Saturday, August 16, 2014

Richard Here: Day Six - New Day, New Hotel, New Sons

Well - it's a new day here in Stara Zagora. My unhappiness with the hotel we were in didn't stop with the poor internet but continued with banging noises late in the night from the kitchen below, a constant chirping by the A/C unit in the room anytime it was running and loud talking in the hallways. So before I even went to bed last night I wandered the streets until I found an open hot spot and researched hotels in our area until I found one I liked - I walked to one that looked good and talked to the girl at the desk and reserved two rooms for the next day.  So long story short we're in a new hotel that was only slightly more expensive but MUCH nicer (I'll post pictures of my room later.) That's the end of my spoiled American paragraph. (Hey Toni, don't ever use the Ezeroto again - go with Hotel La Roka - only 7lv more but SOOOOOO much better.)

But who cares about me?! Let's talk about Jesse and Eli!

At 1000 we drove up to the orphanage - as always it was a bit weird because the other kids are somewhat reserved at first. Knowing exactly what the boys look like, I did not see either of them in the group that was sitting around out front.  The orphanage director arrived and he walked us into the building and his office where we spent about 20 minutes going over a list of questions that Valerie had sent me (you know, critical mom stuff that dads would forget to ask about.) I also recorded that conversation so Valerie could listen in on it as I've done for many others. Ultimately, we wrapped up our discussion and the director went to get the boys.

A bit of a back-story to reinforce here - I met them both several years ago when we were visiting Alexis in the orphanage. I knew their faces and I knew their voices as if it had been only a week ago. Before they even came into the room I had set up my tablet (once again, can't say enough good things about the nexus 7) to get a video recording of our first interactions. I'm so glad that I got video of it, because it was a wonderful experience to be the first one to tell them that not only were they going home to a family, but that they were going to be reunited with their former siblings from the orphanage. Join the super-secret group on facebook if you want to see the video for yourself. Even I'm a pretty stoic guy and watching it really (almost) makes my heart melt.

We spent time asking questions of them and they asked us some questions. We talked about our meetings and discussed a schedule. I gave them an assignment too: I agreed to take them to McDonalds (blech) tomorrow if they would do me a favor: Write down five questions about their new life, their new family, or whatever - on a piece of paper so that I can give it to Valerie and she can respond to them. Hopefully that works out - I think it will. But now a little more about them:

Jesse - He is more extroverted and communicated very well with others. He is animated in his responses and conveys his feelings clearly. He thinks of himself as Eli's protector and the two of them have a bond that is essentially that of twin brothers. Jesse is intelligent and enjoys computer games. If I recall correctly, he enjoys physical education and does not like Math (Eli likes math so I told Jesse Eli would help him.) In the grand scheme of things, his physical special needs are quite minor (in terms of our family) but he has orthopedic special needs that will be addressed either in Dayton or in Philadelphia at Shriner's.

Eli- He is quiet and can be described as introverted. He does not communicate as effectively, but obviously knows what he wants to say - but he has trouble getting the words out. He often communicates through Jesse and they often complete each other's sentences.  He quickly showed an eagerness to learn things like how to spell his new name. His special need is quite narrow but has a larger impact on him. He is hearing impaired, but not seriously. This impacts the sound of his voice, the volume of his voice and his willingness to "speak up" when in a conversation. It's very possible that all he needs is basic treatment or hearing aids, but I'll get a better idea of where he stands over the next few days. Often, Jesse will repeat what others have said to Eli, but more loudly and by enunciating more clearly. Eli's pronunciation is actually pretty good considering his situation, and his tendency to talk quietly is equal to the loud volume of his voice at other times.

So this afternoon we're going to visit again at 4pm then after dinner I'm going to hang out with the missionaries some more before I call it a night. I've heard there is an open-air market here in SZ and I'm anxious to find it so I can look for some gifts for those back home.  Not to mention my never-ending quest for CHOCOLATE!

Pictures for today: (in case you didn't already know, there are TONS of pictures on Facebook if you are friends with Valerie or I.)

Me with Eli (L) and Jesse (R)

Jesse (L) and Eli (R)

Yavor (L), Jesse (C) and Eli (R)

Orphanage and Grounds

Orphanage Grounds


Jill Pierce said...

They are handsome boys. So excited for them to join your family!

Carolina said...

What a happy moment! I wish I could see the video. Being best friends it's a blessing they'll remain together, and becoming the girls' brothers is a bonus! :)

Congratulations, lovely additions to your forever family <3

Grandma DD said...

Great, just great, Rich, and I'll read ALL the previous posts many times -- I loved your narrative -- and the photos -- both Allan AND MOM will put as a priority visiting Facebook and the blog to sstay in touch with you. Now, off to our activities of the day ! Lots of love, Mom