Friday, April 24, 2015

In Which Perry Mason Returns

(Rob writing)

Those of you who followed our previous adoption four years ago will no doubt remember Perry Mason not the TV show, but the copycat would-be attorney who saved the day at Aaron's adoption hearing. Faced with a proud nationalist judge who instinctively distrusted Americans, Perry used his natural charm and eloquence to convince the court that Americans aren't all bad.

Those with keener memories may recall that in reality, Perry charmed no one but himself. Perry's biggest mistake was to display his foolishly pathetic U**ian language skills before a room full of native U**ian speakers no doubt convincing the court that Americans are all stupid, if not necessarily bad.

In the end, I must admit that Perry proved more hindrance than help. Rather, it was Julia who convinced the judge, woman to woman, that going home with us was in Aaron’s best interest.

Interested readers may follow these links to Perry's gripping posts from four years ago:

Perry Mason Part One
Perry Mason Part Two
Perry Mason Part Three
Perry Mason Part Four

With new regions come new experiences. Based on the experiences of others in this region, we weren’t expecting any serious opposition at court this time. The judges here take advice from public officials who are close to the case, such as the orphanage director, the head social worker and the prosecuting attorney. The decision really rests with these officials: so long as none of them oppose the adoption, the judge won’t either. Thus the important decisions are all made long before the actual hearing, which might not take place at all if anyone opposes the adoption.

Fortunately, everyone here has consistently supported our adoption, from the beginning down through the hearing yesterday. Although these women are justifiably proud of the institutions they’ve built to care for orphans, they still recognize that no institution can ever take the place of a loving family.

The support of the head social worker almost brought tears to my eyes. I can’t quote her brief testimony, but the gist of it was this: that given John’s medical difficulties and personal history, Rob and Julia Nalle probably represent John’s one and only chance to be adopted.

Although we know that might not be true, we still felt immensely honored. Imagine being someone’s one and only chance for a better life! How many people have the privilege of knowing that they were someone's one and only chance?

We also felt honored to play our small role in God’s greater plan for good. As Mordecai said to his niece Esther, “Who can say that you weren’t set where you are for just such a time as this?”

Who can say, indeed? Based on our wild experience with this adoption, I must admit that I have absolutely no idea what God may be planning, and may never know. In spite of that, I believe these three things:

1. That God set us here to do good works— not in payment for anything, but in loving response to the love of God as revealed in Creation and in Christ. Just about any good work will do, so long as we do it in unselfish love.

2. That the best good works often cost more than we want to spend, both financially and emotionally. Just as Christ bore His cross of suffering, so those who follow Him must also bear theirs.

3. That our two adoptions feel like the best good works we’ve ever done, or ever will do.


Anyway, with all the important decisions out of the way, Perry and Julia’s court appearance was mostly a formality. Still, it wouldn’t be a Rob and Julia story if it didn’t include at least one headache.

This time, our headache was that our impartially-selected judge happened to be a fresh refugee from a war-torn region of this country, and she had never processed an adoption before. Intent upon making no mistakes her first time out, our judge needed nearly five hours to finish her work— roughly four more hours than any judge our facilitator had ever seen. Just when we were consoling ourselves that we might have to wait another day, our belated judge finally read out our six-page single-spaced adoption decree, minutes before closing time.

As for Perry and Julia’s testimony, we mostly bragged about ourselves. It pays to remember that although humility is a laudable quality in a human being, it is not the fashion in U**ne, and is utterly out of place in a U**ian court. Rather, one must boast about the great magnitude of one’s income, the vastness of one’s property, and how very well the children under one’s care have thrived. The court must have no reason to fear for the adoptee’s future, and we gave it none.


(Julia writing)

Near the end, Perry also gave the court reason to hope for John’s future. The clinching testimony, the one that earned Perry proud smiles from our facilitator, ran something like this:

“The doctors in Philadelphia [at Shriners Hospital] may be able to find some combination of surgery and therapy that can help John walk better. If they can, then he will receive the best care that modern medicine can provide. But if they cannot, then he will still grow up to a university education and a bright future. And no matter what happens, we will love him as one of our own; and he will always have a home with us, as long as we live.”

Thus Perry Mason's second appearance proved to be his finest. With these heartfelt words, Perry not only redeemed himself, but also made his wife quite proud.


  1. Our judge in the U also read every single page of our dossier - our court went 4 hours. We were in the war torn region (not war torn then, however). Maybe it's a Done**k thing. It was one long experience! Glad it's done and he is yours. The Lord is good!

  2. Congratulations! (I love the last sentence!)

  3. Congratulations! Your concluding sentence made me laugh out loud just now - well done, "Perry"!

    Just put Alla V. on the plane for her next US destination before returning to U. We had a wonderful visit, and her testimony at church yesterday brought tears to many eyes and I think moved many hearts to a new awareness of and tenderness for the children of U. May more good things follow, both for John and his new family, and for all the other children of his country. So glad he's yours and you are his...

    Susan in Kentucky
    Cousin to 2 from U.

  4. I finally finished reading the Perry Mason series. Whew...I am so glad I knew it had a happy ending! That was stressful!
    For the first year and a half that I knew Aaron, I knew nothing of his adoption story. I just recognized him as a courageous boy with physical challenges that was funny and full of life. The more I learn, the more I am amazed by him, by your dedication and love, and by the absolute MIRACLES our Lord can achieve.
    I am beyond excited to meet John and to watch his new life unfold here.
    I am totally smitten by the Nalle family story <3.


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!