I know, I know! I REALLY need to stop with the disappearing acts, but have no fear, I am still here and I am still stressed!
In the way of an update, our dossier DID make it to court, and quickly. It did not happen on April 28th as we had hoped, but it was there by the 30th and the potential disaster that we had been concerned about was, fortunately, averted! Last Wednesday morning, as the kids and I were heading out the door for Philadelphia, we received our court date! Our hearing has been scheduled for THIS FRIDAY, May 14th at 9:30 am (Bulgarian time)!
We are, of course, ecstatic that we received such a quick court date, however, with the good news, often comes the bad. Though we received a quick court date, the judge that has been assigned to our case has also requested additional paperwork. Fortunately, nothing is required on our part. Unfortunately, the requested paperwork is reports, completed by Social Services in the girls' respective towns, stating whether or not the girls are visited by birth parents or other relatives and if adoption is in the girls' best interest.
The concerns: The first concern with this request is the amount of time that Social Services has to complete the reports and get them to court (both towns are far enough away from Sofia that the reports must be mailed and they MUST be to court by the time of our hearing). Because there was a national holiday in Bulgaria (St. Georges Day) at the end of last week, Social Services could not begin preparing the reports until Monday. We received word from our attorney this morning that Lily's report has been completed and mailed, but she has been unable to get an update on Alayna's report because Social Services in her town will not take her calls (though the Director of the orphanage did call on Monday to say that Social Services had contacted her). If both of the girls reports are not at the court by 9:30 am on Friday morning, our hearing will have to be rescheduled. We are praying that both reports will arrive in time, but there is a very good chance that they will not and that the hearing will be rescheduled. If it is, we are hopeful that, since the judge was so quick to issue our initial court date, she will be equally quick in rescheduling.
Our second concern is that Alayna's birth mother and several of her relative DO visit her. When we arrived at the orphanage in March to meet Alayna, the Director informed us that her birth mother and grandparents visit twice a year (usually on her birthday and at Christmas). While surprised to learn this, I was happy to know that Alayna had known the love of her birth mother and her grandparents and hoped that we might be able to send them regular updates and pictures so that they could remain a part of her life. I will admit, after losing Little Boy when his birth mother made the decision to withdraw consent for adoption, I was very nervous about the possibility that Alayna's mother might choose to do the same, but the orphanage director tried to calm my fears by explaining that her mother had never expressed a desire to remove her from the orphanage.
Obviously two visits a year does not compare to having a permanent home and family and much-needed medical care (and all involved in this situation know that adoption IS in Alayna's best interest. . .if she is not adopted she will remain in the orphanage, will not receive the medical care that will help her meet her full potential and, once she reaches adulthood, despite the fact that she is very smart and very able, she will be placed in an adult institution), but the decision now rests with Social Services and, ultimately, the judge assigned to our case.
We KNOW that our Heavenly Father is guiding this process and that His timing and His plan are perfect. Please pray with us that the girls' reports will arrive in time for our hearing on Friday and that the heart of the judge will be softened so that she will grant the adoptions.
And while you're at it, please pray for the stomach ulcer that MUST be forming as I type and the poor hairdresser (likely my mom) who will be responsible for dying my hair once this is all said and done ;-)