It was a GORGEOUS day in Stara Zagora! The sun was shining and the weather was absolutely amazing! The only thing that could make an already beautiful day even more perfect was tucked away in an orphanage at the top of the city!
We arrived at the orphanage at 10 am this morning. . .an hour later than yesterday (because we did not need to meet with the director today) and apparently Lily noticed that we were "late." Her care giver explained to us that she began to cry and ask for Mama when we were not there first thing this morning. Be still my heart (though I have a feeling she was crying more because mama's magic bag of toys was not there first thing this morning)!! I also learned that she returned to her group from our visit last night and excitedly explained to her caregiver that mama had kissed her cheeks (you bet I did! Those cheeks are absolutely delicious)!
Both of our visits today went very well! This little peanut (as referred to by my facilitator's brother, Marty) is simply AMAZING!! Her mind is constantly going and you can just look into those big, beautiful, blue eyes and see the wheels turning. She LOVES trying to figure out how things work and she has already mastered the DVD player, camera and ipod. I have a feeling she may be an engineer some day! She is very observant and NOTHING gets past her. Let me tell you, this girl is one smart cookie. Today's visits were just another confirmation that her delays are strictly institutional (with her speech also being affected by her cleft palate).
Lily does not acknowledge "can't." If you tell her that something cannot be done, she WILL find a way to do it. I brought an I-spy bag with me (a bag filled with poly-beads and objects that you have to find) and she was bound and determined to get it open (it is sewn shut). She kept handing it to me to open and Toni (my facilitator) and I tried to explain to her that it could not be opened, but she did not like that answer. She pulled and pried and, when that didn't work, she grabbed a newspaper from a shelf, rolled it up and tried using that to pry the bag open!! Based on what I have seen, I already feel pretty confident in saying that, there will be nothing that stands in the way of Lily acheiving her dreams!
I continue to be impressed by how nice her orphanage is. It is not just aesthetics (although the orphanage itself IS very nice). She is very well fed, she is always dressed nicely (in well-fitted, matching clothes. . . .Evan was always in clothes that were old, ill fitting and pieced together because that is all they had) her hair is always nicely done and her caregivers are very loving and attentive. All of the caregivers that we have met and talked with know a lot about Lily that would be impossible to determine in they had not interacted with her frequently. This evening, when our visit was over, Toni and I stood in the hall talking to two of the caregivers. Lily was with us and, as we talked, she and one of the caregivers were giving hugs and kisses and being playful with each other. It was obvious that the affection was mutual and not uncommon and that is absolutely fantastic. I am just very pleasantly surprised!
Needless t0 say, Lily has absolutely and completely stolen my heart. I know that it will be incredibly difficult to leave her on Friday (especially knowing now that she will be expecting my visits), but, as several friends who have already walked this part of the journey have reminded me, the sooner I come home, the sooner I can return and take her home forever!
Sorry there are not many pictures today! We did a lot more holding and cuddling today and I just wasn't going to pass up that opportunity!!