Tuesday, December 2, 2014

13 Weeks…and a Day

Samuel has been home 13 weeks…and a day! It's hard to believe that it's been that long.

He has adjusted beautifully.

Truth be told, I waited to post because I thought maybe something would come up. It hasn't. He is a happy, healthy, sweet, active, hilarious, and yes, spoiled, little boy.

He is still sleeping well, eating well and playing well. He still LOVES balls. He is not one to sit still for long but when he does he intends to get in a good cuddle. He is now saying "MomMa" (or more recently "Ma") and "Da" fairly consistently, along with his already perfected names for his sisters (Mi-A, and LilY).

His motor skills have improved dramatically. He was unable to climb the stairs unassisted just 6 weeks ago or so. Now, he can hold to the railing and step up in a typical fashion. He has not had any sensory issues. He has played in sand, shaving cream, wood chips, stones, etc.
However, "Winter is coming" so we will see how he likes the snow.

We have been working on his speech by sounding out words and encouraging repetition. He understands everything we say to him and he is most often able to communicate his needs back to us.
Halloween was a hit; he was Olaf to his sisters' Anna and Elsa.

He has two blankets which he calls "B". He is saying short phrases like "take a bath" and "I get it". 

The weather has turned cold and he is not a fan of being stuck indoors so Santa is bringing a pop-up soccer goal for Christmas morning. He will play with his blocks a bit now and he loves one 90s pop-culture kiddy hit DVD called, "WeeSing in Sillyville." (Lord help Me!)  

He plays well with other children, although they are generally older because they are friends with his sisters. 
He doesn't go to other adults to be held. We had heard this might be an issue but it has only happened once, about a week after he came home. He heads straight to me, G or the girls if he has problems. Sometimes if he is off playing he will suddenly look up and yell "Ma" just to make sure that I am around. When I yell "Samuel" back, he looks at me, smiles and then goes about his business. 


I mentioned in my last post that Samuel has Breathe Holding Spells. There are 2 types: one for stress and fear, the other for pain. 
He hasn't had many Breathe Holding Spells due to stress lately. He has had several due to pain or injury. 
When I posted something about it on Facebook I had several friends message to tell me their kids do the same thing, but only when they get hurt. 
He will hit his head on the table (or under the table as it were) and then cry and pass out. He is only out for a second, then he cries for a minute and he is back to doing whatever it is he was doing before. 

The Pediatrician informed us that he should grow out of BHS  around age 6 and he won't suffer brain damage or the like. It freaked us out when he did it the first few times but now we know how to handle it and what to do to try to prevent it. Usually we can stop them if we catch them in time. He went 2 months without one but then had 3 in one weekend. It's just weird how they work.  

I should point out this is not an "adoptive child" issue. Apparently 25% of all children have these. It's not a temper tantrum. It's the nervous system's involuntary response to fear, stress, or pain. It sends signals to shut your body down for protection. 

Now, I will say…the orphanage did not tell us he has these until after he was home a week and we spent an evening in the ER thinking he had a stroke or seizure. When we emailed to get more information from them they told us he had 2 episodes recently in the orphanage. They even took him to a specialist after the 2nd episode. They said the specialist told them he was fine and that he was "forgetting to breathe when he got mad."

When I picked him up from the orphanage they told me and the director of our BG agency that he would hold his breath when he got mad or did not get his way. They told me to pinch him or blow in his face to make him breathe. But, they said it so nochalantly I just assumed it was a temper tantrum. 
No exactly. 

So, lesson learned for all you "in-process parents": make sure to inquire about any recent illnesses or injuries that occur between visits. Ask if the child was seen by a doctor at all during your time apart and  for all the details you can get from them. 

Not sure if they were really NOT worried about it or if they thought we wouldn't adopt him if they told us…hmmmm

Doesn't matter now of course. He is a happy little boy and I can't wait to see what he does on his first Christmas especially since he has not paid a minutes' attention to the tree or presents yet.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

2nd Trip

Sorry it’s taken so long for me to give an update but I now have a VERY busy toddler at home. So, I will take this opportunity while he snoozes to give you the rundown on the Second/Pick-Up trip.

So travel dates were from August 12-23. Yes, you need 11 days total to get everything done. I traveled to Bulgaria first. I flew from Dulles to Sofia via Heathrow. 

I will take this moment to tell you that British Airways was fabulous. Absolutely NO complaints. The plane did leave an hour late from Dulles due to weather concerns but that was no fault of theirs. I did miss my flight from Heathrow due to this delay. When I got to London, the BA team had already switched my tickets over to Lufthansa. I would be delayed by 5 hours getting to Sofia because I now had to make a stopover in Munich. 

Both of those flights were fine as well. I slept for the better part of them. Once I arrived in Sofia I found my checked luggage delayed because of the change in flight plan. Luckily I had everything I needed for Samuel and myself for 3 days. The translator picked me up at the airport and we immediately traveled the 6 hours to Silistra. We finally reached the hotel around 1 am. I fell into bed and slept until 8 the next morning. 

We were meeting the Director at the orphanage around 10 am. We had some paperwork to attend to first then they showed us into the play area where we waited for him to come in from playing outside. We chatted to the Director as well as some of the caregivers for a bit. They were so kind and obviously thrilled that Samuel was finally getting to go home. 

When they brought him in he was sweaty and a little dirty from playing outside, but like a normal little boy, grinning from ear to ear in his filth. 

Now, I know one question I’ve been asked many times is: Did he know you? Did he remember you? 

Honestly, I’m not sure. He smiled and walked over to me. I was smiling (I think) and he grunted for me to pick him up, so I did. The caregivers were all pointing to me and saying, “Momma,” over and over. He just looked and me and smiled, dirty face and all. I’ll take it. It wasn’t an emotional episode. I didn’t cry, though his caregivers did. I just kissed and hugged him as much as he would let me. He seemed happy and extremely healthy. 

They took him to bathe him. I was allowed to go along of course. They put him in a utility sink and rinsed him off with soap, using a spray attachment. 

I then noticed how big he was. He seemed half this size at the February visit. I noticed when I held him that he was heavy but in the bath I could see that he had chunky legs and arms and a portly belly. (I’ve always wanted to use that word) 

We dressed him in the outfit I brought for him; basic t-shirt, gingham shorts and a pair of sneakers. The caregivers did give him some kind of suppository that was herbal and supposed to help with motion-sickness. (It didn’t work btw) 

We then said quick goodbyes as they herded us out the door. His caregivers were smiling and crying and they gave us a special sent-off with some leaves and water. 

So, to be quite frank, it all happened so quickly my brain had yet to process anything. We were in and out within 30 minutes. 

The drive back to Sofia was not too bad for the first 3 hours or so. He slept in my arms. Note: They did not have a carseat for him. I had to hold him or he had to sit buckled next to me. When he woke, he was feeling the affects of 24 months of not riding in a car. He “tossed cookies” once, then again right as we were getting into Sofia. Thank God I had extra clothes for us both. 

We arrived at the apartment in Sofia smelling pretty rank. My checked luggage had still not arrived at this time. The translator offered to go to the grocery to pick up necessities.  Sam and I unpacked and looked around the apartment. They had some toys there so he played with them for a bit. Once the translator returned we were able to wash clothes and start cooking dinner. 

First thing on the agenda was trying to wash the puke smell off of Sam. BIG MISTAKE. He started crying the moment the water started running. I quickly washed him down with good-ole’ Johnson and Johnson and then began what my late mother called, “The ritual.” Johnson’s classic baby lotion head-to-toe, then Johnson’s baby powder head-to-toe. Now, he LOVED that part. Who wouldn’t right? It’s a massage. 

Dressed and getting sleeping, (It was around 8 pm at this point) I decided to attempt to put him to sleep. Now, because I am not going to walk you through each sleep period of the trip I will just go ahead and say that the first night he slept in the bed with me from 8:30 until 7 the next morning. He was exhausted. I held him and rocked for about 15 minutes before he conked out. 

Now, he only took 1 nap at the orphanage from 2-4 pm each day. I am of the old-school mentality that 2-year-olds need either A) 1 long nap a day, think 3 hours, or B) 2 shorter naps a day, think 1.5 a piece. We started out with B and we are already on A. All kids are different. We started out with him sleeping in the bed with me but he moved around too much and nearly fell off the bed several times. He easily transitioned to the pack-n-play they provided in the apartment and slept much better in it. I still rocked him while standing for a good 10 minutes or so, then laid him in the bed. He would do a little fussy whine for only a few minutes before going to sleep.  

The next morning, Friday, we had his medical appointment and his BG passport application appointment. We did both. Found out he is a perfectly healthy 32 pounder. Yep. He just turned 2. He had the TB skin done. I did not hold him down, the translator did that. He cried for a moment but that was it. 

After that we went back to the apartment and tried to keep a routine. We ventured out several times over the weekend to visit the park or the grocery. I finally got my bag on Saturday! 

So because we did nothing of importance until Monday I will walk you through some of the “issues” we had/have. Some of these apply to right now at home as well. Don’t hate me...but they’re aren’t many. 

EATING: The boy is Mikey. You know, “Give it to Mikey, he’ll eat it.” He has had no stomach issues from food. His bowels are very scheduled, if you know what I mean. He drinks plenty of water and milk. He also likes chamomile tea. He eats fruits, vegetables, meats (all but pork) and yogurt. He can eat with a spoon and a fork, though I admit to feeding him more often for bonding purposes. He sits in his highchair, bib-on, and when the food is gone, he announces “gone-gone” with his hands out in lotus position. That brings us to...

LANGUAGE: He is doing the jabber more than anything. He does say “Molly,”
(our dog) but that word is inclusive of all the animals he sees. So the squirrel in the tree is, “Molly”. He says “Mon-kee” for, well, I think you can guess. He calls Lily, “Lala”. He has bonded very well to her and when we get in the car to go pick them up from school he repeats, “Lala” on the way. “Gone-Gone” from above. He says something that sounds like, “I’ll get it.” It is usually when he is getting something so I am gonna give him that point. He understand everything we say. We did learn some BG phrases for basic instructions which we still use along-with their English counterpart. 

He does not say “Momma,” or “Daddy” yet in connection to us. He knows who we are though. If he is told to give something to “daddy” he will give it to G. He simply doesn’t call us by those names yet. 

EMOTIONAL RESPONSES: We are blessed that he was very loved and adored by his caregivers. We have only noticed typical toddler behavior with regards to tantrums and/or defiance. When we were in BG we had several instances where, when told no, he would throw himself down on the floor and bang his head on it. The first few times I picked him up quietly and put him in the crib in his room and made him lay down. I never said anything to him. That worked. He realized he wasn’t getting the attention he wanted from the negative behavior so he stopped. He has only does that once since we brought him home. BTW my bio kids tried this stuff. 

Sometimes when he knows he has done something that he should not do...like throw all of my folded clothes all over the room while my back is turned...he will give this “head down-eyes out the top of the head-pooty lip” look. When I explain to him why he should not have done what he did, he then comes up to you and digs his head in-between your legs and hugs. G and I think this is his, “I’m sorry.” 
He does have something called Breath Holding Spells. We learned this only a week after being home. He had one, passed out cold, freaked us out, and we ended up at the ER thinking he had a seizure. Long story for another post. He has not had a second one...yet. 

We are trying the “make a big deal about it when he hurts himself thing” right now. He looks at us like we’re cray-cray. Sometime he comes to us after he bumps his head or falls but usually he just gets back up and goes on with life. I know the adoption “experts” say to make a big deal about it because, I’m assuming, the idea is that he wasn’t given attention at the orphanage when he hurt himself. Not sure if this is accurate in his case. He was overly babied the times we saw. So that is a work in progress. 

MOTION: In BG we traveled mainly by car for all the appointments. I brought children’s dramamine with me and gave him a half of one 30 min before I knew we would be driving anywhere. He was fine with the dramamine. Same with the trip home. No stomach upsets on the dramamine. He did not like the carseat, of course, when we first came home. But, within a week he was fine with it. He likes The Wonder Pets (God help me!) so I make sure that is playing while we drive and he is good to go. He jabbers most car rides either trying to tell us something or to tell The Wonder Pets, not sure yet. 

He likes the stroller. We are walking to and from the park all the time. He doesn’t have any problems with that.

PLAYING: He plays constantly. He loves balls. He even sleeps with his mini soccer ball. G has big plans for this kid and they all involve Premier League Soccer. He would rather kick a ball on the field than play at the park. And this is really cool park. It has everything a kid could want. Nope, not him. Just give him a ball. He enjoys blocks and stacking things. He also likes this game called, “Grab Momma’s Coffee.” That’s not my favorite game. He walks and runs easily by himself. He is learning to climb stairs right now and it’s amazing how far he has come in just a few weeks. It’s no wonder he sleeps like he does. 

SLEEP: So I said before but he naps for about 3 hours in the middle of the day. He wakes up between 6:30 and 7 and then goes back down for his nap around 10:30 or 11.  He then goes to bed around 7 or 7:30. He woke up in the middle of the night for the first 2 nights in the US. After that, he was on our time-zone. He does not want to be held anymore. He did for the first week or so of being home. He loved falling asleep on G’s chest. Now he likes to lay down and play with his stuffed animals for a few minutes. He has an adorable bedtime routine, If I do say so myself. He has to have his bed arranged just-so. He has two blankets, and 3 stuffed animals. They all have to be in certain spots before he will get comfortable. So he will move them around in his bed until he is satisfied they are right where they should be. He also has a Woo-Bear, a battery-operated, womb-sound-maker-thingy. Both of our girls used it and now he has to have it turn on and turned up before he will get settled. (Lily named it Woo-Bear many years ago) If he wakes in the middle of the night all you have to do it turn Woo-Bear back on and he is golden. 
So...back to the trip. 

Monday came along and we went back to the doctor for her to check his TB skin test. She signed off on the paperwork and we went back to the apartment to hang out for the remainder of the day. 

Tuesday we had no appointments but G’s flight was arriving later in the day. The translator picked him up at the airport around 2 and by the time Sam awoke from his nap, daddy was there. He ran right to G. Go figure. He took to G very quickly so I was able to take a breather for the first time in a week. G put him to bed that night very easily. 

Wednesday we had no appointments until the afternoon so we walked around the city for a bit before heading to the US Embassy for the Exit Visa Appointment. It took a good 2 hours so be prepared. Luckily their are toys there for the kids to play with as well as a huge garden to walk about in. We crossed paths with another adoptive family as we were coming in through security. They were headed out and assured us it was painless. 

Thursday, again no appointments, but we had friends from Romania who drove down late that night to spend the day with us Friday. 

Friday, we received all the paperwork to exit the country along with his passport. We could officially leave BG which was a huge relief. We spent the day with our Romanian friends doing the “tourist” thing. 

Saturday we spent the morning packing up and getting ready to head out. Sam did not like the look of packing. He was very confused why all the bags were being packed. He particularly did not like that all 4 of his balls where going in the big suitcase and he could not play with them. The translator picked us up at noon and we headed to the airport. No problems getting through check-in and security. We brought Sam’s stroller and only each carried a backpack and G’s carry-on. So glad we brought the stroller, especially in London where we needed to get around quickly to make it through security and to our connecting gate very quickly. 

Sam’s first flight was fine. He turned 2 end of July so he had his own seat between us. He was fine during take-off and then he enjoyed a snack and beverage while we had our adult beverage (wink, wink). He fell asleep in G’s arms pretty soon after that. He slept for the remainder of the flight to London. 

We made it through the mess that is Heathrow, and boarded the next flight. He did basically the same thing on that flight. He ate then started fussing a little so G held him until he fell asleep. We were able to lay him down between us and he slept the entire length of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The last 4 hours of the flight were “busier” but he still did a great job. He didn’t scream or cry too much, just fussed and whined occasionally. He was very tired by the time we got to Dulles. 

We apparently timed it perfectly with immigration. We walked right through to the officer, who then directed us to his supervisor who quickly opened our document packet and went through the papers. They sent us next to declarations were we had to “present” our son. They looked at us and laughed us on. I should mention that Samuel smiled at everyone we came in contact with. 

We then had to take the shuttle to the car park. He enjoyed riding on the bus. He had no idea what to think of the carseat the first time we put him in it. Luckily he was so tired he didn’t put up much of a fight. 

We came home to a lovely door sign and a banner designed by the girls, (helped by my aunt and dad ;)

It was beyond wonderful to be home with our son. The trip was relatively easy and everything went according to plan. It was long (12 days from start to finish) but painless. 

It was all still surreal. It is really JUST setting in that he is HOME and OURS. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Trip 2

So, took awhile to get the HS updated and we had to call our local congressman to get our fingerprints done in a timely manner but once that was finished USCIS was quick to get our approval notice to us. The agent got the HS on Wednesday and sent the approval on Thursday. We got our approval on Monday. Sent the approval on to BG and waited. Waited. Waited. Two weeks later we were told they were unable to get a VISA Appointment in July. Another month before we could travel. We missed his birthday, July 30, which meant, 1) We missed his 2nd Birthday, and 2) That we would have to pay for his ticket back because he could no longer sit in our laps.

We travel August 12-23 to bring him home.

So, here's where it gets complicated….

I will head to BG on Aug.12. I will get there on the 13th and drive, with the translator, directly to Silistra. We will stay the night there and pick him up at 9 the next morning. So technically his "gotcha day" will be August 14. He and I will travel back to Sofia that day. We have his medical appointment on Friday for his TB test. He and I will spend the weekend together and then start with more appointments Monday. During this time…my Aunt J will fly up to DC on that Saturday to be with the girls when G leaves on Monday night for BG. He will get to BG Tuesday afternoon and be with us the rest of the trip. My dad will fly up on Thursday to help my Aunt J out with the girls. They will stay until Monday evening after we get back with Samuel.

G and I will bring Samuel home on Saturday the 23rd.

Now, we are being told by our agency and the State Dept. that the Embassy in Sofia is behind on their system and having difficulty handing out VISAs in a timing manner. AKA, we may have to pay change fees for the airlines. Hopefully this issue will be resolved by the time we leave. We are being told it should be.

Also I wanted to mention that we went through a non-profit called AFC Travel for our airfare. www.afctravel.com
The woman that helped us was very kind and was able to book our tickets for much less than the listed fare. We were able to get a humanitarian fare which is less and the change-fees are much less.

We will also be flying British Airways so I'm sure I will have a nice flight. If I don't, you're sure to hear about it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

He is ours!

So Samuel is our son, officially! We received word from the adoption agency in BG that all the paperwork has been signed and sent to the US Embassy.

So I am happy to present photos of our son, Samuel George Joseph Rhoden!

This photo was taken at a local studio and is being used as his Visa and Passport photo. He was NOT happy about sitting still long enough to snap the shot. In this shot, I am actually squatting in front of him, holding his knees down so that he can not run away! I'm fairly certain this was the only photo they were able to successfully take. 
The first day we met. He didn't know what to make of the phone. 
We brought a set of stacking cups and presented them to him as his first gift. He played with them daily

I will upload more later. As we stand we are waiting for our home study update to be completed and our biometrics taken in order to travel. LONNNNNNGGGGGGG Story. I am tired but will update later on the subject. 

Outline of our entire process:

January 2010: This was the first officially step towards adoption.
July 2010: Completed homestudy
October 2010: Received our USCIS approval
December 2010: Mailed dossier to BG
April 2011: Registered with country of BG
Spring 2012: Homestudy update
Spring 2013: Homestudy update
Dec 2013: Official referral
February 2014: 1st Trip 
May 2014: Started on 3rd home study update 
May 27, 2014: Court Date 
June 23, 2014: Official word he is ours! 

Total time from start to referral: 4 years give or take a few days
Total time from registration to referral: 32 months
Total time from 1st Visit to Court date: 3 months

Saturday, March 1, 2014

1st Trip

So sorry it's taken awhile to post this. I've gotten a lot of emails and calls asking about the trip so I figured it would be easier to write about it.

So we took the first trip February 15-22.

We left Saturday the 15th from Dulles and flew direct to Munich. We had a short layover in Munich then flew on to Sofia. We left DC around 5:30 Saturday night and got into Sofia around noon the next day. We did not sleep at all on the flight, nerves and excitement won out over Benadryl and wine.

We flew United and boy, I thought Delta was bad. The food was awful (inedible) and the service terrible (they don't do you any favors). We both agreed it's almost worth it to pay more to fly KLM or Lufthansa. They know how to treat people! We know because of my own experience with international KLM flights and then we flew Lufthansa from Munich to Sofia (and vice-versa). They provided the best chocolate croissants as the snack on an hour-long flight. United gave us peanuts. Literally and figuratively.

So, enough complaining about cheap American airlines. We got to Sofia and had no trouble retrieving our bags. We had to get some BGN lev at the airport so we went to one of the expensive kiosks and exchanged about $100. Then we requested a yellow cab. They immediately took us to our hotel, the Hilton Sofia. The cab ride was about 13 lev. ($9) The Hilton Sofia was very modern and nice. Not particularly different than the States. We had Hilton Honors points so we were able to save some dough by staying there. Plus, everyone speaks English. The restaurant was good but very expensive. We found an awesome Sushi place up the road about 15 minute walk called Happy Sushi. It's near the US Embassy so it's in the nice part of town.

We ate and went to sleep around 4:00 pm Sunday afternoon. We slept all night and got up, packed and ate the awesome breakfast. Best breakfast ever. Our wonderful translator picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 and we were off to Silistra. We stopped for lunch but made it to Silistra around 4. We went straight to the orphanage.

The orphanage is very clean, and well-organized. They led us into a playroom where they promptly brought "Sam" in to meet us. He is beautiful. We were both struck by how well he walks for an 18 month old. He has dark brown hair, massive dark brown eyes, and lips any OC housewife would pay thousands for. He has very cute, large ears. (My husband pointed this out) He weighs around 25 pounds. He is happy and healthy. He has an amazing smile with one dimple. His laugh is more a silly chuckle.

He immediately picked up a ball and began playing with it. G caught the ball and started to toss it around him. Sam loved this. He seemed to be fascinated by G. He is a man after all. They played ball for awhile. I sat on the floor to observe but not push my desire to get my hands on him. About 15 minute into the visit, Sam came to me and gave me the ball. From then on it was a game for 3. The translator was talking to one of the caregivers, "D" that has taken charge of him since he was brought to the orphanage at only a few days old. She seemed very happy that we were actively playing with him and that he was returning the initiative. She wanted to hear about his sisters and DC. She wasn't pushy at all, just curious.

Within the first 30 minutes he came and sat in my lap. Of course I melted. Something about a boy. G and I spent most of our first visit struggling to hold back tears. Especially when D said we were a beautiful family and she couldn't ask for more for him. (Sniff, sniff) We brought a set of stacking cups for him and he loved them! He has great coordination and fine motor skills. It took all of five minutes for him to understand stacking the cups in order of size. G played a "stick a cup on your head" game that Sam thought was hilarious. The two-words to describe Sam: All-Boy and spoiled.

He likes to be flipped, tossed, do roll-overs, etc. G and I were exhausted after our play date. Momma's gonna have to work out more to stay up with him.

The nurses and caregivers all adore him! They call him "Go-goo," "Go-she," "Prince Lalev" and "Little Prince." They chat easily to him in BG and he responds with a smile. He likes to get his way. He threw several fits while we were there because he wasn't allowed to go somewhere or do something. G handled him easily.

It's amazing how different a boy is. With my girls I am the disciplinarian. They bat their eyes at G and he gives in to them. With Sam, G is not phased at all, and I find myself giving into his fluttering eyes. We told this to D and she laughed. She said she was sure he would be even more spoiled by 2 older sisters once he was home. I know this to be true.

The caregivers were all very concerned and anxious to see if we would accept the referral. We set their hearts at ease quickly and said we would send the papers that night (which we did)

We hated to leave him. We we able to see where he eats and sleeps before we left. He was a tired little boy and ready for bed.

We then headed to check in to our hotel. The one hotel in Silistra. We tried to eat at the restaurant in the hotel but after 1 hour and 45 minutes of waiting on our food decided to go to bed hungry. Long story. Breakfast the next morning was simple. Needless to say, my momma always said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all."

The second day we were given a rare treat. We were given a tour of the facility by the director. She showed us all the therapy rooms, playrooms, the therapy pool, etc. We met in her office to discuss Sam and she was very kind and open regarding his family history and his background. His mother was labelled as mildly mentally retarded. He is not. His pediatrician, child psychiatrist, and his caregivers all agree he is on track for a child his age. We were able to send videos and photos to our pediatrician friend back home (thanks Dr. M. Snider) who said he saw nothing troubling or out of the ordinary. The director gave us a wonderful compliment: She said that Sam had 2 separate BG families that wanted to adopt him, but that the director and the caregivers did not like them. She said she and the caregivers like us and trusted us with him. She said our love was apparent.

We were able to play with him Tuesday and Wednesday morning from 9:30-noon, and then again from 4:30-7. We were able to feed him every meal while we were there. We were also allowed to put him to bed. (That didn't work; He screamed) He can use a spoon and drink from a cup. He is also potty-trained. Before you say anything: We are prepared for him to regress when he comes home. We will be taking pull-ups on the second trip and sippy cups.

He gradually began to expect us each day. D said he would wait by the door at the approximate time he knew we would come. He also began discriminating between us and the nurses. We were very surprised by this because we were told that he would not discriminate but go to anyone who would take him. He would chose us over the nurses for feeding, holding, etc.

On Wednesday morning we took him to get his passport/visa photo taken. D went with us. He sat curiously on my lap until the car started moving then he moved across the backseat from D to me to G. He enjoyed being outside and seeing all the colors and people. He walked along the street between D and myself while G and the translator took care of the photos. The driver and D took us to see the river after we were done.

Thursday morning was our last morning with him. He started babbling "ma ma ma ma ma" to me. Truth: we have it on video. He would play with my hair as he said it. The caregivers started calling us Momma and Daddy the first day. The only referred to us as such. He did say "da da da da" but he already said that for D so we couldn't tell who he was referring to.

We fed him lunch and then got him dressed for naptime. He was tired and fussy when we left. I cried like a sissy. (I'm not a cryer) G cried later because he said he knew if he cried it would make me cry even more. The caregivers, including D, hugged us and held us. They said BG blessings in our ears and promised to take good care of him until our return.

We ate lunch before leaving for Sofia. I slept most of the drive home while G and the translator talked. While I slept, we drove through the town where he was born.

We got back to Sofia around 7 that night. Garry and I ate and went to bed. The next morning we slept in before meeting with the BG adoption agency at 11:30. We had to go to the notary's office to sign papers, then we were done. We ate lunch at the sushi place I mentioned near the hotel, then swam and worked out to relax. We ate a quick bite at McDonald's that night. Yes the one and the same. We wanted to see if it was different and it was. The big mac and the fries were the only things on the menu we recognized. We also learned we would be in trouble if our youngest daughter was with us because they charge for each ketchup packet.

So, the next morning we left for the airport around 5. The hotel grabbed us a yellow cab. Only about $7 this time. We flew back to Munich (on Lufthansa, had a Pain au Chocolate this time) and had a 3 hour layover. We ate lunch and then flew back on the cursed United. (Attendants act like they are doing you a favor if you ask for water)  Took awhile to go through customs once we were back but made it home finally around 5 pm. (Thanks Natalie)

My aunt watched the girls while we were gone so a big thanks to her for taking on THAT challenge for a week.

We hope to be back by July.
We miss him. The days are hard. We just try to keep ourselves busy and pass the time. Imagine leaving your child in a foreign country for 5 months. Yep, it sucks.

USCIS has our petition to adopt paperwork so we are just waiting on that to go through right now.

I will update later with paperwork info.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Referral…in Bulgarian.

So, we are number 7 on this list. You can see why it takes so long to translate. I tried to import to Google Translate…what a debacle! Pretty sure it said our son was a donkey. 

So the best translation I could find was: 
WMO 267/27.11.2013 PROPOSAL MP
for male child aged 1 year and 4 months
Data for family history.

Special thanks to Viviane for showing me where to find this. 

Списък от преписки на кандидат-осиновители, по които са взети решения от заседанието на Съвет по международно осиновяване, проведено на  27.11.2013г.

дата на вписванев Регистър
за дете от ,,,, пол на възраст ,,,, години и ,,,, месеца,
с особености в здравословния статус,
с данни за фамилна обремененост.
Входящ № в МП
Дата на входиране
Държава по местопребиваване

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП
за дете от женски пол на възраст 2 години.

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП
за дете от мъжки пол на възраст 2 години и 2 месеца,
с особености в здравословния статус.

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП
за дете от мъжки пол на възраст 2 години.

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП
за дете от мъжки пол на възраст 2 години и 11 месеца.

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП
за дете от женски пол на възраст 4 години и 9 месеца,
с особености в здравословния статус.

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП
за дете от женски пол на възраст 5 години и 4 месеца,
с особености в здравословния статус.

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП
за дете от мъжки пол на възраст 1 години и 4 месеца,
с данни за фамилна обремененост.

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП
за 2 деца биологични брат и сестра на възраст съответно:
 7 години и 7 месеца,
 4 години и 1 месеца.

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП
за дете от мъжки пол на възраст 9 години и 5 месеца.

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП
за дете от женски пол на възраст 6 години и 3 месеца,
с особености в здравословния статус.

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП

СМО 267/27.11.2013 ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ МП