April 30, 2012

I Am Still Here!!

Please forgive me for just leaving you all hanging.  :)  After a very long exhausting flight home, we had to get right back into the swing of things on Monday morning....back to work!  We had trouble with sleep the first 2 nights in Bulgaria and then the same trouble for 2 nights after returning home.  Nothing like lying in bed wide awake when you know that you have to get up at 6am the next morning...ugh!  That's that wonderful thing called jet lag, but no amount of jet lag could have kept me from making that trip.  I would go again this weekend if they told me I could come and pick up my babies. 

This is truly the hard part....holding them, hugging them, and getting so attached to them....and then having to leave them.  Wow...I had no idea it would be so painful to leave.  But Jeff and I are on a mission.  We have completed our I-800 and now we are working on a new form that our state requires for the homestudy agency.  There is just always one more piece of paper, one more form, but I know that it will all be worth it in just a few months.  We are pressing forward as quickly as we can and praying that we can get back as quickly as possible. 

We know they both will need some medical intervention very quickly after we get them home.  Our daughter desperately needs that cleft palate repaired and she has a hip dislocation that will need attention asap!

Thank you all for following our journey, for your support, and especially for your prayers.  It is so disheartening to know that the devil will try to interfere in such a Godly mission.  I am amazed at how evil tries to slip in....even in the Anonymous form.  But Jeff and I know that God prevails...that we are following his will for our lives and our family, and we will not be discouraged, nor will we allow evil to stand in our way.  We are so thankful for such a wonderful adoption community where we have found great support, love, and friendship.  There is no greater joy than knowing God holds us in his hand and he promises to never leave us. 

April 12, 2012

Day 11- 4th day with Caden

I can't believe that it is already Thursday and we have only 1 more visit with our boy.  It has been a good week of visits and we have seen him warm up to us more and more each day.  It will be so hard to leave Bulgaria on Saturday and know that we are leaving our babies behind.  We rest in the peace of knowing that our Heavenly Father will be watching over them.

Chavdar has been great...he has made sure we had opportunities for sightseeing and tasting different Bulgarian foods.  We have enjoyed experiencing Bulgaria's beauty and culture.  It is evident, however, as we have driven through these Bulgarian towns and villages, that we take much for granted in our beautiful America.  How do we become so complacent?  How do we become so ungrateful?   We can never imagine how much we take for granted!  God has truly opened our eyes.  We must never cease to give thanks!

Forgive me for not posting yesterday.  My heart has been broken for our sweet boy.  I guess I have found it difficult to type through the tears what has been on my heart.  He is so thin and his muscles are weak, but he has the smile of an angel.  Many people have asked us WHY?  Why, at our age, have we decided to embark on this journey.  Well, now I can tell them....No, I can show them.   You see this sweet child,  one who against so many odds, has been quite a little survivor and he ask for nothing...not even a toy, but somehow, his eyes cry out for someone to just love him.  He has refused our gifts of toys...he just pushes them away, but when we hold him close and tight, he melts into us.  His body is so small and frail, but his determination is strong.  As I held him close today, I whispered to him...Mommy and Daddy are coming for you sweet boy...stay strong, it won't be long.
The smile of an angel!!

April 10, 2012

Day 9-Caden Day 2

Today was an even better day.  Caden is warming up more and allowing us to hold and hug him without so much resistance.  We took him for Visa pics today and he was so good...he did seem a little scared but we enjoyed him clinging to us!  He is a very sweet boy with a sweet disposition.  He is very small so I guess we should plan for baby clothes for he and Avery!  We appreciate all the kind comments from everyone.  Your prayers and support have sustained us through this trip.  I am including pictures from today's visit and a few from our sightseeing adventures.  I wish I could share them all.  There are so many beautiful sights here in Bulgaria.  We feel so blessed to be sharing this journey with you all!

Mt. Vitosha in Sofia

There are peacocks living in the yard of our hotel. 

The Balkin Mountain Range view from our hotel


Old town Blagoevgrad...the architecture was amazing

I will share more of Bulgaria tomorrow and of course more pics of our sweet boy.  We are hoping for a warm day to take him outside.  For now, it is very late, so I am off to bed.


April 9, 2012

Day 8-First Visit with Caden

We are in Blagoevgrad....what a great town.  It is very different from Kazanlak.  This is a college town.  The American University is here as well as the Southwest University.  The Centre is very nice and filled with students from many different countries.  After our visits with Caden, we visited the older section of town.  It was amazing to see the traditional Bulgarian architecture and the artistry on the buildings...especially the church.  While there, we met a Bulgarian artist who was planning for his art exhibition to be held in Sofia.  We got to visit his studio and buy one of his paintings.  He has many paintings of different areas in Bulgaria.  A nice keepsake from our trip.

Ok...I know, I am rambling and you all want to know about Caden. ;) Well....he is ABSOLUTLEY PRECIOUS!  We got to visit with him twice today.  The visits were shorter than those we had with Avery, but it was so wonderful to be able to hold our boy!!  He was a little cautious this morning but he did not cry.  He is a quiet boy; very calm and sweet.  This afternoon he warmed up to us more and Jeff had him giggling and playing a little.  He did not seem to know what to do with the toys but he was interested in watching us play!  :)  He did try to mimic some of our actions.  We gave him lots of hugs and kisses, which to our surprise, he accepted very willingly.  Ok, I will stop now so you can see the pictures....they will make you smile!!

This video is sure to bring a smile to any face!!

April 6, 2012

Day 5

Today was a sweet but difficult goodbye.  We had a birthday party for Avery.  All the children in her group, the orphanage workers, and her teacher were there.  It was great!  They decorated the play room so nicely and we brought a cake for everyone to share.  The children danced and they sang a celebration song for Avery.  We sang Happy Birthday and she blew out the candles.  It was such a sweet party.  After the party, we got to visit for a while and then we said our goodbyes to everyone.  Saying goodbye to our sweet girl was so difficult.  How do you reassure a child that you will return?  How can they understand that they really aren't being abandoned all over again?    Avery's Baba, a very sweet Bulgarian lady, was there to take her and she told us not to worry, that she will take good care of her until we return.  We are so grateful to her and to the workers at the orphanage for the care that they have given to Avery....and the other children.  They genuinely seem to care about them.  But....leaving her there was more difficult than we ever imagined it could be.  We now just pray.....pray for her safety and health, pray for a speedy process, and pray for a quick return to pick her up and bring her home to her family.  Please pray with us......

I am including some pictures of Avery at her party today.  She looks so pretty in pink!! 

What a sweet princess!

We are now back in Sofia.  Tomorrow will be our sightseeing day and then on Sunday we head to Blagoevgrad (Blah goyv grod).
Yes, we are still practicing the correct way to say it!!   :)
On Monday, we get to meet our son....we are very excited.  Please pray with us that all is well there.  We have not seen any new pictures or had any updates since we started the process.  The only information we have is from when he was an infant and he turned 3 on March 31.   We are trusting God and we know that we are following his will. 

April 5, 2012

Day 4

Wow!!  Is it Thursday already????  I can't believe we only have one more visit with our sweet girl.  We have truly had a wonderful bonding experience with Avery.  We are going to miss her so much!  Now the waiting will be even more difficult.  We went for a short walk in the village with the Babas and some of the children in Avery's groupa.  It was so much fun.  We stopped to see a stork in its nest and we watched the goats as they were herded to a nearby field.  Avery walked a lot today and was very tired when we got back to the orphanage.  We were invited to a celebration for a child in the orphanage who took his first steps.  It was fun to watch the children dancing and celebrating.  Avery loved the music and she loves to dance.  We will have a short visit tomorrow morning.  They have allowed us to bring a cake and have a birthday party for Avery and the Rhodes' son, Joseph.  They will both have birthdays this weekend.  I am so glad we are here to celebrate with them. 

Here are a few pictures of our visit today....enjoy...

Isn't she the tiniest little thing???  She is just precious!
She will be 5 on Sunday!

I will post pics tomorrow of the birthday party....stay tuned!!    :)

April 4, 2012

Day 3

Today was a warm day.  We played outside with the other children this morning.  During lunch, we went shopping in the Centre so that we could buy Avery some new shoes and a sand bucket with shovel.  This afternoon, we took her out to the sand pit and she played for over an hour in the sand.  She loved her new bucket and shovel.  I taught her how to use the shovel but she preferred to use her hands to pick up the is adorable to watch her fill the bucket with those tiny hands. 

We also made some friends with the stray animals that live around the orphanage.  Jeff and I bought dog and cat food and we fed the animals in the yard.  Avery loved being up close to them.  The animals have not gotten very close to us until today.  They seemed so grateful to have something to eat and to have just a little attention. 

It is amazing to think about how just a little attention and care made orphaned animals feel a little less lonely...even if just for a few minutes today in the orphanage yard.  My heart breaks to think what the orphaned children must feel.  To have no family to call their own....and their little hearts just crying out for the love, attention, and care that can only come from being in a family.  I watched the sweet ladies at the orphanage work hard to make sure all the children have their basic needs met and I know they care about the children.....but there are just so many.   So many children, so many needs, so many special needs.  There can just never be enough time for the touch, the affection, the nurturing that is so desperately needed. 

We must pray, we must advocate for these sweet innocent children who just need what we all need......the love of a family. 

Praise God that our sweet Avery will soon be home to know the love of a family. 

 Here are some of our new friends:

Little Miss Avery with her new shovel and sand bucket. 

Watching the doggy eat some food.

Still a little distracted by the doggy and kitty!

We are so thankful...........

April 3, 2012

Day 2

Today was another great day.  We took her into Kazanlak to have pictures done for the Visa.  She did great....absolutely loved the car ride.  She was taking it all in!  She especially loved seeing the animals along the road in the village!  The weather warmed up nicely today so we played outside a lot!  She loves digging in the dirt....I can't wait to get her a sandbox and to take her to the beach....she will be mesmerized! 

Thank you all for the sweet comments and for following our journey.  I know you want to see more pics, so be ready to smile.....






Here is a video I thought you might enjoy.  Stay tuned for the next update!

April 2, 2012

Our First Day with Avery!!

Well, I have to say....WE ARE IN LOVE!!  This little girl is absolutely beautiful, and sweet, and smart!!
We went to the orphanage this morning for about 2 1/2 hours.  When they brought Avery ("Niki" is what they call her at the orphanage) in to see us, she was a little hesitant at first.  We took out some toys that we brought with us and she quickly warmed up.  We went to the playroom to play with her and to watch her interact with some other children.  It was so awsome.  We had so much fun playing with her and the other children.  I was amazed to see how happy and joyful Avery is.

 There is a "grandmother" program at the orphanage in which some older ladies from the village come to spend a few hours a day with the children.  These ladies really seem to care about them and it is obvious that the children respond well to them. 

During our afternoon visits we discovered that Avery loves animals.  It is going to be great when we get her home and she sees that her new home has lots of animals...horses, dogs, cats, and chickens.  She also loves to be outside and playing in the dirt was a big hit...she loved to pick up handfuls of dirt and put it in Jeff's hands.  She loves her daddy....she wanted him to hold and play with her the whole time...I think he was exhausted at the end of the day!!    :)  But he loved every minute of it!!

Everyone was so nice at the orphanage!!  We were so grateful to see how well they have cared for our sweet girl.  We tried to sneak in a few hugs for the other children also....they all seemed to crave our attention.  We just wanted to hug and hold them all!

I know you are probably tired of my rambling....the real thing you want to see is pictures...right?  (if you haven't already scrolled down to see them!)  ha
Well, ok, here you go...some of the best shots of the day....enjoy!!
  Yes she will really be 5 years old on April 8.

Check back tomorrow for more.  Thank you all for your prayers and support during this special time.  Please continue to pray that our visits go well and we can soon bring our sweet girl home!