Monday, March 1, 2010

Chestita Baba Marta!

First and foremost, please allow me to introduce:

ALAYNA JEAN RIEBEN

Isn't she adorable!? Like Lily, she is tiny, but she is so full of life and personality! We arrived in Lukovit this afternoon and went straight to the orphanage. The orphanage itself is a very old facility, but as soon as I got out of the van I could hear children laughing and that sound never ceased the entire time we were there. They may not have much at this orphanage, but the children are happy and they are loved.

We met with the director and two of the orphanage social workers first. They told us a little about Alayna and asked about our family. They shared their information and observations about Alayna and told us that they had prepared her for our visit by letting her know that she would have special guests today (they didn't want to jump right into adoption and mama quite yet, which is probably good)!

Today is Baba Marta, a Bulgarian holiday/tradition to welcome in Spring. A celebration was planned at the orphanage and we were invited to attend. The celebration took place in the gym and it was decorated with balloons and martinitsa. All of the children at the orphanage attended and it was wonderful to see them all laughing, playing and celebrating together (let me tell you, these are some incredible, incredible kids). Several of the children (including Alayna) had memorized poems and narratives explaining the holiday and its traditions.

All of the Martinitsa I collected today!

After the celebration had concluded we were taken to the room we would be using for our visits with Alayna. A few minutes later she came into the room and we introduced ourselves (we had talked to her briefly during the celebration, but no formal introductions were made). She asked if she could draw a picture and so I retrieved my coloring books and crayons from my "magic bag." They psychologist was also in the room with us (and will be for all of our visits. . .orphanage policy). While she was coloring, several of the other children kept sneaking into the room and managed to sweet talk their way into the "magic bag." About halfway through the visit, the orphanage director and one of the social workers joined us, so we had quite an audience for our first visit! Slightly overwhelming :-)

I spent most of this first visit observing and I am already head over heels for this beautiful little girl. Despite the number of people in the room and the fact that Toni and I were strangers (and that I speak a foreign language), she never seemed overwhelmed. She counted to 20 for us several times and even dazzled us with her math skills (math is her favorite subject). The psychologist even convinced her to sing for us (and it absolutely melted my heart). She is very focused (she was completely engrossed in coloring and didn't miss a single detail on the page), incredibly smart and determined. Her physical limitations (scoliosis, absent right fibula and contracted right knee) are her only special needs.

(Engrossed in her work (She named Strawberry Shortcake, "Doll" and told us that she was dreaming of love. She further clarified by telling us that love meant getting married! She and Maren will get along well!)


I look forward to spending this week getting to know all about her! Today I took more of a back seat, which was hard because I was ready to jump right in, but I hope to have the opportunity to bond with her despite the language barrier and our constant supervision. There is no doubt in my mind that Miss Alayna is going to be a wonderful addition and blessing to our family.

Chestita Baba Marta!

19 comments:

soontobemomof9 said...

Miss Alayna is a doll! She has such soulful eyes, and she sounds more than ready to live her life to the fullest! :) Ack! I am jsut so excited you finally met your second little one! Congratulations! Her name is perfect for her!

mommajeane said...

She is adorable.. she sort of reminds me a bit of our Gracie... She sounds very sweet as well...Blessings for your week with her.

Jill said...

What a smart girl! I am impressed with her coloring skills! I can't wait to see more pictures. :)

Charity Brown said...

She is so pretty!!! Can't wait to see what the week entails!

Barry, Donna, and Tam said...

Another beauty! She looks so determined coloring. I love it! Enjoy your week with her.

Yvonne said...

Valerie!! I didn't realize your travel dates already came until someone mentioned your family parameters and that you had traveled!! Your girls are beautiful!! They melted my heart... Congratulations to your family!!

staceyj76 said...

Valerie, I love reading your blog.

Alayna LOOKS like you and Maren. It's meant to be!

Kelly said...

Aww!! She is so cute! Both of your new daughters are gorgeous. Congratulations!!

Palmer Family said...

Oh she's beautiful!!! Congrats again!

Jennifer said...

I'm so glad you have finally me them both!!! And of course, I love the name Alayna, as I have an Alaina myself! Hope you continue to have a wonderful week!

Jennifer said...

Oh, and when I first saw your post, I thought you named her Chestita! LOL! So glad I was wrong!!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Difference2This1 said...

She's beautiful :)

Dynthia Rieben said...

I loved the new photos of her, giving us a little more of her personality and warmth. I'm so glad that your first day with her went so well. I'm so glad that she has a fun personality. I hope all goes well the rest of the week and that you can get a little more intimate setting! I look forward to more photos! Love, Grandma DD

Shelley said...

Another beautiful daughter...how blessed you are! I'm glad that the meeting went well today and I hope that you are able to spend more 1:1 time with her the remainder of the week.

Amanda said...

She is beautiful!! I also love the name! I was so relieved to hear that the children seem to be loved and happy!! I noticed that she was very good at coloring. :) Can't wait to read more! I am still hoping you might get, just a glimpse of our little lady too. :)

Stacey Kirchner said...

Just let Alayna know that Will is already taken. Congrats on meeting your second girl. She, like Lily, is adorable! I can't wait to meet them!

nancy said...

I look forward to following your family! I have a newly adopted grandaughter w/arthrogryposis. trach, g-button, spina bifida who is a real joy!
Nancy

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing! It is so great to read your journey. We are adopting (1st time parents) from BG and look for any info possible. Thanks for sharing your story. Your daughters are beautiful.
-Jamie

The Keno Family said...

Aiden (home from Bulgaria for 4 months) was very excited to see Baba Marta pictures on your blog!
Congratulations! Your daughters are beautiful!