Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Serious Stuff

  The best way to explain our "court" today is to compare it to a trip to a social services department.  Our first visit with them was to basically hand us the kids and tell us when to check in with the and to remind all of us that we are being watched  ;-)  We checked in a few times at the offices, ticked off our list of tourist accomplishments, and continued our "bonding time."  Today, the "orphan court" (social services) deemed us acceptable candidates to adopt these children.  As Dima is 13, he had to sign his own legal documents stating his desire to be adopted.  As Natasha is only 11, she was simply asked if she wanted to be adopted or not.

  Latvia is quite unique, because at this point, most countries make the parents go home until a "real" court date.  Kids in other countries stay in their home country.  But Latvia allows the kids to come home with the potential parents.  We are now approved to adopt. as per the social services division.  A flurry of papers must be submitted, from all parties--our attorney, the "orphan court", and us.  Once all these papers are in the proper hands, we will be granted proper court dates in about 2 months or sooner.  And that means we come BACK to Latvia.  But only for a few days, thankfully.  BUt legally, they are not our kids yet.

  Now comes the serious part.  Up until a few days ago, I was not nervous about adding two kids.  But I would be a big, fat liar to say I stayed that way.  In fact, I am not sure what a panic attack is, but I may have had one a few nights ago.  Sleepless, agitated, second guessing myself, sending my husband half-baked, ranting e-mails asking him if we had BOTH lost our MINDS.  I would like to thank both him and a friend of mine for reaching across the Atlantic and whacking some sense into me.  Repetitive nights of disco, drunks, and jackhammers can make you a little deranged--and I started further down the scale than most  ;-)

  After the court, I was still in a little bit of shock.  Well, a lot.  Anyone that tells you that adoption is just one happy journey and blah, blah, blah is really full of you-know-what.  I would imagine every parent has second guessed, hoped, prayed, and kept those fingers crossed for kids that turn out to be model students, citizens.  But really, the anxiety comes form not knowing.  We KNOW our biological kids, their past....but we really can't predict their future any more clearly than we can predict the future of Dima and Natasha either, can we?  This is what unnerves me.  Uncertainty.  I like a plan.

We arrived in our new hotel in Riga tonight after another long drive and a trip to the American Embassy (can we see those shoes??  those shoes are setting off the alarm, lady).  We open the room to the junior suite I booked (no, this is not a splurge--it's the only room that would hold 3), and the kids simultaneously let out a huge "OOOOOOhhhh Mommmmm!" and set out to explore.  "OOOOh MOM!  Dey have zees!  What zees eez, Mooom??  Zey have MANY Mom!""  They had never been to a hotel before their first night with us just a few days back.  Now they are discovering the joys of an American style hotel--little shampoos! shower caps! SOAP!!!!! the mini bar!!!!!  (THEY HAVE BEEN WARNED TO STAY AWAY!)  

  They are adjusting remarkably well to American middle class life already.  Natasha, mimicking me, says, "Moooom, deez hotel no smell like da smoke!" and Dima is master of the remote.   

  In parting I will share today's funniest conversation as we are getting ready for bed....
  Natasha (shocked!):  MOM!  Why you hang your bra?  (it's hanging on a hook in the bathroom)
  Dima:  What eezz da bra??
  Me (laughing and pantomiming by holding my hands in front of my chest):  It's what girls wear here!
  Dima (disgusted): Mooooom!  Fooooo!  Eet's NOT GOOOOOOD!

  Some pics for your enjoyment:

Dima affirming his desire to be adopted

View from the Domina of Riga

Michael likes the suspension bridge--pretty cool

another church view

flowers on my balcony

Kids (no, they are not sharing a bed)


Natasha ranching it up with a fancy glass


  1. Oh, she is a doll! :) FOOO seems to be the word for "yuck" as the girls did it all the time when we would kiss each other (me and Brian) during hosting ... just to make them say FOOOO! Prayers on your journey back! Now starts the fun part!

  2. Oh, and Senzhana has the same nightgown!:)

  3. That won't be the last anxiety attack you have, but what joys come with them! The roller coaster is just starting. Enjoy every hill and valley.....oh, and there is light at the end of the tunnel!

  4. I had that moment in Ukraine last month!!! What the H am I doing? Weren't 5 kids enough? What if she can't adjust, gets pg, does drugs etc etc etc etc. I would have hopped on a plane and dropped it all if I could have.
    A month at home today and she is adjusting spectacularly. The really important thing with an older child is that they want a family, want a new life and know that they will have the same panic and up and down as we do. They just handle it a little better!!

  5. Love the post. The kids look great! And happy. :) Anxiety? I didn't adopt any kids and I still wonder if I've lost my mind with the ones I've got! See you in a couple of days. Have a safe trip home!!

  6. I have no doubt the Starr family will be just fine - all EIGHT of you!!! :)