We spent our last morning in Sofia exploring the market, enjoying ice cream and taking in the sights of the city one last time. This afternoon we received the girls passports/visas and said goodbye to Toni.
Both of the girls are very excited about our trip home. So excited that Lily insisted upon wearing her shoes to bed :-)
Now we are just praying that their excitement will translate into a smooth and uneventful trip home (I know. . .wishful thinking)! We leave Sofia at 6am (11pm EST/Friday) and touch down in Dayton at 6pm (Saturday). We are so excited to get home and finally have all of our "babies" together (well, almost all of them. . we are certainly carrying Alexis with us in our hearts).
We have very much enjoyed this week in Sofia with our girls. Some things that we will miss:
1. The Backstreet Boys CD that plays in the hotel restaurant every morning at breakfast :-) It always gives Richard and I a good laugh and what better way to start the day than with laughter!
2. George, the hotel concierge. We LOVE George and wish we could pack him in our suitcase and take him home with us (unfortunately we are out of room). He is the nicest guy you will ever meet and goes above and beyond to make sure we have everything we need. He is also wonderful with the girls (and I'm pretty sure Alayna wouldn't mind packing him up and taking him with us as well)!
3. Bulgarian food!! The food here is amazing and just about everything is FRESH!! My stomach and my palate are really going to miss this cuisine!
4. The History. It is always fascinating to visit a country whose history dates back THOUSANDS of years. We have enjoyed visiting many of Bulgaria's historical sites, as well as a history museum, during our stay and we are happy to be bringing that knowledge and experience home with us.
5. The people and the culture. The people of Bulgaria are wonderful! Everyone we have met here has been helpful and hospitable. One of the things we have loved most is the opportunity to be out among all of the people during our daily "excursions" in Sofia, to exchange smiles and greetings and to observe daily life in the city.
6. The language. As nice as it will be to hear people speaking English (though many do here), I will truly miss hearing Bulgarian spoken everywhere I go. I have enjoyed learning the language (and will continue to do so) and the immersion has really helped my understanding and fluency. Fortunately I have at least one more trip to look forward to and some time to practice in the meantime (Alayna and I have enjoyed teaching each other our different languages)!
6. Team Vladimirova. What we will miss most about Bulgaria is our amazing friend and attorney, Toni, and her wonderful family. Toni is one of the most inspiring and Christlike people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She works hard to have a personal relationship with EVERY family she works with and she loves these children with her whole heart. Finding homes for Bulgaria's orphaned children is her life's work and she is an amazing instrument in the Lord's hands, always, ALWAYS giving the glory to our Heavenly Father. What a gift she has been to us (and our children) and what a blessing it is to be able to say those things about our agency/attorney!
And now, as we close this chapter in our journey, I must also give all of the glory to a loving Heavenly Father who has seen us through every step in this process and who has ultimately entrusted us with the loving care and guidance of two of his most precious and beautiful daughters. We are humbled by the trust that He has placed in us to lead and guide them back home to Him and know that it is only through His continued guidance that we will be able to meet all of the challenges that come to us as a result of that responsibility.
One journey is ending, another is just beginning. . . . .we will see you on the other side!