Thursday, June 21, 2007


Those are her initials. Her full name is Kiana Maria Ghomeshi. And the court approved my adoption of her today. Tomorrow the fifteen day waiting period begins during which if a family member of hers shows up the adoption will not go through. Tomorrow is also the day that the Canadian-approved doctor comes to examine her. This could also affect the adoption process. But if all goes well, in 15 days she’ll be declared my daughter and I’ll get to spring her from the baby house and post pictures!!!

Kiana (kee-AH-na) is a Persian name meaning “elements of nature.” Maria is the name she was given at birth. I had been fully prepared to keep her given name if it was something that sounded okay in English. I like a lot of the common names here: Ainura, Gulnara, Moldir, Zhunara for girls and Zhumbec, Tamirlan, Damir, for boys. I hadn't been prepared for something I hear all the time in English. I decided it might make a nicer middle name. They also call her Masha and Marishka and Malinka (which just means baby, I think.) I call her Kiana-Maria for now and will eventually drop the second part. I can now also confess that the song I sing most often to her is “Maria” from West Side Story, especially during our walks around the baby house.

About court: There are no funny hats. I went to the courthouse at noon. It was a swelteringly hot day. We went up a few flights of stairs and into a small room with a linoleum floor and plain white walls. There was cheap-but-functional furniture arranged against all four walls. There were three desks facing inwards, one for the judge, one for the prosecutor (a young woman) on the left and one for the secretary (another young woman) on the right. On the fourth side (the door-side) facing the judge there were three rows of benches. I sat in the front row with my translator. My coordinator and a student observer sat behind us. And the social worker and a doctor from the baby house sat in the back row. All women. The judge was the only man and the only person in costume (a long burgundy robe). The social worker and the doctor were very comfortable with the setting and obviously knew each other fairly well. The judge on the other hand (who is probably the same age as me) seemed a bit shy which he covered by being very brusque.

The actual process was solemn and serious. The rules of the court were explained. I had to stand up and state that I understood them. Each person was identified and had to stand up when addressed. I did the most standing up and sitting down of anyone cued by prods from my translator. It reminded me of the few times I’ve been to a church service. At the beginning I made a speech about who I was and why I was there at the end of which I had to ask the court to allow me to adopt Maria. The judge asked me a series of questions, none of them particularly hard or hostile. In fact, it all seemed respectful. Then the doctor of the baby house and the social worker each made speeches only about a third of which got translated for me. This was frustrating even though I realize that simultaneous translation is very hard. In each case they were telling a story about Maria that I desperately wanted to know every single word of. The judge read aloud the contents of my dossier (the social worker’s report, my medical report, the Interpol criminal record check.) It felt ceremonial rather than like a trial. The prosecutor asked a few questions of the baby house doctor and none of me, which I learned later was unusual. After all this the judge left for about ten minutes. The women all looked at my pictures – a small album of my home and family, and second one of pictures of me and Maria. I had been instructed to bring them for the judge but he didn’t ask for them. During this part I felt I was in a room full of aunts. When the judge returned I had to stand and ask again for permission to adopt Maria. He briefly reviewed the case, announced that the decision was positive and then, as if embarrassed, quickly left the room. The whole thing took about an hour. I was a bit stunned and perhaps because of that forgot to take pictures. I think I’ll regret this forever. I’ve got hundreds of pictures of buildings but none of this important day.

My favourite question: What do you like about Maria? I think it’s sweet that that’s part of the official record.

The question I found the strangest: Do you want to change her name, or her place and date of birth? I said I wanted to change her name. But why would I want to change her place of birth or birth date?

The point where I was most confused: when he asked what I do as the Director of the Institute for the Humanities. I had no clue. I fumbled a bit and then said apologetically, "it's a very small institute."

The point where the judge was most confused: over American and Canadian dollars. He didn’t understand why both appeared in parts of my dossier. He didn’t know that they both are called dollars and both use the same sign. Once we’d explained this he didn’t know what the difference was. He seemed quite bothered by this.

The part I liked the least: Children are available to be adopted by people from outside the country only if there is no possibility of their being adopted domestically. This too is part of the court record and both the baby house director and the social worker had to address this point. I think it is reasonable to want children to stay in the country of their birth. But it takes away a bit from my ceremony to be treated as a last resort. Not that I am, really, but in the theatre of the court that’s the case that has to be made.

I visited Kiana-Maria in the afternoon and spent a couple of happy hours with her. I would have liked for her to have been present at court. I realize she wouldn’t have known what was going on but it was a very big day for her and it would have been nice for her to be part of it … if only just in the pictures … which I forgot to take anyway.


BT said...

Congratulations congratulations congratulations to both you and Kiana Maria!!! This is a very big day.

(I am certain that you could return to the court and get pictures. Ours of this moment are some of my favorites -- relief and celebration!) Ask your coordinator. The courts and everyone around them in Ukraine understood the significance to the adoptive parents.

Fifteen-day countdown starts now!! Do Sundays count? ie, What date does Kiana become yours fulltime?

Must run to Bohdan's class concert.


Anonymous said...

Oh my god: Kiana is a beautiful name. Here I was all, "hmm. maybe I'll just quickly check JG's blog for the 100th time this morning before I do any work"--and, blam, Kiana Maria! It was like a hitting a mainline. I love the stories: the "what do you like about her?" question. How did you not cry? 15 days. I can't take it. BT can't either, I'm sure. Does the government over there know what's it is doing to the citizens over here?
Yesterday, Rilke pulled off a leaf from a jade plant and tried to eat it. A word to the wise regarding within-reach plants....esp. to many, many, many within-reach plants that should've moved to Toronto with a certain ex-mayor.
love, DM

Ileana said...

A bit like DM above, I have been sitting here, hitting refresh on your blog all morning. Thanks for saving us with your posting.

I love the name. E-hugs to you both.

Countdown begins...

Anonymous said...

Yay! Congratulations! What a beautiful name. I feel all weepy sitting here in my office in Fletcher Argue. Which is how I feel here not infrequently, come to think of it, but usually for reasons of outrage, not happiness. So yay! I'm going down the hall to celebrate with DM.

- ac

gina said...

Hooray for today! I am overjoyed for you and Kiana - what a momentous occasion!

Anonymous said...

Kiana Maria Ghomeshi. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.


Anonymous said...

Oh happy day! Kiana Maria Ghomeshi is a beautiful name, and the story is splendid. Here's to a very fast count-down. And from now on, Solstice can be a day you mark together.


Anonymous said...

Just one more person sending many heartfelt congratulations across the ether. Kiana Maria Ghomeshi is a beautiful name, you are a beautiful mother, and that is one beautiful and true story. Here's hoping those 15 days go fast, fast, fast.


BT said...

OK. Well. It's comforting to know that I am not the only reader of your blog who was obsessively hitting refresh all morning on your court day. This morning I was working up some new notes for my math econ course -- seriously, what could be drier? -- and using getting to refresh your blog site as my reward for each new page (okay, maybe more like sentence) of notes I generated. At one point when I hit refresh, up came the headline for the new entry: KMG. I immediately recognized that as initials (was guessing Katherine Maria); from this I knew the court hearing had reached a favourable outcome since you were revealing more personal information about Baby. (I think some of us may affectionately call her Baby for some time to come!) So imagine my torture at not being able to refresh the new blog entry beyond your headline. I think you must have been in the process of posting it. Then it finally popped up as I was having to go out the door to Bohdan's concert, which was very cute by the way -- you will love kindergarten performances when Kiana-Maria reaches that stage. So then I didn't have much time to comment and didn't get to say all I wanted to.

The main thing I left out is what everyone else has said, which is that her name is absolutely beautiful. I would love to know things like when you chose it, what was in the running for a boy or did you only start to brainstorm names once you met your Baby, how Baby seems to respond to it, what your family thinks of it?

I know I am not alone in wishing we could all just jump through space and be there with you to celebrate!!

Anonymous said...

I've been one of those silent, and yet voracious readers of your blog. I am certain that you've got this enormous cheering section, well beyond the few brave souls who comment publicly. But now that she has her name, Baby is so much more than a dream with a hand...beautiful, beautiful Kiana Maria Ghomeshi. Can't wait for Boxing Day. Love to you both. br

Sky Onosson said...

Very, very nice name. And excellent news. Congratulations!

SG said...

Many congratulations on this very happy ending to your court procedure, although you've got still 15 days to count down. Kiana is a very lovely and beautiful Persian name, even if she's called with English stress!

Anonymous said...

Jila, congratulations, Kiana's a great name! and sounds great with Maria Ghomeshi. I particularly like Malinka, reminds me of the children's book about the cat named Slinky Malinky. Thanks so much for your descriptions of the eventful day, and all your blogs, they're really great!
looking forward to 15 days doing by...

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I read your entry and then re-read and and re-read it, and then in the evening Pierre and I drank wine and read it together and then we got into long drunk musing about why you are and will be such an exceptional mother. We love you and love Kiana.

Anonymous said...

Just me again: every time I read that bit where you're asked about being El Director of the Humanities Institute, I crack up. I'd bet they think you have a red velvet chair and gold rope hanging in front of your desk. (It reminds me of when my parents freaked out to learn that I was Vice President of an academic association; they thought I was like Dick Cheney or something. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I was guilt-tripped into the unpaying/no-power position because no one else wanted it.) Anyway, I'm going downstairs to see if the Humanities Institute can send its private jet to pick up you and the little boodles when you're ready to come home.