No, we didn't get a miracle court date when we went to Ridder today...but all is not lost. Here's how our day went. We left Ust at 7:30am and arrived in Ridder around 10:00 due to the snow on the roads. When we arrived at the court building, we were told to return at 12:15 to meet with the judge who would be hearing our case...OK, that was at least progress. We had tea and soup for an early lunch, mostly just killed time. At 12:15, Alma was told to come back after the lunch break which runs from 1-2pm. OK...more sitting in the car waiting until the judge was finally available around 2:30. At this point, I was pretty sure we were never going to get anywhere but finally Alma got her chance. The judge met with her for about 20 minutes and when she came out, it was with good news. The judge we have been assigned to is the same one who heard the only other adoption case in Ridder...and she granted that adoption. She was also able to explain Ridder's rather lengthy and complex court process so now we know what to expect.
In Ridder, when a case is assigned, the judge has 2-3 weeks to review the file. Then a determination hearing is held in order to let the parties know if there are missing docs or other problems with the case...that's what we had today. The next date will be held on Nov. 21; Alma will represent us at that hearing where the judge and prosecutor will ask any questions they might have re: the case. After that meeting, a court date will be assigned. The judge will allow us to request a date of our preference because of our travel from the US. It's all standard operating procedure, not the conspiracy to avoid giving us a court date that we were beginning to fear so that's a relief.
We're not thrilled with the delay and we wish we had known about this process a bit sooner...but we can go home now knowing that we are still moving forward. We're requesting a court date in early December, just 3 weeks from now. That will give us some recovery time and a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with our kids. We'll return here for court but it will be a short visit, less than a week. We'll figure the rest out when we get there.
We saw the boys today to tell them the news...Aniyar took it well but Madiyar was frustrated. The poor kid finally got his head ready to make this big change and now he's looking at another delay...we know just how he feels.
OK, that's all the news for tonight. We're exhausted...we drove through terrible conditions coming back from Ridder. Imagine blowing snow, near zero visibility, and next to no plowing of the road...it wasn't fun. Add the stress factor of the last several days to that and you can probably understand why we're pretty worn out. Time for some sleep...tomorrow, we fly to Almaty in the afternoon, grab about 12 hrs rest in a hotel and then we'll begin the 24 hour trip home, arriving on Friday afternoon. Can't wait to see our kids!