Friday, July 10, 2009

Adventures in Court Hearings

So much has happened in the last two weeks that it will take me a few posts to get caught up. But I'll start with the court hearing, since many of you have asked about that.

To back up a bit, since not all of you get our email updates, we have been trying to finalize Josiah's adoption for a few months now. It needs to be finalized before we can go on our Home Assignment in October.

Our first hearing was in April while I was in the States with Grace. That hearing went well: the social worker was appointed "guardian" and told to write a report, which is exactly what we wanted to happen.

Second hearing was June 11th. Even though the judge had picked this date, our lawyer called us the night before and told us that our judge was out of the country on vacation.

Third hearing was scheduled for this past Wednesday, July 8th.

Okay. No problem. Except that we had already scheduled a mini-missions trip with some HOPAC kids last week to an orphanage. Oh, and the orphanage was three hours away from Dar.

Thankfully we've had a team of college students here helping us with our events the last two weeks. So we decided that we could go ahead with the orphanage trip and simply leave the night before the court hearing, attend the hearing the next morning, and then drive back to the orphanage when it was done.

I should have known things are never that simple. Everything went great at the orphanage, that wasn't the problem. But we had decided that instead of driving to our house on Tuesday night to spend the night, we would just find a hotel near the court building and stay there for the night, instead of fighting 2 hours of traffic the next morning from our house.

We arrived at the orphanage on Monday afternoon. We left again in the early evening on Tuesday. We hit traffic on our way into Dar and it was nearly 8:00 by the time we got in. By this point, our children (and us) were tired and cranky and very hungry. No drive throughs. How I longed for a Taco Bell.

We decided to get dinner before trying to find a hotel. We stopped at a pizza place that is supposed to be "fast food," and 45 minutes (and two formal complaints) later, we had our pizza. By this point it was after 9:00.

Then we set off to find a hotel. You know, I've heard warnings before about trying to find a hotel late at night. Not a good idea. I should have listened to the warnings. But I knew that there were plenty of hotels in the city near the court house and didn't think we would have a problem.

Hotel #1: Too expensive.
Hotel #2: Much cheaper but full.
Hotel #3: Also full. (What the heck? What are all these visitors doing in Dar?)
Hotel #4: An adventure in itself, partly involving going up 8 stories in a parking garage and coming back down without finding any parking, and a parking attendant who STILL insisted on charging us parking fees.

By this point it was almost 10:30. Our children, who normally go to bed at 7, were melting down. So we did what any frazzled person does. Went back to Hotel #1 and paid the ridiculous price.

But we all took very hot baths and had a terrific breakfast. That was nice.

Wednesday morning:
8:55 am: Got to the court house.
9:00 am: Courts open. Lawyer was already there.
9:05 am: Social worker showed up.
9:10 am: Our lawyer came over to us and told us that the judge was not there. Again. Even though our lawyer had a case before this exact same judge last Thursday and had asked her, "You'll be there next Wednesday for my other case, right?" To which the judge replied, "Why wouldn't I be?" Humph.

Packed up. Changed clothes. Drove the 3 hours back to the orphanage.

Next hearing is scheduled for July 21st.

Good thing our little guy is worth it. :-)
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