Court went amazing!
Our facilitator and the social worker had been very nervous about our case because of the judge we were assigned. We were told to prepare a speech that was very detailed. I guess they like when you say everything and they dont need to ask any questions. We had decided I would give our opening speech which was about 10 minutes long and was about our whole lives and details of our family, income, why we want to adopt, etc. The panel would be open for question and then Rob would give the closing speech which was just basically us formally asking permission to adopt Ivy and the changes we wanted made on her new birth certificate.
Standing in front of a judge, prosecutor, social worker, 2 jurors, and orphanage lawyer can be quite intimidating. Especially when all the "experts" are nervous! And, if you know me in real life you would know I am not one who likes to be center of attention. You have them telling you what to say, what not to say, be prepared for hard questions, they think you will profit somehow money wise from this adoption, why adopt a sick child..... The questions will not be polite and they will not be shy in asking any and all details of our lives. Throw in a moody, arrogant judge who has been known to be unpredictable and well, this can all add up to a serious case of nerves!
I was never worried of the outcome. I could see no reason why they would not let us adopt Ivy. I was worried that the judge would some how try and make us look foolish. I didn't know if what I was going to say would be good enough for him. These judges seem to have a higher than thou attitude and like to put people in their place. That is what I was worried about.
But God was there. We felt it. I think everyone did but had no idea it was Him. There was such a calm in the room. Everyone on the other side(judge, prosecutor, jurors) were smiling. Everyone stood and introduced themselves. I immediately was asked to stand and speak. I was not nervous. My heart was not racing. I felt peace and confidence in what I was saying. When my turn was up Rob was asked to stand and say if he agreed. He added in some great things about how much he loved Ivy, was ready to be her father, and was excited to watch her grow and see what she can accomplish.
It is routine that they then ask us questions. But there were none. We covered it all and they liked what they heard. The judge threw out a question to us each, more just so it could be said we were asked questions. He asked me what treatments we have for DS in the United States and he asked Rob(who is Chinese) why we did not adopt from China, haha. He was trying to be funny on that last one. I guess others were very embarrassed that he asked that but we were not offended. We actually thought it was funny too.
We were told to wait in the hall while they came to their conclusion. Most people wait 20-30 minutes. Sometimes the judge says come back in 1 or 2 hrs. Sometimes this judge with holds his ruling for a few days just because he can. We were in the hall for literally seconds before they called us back in and said congratulations! Our facilitator was so excited(and relieved!) and the social worker commented several times to me and to the others in charge back at the orphanage how well we spoke and that she was very impressed. She told them all how we needed to be the examples for everyone and that in her whole career she has only seen a speech that well 2 other times.
That is God! We did not do so well because we are awesome people that are good under pressure. It was all God. He calmed our fears, gave us confidence, blessed our words, and softened hearts in that room. Prayers were answered.
And now one little girl who was an orphan yesterday is now a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, and cousin. She is ours. Forever.