In the adoption circles when a child is officially adopted it is called the "Gotcha Day"
Today is our Gotcha Day!!!!!
May I be the first in the world to pubically announce our latest addition... Gianna Grace Marie
June 9, 2005 Day 15
Born September 28, 2002 in Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, Reborn to Bill & Marie on June 9, 2005

We went for our morning visit with Aidana and she has really come around. She does not seem to be inhibited nearly as much as those first days. She comes to us immediately, hugs us and smiles most of the time. We played outside; she highly disagreed when Marie wouldn’t let her finish all of the treats in the bag.

Outside she has really been just a funny little girl; the looks she gives are something else. We have been bringing her water and she sometimes “downs it’ in seconds! She does very well when Marie brings her to the potty room. She has a new attitude when we leave SHE DOES NOT LIKE IT! Before she would just “submit” to the caregivers but now she vocalizes her opposition.
We were getting ready for court; luckily Lisa is a former hairdresser and offered to do Marie’s hair. We really think that God has actually sent them to help us through this as they have been there for us the past few days during our worries and made this so much more bearable. We shall never forget the friendship they have shown us. I know we have started a life-long relationship and bond with them. Aidana and Katya have lived together over 2 years and I’m sure they feel like family to each other. We will keep this bond throughout their life and hope to visit each other once back in the states
Now onto the big event… We arrived at the courthouse with Habiba, nervous and scared of what Aidana’s birth mother’s decision was going to be. She actually has the right to stop the whole process in its tracks and send us packing. We walked through the halls, entered this small room, painted in the traditional Kazakh blue with the country’s flag over the Judge’s bench. There was a small gated area for, I am assuming, criminals off to the side. In the room, already sitting was Rose, the social worker and Albena, the baby house director. Two of the most compassionate and hard working children’s advocates you could ever meet. Albena is the “head mother” to these children and is very proud of that fact. The all call her momma and they mean it.

The court reported was first to enter, then the prosecutor and finally the judge. We all stood just like at home, the Russian/Kazakh languages began to fly and we sat there dumbfounded. Habiba quietly whispered from behind us what was being said. They asked who would speak and of course Marie offered my head for the “chopping block”! We were told our rights including a right to review the information, a right to speak in court, a right to translated documents etc. I was asked if we agreed with our petitions, our intentions, and if I wanted to add anything to our petition.
I could hardly speak a word. I mumbled at first to Habiba as I told her my name, address and date of birth. We both sat there in tears wondering what and when they would speak to the mother, as we knew she was waiting downstairs. We have heard the prosecutor could ask many questions and even disagree with the adoption, we were scared of her. We were then floored as the judge asked “if we knew about the mother in the United States that killed the boy from Russia” (in reality, it occurred about 5 miles from our home) I could not believe that this one woman has negatively impacted the whole international adoption process. I just cry when I think of how many future children will suffer from the ramifications of this woman. I wish I could get out the thousands of good outcomes and stories international adoptions have had. I am just sick over it. I remember when we first arrived; Habiba asked us if we heard about this also. The world is really smaller than I imagined, how fast this news spread

They left the courtroom to talk to the mother, which was the hardest time we had waiting for their return. Rose and Albena went with them, which made us feel much better as they clearly were looking out for the Aidana’s interests. Upon their return we looked to their faces for any favorable sigh and Albena was the first to smile at us as if to say, stop worrying. We finally felt like this was going to be a good day and some of the tension was relieved. The judge continued reading the documents and Habiba was whispering what was being said, the most beautiful and saddest words she began to say was that the mother understood her rights and would not stop an adoption of Aidana and would not seek her in the future. We found out that it was in her best interest not to seek her. From that point on, they could have been talking in “pig-Latin:” for all we know, we just had tears and grins from ear to ear. All we could think about were the people that got us to this point. Rose, Habiba and Albena.
The judge left the room to deliberate and we had the chance for hugs and kisses for the three angels that helped us. It was unbelievable to hear the words upon the judge’s return, even though in Russian, we knew that she was allowing us to be new parents of this little gift. We cannot believe the feeling we had when we first heard the words Gianna Grace Marie Paul spoken for the first time!

I have overlooked probably the most important woman throughout these writings, that would be Vinola from Adopt a Miracle. We owe this woman a lifetime of gratitude. She has made the beginning process so much easier that we thought it could be. I don’t know of any other agency that calls us here in Kaz on a regular basis to check up on us and see if we need anything. From the start she has been honest, up front and straightforward with us in providing 100% accurate information. We have heard so many stories of agencies “dropping the ball” and having mis-information that Vinola from Adopt a Miracle will be the only agency I would ever recommend to anyone, period. I will in the near future have links to her sites and information to contact her on our site.
Bill
The morning started with everyone in the house teasing me that I was going into labor ”Without an epideral”. Not far from the truth! It would have been much less stressful if there were not birthmother issues. We felt so bad about it; our intention was to help a child not to possibly hurt a mother. We had no idea we were to confront this problem when dealing with an orphan that was given up at birth 2.5 years ago. Do to extenuating circumstances her mother was not able to care for her. This new law only brings up a lot of pain for these mothers who were courageous enough to choose a better life for their babies. I hope changes are made very soon. While in court I couldn’t help but think of all the parents that went before us and who sat in those very chairs. Then went home to offer anyone their help. Including my dearest Internet friends Michelle and Margie. After the trials of the past 2 days has been dubbed the nickname “the voice of America”! (Margie I will tell you about this later) Bill joked that we caused an international scandal!

What an awesome experience this has been. We are so grateful with Gods plan that he sent us here to share our experiences with two of the most precious people, Gene and Lisa, I don’t know how we would of made it the past 2 days without them. They really have been a God send.

After court we went to the baby house to see GIANNA she was there sitting on Gene’s lap. When she saw us she came running. I picked her up while standing next to Bill she raised her hand to pull his cheek toward her and kissed his cheek as if she knew what had just happened. Could it have been any better then this? When we got home we were greeted with hugs and kisses from the entire family.
Marie
Four determined women
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