We received NOC at the end of May, and the next step was to be registered for court and begin the court process. India has a court app where families can see if they’re registered for court, when their next court date is, etc. After NOC, I downloaded the app and began excessively checking it to see our names pop up. Honestly, I probably checked it too much, of which the Lord convicted me. There are many things he’s taught me during our adoption process, and one of them is definitely that he is my hope and on whom I’m to wait. My hope isn’t in the finished adoption process. Therefore, I stopped checking the app with such excessiveness.
One Wednesday night, we drove home from church, and I randomly decided to check the app. I hadn’t in probably a week or so, and I wanted to see if there were any updates for us. There were so many times I checked the app and was disappointed, so I was shocked when it loaded, and I saw our names! I had to do a double-take! We were registered for court and our first court date was on September 3! Jack and I celebrated with ice cream after we put the boys to bed (if you haven’t noticed, our family likes ice cream!).
Since then, we’ve had several more court dates. I wanted to take some time today to share what we know about the court process (which honestly isn’t much). So, here are a few FAQs:
- What’s the purpose of the court process? It’s for Faith to legally become our daughter. For us, she’s been “ours” since we first began our paperwork. Specifically, Faith has been “ours” since we said, “yes” to matching with her. The court process makes it all legal! The goal of the court process is to “pass court”/to have our case disposed of. We’ll first get verbal court orders, and then we’ll await written court orders.
- Where does court take place? Court fully happens in India. That’s why when I share a court date, I usually share that it’ll happen while we sleep due to the time difference. Typically, families aren’t required to be present for the court process in India.
- What happens in court? We honestly aren’t fully sure. We compiled a dossier (a massive stack of paperwork that has our home study, reasons why we want to adopt, pictures of our family, etc.). We know the judge looks over that to grant us court orders. We also know that Faith’s SAA (orphanage) has an advocate (lawyer) who represents us in court. However, what happens in each specific hearing is something we’re unsure of.
- How many hearings will we have? This is another one we have no clue about unfortunately. So far, we’ve had 4 court dates, and according to the court app, we have another hearing on October 8 (so for us, 10/7 while we sleep). We have no idea of an average time frame or anything like that.
- Is all of this typical? Yes!! All of this uncertainty, not knowing, multiple court dates, etc. is actually very typical, so it’s nothing for us to be concerned about. It’s simply part of the process!
- What happens after court? There are still a few steps until we can travel, like getting Faith’s passport. Hopefully, about 3ish months after court, we’ll be able to travel to India. So, the big question mark of “How long until Faith comes home?” is the court process.
So far, our court dates have been fairly close together, and we’re so thankful for that! For each date, we pray that’s IT – that we receive our verbal court orders. We also trust the Lord and his timing. Recently, I was talking with my sweet friend and also incredibly talented photographer, Emily, about our need for updated family pictures. The boys have grown so much since our last ones! However, my heart just feels weird about stuff like that right now, knowing that our family isn’t quite complete. We have one member still on the other side of the world. Right now, we feel so close, yet so far away from bringing her home. Even in the midst of the wait and uncertainties, we trust in our all-knowing and sovereign God. He is faithful!