I'm going to do several posts in a row. This post is from yesterday, a few things I wrote on the plane.
Trip 3, 1/12/13-1/13/13
A few days before Christmas, I started to hear rumblings come out of Moscow that the government there was considering an adoption ban of some sort to Americans. There have been rumblings like this before, in fact, just in July Russia finally signed and passed a new bi-lateral treaty with the US regarding adoption. It had just gone into effect a few weeks earlier, on November 1st. They wanted more access to the children who had been adopted, in the form of more post-placement reports and even being allowed to send officials to the states to physically check on the kids. Of course, this all came about because of the woman from Tennessee who sent her adopted son back on a plane to Russia. If only this woman could have seen what her one act would do.
This new adoption ban talk was started when President Obama signed into law the Magnitsky Act, prohibiting human rights abusers from entering the US. The Russians were offended and felt this act put our nose in their business and retaliated by passing a similar act, but then adding on that adoptions by Americans would no longer be allowed.
Of course, those of us in process thought, okay, even if they are serious, this just means no NEW adoptions. While this would be a horrible situation for the orphans, using them as political pawns in a bad case of hurt feelings, I felt like we personally would definitely be safe because we had already passed court and our 30 day wait was going to be up in a week.
The rumblings soon turned to outright talk which soon turned into passage of their act, named the Dima law (after an adopted child who was accidentally killed in America). Still, we held out hope, thinking surely President Putin would veto this bill, an obvious emotional reaction but not rational at all. However, three days later Putin signed the bill into law. Not only would this stop new adoptions, but lawmakers were now saying that any Russian children who were in Russia after January 1st 2013 would stay in Russia. This meant our little boy.
As you can imagine, the past few weeks have been one giant roller coaster of emotions. The news as well has been just as chaotic. One day things sound very grim, like above, the next, one lawmaker has introduced an amendment that would allow special needs adoptions to continue. A few days later, this same lawmaker takes his own amendment off the table. A few days after that, we are told that those who passed court would be allowed to bring their children home.
While all of this is happening, we are in contact with the US State Department, who seem to know no more than we do, and we are just told that they are continuing to inquire of the Russian government and will pass along any information as they receive it. Russia is being silent to all inquiries. Implementation of the law is still up in the air. Officials at the courts, passport offices, and vital statistics offices have no idea how they are to proceed. Some are refusing to do anything until they receive further clarification. Others are cautiously moving forward until they are told to stop. Our own judge at first said she would still issue the decree, since we had court before this new law officially went into effect. But then, just a few days ago we received word that she has called a new hearing and wants to speak to Gabriel's orphanage director again to make sure she is still in favor of his adoption.
It is in this chaotic and uncertain environment that we are now on a plane, heading to Amsterdam, Germany, then on to Moscow. We are arriving on a Sunday afternoon. We were supposed to pick him up Monday morning, but now we can't. The hearing is on Tuesday. We know that the director will speak favorably of us. We were told she would "fight to the end" to get Gabriel home to us. But the judge....we just have no inclination of her feelings yet. She could hear what the director has to say and immediately grant our decree. Or maybe she has cold feet and will tell us to come back in a month after the Supreme Court has had time to review the new law and there is further direction on implementation. The uncertainty is killing me. I have a constant head ache, I wake up and immediately check the news out of Moscow and in my Russia facebook group. I hold my breath while I read the latest, at once hopeful and terrified.
BUT, we are going. We will hold vigil in our hotel room until Tuesday when we will get further direction on what we are supposed to do. If the judge issues our decree, we will spend the rest of the week trying to obtain his new birth certificate, his exit visa, his Russian passport, and his entry visa to the US. Our agency has told us she guesses we will have to stay over the weekend and finish up paperwork the beginning of the next week. I hope she's wrong! I know the US embassy is rushing entry visas for families and working very hard at expediting all paperwork. But we could face some resistance at the passport or vital statistics offices.
It is also our hope that we will get to see our boy on Monday anyway, just for a visit. Although I have to admit it might be difficult to contain all these emotions when we're with him, among all this uncertainty.
Today we received many emails, texts, facebook messages, and phone calls wishing us well and letting us know that we are being prayed for and thought of. This makes me come to tears just writing about it because it is the most humbling and comforting feeling to know there is all this support out there. To say thank you seems so inadequate, but it is all there is to say. So thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, with all that we are, thank you.