We received another call...
Facilitator: "Matthew, um...yes...the judge says the electricity in the courthouse will be cut off from 1-4PM today. There will be no court, again. He will not promise court today or tomorrow. He has too many cases tomorrow...and is not sure when he can reschedule your court. I do not know what to do."
Matthew: "Can we go ahead to the courthouse and wait to see if the electricity actually gets cut off?"
Electricity...maybe yes...maybe no...it comes and it goes...where it goes and when it returns nobody knows.
Facilitator: "Yes, we can do that. I will wait until after 1PM. If it stays on, I will come get you. Maybe it will stay on."
Matthew, Sheila, Jay, Martha and all of you out there spend time praying.
We spend 96 minutes and 49 seconds on the phone looking for a way home...praying that we will have court and praying that we can see Harrison, Isaac, Noah and Storey Grace for Christmas...praying that we can find a flight and that it will not be too expensive...
First flight representative...no flights from Ukraine to Jackson until Saturday..."we can get you home Saturday with overnight stay in New York"...transferred to someone else..."let me see if I can get you home"...listened to groovy telephone music..."ok, thanks for your patience"...(she did not understand what we have already been through - we thought she was fast)..."I have found a Ukrainian airline that flies from Kyiv to Paris, Air France from Paris to Atlanta, Delta from Atlanta to Jackson...it leaves Kyiv at 6:30AM December 25."
"Wow", I say. "One problem...the overnight train does not arrive until 6:12AM...flight leaves at 6:30AM. Let me call you back."
Talk with Sheila, Jay and Martha...hmmm...if we have court early enough we can run from the courthouse and catch the one flight from Odessa to Kyiv...it leaves at 6:10PM Christmas Eve.
Call Delta - "We would like to book the 6:30AM out of Kyiv to Paris, Atlanta, Jackson."
(Still praying because we do not know if we will even have court today to be able to go to Kyiv to catch this flight home.)
Delta - "Sure, that will be the change fee plus seven dollars."
(We have expected the change fee from cancelling our earlier flight...and as we have been checking on flights home, the least expensive new flight we had found flying out around Christmas was $3,000.)
Matthew - A little confused but very pleasantly surprised..."Seven thousand? Seven hundred? Could you please say that again?"
Delta - "Seven dollars."
Matthew - "One more time...I think we have a bad connection."
Delta - "Seven dollars plus the change fee will be charged to your credit card."
(Can you hear me now?)
Matthew - "Yes. We would like to book that flight!"
So...we have the flight home...now we are praying for court so we can take that flight home.
Phone rings..."Matthew, the electricity is still on in the courthouse...there is a red taxi waiting for you outside."
Sheila has been packing while I am on the phone, so we get our luggage...tell Jay and Martha goodbye (we will miss them so much...they are dear friends and we thank God that He allowed us to spend this time together...Jay and Martha, you are in our prayers! Thanks for everything! Keep your eyes open - you never know when your "gangsta bus daddy" will step onto the bus you are trying to "blend in" on.) Keep praying for Jay and Martha...they received more good news today...things are moving...keep praying...they are so appreciative of your prayers.
We arrive at the courthouse and Karina is there waiting on us along with our facilitator, lawyer, social worker and inspector. (Thanks Alonya for getting everyone to the courthouse when we did not even know if it would happen! You have been incredible!)
Now we wait and we pray.
Here comes the judge...maybe....YES! Let's hold court!
Pre hearing: Name...Address...work...what do we want the court to consider?
Leave court room. Pray for hearing...pray that electricity stays on.
Enter court room.
Hearing: Answer many questions...
"What is your work?"
"Where do you live?"
"Why do you want to adopt Karina?"
"What is your religion?"
(Praying that electricity stays on.)
"How will you educate her?"
"What does her future look like with you?"
"Did you make this decision as a family?"
"What do your biological children think of this adoption?"
Many more questions...one of the questions the judge asked Sheila was:
"You already have four children, do you think you can handle one more?"
I will never forget her response...I could feel the mother in her rising up and filling the court room...she said, "Da"...but I could tell that she really meant, "DA!!!!!!!!! Yes, I can take care of my children. What kind of question is that? Do you think I would have spent the last three weeks in this country if I did not think I could take care of my children?"
We know we can only do it by God's grace - he is the one that allows us to take care of these children...it was just fun to see the mother in Sheila stepping up to take care of the blessings God has given us.
(Praying that electricity stays on.)
Karina had to stand up - she was so nervous - and answer questions.
"Do you understand that this family wants to adopt you?"
"Do you understand that they already have four biological children?"
"Do you have a good relationship with them?"
"Do you understand that you will live in a different country?"
"Do you understand that they do not speak your language?"
"Do you want Matthew and Sheila to be your parents?"
Hearing concludes. Debate period begins.
"What do you want from the court?"
"It is our desire that this court accept our application to adopt Karina and that her name be changed to Karina Ann Nasekos."
The lawyer, inspector and social worker give their approval.
Leave courtroom. Pray for decision...pray that electricity stays on.
Re enter court room again.
"It is the pleasure of this court in the region of Odessa, Ukraine to accept the application of Matthew and Sheila Nasekos to adopt Karina. Her name is now Karina Ann Nasekos. Her birth certificate will be changed to read Karina Ann Nasekos, daughter of Matthew and Sheila Nasekos."
Thank you, Holy Father in Heaven for this blessing...thank you for allowing Karina to be ours. Give us the grace we need to raise Karina in the way of the LORD.
When we left the court room Karina said, "FINALLY!"
Karina is no longer an orphan. She has a family...a mother...a father...three brothers and a sister.
We asked her how she was doing.
"I am so happy!"
We held her for a few minutes, prayed for her, told her we loved her and then she was taken from us...
in Ukraine there is a ten day waiting period between the court ruling and when the ruling takes effect.
Ten days, Karina...she told us, "Soon."
Ukraine's holiday season is approaching when not much work is done through January 15.
So, we have the ten day waiting period and then the offices that we need to get the last paperwork will be closed until mid January...she must stay in Ukraine until then.
After Karina left we jumped in a taxi and sped off to the airport...without tickets...not knowing if there was space on the one flight out of Odessa....but God provides...we are there in time and there is space on the plane...and the electricity is still on.......we buy tickets, leave Odessa and are now sitting in a restaurant that has electricity, great food and internet access in snow covered Kyiv.
Sheila and I leave Kyiv at 6:30AM headed home...God is so good...on Christmas Eve he gives us Karina Ann Nasekos and on Christmas Day he will let us be with Harrison, Isaac, Noah and Storey Grace. To be honest, it is hard to leave Karina but we know that the time will be short and as she always says....soon.
After the court ruling Karina, Sheila and I held each other in the court. The judge, who had not broken a smile through the entire proceeding looked at us and smiled. We told everyone thank you.
Dear Heavenly Father we thank you for giving us Karina. Thank you for all of our children. Thank you for your provision. Thank you for your timing. Thank you for how you have led us and how you have changed us. Thank you for causing us to rely fully on you. Thank you for all the prayer warriors back home. Thank you for the prayer warriors in Ukraine. Thank you for our parents who kept our children in Mississippi. Thank you for all our friends that brought food for our children. Thank you for those who spent time with our kids and gave our parents a break. Thank you for Jay and Martha. Thank you for those who supported us financially. Thank you for those who supported us through emails and comments and in many other ways. Thank you for this journey. We look forward to taking the final steps in this journey and bringing Karina home...soon. Thank you for adopting us as your children. Thank you that Karina is no longer an orphan.
Thank you, LORD.
Merry Christmas! This is a picture of our Christmas tree in Kyiv.
For those of you that want to see Karina...we will keep the blog updated and let you know when she will be arriving in the States. She looks forward to seeing you!