Russian Word of the Day

  • present = padarak

Friday, April 10, 2009

Court date and packing out.

Day 31
I'm sitting at my customary spot on a hard wooden chair in the dining room, sipping strong bitter tea and squinting a little at the glare off of the white plastic table cloth. I've sat in this exact spot for the past 30 days, typing madly, muttering to myself and watching a small square of Kokshetau out the barred window. The grey shadows of the torn plastic bags snagged in the tree outside flutter frantically in the wind. The buildings, and branches, and cars behind the pane are just faded silloettes painted on the white cotton drape that's nailed to the window at the corners. It is bright but muted. This is my last corner of Kokshetau. There are no more morning trips to the babyhouse. No Skulka in the afternoon. No more kisses for Calvin at the Viola store. No more mandatory cultural education at museums and theaters. No more dancing around this absurdly peach living room with Calvin. We are pulling up stakes and pulling back from life here.
A moment ago I would have said that Kokshetau was pulling back from us, too. Ali and his sisters aren't out in the front yard playing with the trucks that Calvin left in the mud. The day, though bright, is too windy to enjoy. The world we entered for a month felt distant. Then, my self indulgant brooding was decimated by our ridiculously loud door bell, which plays 15 seconds of selected lullalbies (this time it was "Frere Jacques") at volumes that seem like an assault on the ear canal. Our coordinator's 14 year old son, Dustyr, showed up at our door in his customary stocking cap and clean black boots. He is starting to learn English for an study exchange program in Boston this summer. So far, however, (besides telling mom that his younger sister was 81 years old,) the only word we have heard him say is "yes," which was his answer to absolutely every question we asked when he chaparoned us to a Kokshetau history museum last week. The poor kid, sweet but painfully shy, has been forced to tote Mom and I around the city on various occasions. We seem especially loud and clumsy around this slight and silent boy. He has endured our presence with the quiet resignation of a boy forced to wear his mother's hat to school. Today, however, he was sent to wish us well. He smiled and refused our offer of tea with a firm wave of his hand. Then he sighed and as if mustering his courage took a scrap of paper from his pocket. "You," he said, and held out the paper. On the paper, obviously copied from a Russian to English dictionary was the word "Bored." Mom and I both read and repeated the word with confusion and slightly veiled amusement. Dustyr, however, didn't seem to notice. He tapped a giant hand against his heart and repeated with affection "bored. you." Then he hugged us both and left. Oh, I love Kazakhstan.
See, I can't stay mad. Court today was so trying and getting to kiss my baby one last time, while dropping off gifts for the caregivers, absolutely ripped at my heart. I was drained and angry and wanted to throw the kind of screaming tantrum that Calvin launches when he is truly exhausted. Then Kazakhstan sends Dustyr to our door and I can't help but smile.
So you are probably wondering about court. All and all, everything went fine... but it's not official yet. Here's how it went down. Tim gave a speech. Everyone sung our praises, quite genuinely I think, and recommended that the court grant our petition to adopt Garrett. But, when it came right down to it, the judge said that she would make her decision on Monday. Tim and I had a moment of real panic at this point. What had gone wrong?!! Makhabbat seemed confused, too. Everyone shuffled out, then, leaving us with hearts racing and tears welling. Then our coordinator, Dustyr's mom Shizada, came in, took me by the hand and told us not to worry. She led us to the judge's chamber. The judge explained that our petition was all set to be granted and in fact she had already signed it, but that she couldn't file it yet because the prosecutor assigned to our case was on vacation. The attorney in the court room had just been filling in. When the real attorney returns on Monday, our petition will be granted. She smiled and congratulated us and took pictures. She acted like it was a done deal...but it is a little scary knowing that it isn't official. I just have to trust that it will happen. Everyone "in the know" seems confident that our petition will be granted. They congratulated us and took pictures.
I wanted to hear the judge say that we are Garrett's parents... but we'll be in America when the job actually gets done. It all amounts to the same thing, but without the moment of gratification and relief that most couples have. I really wanted that moment! Instead, I have a tense gleam in my eye and a thundering headache. Oh well. It'll happen. It'll happen. I just have to keep believing that it'll happen!
Tonight, we are going out one last time for kebabs with Makhabbat and Arajan and the Oliver's, a really nice family adopting a baby from Garrett's group. I finally managed to get Calvin down for a nap. So, with him rested, we have a shot at making it a nice evening together. I just have to keep my panic about the court proceedings at bay. Vodka might help. After all, when in Rome...



Channing said...

Congratulations, Garrett's parents!!! It's DONE, guys. It really is. He is your son and I'm so proud of you and happy for you. It's been a long road and I don't know anyone who could or would handle this process with such optomism, grace, and dignity. He is Garrett Ruslan Snyder!

The Gobble's (Lanetta) said...

hey guys..
I haven't visited your blog in a few days.. and wow!! lots have happened... oh my.. little Sasha found a family... I hope we can keep up with him.. Phil and I have been PRAYING... I mean PRAYING about him!!! I'd love to know if you are able to keep up with him... we'd love to as well!

awesome about Garrett!! So sorry it's so hard.. I can't imagine.. Just know we are praying for you and that you'll get back to your baby soon....

Jay said...

Без перевода!

Did that come out? It's supposed to be "Congratulations!" in Russian.

I have been following your adventures with interest. You have all done something remarkable there and have a lot to be proud of. The court delay should just be a tiny speedbump that will soon become a distant memory.

Safe travels.

Sam, Ryan, and Gabby said...

Congratulations you guys, you made it! Garrett is now a Snyder, it is just amazing and so wonderful. I have been praying for you and too see you all dressed up in your court clothes and hugging your boy afterwards just makes me cry tears of joy. We are so excited for you. I am sure you are going through so many emotions, but remember how far you have come and you've been so strong! You travel safe & congratulations again!
Gabby, Ryan, and Sam