Hear ye, hear ye, gather around.
Our royal highness has been found.
Another Princess to share the throne.
We're happy to call her our very own!
Sara Lily Lutkin
Today was another big day! We are so happy to say that the wait is over, Sara is finally ours. Although we still have to wait 10 days to break her out of the orphanage, she officially became a Lutkin today. The court hearing was nothing like I had expected. It all took place in an office. No judge dressed in a black robe, no holding up your right hand and taking an oath, no courtroom. We simply walked into a room, sat amongst a social worker, the orphanage director, our facilitator and the judge and then the proceedings began. We were a bit worried because our appointment was scheduled for 9:30 but at 9:25 we were still waiting for a cab. Traffic was horrendous today so by the time we got picked up, sat in a standstill traffic jam, we arrived an hour late. We were reassured not to worry because every one else involved including the judge was also going to be late because of the traffic.
After all of the legal stuff was read, confirmation of our names, birth dates, etc. it was my turn to stand and speak to the judge (since I am the official family spokesperson appointed by Mark). There were no questions asked, but I was told to tell her of the things I felt she might like to know and why we have chosen to adopt a child with special needs. I had no intentions of crying at all, but the minute I opened my mouth, the flood gates opened. I just began by letting her know that we do not see children with special needs as children with special needs. We see them as children who need love and feel that every child deserves a family. We feel like we have room in our hearts and our home for another little one and Sara is the one we have chosen. I spoke about our home, family, extended family, community, schools, early intervention programs, the Down syndrome family in Utah, and other Down syndrome networks who provide support. She then asked me if we have any experience with Down syndrome and my reply was our connection that we have with our friend's (Cox's) children and others who have children with Down syndrome and that Mark had worked in a mental institution for 2 years in England. I let her know that although we do not have direct experience with Ds we do have experience with special needs as Liam is our special little boy. She also asked about our oldest and how he feels about our decision to adopt a child with Ds. I let her know that Cole is a very responsible, smart, loving kid and that he is fine and accepting of our decision.Then it was Mark's turn. She asked if there was anything he would like to add and he said that I (Jodi) am the driving force in our home. And as the head of our home, he supports the decisions that I (Jodi) make in regards to our family. He said that he supports this decision to adopt again. He said that he loves children and can provide financially for another one and offer love to another little one. Then he made it very clear that we were done at 5!
Now I have to say that it used to bug me when Mark would say things like "he supports the decisions that I (Jodi) make regarding our family" because I always felt like he felt like he didn't really have a say. I felt like he is just "supporting" what I feel to appease me. But then I brought it to his attention that as a mother I feel like I am the one who would receive inspiration regarding our children and he understood. So now I realize that he supports me because he trusts my judgement. What a good man. Even in the beginning when we had told our friends that we were following in their footsteps and adopting through Reece's Rainbow, Mark had said that he didn't need to get an answer to know whether or not we should do it. It was a bit shocking but what he meant was how can you pray about an orphan with special needs who needs a home or else they live the rest of their life in a mental institution and ask, 'Should we do it?" He said of course we should do it. Again, he not only trusted my inspiration but also supported this righteous desire. Of course any decision has to be a mutual decision and it has to be right for our family but if it is right, it will eventually happen. So here we are! It took a while to get here but we are here and here feels good!
The social worker had to stand and agree that us adopting Sara was supported by the social services for children. The orphanage director also agreed that it was in the best interest of Sara to become part of our family. He made it known that we are very "persistent" and have a genuine concern and interest for her and seem to be very caring parents. He brought to her attention that we have called every day since she has been in the hospital and that he has families who have children in the orphanage and after 3 weeks in the hospital, they never call. He pointed out that I was a very affectionate mother and could tell that from the first time we had met Sara. Not to toot our own horn but if feels good to know that our love for her is obvious. The judge also asked to look at our photo book and we even showed her the video that I had made. They both made her very happy and she loved them. She was a very kind and caring judge. The moment I saw her my fears were no longer fears. It was obvious that she has a love for children too and I am very grateful that she was our judge. After the meeting was over we had to leave the room for her to make a decision then minutes later we returned where she declared that we are Sara's parents! I got very teary eyed as she read her decision and felt a sense of peace and love. I am a mama for the 5th time! What a feeling! So now we wait and on October 2nd, she will be in our arms forever. She will leave her old life and begin a new journey! Even though we can't wait, we have to wait. But that's nothing new, this blog is brought to you by the word "Wait" and the number "10".
We were planning on visiting Sara at the hospital today. The orphanage director was going to go with us right after court. But instead of having to go to the hospital, we were told that she was coming back to the orphanage today and we could stop by later to visit. We were so excited to finally see her again, especially on the day that she became officially ours. In order to get to the orphanage for 5 pm we have to leave our apartment at 4 pm. Well at 3 pm the phone rings and it was Yulia to say she wasn't coming back afterall. They were keeping her still because of her runny nose and although she did not have a fever, her temperature was 1 degree higher than it needed to be to be released. My first reaction was, "You've got to be joking?" "OK where are the cameras?" I am officially being punked. But no, no, it was no joke. I hung up and just accepted it once again but then I thought no, no, something has to be done. Today is a day of celebration and we can't even see our newly declared daughter? I called Yulia and asked if she could please contact the chief doctor so we could go visit her in the hospital. She said she would keep trying and let me know. Now I know that Yulia was doing all that she could do and I really appreciated her effort, I just hoped that this time it would work.
I immediately called my mom and started crying. Cry Fest 2012, round two. I just couldn't believe that we couldn't see her again. I almost felt as if we had just adopted a baby girl who doesn't even exist any more. Although the problem wasn't solved, speaking to my mom made me feel better because that's what a phone call to your mom does. She knows the pain I feel because she feels that same pain just being a mom. To my surprise, minutes after I hung up with my mom, the phone rings. It was Yulia to say that we can visit Sara at the hospital after 6 pm. It was a Christmas miracle! I hurried and called my mom to tell her the wonderful news and she was just as thrilled as I was. She said that she was just praying, "Please Heavenly Father, let them see their baby." Another prayer answered. Thanks Mom! So we did end up seeing our baby girl tonight. We took the train, met Yulia's husband who was going to take us to the hospital and off we went. I couldn't tell you where the hospital was or how we got there, but we had arrived. We found out where she was and with permission from the chief doctor, we got to see Sara. Alleluia! The hospital was a bit shabby and her room was a bit cramped, with 6 cribs in it, but the conditions were better than I had expected. I could hear her crying and I hurried to her bedside as quick as I could. I wasn't sure if we could pick her up but I did anyway and just cuddled her with all my might. We had to wear masks so I am sure she couldn't see my face, but I am positive she knew who I was. I think she remembered that feeling called "love" and knew that "love" would never leave her again. Poor baby does have a runny nose but otherwise she looked great. I was a bit concerned because she was sharing a room with a little boy who was also from the orphanage, who had a terrible, wet cough and looked very ill. Their beds were side by side, so I am pretty sure that she would be better off in the orphanage then to be in a germ infested room in a germ infested hospital. But again it's one of those things that is out of my control. All that mattered at that very moment was that we were there. We could stay for only 10 minutes but that 10 minutes was enough to fill my empty cup. I was able to tell her that she was ours and that her new name was Sara which means "Princess". It was very hard to leave her and the minute we raised the crib and had to say goodbye, she started to cry. Tough stuff but at least we know she does exist and she knows that we do too. Our little princess may still have to stay in the hospital until her runny nose goes away, but at least we now have permission to visit her. I am so grateful to Yulia and her husband Yuri for their help and persistence, and all others who had a part to play in our happy ending today!(Pictures to follow tomorrow, I need to get to bed.)
Welcome to our family Princess! Welcome to the world Sara Lily Lutkin!