****TWO DAYS IN ONE****
So Tuesday morning we got a call from the front desk. It was Rosita’s father Peter coming to find her! Apparently they were wondering where she’d been for 2 whole days! He speaks English fine and was happy that she was safe and sound with us. He had our picture in his pocket and showed it at the front desk. I think we’ve bugged the front desk so much that they knew right away our room number and who we were! How embarrassing =P We don’t call the desk to complain or anything, we just call to ask questions; how do we use the internet, how do we call internationally, where is the restaurant, etc… even the security guard opened the door for us and said “The Nilssons- Yokwe” We’d never meet him before! Lol! Anyway, we were so happy to meet more family AND he spoke English, so we invited him to the hotel room and showed him pictures and asked him questions that I’d been waiting 2 days to ask Rosita. He said he would visit again and that he’d go to court with us tomorrow.
When Rosita left she decided it was best to leave Emita with us. So our “Gotcha Day” became Tuesday Dec.14th, instead of our Court Date Dec. 15th.
We spent our first day as an unofficial family exploring the “downtown” of Majuro. It’s basically like Main Street in a small town. We went to the RRE (the other hotel) and ate at the Tide Table Restaurant. The food was ok but I did get sick from it. I think the hot mayo had something to do with it. I bought a Guam dress ($7 at the clothes store across from Aliang Restuarant) and we reserved the “nice” Chinese restaurant for our Adoption Celebration Dinner at Won Hai Shen. At 5pm we met with Gordon, the lawyer, to go over the court proceedings and to run us through the questions. After that we came back to the hotel and started our first night alone with Emi.
It went much better then I thought it would! She went to bed at 7pm (1am MN) and slept until 1am. She woke up and fussed but didn’t want to eat so we gave her a pacifier and she fell back to sleep. She woke up again at 4am, ate and fell back to sleep again and woke up at 6:30am. I woke up more then she did just checking on her since she was so quiet. I hope all of our nights are like this!
Dec.15: Court Date!!!
Our court time was scheduled for 11am so we started getting ready at about 8:30 because we wanted to get there early in case the other cases went quicker then scheduled. At 9:30, Maddy called and asked,” Are you guys coming to court today? If so could come now because they were almost ready for you”!! Of course we’re going to court today! We hurried up and got a taxi and got there at about 10am. We entered the court room at about 10:15am and were out by 10:45am!
Rosita took the witness stand and testified to her situation and when Gordon asked her if she intended for Shawn and I to become the parents of Emita, she looked at me got a little teary and said yes. I cried =) Then I had to take the witness stand and answer questions about my work and our daycare plans and religion questions. When Gordon was done with his questions, the Judge (who was from MN by the way!!) cross examined me. His biggest issue of course was my health. When was the cancer? How was it found? What is the issue with my left arm? I answered everything and he had said take a seat. Then it was Shawn’s turn. Shawn had to explain his whole name issue and he answered questioned about his job and our house and our neighborhood and explain all the pictures we had submitted in our home study report.
Then the Magical (and emotional) moment came when the Judge said, “After reviewing the evidence and hearing the statements of all the involved parties, I feel that it is in the best interest of the child to give legal custody to Shawn and Teresa Nilsson.” I cried again and we all hugged and Rosita held Noemi and it was over!!
We ran a few errands and met back up with everyone at 5pm at the restaurant. Peter and Rosita were the first ones there, even before us – and you all know how punctual I am! We were destined to be family! We had a great dinner with all the other adoption families (4 of us) and found out much more about Noemi’s family. One thing we found out is that Peter is actually Rosita’s uncle who adopted Rosita and that he and his wife helped with Noemi. He was an inspector with a local bank in RMI until his retirement. He seems to be known around the community though. Everyone knew him but hadn’t seen him since his retirement when he moved out to Arno, one of the outer islands.
We gave Rosita a locket we had made for her and I think she really liked it. It had Emita’s name engraved on the front, her birthday on the back and 2 pictures inside; One of Emita a day old and one of Rosita holding her.
It was a good day =) Tomorrow we get to go apply for Noemi’s passport and new birth certificate.
Tips for Future Families:
NTA (National Telecommunications Authority) is the only place to get a cell phone. Why do you need a cell phone? Because everyone keeps pushing you to get one! Lol! The cheapest one is $40 (plus a sim card which is $15) and it’s pre-pay calling cards. It’s good so Gordon and Maddy as well as the birthmom can find you and get in contact if necessary to relay any news. With 4 adoptive families here, it’s also helpful to be able to communicate with them. ALSO, incoming calls are FREE! So, if family back in the states buy an international calling card they can call you free of charge to you! Minutes are $.10 local and $1.25 international.
Some of our babies have developed rashes around their little mouths and we think it’s due to the change to bottle nipples. I put Vaseline on Emi and it seems to have cleared it up. Another mom said she was going to apply it every time she feed her baby to see if that helps her little boy.
Court seems to be strictly a formality. It was nerve-wrecking and intimidating but very casual and laidback at the same time. I know you’ll probably lose sleep the night before regardless of how many people tell you not to worry but it’s true- Don’t Worry, just relax and be yourself =)