Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Good friends, great fun!

Alexis and I were up bright and early this morning (though not as early as yesterday thank goodness) so we could prepare for a fun-filled day with friends. Our friend, Fiona (whose husband works for the Embassy), invited us to spend the day with her family, which included a play date at her friend Cindy's home.

We took a taxi to Cindy's home and spent the morning making crafts, playing with friends, and enjoying a wonderful lunch that Cindy had prepared. I had a great time getting to know Cindy and Fiona and Alexis (though a little shy at first) enjoyed playing with all of the kids.

Alexis LOVES to take pictures. Here she is with Fiona's camera. I am sure there are some interesting pictures to be found there!

With rooms full of toys, the kids decided to move into the bathroom where the shower was quickly transformed into a space ship. Here is Bran, Alexis, Nuala and William ready to blast off!

Alexis in the "space ship"

After lunch Alexis and I went with Fiona back to their home in Dragalevtsi (which is literally at the foot of Mt. Vitosha) where we enjoyed more great food and fun with friends. I have been stalking Fiona's blog since shortly after returning home with the girls this summer, and living vicariously through her and her family as they travel the world, and it was such a privilege to spend the day getting to know Fiona and her amazing kids (who I absolutely ADORE), Bran and Nuala (4 year-old twins) and Maeve (11 months). I am SO glad we had this opportunity to spend time with them! We had such a great time that I was sad to leave at the end of the day!

Bran, Alexis and Nuala on the boat swing! So much fun!

LOVE this picture of Alexis and Bran! Fiona, how do you feel about arranged marriages!? I absolutely adore this boy. . . even if he does think I'm a "bad guy" ;-)

Alexis and Nuala playing with Play-doh. Nuala is such a sweetheart and was so nice to Alexis all day, even when that kindness was not reciprocated.

The past few days have been filled with new people, places and things for Alexis but she has done surprisingly well adjusting to all of the changes in her life. Like Alayna, she is somewhat of an "orphanage prodigy" in the sense that she does not display many of the orphanage behaviors commonly seen in adopted children. The only self-soothing behavior I have seen is thumb sucking at night (she does not rock herself AT ALL), she is appropriately shy around new people and in new places, preferring to be right by my side until she feels comfortable in her environment (and even then, not straying far from me). Though she does want to eat CONSTANTLY, she generally eats small amounts and is content to save the rest for later. The most prominent "orphanage behavior" I have observed is her lack of the concept of personal property. If she wants something, she takes it, because, at the orphanage, all toys, clothes, etc. were community property. The children did not have any personal belongings and so the idea that a toy actually belongs to someone is completely foreign to her. We have had this same issue with Lily, but she is learning quickly, and I am sure that Alexis will too. Let's put it this way, with 8 kids, it is hard not to learn about personal property and the importance of sharing!

While Alexis does not display many of the common orphanage behaviors, she IS starting to push her boundaries with me and has had to learn the hard way on several occasions today, that it is important to listen to mama (the language barrier is not an issue most of the time because I speak enough Bulgarian to understand her and for her to understand me). She responds to discipline well however and I think that it has actually worked to strengthen our bonds of attachment (and, although it is still early, at this point I am not concerned about attachment issues with Alexis. . .she is VERY much attached to mama at this point and, although daddy is not here right now, she misses him fiercely and talks about and looks at his pictures constantly).

While we were waiting for our food at the hotel restaurant this evening, Alexis decided to get up and dance to the music that was playing to pass this time. I'll be sure to post the video tomorrow!

Alexis is truly a gift. She is such a vibrant, fun and happy girl. I have had such a great time with her this week and am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to spend this one-on-one time with her.

My tiny Bulgarian firecracker

Tomorrow morning is Alexis' medical appointment and her visa interview at the Embassy. As long as everything goes according to plan, we should have her passport and visa by Friday and will be on the first flight out of Sofia on Saturday morning. While we have greatly enjoyed our time here, both of us are excited to get home to our family!


Sarah said...

Oh, Alexis is beautiful! So glad that you are together...forever!

eliz said...

She is so precious! What joy she must bring to your life!

MrsKish said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing! I'm thankful she's now a blessed part of your family!

Jill said...

I am impressed by how long her hair is, Valerie! We're working really hard to get Iryna's hair to grow out...

fiona said...

Alexis is a wonderful little girl and I'm sooooo glad we got to hang out yesterday! I loved seeing the love you two so obviously feel for each other. And I loved seeing how she'd test her limits with you, heheheh... ;) That is a super cute pic of Bran and Alexis! I could totally go for an arranged marriage of that sort...and Bran obviously feels quite comfortable w/his future MIL :) I'm so glad Nuala was on "sweet mode" MOST of the time yesterday, since "bossy, cranky mode" is not so fun. She was really looking forward to meeting Alexis. And I know my comment's already loooong, but I must point one of Alexis's super sweet moments: All the apple slices were gone and Nuala started to cry and what did Alexis do, unasked? Brought over the bit of apple she'd been eating and gave it to her. What a sweet girl! I was so impressed.

Anyway, it was a pleasure, spending the day with you two! You're awesome, and Alexis is, too! I was sad when we dropped you off at your hotel... Can't wait to keep hearing how things are going with your beautiful family!

p.s. A couple of the more "interesting" pics on the camera were of Nuala and Bran peeing... separate incidents! They were grinning quite hugely for the little photographer :)

Nan and Dan said...

so so happy for ALL of you!! She is so beautiful :)

Charity Brown said...

I bet she and Maren are going to have an awesome time together! :)