Today we woke up to a winter wonderland. All last night we watched the snow coming down in sheets and woke this morning to see that the streets were even more full of snow and the trees that had once shown a little green were now fully white. We ate a quick breakfast at our hotel (I actually tried porridge and it was delicious!) and at noon we headed to the orphanage to see our love.
The way there was slightly treacherous due to mounds of snow and me (Leah) slipping around on stairs that were covered in ice. The park we have to walk through had snow so deep that it went up to the top of my boots. Finally we finished the tricky journey and arrived. We met with our translator outside and quickly went inside. Jonah walked through the door and threw his arms up for us and ran for me, he came ready to play. We got to play with him in the music room again- which is 1000 times better than playing with him in his room since there is only the three of us and our translator in a wide open room. We noticed yesterday that toward the end of the visit he was noticably tired and starting to get very cranky so we asked them if the 4 hour visit was good for him. They told us about 7 days ago he got moved up to a new schedule, and that he used to get to sleep about every two hours but now they made him stay up for 4 hour periods and that whether he was with us or them he would just have to be cranky until he got used to it. That made me feel better.
We played for about 3 hours. We had a lot of fun and Jonah smiled and laughed. Sometimes when I would be holding him in my lap and Cory would tickle him he would laugh so much that we could see all his teeth! He has the best smile and the best laugh. Even our translator who was sitting in the corner reading her book started laughing when he laughed. I told him some stories about his Meme and Dede and sang him some songs. He definantly started getting cranky around 3 but when his nurse came around 3:45 he smiled and waved "paca paca" to us in good spirits. He melts my heart.
After the visit we went back to the hotel and met with our lawyer and translator. They gave us the run down on court tomorrow including that we both had to give speeches. Cory is currently writing his since its really long and has to contain a lot of numbers about finances. Mine is shorter and is more supposed to be an emotional appeal of how much we love Jonah already. So obviously my part isn't hard. They told us that they judge will ask us a lot of questions about ADHD meds and about how we feel about the parents of Russian adopted childrent that have abused the children and sent them back. They also told us to expect them to give us a lot of questions about why we want to adopt and about being "so young".
As we prepare we covet your prayers. If you live in Texas our court will be at midnight your time. We just ask that you cover us between now and the time you go to bed tonight in prayer. Someone posted on Darla's status that if God could turn the heart of a King that she knew he could turn the heart of a judge. We are praying for just that.
To conclude I will give you the end of my speech that I will make in court tomorrow:
The first time I saw Jonah, in the arms of the nurse in the orphanage I knew that I loved him. We immediately formed a bond and I knew that our lives would never be the same without him. When we had to leave him I felt like I left my heart here in Volgograd. Nothing has been the same since that first day. There has been no better feeling that I have had in my life than when we walked back into that orphanage Saturday and Jonah stuck his arms up and smiled at me and called me "Mama". I am ready for him to come home with us so we can start our lives together.
We have many family members and friends that are very excited to meet Jonah and help us to raise him and teach him. Most of our family lives within ten miles of our home and will be there to support us and Jonah as well as close friends and neighbors.
I promise to love Jonah Nikolay as if he were my own born son. I promise to take care of him and to provide him with love everyday. I love this baby more than I ever knew that I could love anyone or anything. Your honor please waive the wait period and let us bring our son home today.