Friday, July 31, 2009

This is the very heart and soul of these adoptions

We are leaving a part of our hearts in Bulgaria until we return... for them . I wanted to again share this video of Dancho... our severly delayed and blind son who has discovered the joy of laughter in his Daddy's arms.

Thursday and Friday in Bulgaria

We had our 2 visits with Gracie on Thursday... we have brought her a banana when we have visited and she has enjoyed them . She still likes to play a bit with the toys but mostly with the paper or trash she finds in the yard. We had eaten at a restaurant that served tiny umbrellas and metal twirly sticks in the ice cream we had ordered.. we thought they would be perfect for her and they were. Today I brought some tape... after we watched her take all the labels off the water bottles we had and playing with the sticky part of them. She loved the duck tape pieces I brought :) We also today brought Paul's computer to share all the pics and videos of Dancho and her... she laid in our laps for over 45 min. looking at them.. she loved them . We even heard her say,"Dancho". I also played a game with her where I pick her up and move her diff. ways all singing 1,2 buckle my shoe... and it ends with me ticking her... she asked me to play it over and over... also she let me transfer her to daddy for him to do it. When it was time to say goodbye she even gave Paul a kiss and me a hug... it was sad leaving her as well. We prayed with her in our arms and she just snuggled into us as we did... how sweet and what a gift we got today. Then she walked us out to our van with her director. She was pulling me to get there ( she thought she was going ) she hopped right in and was ready to go... it was precious and again another gift to us... the director here has been very sweet with Gracie.. she took her out of the van and held her as we said,"chow". Very difficult but we pray the next part goes quickly .
We were treated to a wonderful trip home thru the mountains... we went halfway the way we had come and then Toni asked if we would mind a detour... thru the mtns. and to the house her family is building. Of course we agreed.. and it was so beautiful... the country of Bulgaria is very pretty and reminds of so much of home... then we were almost to Sofia and went to see their home... they have been working on it since 2007 and it is going to be a very nice home... As you may have guessed Toni is in a wheelchair and it is difficult to get around... they are not handicapped accesible here like in the US. She relies on her dear family to help her... and they are such a close family... we were truly blessed to be included . They loved on us and shared so much joy and happiness with us.... We met their neighbors to and she shared some cukes with us and plums... I have loved the people of Bulgaria... they have welcomed us and been very warm and friendly. Thank you Lord for this journey of adoption into Bulgaria.

Here are a few pics of our last days here... we fly out Sat. afternoon and will be home Sat. nite... more later.. I lots of pics of food that we have eaten and some other thoughts.
Thank you to our wonderful ABF class at church who have provided meals and love to our kids at home and thank you for all of your prayers... we have felt them in such amazing ways...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Toys and an interesting observation

The first four pictures are of Gracie's group.. notice no toys, or the one with Paul by a table is where they eat- toys are on the shelf up high, the beds are where she sleeps ( the one in the middle is hers), the pic of the pottys the orphans use
Then the next four pics are the ones across the hall that the daycare kids from the community use...notice the nice, new pottys, the colorful areas and the toy shelf where the toys can be reached by the kids and the beds are new and colorful
Why the diff. for the orphans and the community kids ???????????????????????

We can't believe it is Wed. already

We had great visits with Gracie.. she repeated some of our words... her favorite was Wow! when a motorcycle went by. She even took my shoes off and was wearing them :) We took a tour of the orphanage and it was very good to see it.. We like the director... she is very natural with the kids and they with her. They call her "Auntie" it is just that they do not have lots of money for things and they do not work with the orphans or be creative with them much to stimulate them.... I will post pics of our tour. Our afternoon visit was outside and she was very pleasant and peaceful... just sitting and "playing " sort of with the toys we bring... we have a whole suitcase of things to do with the children but because of Dancho's severity of delays ( like a 3 to 6 month ) at the age of 4 mostly I think for lack of stimulation as I shared before and Gracie is similiar except more like a 2 yr old we have not had to use them all. Gracie's favorite toy has been the trash from the fruit roll up or other trash she finds or sticks, leaves and rocks. That is what they all play with and so she shows the most interaction with those things.. she has enjoyed the vtech toys and we have had lots but she does not play like a normal kid with them... she has figured them out but does not do more... than she will go get a stick... so it will interesting to share the world with these 2 precious ones... in their time. While sitting by me she even made a funny face by pulling her eyes down to make me laugh... so she does surprise us with these special moments. Someone asked about bringing toys ... it has been our experience and our older teens who were adopted that they just don't let the kids play with them.. Our older kids have been adament about us leaving anything here.. they said it won't be used for the kids.... the workers will take them or some may be put high on a shelf but the kids never play with them.. Leah shared a sad story that happened to her. Her grandmother visited her once and gave her some money.. the worker took Leah shopping and bought a wall clock with the money... when they returned she brought the group in and said thank you to Leah in front of the kids... for she wanted to buy the group this clock... Leah never even had a say in the money. I think a better thing to bring is diapers... they do use pamper type diapers on the kids and use alot. We have brought supplies and medicines and a whole suitcase of little shoes that we have left but only at the orphanages we trusted... and then I am sure the workers would take some of the things too... they are not paid very much something like 180 dollars a month. Don't be too judgemental even though it makes me mad... how do any of us know if our own kid needed something we might not be doing the same thing... it is a very poor economy and people do desperate things...unfortunately the orphans have no one who cares but you and I.

pics from Tuesday

Playing with Gracie in the playroom that has no toys... Toni's brother, Alex holding some kids from her group, daddy and Gracie outside and the group singing songs to us... I don't think Gracie's dress could get much shorter :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 2 in Vidin

I am tired and had written a longer post but lost it... we had another good visit with Gracie and each time she seems to warm up to us even more. She to is very delayed and needs to get home to start discovering her world... it is very sad to look around and see no toys for these kids.... they have to be bored out of their wits... Here are 2 pics from our visit today... Sorry I can't seem to download the pics... tomorrow we get a tour of the orphanage. I was asked when do the kids get moved out of a crib... about the age of 3 to 4 to a bed with rails. More on Wed... my how the time has flown... I pray the next step time does too.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Something we have loved - Skype - and playing with the kids

Some of
our most favorite times during our adoptions have been when the director has allowed us to play with the groups... we are in an early heaven when we watch all the precious children just come up to touch and be touched, hug and be hugged. These kids ask for so little but have given us so much....Aren't they just adorable ?
Gracie intent on a toy and I "caught " her turned to me. Paul is playing high five with them and they loved it, a bunch of the kids around Toni and her brother and me, here they come out to play...
Actually they spotted our toys bag and went crazy... they do not have one toy outside for them to play with......
Again another helpful and free hint for those of you traveling. We have had wonderful internet connections everywhere we have gone...most of it has been wireless too. When we download pics it has not taken to long and it has been consistent.... amazingly so. Now we had internet in Ukraine in our apartment thanks to our translator, Roma and we were able to talk with our kids for free over the internet using a program called skype. We did it in Ukraine and are skyping from Bulgaria as well. We have a webcam camera on our laptop and the computer at home so we can even see each other... the pictures here in Bulgaria have been very clear too. When we were in Ukraine our new 5 got to meet our family at home when we took our computer to the orphanage and skyped. Their director even came in and met the family at home. We are able to "call" skype the kids often if we need to or talk as long as we want... one nite we talked for 45 minutes all for free.... with our family at home and for us this is a huge blessing to stay connected to each other... it is almost like they are here with us :)
One other option is to skype from a computer to a phone ( cell or land line) for very cheap while in Bulgaria... so we have a phone that we carry with us that we have purchased a sim card for the minutes but our kids can reach us even when we are traveling or not by the computer if they need to.
So again the Lord has provided for us and our "need" to stay connected.
Here are some more pics of our day with miss Gracie Jane :)

Monday in Vidin and here is Gracie Jane

We left later in the afternoon on Sunday and drove about 3 hrs thru the mountains... if you have been to Charlottesville, Va it reminded me of those mountains... very pretty . The weather has cooled considerably and it was a very comfortable and pleasant ride here. We met Toni's other brother , Alex and her mom... they are traveling with us on this trip and it has been a delight getting to know Toni's family. We have been blessed and taken care by all of them... we are grateful for this team and feel the Lord's provision everyday. It has been a real gift to have other christian's with us praying along side of us and sharing the joy of giving birth to these 2 children. I know some of you are traveling without your husbands and I can say you will be taken care of well and will feel very safe with them.

Now on to the best news... our Gracie Jane :)

When she came in to the director's office this am she went straight to my colorful bag and began to take toys out.. then she went around the room... very inquisitive... actually you could tell she had not ever been in here... we were told she is nonverbal and that is most of her issues... with some delays... She was not told no when she grabbed things but we got the feeling they just did not want to reprimand in front of us... finally we went to a playroom... at first she did not want to play. She held onto 2 tiny balls and a squishy one... did not really play. She loved the Elmo phone and it stayed with her the whole visit....She reacted very strange about getting her picture taken... not sure why but we were able to get some pics... she loved to look out the window at people passing by and loved to eat the treats of mms and crackers we bought. She allowed me to give them to her one at a time instead the grabbing of the whole thing like we saw in the directors office. She had to go to the bathroom and told us sort of... then we said our goodbyes ( which in Bulgarian is chow like the Italians do). Thank you is merci like the French say it... funny to us. They also do the opposite head shaking back and forth means yes and up and down means no... this has been quite humerous for us at times and everyone is very good natured about it....

We returned at 4 to play again. We asked to observer her with her group and so they all came outside ... we wanted to see how she was with her group. Actually she does not interact alot with them... she is doing her own thing... with the toys or she loves to place sticks and rocks into a hole in a cement wall. There are no toys for the kids... some old broken swings, and rocking sets... we played with all the kids and we were in heaven... this is our favorite thing to do and we feel so blessed to be able to do this.. the director has has been very nice. All the caregivers seem nice as well and at least this group seem to be more gentle at least around us . Gracie loved when Paul would chase her and pick her up... she had a slow time of allowing us to hold her but after she discovered she liked it she even asked for us to hold her... She would listen to us pretty well and we spent the last 40 min. with her on Pauls lap or in my arms which was a gift... also we were talking with her and pointing to pa pa and me- ma ma.. Tonia and then we said Alex... she said and we were all shocked ma ma , pa pa and Alex with the biggest smile... she was not suppose to be verbal and she just repeated what I said with understanding... she even pointed to Alex... amazing and we have only been with her 3 and a half hrs.....

I will post quickly a pic and will add more later... we have a dinner engagement or should I say date :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sun am from Sofia... a devotion I wanted to share

Psalm 106 :12-15 It is from Streams in the Desert ( I am doing it again) the author writes a very good piece... In Hebrews 11:27 , we read Moses "persevered because he saw him who is invisable." Yet in this passage, exactly the opposite was true of the children of Israel. They persevered only when their circumstances were favorable, because they were primarily influenced by whatever appealed to their senses, instead of trusting in the invisable and eternal God.Even today we have people who live an inconsistent Christian life because they have become preoccupied with things that are external. Therefore they focus on their circumstances rather than focusing on god. And God desires that we grow in our ability to see Him in everything and to realize the importance of seeminingly insignificant circumstances if they are used to deliver a message from Him....The Israelites continued to live a kind of up and down existance, because their faith was dependent on their circumstances. And this is certainly not the kind of faith God wants us to have.The world says that "seeing is believing," but God wants us to believe in order to see.The psalmist said," I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in land of the living. Psalm 27:13Do you believe God only when your circumstances are favorable,or do you believe no matter what your circumstances may be?St. Augustine said, "Faith is believing what we do not see, and the reward for this kind of faith is to see what we believe.

May you have a blessed Sunday today... wherever you find yourself

Saturday, July 25, 2009

more pics

My computer locked and I had wanted to post some more pics...mostly of Sofia...A Bulgarian church - where it costs a lot of money to attend church services when they have them like for Easter????, flowers planted all around the city streets,me outside the important MOJ building, the staue of the godess Sofia overlooking the city, of course a McDonalds and the the outdoor cafe called Happy (Bar and Grill)- great food and great service.

For those who come after us to Bulgaria

I am writing this blog to help others who follow later in the process to adopt thier blessings can have some idea of what it is like here in Bulgaria.... for many you already have adopted from some of the places we have too like Russia and Ukraine... maybe Mexico. I wanted to share some things I have seen or noticed about the process to help others... since today is a down day it would be a good time to share.....

First if you have not picked up on it yet but we have had a wonderful time here in this country... we feel safer, cleaner, more accepted- people are very friendly, not to diff. looking ( more heavier people, who dress similiar to us),the food has been outstanding ( at least for our tastes) - usually in the other countries we were cautious about trying the new food.. and often did not like it ( and we are obviously not picky eaters), the food we have eaten has been very tasty... we also get ice in our glass when we order it... the other countries we would not have ordered the ice because we were told not to for the worry about getting sick. The service in the restaurants have been super as well. We get a free breakfast and have the whole time because we are staying in hotels.... very clean and they have wonderful ac.... also they have free internet acess in the rooms.. so we have been able to use the computer easily all from our room... the hook up has been quick. Hotel rooms have been from 45 usa dollars to 120 here in Sofia a nite ... this has included a delicious breakfast in the price. We eat lunch for no more than 10 to 10 dollars for both of us and dinner has been 25 to 30 dollars. The tip rate is 10 %... We do drink bottle water and it is readily available but we brush our teeth with the hotel water.... We have traveled with Toni our lawyer/facilitator and her team which have been very sweet and accomadating to our needs... Since we are going to be here for 14 days... we have had some laundry...we have washed our own in the rooms and hung them in the room to dry... underwear has dried easily overnite and some lite cotton and silk things do... others have taken the full day to. There have been laundry services at the hotels ... we just don't want to pay for them... like 12 dollars for shorts, and 5 dollars for a shirt... it has been ok to wash them ourselves. I bought a small concentrate of All soap ( sold at the check out ) at Target in a travel size and that will be enough for our trip. I also use a fabreze clothing spray to freshen them after we take them off.. and hang them up overnite so we can wear them again.... the exchange rate has been about 1.4 lbgn or leva to 1 dollar. They also use Euros which the exchange rate has been also 1.4 dollar to 1 Euro.... We are finding it reasonable.

Now on to the orphanges here... they look like the ones we saw in Ukraine and Russia... very old, falling apart on the outside especially... walking can be a challenge to watch out for broken building or road pieces around the orphanage... it does not seem to be as dirty here... we always

had dusty feet on our previous travels.. not as bad here. They had a bathroom that I could use that was not bad at all and it had tolite paper too. We have not needed our stash of tolite paper kleenex like we did in Ukraine or Russia :) Even the use of sanitizer has been less... they have clean sinks with clean soap and paper towels to dry hands on... so not like the other countries. The staff have been very friendly and talkative... the director was as well. We went to dinner with the director and she was open and sharing about the needs there... some I would question but overall and as a plus to Joseph and the rest of the kids at our home... she was skinny- our kids noticed that all the kids in the videos of Bulgaria looked to skinny ( which is somewhat correct- more so in Dancho's group) but all the workers and directors were fat. They were telling me that their directors and caregivers always had enough to eat and then some :(

but not always the kids.. Also in Bulgaria the majority of the orphans are of gypsy decent.... gypsies are not to highly thought of so you can imagine the treatment this children get in the orphanage... Dancho is one example. He was a healthy and chubby looking baby in the first pic that we got... just like the little girls I showed on Friday... but they are not fed enough or given any attention and they become lost into themselves.... that is why I cried out to all of you to seek what you can do to help.... it is hopeless for these children if we don't help them... and yes we adopting does help but we can do even more... I am still praying about my plan of action but you will be hearing more from us about this.....

I hope this has helped and if you have any specific questions about our experience or just a question write it and I will try to answer it for you....

Here are some pics of Sofia.. the capital of Bulgaria and what we did this am before it got to hot... the one with the white coated soldiers is in front of the presidents building ( where he works not lives) it is of the changing of the guards.... Enjoy

Friday, July 24, 2009

The saddest day and a day to be happy sort of

These are 3 of the precious ones on Dancho's floor... the guy playing with the one little one is Toni's brother who was our driver this leg of the trip.... and of course one last one of sweet Dancho

It was very hard to leave my sweet little guy today... we had a wonderful visit with him. He is such a love... he really has changed so much in this past few days... he will be a diff. guy very quickly when he comes home. At first we strolled him outside for an hour... we held and walked him part of that time.... I tried to take it all in before we left... the other children, a little one offering us many of her treasures that she had collected... the tiny baby in a nurse's arms on the balcony looking down at us.... we have been told that we have so encouraged the caregivers... I pray that we have. Then we went upstairs for an hour...we sang to him 45 minutes of that time...mostly praise songs... he loved when we sang halelujah in the songs... he would smile even. I just know the sweet spirit of Jesus is in there.. I can see it on his face. Then we tried a new position- I turned him around and put him between my legs in a sitting position and swayed him back and forth... I was sitting on a chair and he just loved that .. it was easy for me too. Then we prayed for him and had to say our goodbyes... I lost it... thought I would not.. you would think that a mom of soon to be 24 would not get so emotional... but I was a mess... everyone was so sweet and we watched as our son went away to his room with his nurse... not to understand why we did not come back this afternoon. or why he does not get held now or sung to...or why when he is handled it is roughly, we watched them place him in his crib once by 'dropping " him part way..... you are getting my deep aching feelings now... I know that we will see him soon and what a time to rejoice that will be... so please pray for him.

It is now very intensely hot here... like 100 degrees. Thankfully we spend most of our time in ac. We drove back to Sofia and checked into our was a little over 5 hrs to drive including a great stop to eat and another stop... it was hot in the van but we are here now.... the roads we traveled were great... nothing like Ukraine or Russia. Many times it looked and felt like home to us... beautiful country side and as someone else shared we love the Bulgarian food... the people we meet are so friendly and again many know english.... those traveling after us... it has been great ... to us this has been the best adoption processs so far.... even as sad as it was today... it has been a far better experience than Ukraine or Russia.....We could pack way less because we would not need all the supplies like kleenex- for tolite paper, as much hand sanitizer or handiwipes, peanut butter, and snacks.. the food has been fresh and tasty.. and it is very clean. I can't wait to share about when we come back ?

We will sightsee Sat. and leave for Vidin early Sun. am ( to beat the heat of the day) .. then we start our visits with Gracie Jane on Monday...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

His laughter is the sweetest music :)

This is the first time we heard him laugh... daddy got him to laugh first... and they were even belly laughs :)

Day 3 in Yambol

Dancho was feeling better in the am ... so we took him outside for an hour and finished the last hour inside by his group. It was a very positive visit... he is becoming more verbal. We heard Da alot, and the b and an n sound from him today... My favorite though was upstairs we had him on a couch and he laid down but was awake... and stuck his thumb in his mouth... we got a will be the one I keep close to my heart until we return. We can tell he is not allowed to suck his thumb as we shared before... and he will push the side of his thumb into his cheek and we hear such slurpy sounds and every now and then he will slap the side of his face like a caregiver might... Abraham did the same behaviors... but as soon as he was prone his thumb went right in.. so maybe we think he is allowed to suck at times ( at least the times he does not get caught).

The afternoon we met him in a diff. part of the inside of his orphanage... toni got bit by a little guy yesterday.. he is a little trouble maker... very troubled little one.. who runs over when he gets away from the caregivers hand and tries to bite... we have dodged him fairly well but Toni is in a wheelchair and can not move as quick as we could... so we think that is why we went to the other part ...

We plan to visit 2 times today and once in the am... then we have to say goodbye for our 5 days will be up.... we travel to Sofia until Sunday and then on to Vidin to meet Gracie Jane. It will be so hard to leave him..... I can't even write about it now.

On a positive note one of Toni's families had their court yesterday and so things are moving along...praise God! We are rejoicing with that family :)

I will try to figure out how to upload the video of him laughing.. at home I have had problems with the computer but this is a diff. computer and maybe I can get it going :)
Paul played his hands on the couch .. beating them to a beat like a drum... when dancho wanted more he would hit his hand on the couch.. it was so precious. We have a whole suitcase of toys we brought to play with him... but in reality the best toy has been us... just getting him to let us hold , touch and caress him. He has made wonderful progress in the short time we have been with him.... actually we have tried toys but he only wants us ..... my heart just melts when we hold him. He loves motion even fast or twirling around... thats when we get the giggles. In the afternoon we were able to get him to listen to our mp3 player... actually we had tried. I bought an inexpensive on and downloaded several children 's cds on it... he really enjoys our other one that has praise music and other christian music... and his favorite have beent the ones with a loud sound and lots of drumming... like Toby Mac, some David Crowder and Steven Curtis Chapman :)......maybe he will pick up the drums Abraham?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 2 in Yambol

We visited Andrew (Dancho) 2 times today... this time we were outside. They brought him to us in a stroller since he really does not walk yet. He loves the motion of being pushed in the stroller which is good. When our son, Abraham came home at 3 yrs he did not... he loved us holding him and we had a great visit with him. He again tried to suck his thumb at times. When he is content he makes this sort of sound that is like a blow spit but no spit comes out. He did it all the time in the am with us... they said he just started making the sound the last 2 weeks and does it when he is content ... which is good that we are hearing it alot. He is more cuddly and sweet at each visit. We brought out an alphabet sound board and he would listen to it but had no exploration of it at all.. this too is something we saw with Abraham.... We had him in a swing by himself and on my lap outside and he really enjoyed that. When we came back at 4 they said he had thrown up and thought it was too much we played with him upstairs .. he was asleep in the stroller and so cute... they had combed his hair to the si de... we let sleep until he woke up and then we held him... we could tell he was not feeling the best... and tired. ... but he loved being held and cuddled...more each visit he has allowed us to touch and hold him. He loved Paul playing with him this am... we actually have a video of him laughing belly brought tears to my eyes.

When we were up on his floor we walked and they showed us his crib... this floor was so very sad... his roomate in the crib next to him was even smaller than Dancho, he was in the fetal position and very he was extremely anemic. The nurse rolled him over and his belly was swollen and he was not comfortable when I stroked him... they said he had seizures... in another crib was a child with hydrocephalus, another one was a darling little baby girl who cried when she was put in her crib... she has a heart condition. They fed her a bottle on the changing table by having her in a sitting position and not holding her.... then they put her in the crib... she cried ... Toni and I both wanted to go in and feed her the bottle.. these kids never get out of their cribs, or off the floor or outside... no wonder poor little Andrew ( Dancho) is severly delayed and malnourished.... I am sure that some of these children will not be alive when we return in a few months to pick up our kids...

I prayed and cried and felt what the Lord feels ... I know that we can do more for these orphans... I talked lots with the nurse on the floor... she was very sincere and has worked there since it opened 32 yrs ago... she said they do not have the staff... way understaffed...One caregiver at nite for 16 children who have major medical needs. I said can missionaries come and help.... she said yes..I would come back and be the arms to hold these children and rock them and change their diapers for a month... we could send a team here just to do that year round from churches if people really cared and walked what they say they believe. I am praying about what the Lord will have us do.... but I know that I will have a difficult time going to church when I return....I am really struggling with my fellow believers not just in my church but everywhere. Christians we can do more...... everyone one of us is comfortable, held, loved and fed and we must get uncomfortable , and help those orphans who are dying like these precious ones I met today... It was difficult and wonderful to be allowed to see these precious faces... at the same time... I will be their voice, I will pray for them and I will challenge each of us ... those who read my blog to do more... please seek the Lord's heart and ask Him what you can do and then do it.

Day 1 in Yambol :)

We traveled in the am to Yambol and we were again pleasantly surprised. At times it felt and looked like home. The roads were great... we stopped at a McDonalds that was clean and just beautifully landscaped... mountains were on both sides. Even the rest stop was clean ( well- not the tolite area) but up to that was landscaped , some parkeets in a cage.... people smile at you. Honestly it is a very friendly place.... there is a feeling of peace as we have traveled...( for those of you traveling without your hubby- Toni takes such good care of you... I could do this solo if I had to) . It is not at all like our Russia or Ukraine travels.... feels much safer...just like our translator in Ukraine commented, it is like a resort. The hotel is clean and we have hot water all the time,ac... the food is delicious .

Now to the best part ... we met Andrew. He looked like we thought he would and not... he has beautiful, dark , wavy hair and long eye lashes. He is more tiny than we could have imagined.... malnourished even. Toni was shocked herself at how bony and small he was. We have seen lots of orphans but Andrew very tiny.... his skin is a dark olive and sweet little fingers. He was grumpy at first because they had woken him from his nap.... after a few minutes I took him from the caregiver after she had him for a few minutes... he was trying to climb up on my shoulder and bury his face into me.... still a bit unhappy until I began to sing to him.... he loves music and would try to sing along with me some.... after 10 minutes I handed him to Paul... some complaints until Paul gently sang to him as well. We had a little over an hour with him... he mostly was in my arms... once in the hall I stood him up between my legs and once he laid on the couch between Paul and I.... he kept trying to suck his thumb... the first time the caregiver told him no... then the rest of the time he would push his thumb to his cheek and suck on his cheek from the inside... it broke my heart ... because I know this is comforting to him and they are not allowing him to suck his thumb... once he even gently slapped his own it must have been done to him... It was a sweet visit... one also that impressed everyone here... he does not easily go to strangers... honestly we could have walked right out with him ... He is severly delayed as well. I am sure he is severly neglected.... Even Toni agreed... we need to get him home sooner... it will be hard to leave him on Friday.... He is alot like Abraham was.... that is the crucial thing to remember when we have adopted a child like Andrew WAS... we have seen many before him overcome and I am sure he will as well. I will try to post a pic but it is slow....We will visit him twice today in the am and afternoon. It is a very short drive to the orphanage. It was a very stark and empty orphanage... not much noise coming from the halls. The director was nice and the caregivers were friendly as well.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

We are in Sofia

I thought I would update... so far we have been so blessed by our whole trip. We flew out from Wash. DC yesterday evening. That flight was a very quick and uneventful flight. We flew into Munich, Germany a bit early. We were off the plane and at the correct check in for our connecting flight in record time. We had asked the kids to pray for our seat assignments and we were able to get the emergency exit seats which are a bit more leg room.. that flight was great and we landed in Sofia. We have traveled lots for our adoptions but so far this Bulgarian adoption is proving to be our favorite so far. We unboarded the plane and went thru customs and got ALL of our luggage in a record 15 minutes. We walked out to meet our smiling facilitator, Toni and her brother.. We shared a hug and got a warm welcome to Sofia. Our drive to the hotel was short and we are extremely pleased with our room... Paul set up the computer and we got right on and were able to skype our kids at home (for free)... with free wireless internet that works well and fast! It was so good to see those smiling faces and tell them we had made it safely.

After a 2 hr nap we decided to eat at the hotel restaurant.... oh my what delicious food and very warm and gracious waiters. We ordered the shopska salad, bread ( that was homemade and hot ) with oil to dip it in, and cheese tortellini. I had heard the food was delicious and it sure was... While we were sitting in the restaurant eating 2 ladies began to play a baby grand piano and cello... their songs were a mix of some traditional pieces and mostly dinner music from the USA.. the theme from Ghost actually made me cry it was so beautiful... needless to say we have had a wonderful trip so far...

Tomorrow we head out to visit Dancho for 5 days in Yambol, back here for a day and a half and then to Vidin to visit Diana. We can't wait to meet these precious ones.

The people have been very friendly and helpful. We are surprised at how much english we see and have heard...

more later and hopefully some pics... keep praying for us please. We can tell there are prayers going up for us. You can see the mountains from window of the hotel... the city looks like Ukraine
with old , tall high rise buildings but the inside of ours is very modern. We checked out the pool and it is very large and clean... their is a spa and health center too.... does it even sound like we are here for an adoption ?

I leave you today with this prayer from my devotions today and a grateful heart from Paul and I.. Lord, Grace me with reminders of your presence.

We have felt the Lord's presence and it is always peace giving to know that He is around us... again thank you for your prayers.

Friday, July 10, 2009

We were celebrating tonite - to the song, "In the Hands of God" by Newsboys

Can you tell that our family is excited about our trip to Bulgaria? We were playing the Newsboys song, "In the Hands of God". Abraham is also playing and singing it at church on Sunday.....

We got some great news this week.... actually it is glorious news !

We will be leaving for Bulgaria on Sat., July 18 to meet our new children, Andrew and Gracie Jane ! We have bought our tickets and all the childcare is arranged ( no small feat with 20 kiddos still home ), we have the finances for the rest of our adoption ( again the Lord has met all of our needs and then some), and we are gathering together as a family to pray and cherish this precious time together before we will be apart.

Thankfully it is only for a short time... which is way different than we were used to with our adoptions from Ukraine. Another very positive difference is we know when we have a return date... and do not have to "hope and pray" for a shorter time in country or a long time away from the family at home. This has been a very positive change from our previous adoptions.

Our timeframe has been amazingly quick ... thank you Lord for this...especially after our last adoption timeframe when we adopted the 5 children. We actually started our paperwork in Feb. for the 2 children and now just 5 months we are traveling.

Finally thank you to all that have helped support us in bringing these 2 children home.... The love you have shared thru your acts of kindness, prayers and gifts have made us realize how blessed we have been thru all of you.

Lord thank you for allowing us to be a part of this journey... one that is not always easy but one that is always rewarding in the end.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Some of our 4th Celebration

We had a great weekend... celebrating the 4th. On Friday nite the kids slept outside in tents in the back yard.... On Sat. we roasted hotdogs over our "firecamp" in the back yard and then roasted marshmellows... played lots of tag games and caught over 60 fireflies that we put in our butterfly house ( and released them the next day), and watched the fireworks in 4 other places all from our front yard...the weather has been outstanding and very unusual for us.