Monday, August 2, 2010


Today was a WONDERFUL success! After spending half the night awake changing Lily's diapers (I'd say we changed at least 10 absolutely awful diapers during the night. . .poor baby) and starting the day with Lily throwing up over breakfast (she ate WAY too much yesterday and her poor digestive system just couldn't handle it), I was a little nervous about how we would all make it through this day and live to tell! Although, we definitely had our rough spots, for the most part, everything has gone very well.

We drove to Lukovit first this this morning where Alayna's mother, grandmother and grandfather were waiting for us. Aside from Lily throwing a tantrum throughout most of the meeting, it was an incredible experience for all of us. Alayna's birth family is wonderful. They love her dearly and, although they are sad that she will be so far away, they are so happy to know that she will be loved and cared for and have the opportunity to reach her full potential. I was deeply touched when Alayna's grandmother took me in her arms and told me that, she had been blessed with two daughters and now she had three and when Alayna's mother kissed my cheeks and told me that I would forever be like her sister. It was an emotional meeting for us all and I will be forever grateful for the blessing of having these wonderful, loving people in my life (and Alayna's). What a truly incredible gift.

Mama Valerie, Mama DiDi (Dimitrina), Diado Mitko (grandpa), Baba Violeta (grandma) and Tatko Richard.

Alayna met with her birth family to say a final goodbye before we arrived this morning and her mother explained to her that she was blessed to have two mama's that love her and that today she would be going home with Mama Valerie and Tatko Richard so she was ready to go when we arrived. While we were meeting with her family. her caretakers were preparing her to leave. All of the children from the orphanage were playing outside when we arrived and were still out there when we left. As we walked to the car with Alayna, everyone followed us yelling "Goodbye" and "We'll miss you" (in Bulgarian of coure).

Leaving the orphanage

Alayna did fairly well as we drove away from the orphanage, but about 10 minutes in to our drive back to Sofia, she broke down and began to just sob. My heart ached for her as I watched her grieve the loss of her friends and family. She cried on and off for most of the trip home, but by the time we arrived in Sofia she was fine.

Before returning to the hotel we had to stop by the immigration office to apply for the girls passports. As soon as we left the car and walked into the building Lily began to wail (one thing we know for sure. . .there is absolutely nothing wrong with this girls lungs!!). She screamed and cried and kicked in my arms the entire time we were in the immigration office and she refused to be comforted. I can't wait to pull out her Bulgarian passport when she is a teenager and show all the boys what Lily looks like when she doesn't get her way :-) As soon as we left the building and got back into the car it was like nothing had ever happened. I think she has already given me a few gray hairs!

We spent a low key afternoon in the hotel room. Alayna enjoyed coloring, listening to Bulgarian children's songs on my iPod and talking to her aunt, uncle, brothers, sister and grandma via Skype. Richard and Alayna went downstairs and ordered pizza for dinner. I think this pizza will probably feed us all for the rest of the week, don't you?

I am very glad that I took the time to learn enough Bulgarian to be able to effectively communicate with the girls (and, of course, I continue to learn more each day as I talk to them). Alayna is a social butterfly and it has made bonding and attaching much easier because I understand what she needs/wants and can respond to those wants/needs without a lot of frustration caused by the language barrier. There have been a few times when I have not understood her (and I pretty sure she cussed me out in Bulgarian at one point), but for the most part, we have been able to communicate very effectively.

Alayna is an amazing girl. She gets around without a wheelchair VERY well (although the orphanage did allow us to take one with us (neat story about that later) she hasn't used it much). She absolutely LOVES the bath. She took two baths tonight and wanted to take a third, but we eventually talked her into waiting until tomorrow morning! She has also tried on just about every article of clothing (including every pair of socks and every pair of underwear) that we brought for her! She is destined to be a daddy's girl. She loves hanging out with her daddy and I am pretty sure the feeling is mutual. They have already developed a "secret handshake" (okay, it is just an "exploding" fist bump, but it is hilarious to watch). She seems to enjoy her mommy time as well, but for the most part, I am just the translator for her and her daddy (which is actually very good because Lily still needs a decent amount of my attention).

Alayna and her daddy! Two peas in a pod!

Both of the girls (and Richard) are now sleeping peacefully. Your thoughts and prayers were heard and we have been blessed with a truly amazing day! Tomorrow and Wednesday will be "down days" as we wait for the girls passports to be processed (they should be ready to pick up on Wednesday afternoon). We will make up for those low-key days on Thursday which we will spend at the polyclinic in the morning (in order for the girls to be issued Visa's, the US requires a medical exam) and the US Embassy in the afternoon. The visa's should be ready by Friday and our flight departs on Saturday morning at 6 am.

We are overjoyed to FINALLY have both of our beautiful girls with us and we cannot wait to get them home! Please continue to keep the girls in your prayers. They are doing well, but they still have a long road ahead of them as they process through all of these changes in their lives and transition into our family.


mommajeane said...

What a blessing to have met Alayna's family...and what a gift for her. So glad to hear the girls are with you all...and you are in the down stretch now...almost home. Prayers for your travels and family to adjust.

Arizona mom to eight said...

Prayers being said as all of you adjust and learn more about one another. I have been waiting impatiently for each and every post, congratulations to all of you, adoption is such a wonderful gift.

Shelley said...

Congratulations Valerie!!!! I'm so happy for you and your entire family. Your girls are beautiful and I know that they are both going to just blossom in your family.

Carla said...


Thank you so much for sharing so much about your time in Bulgaria and with the girls!! I just love reading each evening!! I am so excited for y'all and of course anxious for you to get back and get your third princess!! I bet Maren is excited for her sisters to get home to her!! Enjoy those girls next few days!!

Hugs from TX!!

Amanda said...

What an amazing day!!! Thanks for sharing all the highs and lows. It makes it all seem real! Like Shelley said, I have doubt they will blossom under your care. I am sure at moments it will be hard but I just have to smile when I hear you talk about the fire in Lily! The little bit that we got to see of Alayna, she seemed so articulate and such a joy! Congratulations!!

Sandi said...

I just was catching up on your blog. I have been a "silent" follower for awhile. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. We are anxiously awaiting our court date so we can pick up our little guy from Bulgaria (hopefully Oct/Nov). It was so helpful to read how both of your girls are transitioning these first few days and how well you & your husband are handling it. This really helps us prepare. We will be praying for the rest of your trip and time as you transition home. Congratulations...your family is beautiful!

Tamara's Mommy said...

Such a wonderful day with your new extended family. They look like very nice people. I'm so glad you were able to get a photo of everyone.
Alayna is a very lucky young lady to have both families love her so very much.
I'm sorry they're having their rough emotional moments but I'm afraid they all go through it to some degree. It is very normal for them to grieve the loss of the only life and family they knew.
You're doing really great with both of them. Just keep it up. You will win over their hearts soon enough. Hope Lily feels better soon.
Enjoy your day tomorrow. Just think next week you'll be settling in as a whole new family at home. Yay! So excited for you all. ;o)

Grandma DD said...

I really enjoyed both recent blogs which tied together things Rich has been telling me on skype. I look forward to knowing if you made it to the zoo and how the day went. Glad the visit with Alayna's parents was so positive.