It has been a truly wonderful day and I am feeling incredibly blessed.
I woke up this morning to see snow falling.
I hate snow.
But it has been such a mild winter in Ohio and we have only seen a light dusting once or twice this year, and I found it so peaceful watching the snow fall outside my hotel window.
When we arrived at the orphanage this morning we were told that we would take the boys to a photo studio to have their visa photos made. I brought outfits to try on the boys to determine what size clothes they were wearing (based on their height and weight, I projected they should be in size 24 months), so I decided to hand them over to the caretakers and have the boys wear them for their pictures. The clothes fit Benjamin nicely (with a little room to grow), but poor Thomas' clothes were literally falling off of him (and his pant legs and shirt sleeves both had to be rolled several times). They were, of course, ridiculously cute (I'm not at all biased :-) .
Once they were dressed and ready, we loaded them into the orphanage van and drove to the photo studio. Both of the boys did so well. Benjamin cried momentarily when we started to take off his jacket, but he quickly perked up. It took at least 20+ shots of each of the boys before we got one good enough for the visas because they were so intrigued by their surroundings that it was hard to get them to look at the camera. Eventually we were successful!
The director also allowed me to have a picture made with the boys so that I would have a nice picture to take home with me. It was an interesting compromise to the "no pictures allowed" policy! We made three copies of the picture. One for me to take home and one for each of the boys (theirs were laminated for durability, which was smart thinking because Thomas has almost chewed a hole through his already).
After our "photo shoot," we returned to the orphanage and I finished the morning visit with both boys. I was able to feed them both lunch again today which is a great opportunity for bonding and it also gives me a chance to assess feeding issues (and there are plenty). Both Thomas and Benjamin cried for me when I took them back to their groups. Obviously I hate to hear them upset, but it does warm the heart to know that they want their mama.
After lunch I dragged Martin out into the snow and cold so that we could buy martinitsa to celebrate Baba Marta tomorrow (and to bring home as gifts for family and friends). I will expound more upon this Bulgarian holiday tomorrow (and since there is no policy against pictures of Baba Marta celebrations, I promise to post lots).
I visited with the boys separately this afternoon and it was absolutely the right decision. I was able to give each of them my undivided attention and really connect with them. They may share an extra chromosome, but that is about where their similarities end! Their personalities are so different. Thomas is giggly and active. Benjamin is calm and loves to snuggle.
My visit with Thomas involved playing, giggling, and constant activity. My visit with Benjamin involved him dumping out the bag of toys and refilling it (while I held it open) for 45 minutes (and I am pretty sure he thought he had died and gone to heaven doing this) and snuggling with mama.
Towards the end of my visit with Benjamin he was exhausted and was having some tummy troubles (he struggles with constipation). He let me hold him, rock him and comfort him and he even drifted off to sleep for a few minutes (and I thought I had died and gone to heaven). It was bliss holding and loving my sweet baby.
There is another American family here visiting their adorable little boy this week. We usually only see each other in passing at the orphanage, but I decided to track them down during the afternoon visit to ask them if they would like to have dinner. It was absolutely wonderful sit down and get to know each other over some fine Bulgarian cuisine (Have I mentioned that Bulgarian food is AMAZING! I probably gain at least 10 lbs. every time I am here)! They will be heading back to Sofia tomorrow afternoon, but I hope that this will be a friendship that will last a lifetime, because they are truly wonderful people and it was such a blessing to share this time with each other (and I am sure we will be helping and supporting one another during the difficult wait ahead).
Unfortunately I was not able to take any pictures today (aside from the one taken during our "photo shoot" which I promise to scan and upload as soon as I am home), but I am thinking I may get a little daring tomorrow and try to sneak a little video footage ;-) I know, I am terrible, but do you know how much I am going to miss these babies!?! If I don't get to hear Thomas' giggle and see Benjamin's sweet smile for months and months, I might actually go crazy!
Dovizhdane! Ootre pak! (Goodbye! Tomorrow again!)