The orphanage director congratulated us with a kiss today in court!  It was the most truly surprising episode of this entire process. 

We began the day preparing for court.  Karen didn’t know what to expect, but she was excited to finally wear a dress after weeks in a snowsuit.  Here we are, waiting for our driver.

After dropping us off, he went to pick up our witnesses.  I was surprised when he returned with 4 women, including the baby home director.  When we adopted Karen, a very low-level representative from the baby home attended the hearing, and we never saw the director except on our last day when we gave her the recommended “donation”.

Karen was super fidgety, as usual.  Since there was no one to watch her, our translator said it was ok for her to accompany us.   We entered the courtroom.  DH, Karen, our translator and I sat in the front row.

The judge was a very young woman, and she asked us a couple of standard questions, like whether we have the means to support an additional child.  We gave short and sweet answers, but Karen was quickly losing patience and started squirming.  At one point, she started taking off one of her boots, and I held a finger up to my lips, indicating for her to be quiet.  The judge was apparently charmed by our little hellion, and began smiling at her.  Before we knew it, Her Honor finished reading her bit, and everyone was standing. 

The orphanage director, it turns out, was sitting just behind me. She touched my shoulder and when I turned around, she opened her arms and pulled me in for a kiss.  Nothing could have surprised me more!  She congratulated each of us, and kissed each one of us in turn. 

I’d like to think we were honored because she had seen how well we were bonding with Matan.  Or perhaps she liked the gift we gave her.  Regardless, it made my day.

Even though it is Christmas Eve here, everything remained open so we took Karen out to celebrate.  Here she is at the gymboree, driving a virtual semi-trailor.  Her face says it all.  I can already see her career path in defensive driving.