 'cause she smiled and nodded in response.

Present was a jury, a social worker, the orphanage director, our translator, the judge, and the prosecutor. Another moment that I will not forget: The orphanage director stood up to talk about the children and gave his reasons why he believed adoption was in their best interest. First Joseph: He told a brief history of his almost six years at the orphanage and said he was barely saved from the mental institution because of the timing of when we came for him. He was already due to be transferred but they held him when they knew a family was coming for him. Praise the Lord he will NEVER see the inside of one of that place! There were a lot of chuckles when he spoke about Joseph's energy level, and how much he understands for a boy with Down Syndrome, and how he has his 'own way of doing things'. :) I could tell this director knew Joseph very well.

Next Zoya: The director began by telling about the day Zoya came to the orphanage 5 1/2 years ago. She is clearly very special to him. He broke down crying as he spoke of how tiny she was, and how nobody thought she would survive after being born 12 weeks premature at less than two pounds, and how she fought to survive even without a mother or father at her side. He held his hands to show how tiny she was when she first arrived from the hospital at 5 months old, and how hard it was to find somebody to do surgery on a little orphaned baby with no means to pay for it. He spoke so fondly of her, and said how happy the staff at the orphanage was to learn that she was getting adopted. Even the prosecutor, who should have been trying to find reasons for her to not be adopted, said that when she told her colleagues at the office that Zoya was getting a family, the whole office cheered. :)  It was sure a tearful time for many people in the room. I will certainly never forget it. He also said that "Zoya has changed" since we have been coming to see her, and that she is very excited to be coming to live with us and in fact is inviting some of her nannies to come along. ha ha.

I don't think I've mentioned this but Zoya does have a cleft palate that has not been repaired. Only certain people very familiar with her can understand her, so on top of the already complicated task of having to teach her a new language, we are going to have to learn to decipher what she is trying to say through her speech impediment. We do not know anything about cleft palate repair, or what this means for her future as far as speech goes, but we are committed to get her fixed up as best as we can. You may have noticed that like Joseph she is missing a top tooth. That is because there is nowhere for the tooth to grow. Google cleft palate to see what I'm talking about if you don't already know. As I told you before a missionary here arranged for her to have cosmetic surgery of her lip but the palate is yet to be repaired.

OK I'm way off the subject now. Back to court. So after we had all had our tears, the judge left the room and came back with her decision granting us approval to adopt Joseph and Zoya. The orphanage director hugged and kissed us both and thanked us for taking care of the children. It was a really, really special time.

We had just a little bit of time to visit the kids one last time, and then out to dinner to celebrate with the Whites who also passed court today, the Enbergs who also passed court today, and Michelle Zoromski and the Heims who are at various stages of the process here. What a blessing to be able to celebrate with other Reece's Rainbow families.

We had just a little bit of time to head over to the orphanage for our last visit and give the kids their own photo albums to remember us by while we go home and wait to see whether any relatives suddenly and miraculously decide to pay them a visit. :(

We also brought a couple of little things, sunglasses, rings, hair thingies, trinkets to leave with them. I also brought that silly scarf I had to buy for the catacombs with the intention of fixing up the swing with a child safety restraint:

I thought it was a brilliant idea but Zoya would have nothing of it! Scarves are made for wearing, not repairing swings with! So I left it with her to wear instead:

These two photos make me think of Zoya's future wedding day. I wonder if her daddy will cry like he cried at her court hearing today? :)

And Joseph: He was far more interested in John's tie than the toys we brought him. Note to self. Pack a backpack with loads of zippers full of ties and scarves and jewelry for the airplane ride home.

Our dear facilitator Yulia took the time to meet us at the orphanage to explain to Zoya that we would be leaving for awhile to take care of our other children in the photos, her new brothers and sisters, and that when the time comes we will return to pick her up and bring her home to leave with us. She asked if she understood and Zoya said, "Da, da". (yes, yes) :)

I asked to take one group photo of Zoya's groupa. Aren't they adorable? Please somebody come adopt some of these kids. SO many boys that need families!

We gave hugs and kisses and said Paka-paka (bye bye). When I walked away and turned around this is what I saw:

We are heading to bed and will wake up in just a few hours to board our flight home! 28 hours of travel which we will start out with the Enbergs of course. Why wouldn't we! It is very bittersweet leaving the kids here. But we will be glad to be home for a little bit and will wait out our 10 day wait -actually it is a twelve business day wait in this region- I'm not surprised! We are now just about halfway there and will be altogether in a month or so!

Thanks to everyone who followed along! It's not necessarily over yet but the hardest part is now behind us, and that is certainly worth celebrating! Thanks for celebrating with us!


ukraine09 said...

I have been waiting for this post all day!!! I have been checking yours and Sherry's blogs over and over! Sherry hasn't posted yet, but I'm glad to see they had a good day too!

I am sitting here crying tears of joy. Congratulations to the Urban family on the addition of their two newest members!

And, since I'm not going to get to meet you in person when I am there, we will definitely have to schedule a trip to OK in the future!

So, so, so, so, so happy for you all.


Robin said...

I would comment but I'm too busy with happy tears. I can't wait to see the new complete family photo

Cammie Heflin said...

I am bawling here Charissa! So happy for you!!!!

Anonymous said...

We have been checking your blog back and forth all day too :)
In tears, so very , very happy for you all. Samantha & her family in the middle of England.
Praying that you are all reunited very soon x

mom2four said...

Charissa, I can only imagine the tears that flowed today...I'm balling and I'm not even directly involved! So many blessings to you and all your family....I can't wait to meet the rest of them :)

Chad and Dana said...

I am a puddle, Charissa. The picture where they are all huddled around the photo album broke. my. heart. Please Lord...let these children know what if feels like to belong to someone. Oh. my. heart.

Love to you as you journey back home...can't wait to see your face in person soon!! xoxoxo

Michelle said...

Wonderful, wonderful! I am looking forward to the continuing stories!

Janell & Kenny said...

We're celebrating from N.M. Can you hear us? We are loud enough! ha ha!!! Love ya and can't wait to see you soon. We plan to come up and pick up Heather and celebrate on your return. We can stay with my parents. Love ya (all 9 of you)

ErinL said...

Yay! I've been checking your blog all day! Congratulations and have a wonderful reunion with your kids back home. We'll miss you. Wave because we'll probably be passing you in the sky!

The Browning Family said...

I cried.
Happy tears.
Congratulations to your beautiful two additions as well as you!
Charrissa Browning

Pan Cratius said...

I shared your news with your 95 yr. old grandmother in Bartlesville. I gave her a thumbs up report.

Just Me @ My Domestic Experiments said...

Congratulations! I'm sure you can't wait to get them home. Joseph reminds me so much of my son. And it just brings me to tears to see someone who wants children like my son. My son LOVES stringly things like ties too.

Shelley said...

What a journey you have been on to get to this point! Happy tears falling here as well. Congratulations to your entire family!!!!

Alice said...

Congratulations!! I'm crying, too.:)

Sometimes kids with unrepaired clefts get an appliance like a retainer that fits over their palate to help with chewing and speech. It also keeps food from getting into the cleft.

She may need several surgeries on her palate and lip as she grows. She is such a strong little person, and now with a family supporting her, I imagine she will handle it all wonderfully. Beautiful, precious, amazing Zoya!!!

I wish I could tell you how much I would like to rescue the whole groupa! Our family does not qualify in that country. The rest of my family probably wouldn't agree with me, either...not yet, at least.

I'm pretty happy for Joseph, too. He is just too cute for words.

The Land Family said...

Congrats to all the families. I'm so happy for all of you.

Can't wait to see the whole family together.

God Bless,
Amy Land

Sunnie said...

Like many of the others i have been checking this blog continuously today!!!!!! So glad to hear the wonderful news!!! Two new Urbans....wooohoooooo!!
Thanks for letting us share your journey!!
Sunnie in NC

Adeye said...

Yipeeeeee, friend. Totally rejoicing with you. I cannot wait to see those two come home. Oh what a day it will be.

God is so good and so amazing.

Alana said...

Yippee!!! That is wonderful and amazing news. I know this has been such a long process, but worth every minute and soon you will be surrounded by lots of hugs and kisses from five other amazing kids. Soon, very will ALL be home. Congrats!

Jennifer said...

Hooray!! I am so happy for you! Congrats!! Can't wait til you are home with these two precious angels :)

Anonymous said...

LOVE IT! So beautiful!!!


Lisa (DanielsMommy) said...

Tears tears and more tears. We are so happy for you all!! As soon as I saw the scarf pic, I also thought of her future wedding day. Beautiful children...1 amazing family!! Lots of love to you all. I'll put that package in the mail tomorrow:). Love, Lisa Comella

Marlita said...

Can't wait to meet these two! So excited to see how these two will thrive with all the love of your family!

Gretchen said...

Yay, yay, yay, yay, yay!!!!!!!!!1 How exciting and I can't wait for you to see you children at home and then bring your children in Ukraine home. Oh, it will all be sooo wonderful!

Congratulations and blessings!

MamaPoRuski said...

Congratulations! Slava Bogu! Each and every child is precious and each adoption is a MIRACLE! I have met your son and seen his energy level LOL! I am so glad you are bringing him and Zoya home! I am still stunned at how skinny she is! God bless your continued journey, and may others reach out to the orphans as you lead the way by example! HUGS!

Qadoshyah said...

Finally, the court post is here!! Congratulations! So, great you guys finally were able to have court and get that behind you. I know it's seemed long following the blog, I can only imagine how long it has been for you all.

It must be so bittersweet to have to leave them both for a few more weeks :(.

kirsten said... happy for all of you!

Deb D. said...

Joy! Tears. Awe. Delight. Thrills.

I look at the children and think, "Oh, babies. You have no idea." There is such happiness, fulfillment, adventure, love ahead for them. Their lives forever, eternally changed.

Then again I am reminded how this is exactly how it is for us when we join God's family. No wonder this story is so beautiful. There are ever so many representations of what our adoptions mean.

I am over the moon for you all. Such a long "gestation" period for you to go through for your babies. Beautiful how God has brought your family together. Really excited for you to get to kiss on your other children real soon, too. Can't wait to learn of Liesel's adventure when she travels back with John and Heather (?) to gather the children. What an everlasting impression that will make on her.

I'm rambling. I'm signing off now, with a smile in my heart. So pleased your day in court went "smoothly". Can see God in all you shared. :-)

Jennifer said...

Congratulations!!!!! They are SO wonderful!!!!!

JennyH said...

Congrats! I am hoping the wait time goes fast for you guys and Joseph and Zoya.

I have loved following along so far.
Hope your trip home is uneventful!!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. I definitely had tears when I read what your director said about Ms. Zoya. She is such a precious child. I wanted to tell you, my father in law is a pediatrician and is the head of our local cleft lip/palate team here in Florida. This doesn't help you, obviously as you are in OK, but any questions you might have, I can try and get some answers for you. This is kind of his "thing" and is something he is very passionate about.

Christine said...

So happy for the Urban family! Zoya and Joseph are gonna bring so much laughter and love to your already awesome family!

Mom2FourLittleEs said...

YAY! FIVE less orphans in the world today! What amazing news! Congrats!!!

Tracie said...

So happy for you guys, Charissa!
I'm so glad you were able to make the photo albums. It will help the kids so much!
Can't wait to hear about your happy reunion!

jennifer... said...

Tears of joy and awe for those precious children... and for you!

You're a good salesman. I'm ready to go bring one of those little guys home...

Koen Family said...

We are so proud of you guys, and give thanks to the Lord for working in your hearts to say "YES" to the calling We cannot wait to meet Joseph and Zoya in December. We love you and hope that you have a good trip back.

thedickinsonfamily said...

You are blessed & a blessing! So glad the hardest part is over. What an exciting journey this has been. Can't wait until you are home, safe & with your children who you've missed. It won't be long until your ALL home together. Looking forward to the 1st Urban family picture. Soon & very soon.

Jo's Corner said...

I am sobbing! I feel so much Joy in my heart for Zoya and Joseph, but much pain for those little ones left behind. Oh, that Sweet Baby sitting on the floor sucking her thumb...couldn't you tuck her into your suitcase when you go back?? ; )

I'll be Praying for your family as you come home and prepare to bring those two Precious children Home.

God Bless You ~ Jo

June Berger said...

Happy tears of joy! How wonderful that you got to spend time with other RR families while you were there. Zoya is such a tiny little thing....she's got such a happy smile, how pleased she was with her scarf and ring....awww.
Joseph is adorable with his tie, or I should say, Daddy's tie. Praying the twelve days fly by so you can be reunited with your children and bring them to their forever family.

MoonDog said...

congratulations! zoya looks a lot like Andre. so scrawny and tiny. all bones! are you as exhausted as we are?

NDMom said...

Congratulations from Bella's Family to yours! What a wonderful day! Love, Paula "Bella's Mama"

markay714 said...

congrats! it'll be on to real life before you know it!

Carmencita said...

Hola ,me alegro mucho de que todo haya salido bien.Estoy leyendo su historia de adopcion de Jose y Zoya ,me parecen unos niños preciosos y creo que Zoya tiene mucho en comun con nuestra hija Olga, tambien adoptada en Ucrania en julio del 2009 lleva con nosotros un año .Cuando miro a Zoya me recuerda mucho a Olga . La Historia de su pequeña y corta vida es igual, igual que la vida de nuestra pequeña Olga, he estado llorando leyendola pues Olga le pasó lo mismo ,la abandonaron con dos meses de vida en un hospital en Kirovograd (Ucrania) se ha criado sin padre ni madre ,sola, con muchos problemas ,sin cariño y sin atenciones minimas de amor ,pero Dios ha querido que ella fuera nuestra y estaba esperandonos durante cuatro años esperó nuestra llegada y por fin esta en casa con sus hermanos y sus papas .Olga tambien tiene paladar hendido,le hicieron la operacion quirurgica en Kiev muy mal hecha,pero aqui en España ya la hemos hecho una primera operacion de paladar y quedan alguna mas dos o tres ,ademas tiene una carita muy parecida a Zoya.
Espero puedan entender mi idioma español ,no hablo ni escribo ingles pero con el traductor google leo cada dia su preciosa historia de adopcion .
un saludo muy cordial .
Carmen desde Madrid ,España.
El año pasado coincidimos en Ucrania con Cristina y Juan (la familia Reed) adoptaron a su hijo Alex .

the Gower Fam said...

Yay!!! So glad to hear! That is so wonderful! Loved all the pics and stories brought me to tears! So happy for you all and can't wait to see those precious children home with you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Charissa and John,
I'm so happy for you. This has been an amazing miracle to say the least. It's part of the whole journey, watching what God can do and will do as you become one big family full of love. Love heals, and just like Marlita said, I'm anxious to see how the love of your family helps these two kids thrive and blossom.
Bless your hearts and blessings to all of the people that prayed and cared for your family while you were gone. I love you all, Aunt Sharon

Anonymous said...

Ok, in case you don't know Spanish I will translate Carmencita's message. It says: "Hi, I'm very glad everything went fine. I've been reading your adoption story of Joseph and Zoya, I think they are really cute kids and I believe Zoya has a lot in common with our daughter Olga, also adopted from Ukraine in June 2009, she's been with us for a year now. Her life story is the same as our little Olga's, I've cried reading it because the same thing happened to Olga, she was abandoned when she was 2 months old at a hospital in Kirovograd (Ukraine), she was raised without a father or a mother, alone, with a lot of problems, without love and without attention, but God wanted her to be ours and she was waiting for us for 4 years and finally she's home with her brothers and her parents. Olga also has a cleft palate, she had surgery in Kiev but it didn't go well, but here in Spain she had one surgery and she still have to get 2 or 3 more. Her little face looks a lot like Zoya's.
I hope you can understand my language, I don't speak English but with Google translator I read your blog everyday.
PS: Last year we met with Christine and John (the Reed family) while they where adopting their son Alex in Ukraine.

Charissa said...

Thank you Anonymous! :)

soontobemomof9 said...

Little Zoya is skinnier than Tavi, and I didn't think that was possible! But she and Joseph are such beautiful little children! Hooray that they are finally Urbans!

Bethany said...

Oh, my goodness. She is ALL GIRL! Super adorable. I am SO happy for your family. I've known about Zoya for a while through Jaime and I am just so in awe that she has a family now. This is fantastic, wonderful news. A HUGE Congratulations! I'll be following along as they come home.

Sheryl said...

Congratulations! Adoption is such a precious event! Just wanted to say that my 17 yr. old daughter was born with a cleft palate. She was in the hospital for 3 weeks. She had to be fed with a special squeezable bottle. She came home with a monitor, since she couldn't be put to sleep on her back. Her tongue would fall over her airway and she could not breathe. So we held her on her side as well. It was repaired when she was 14 months old. It was about a 4 hour surgery. They trimed a semi-circle of skin near the hole and folded it over and sewed it. She had some speech therapy at 5. Today you could not tell that she had a cleft palate. Don't know how severe Zoya's is... but I also have a childhood friend who's son also had a cleft that effected his lip and gum. They took bone out of his hip and repaired his gum. He's had about four surgeries. They have a whole team of people at one of the universities in my state that are very knowledgeable about clefts. I'm sure there are teams of professionals in your state too. God bless and take care.

Rhonda said...

Praise the Lord!!! I love reading about your family. You all are such an inspiration! God bless you and yours! I am so happy for you!

Anonymous said...

This comment is a little late but I just started reading your blog. I have to comment on how AMAZED I am that Zoya survived. My daughter was born with a cleft palate and the feeding was extremely difficult. Babies with a cleft palate cannot suck so someone must have made a great deal of effort to make sure that Zoya didn't simply starve to death. How blessed you all are!