We have a new judge! This could be a double-edged sword, but I choose to believe that it is nothing short of an answer to prayer. There is a lot of information in this blog that won't completely make sense because it doesn't make sense completely to us right now. I suppose it doesn't have to and I'm focusing on the fact that something is moving. We have been bottlenecked and in a choke hold for a long season and finally the water is starting to flow again.
The first judge, henceforth known as Karma, had asked for more paperwork two different times and had seemingly not been in too big of a rush to do her job as she pushed the deadlines every single time. Brock had asked our agency on several different occassions what the repercussions would be if she did not meet her ten day deadline. Each time Irina would tell us that it would not be in her best interest to break the law and they'd never had a judge not meet the ten day deadline. Well, surprise surprise...just as with almost everything else in this adoption case, we got to be the guinea pigs. Karma didn't respond in her ten day waiting period which ended Monday. What do we do now? We wait. Surely Tuesday...nope...we wait. Then today, we got a call from the agency. Our case has been assigned to another judge as Karma has been on extended leave or vacation or something (Irina didn't seem to know the answer) Good news: Maybe this judge will have more experience. That's the nice word for me to use. "Compentence" "Intelligence" and"Common Sense""almost made the cut, but I thought that would be unkind. This new judge took the case on Monday and no, we don't know why we are just now hearing about this. But that's okay, we don't have to know, we just have to rest in the LORD and that He seems to be positioning events for the "Let's Bring Roman Home" phase of our story.
In an effort to "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God for your life" (I Thess. 5.18) I am so incredibly thankful for the new judge. It may be out of the frying pan and into the fire, but I just have a sense of peace that it is nothing short of an answer to prayer! I am so incredibly thankful that for the first time in almost four weeks we have news and a ray of tangible hope. I am thankful that this new judge received our paperwork on Monday so we already, unknowingly have three days under our belt. I am thankful that this morning I prayed and asked the LORD for some sign that we were still pursuing Roman correctly and that ours would not be a tragic failed adoption story. I told Him that I didn't have the strength to fight today if I wasn't certain that He was calling us to this fight. I am thankful that a "bruised reed He will not break and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out." Isaiah 42.3 As I was reminded last night, "When you can't see His hand, trust His heart".
For those of you who have committed our family to your prayers, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I believe from the core of my being that our victory will be won on our knees. Please be in prayer that this new judge will be filled with His compassion and will have wisdom to understand all of our paperwork so maybe we won't have to rush more paperwork to Russia. Pray also that this juge will accept the waiver that we signed for Karma for our medicals and this judge will also allow us to redo our medicals on the same trip that we go to court so that we don't have to fly back to Russia, redo our medicals and then fly back and wait for a court date. We aren't out of the woods yet, but I can see sunlight filtering through the leaves! Praise the LORD!
One closing thought: Brock and I have both had several people tell us that they have been inspired by or encouraged by our faith in Jesus Christ and His goodness in spite of all of the complications in our adoption story. We don't feel very inspired but I know that there is a treasure in the jar of clay that is far more valuable than anything either Brock or myself can offer in our own strength. Ultimately we both know that if someone comes to an understanding of our wonderful, merciful and all-powerful Savior because of our story, then that is far more important than Roman coming home in "our" time. I have complete confidence that He who began this story in us will be faithful to see it through to completion and we are His instruments to point to His glory. Some days have been much easier than others and our faith has faltered and at the same time grown. There is nothing in our own strength or character that is remarkable, but Christ has made His mark in our hearts. To those of you who are not Believers, our faith may seem like utter foolishness. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. If our God was small enough to be understood, He wouldn't be big enough to be worshipped. He's heard every prayer offered and has known every tear that has been shed in this entire process. I don't know why He hasn't made our path a little easier up until this point and I don't have to know. Every single time we've surrended all over again, He's given us a peace that passes understanding that has guarded our hearts and minds. I wish we had both been blameless every step of the way, but we have failed miserably so many times. His grace is new every morning, though.
And one morning soon, we will begin our next chapter.