I wanted to take a few minutes to post a brief update about the boys and their status since they arrived home.
Gabe - After a few days of strongly disliking Valerie for the grief he has caused her, he has started to open up quite a bit. The first two days he was here he barely ate and had a hard time staying awake. After letting him rest up fully, he is starting to get back to his normal self. He is eating very well and is communicating effectively in Bulgarian. He's started to crawl around the house, exploring his new dominion and he enjoys watching Bulgarian children's songs on Youtube. He has bonded especially well with Joshua and Maren, with Joshua being his official "cuddle buddy". Aside from the normal anxiety leading up to the doctor visit today, he did very well at the doctor. He is going to have several referrals including the CP clinic, GI, Neuro and Vision. The biggest variable in his status right now is his vision - aside from nystagmus we think his vision is actually very poor - and we will not be surprised if he is found to be legally blind. He seems to be able to track objects, but beyond a few inches from him, he does not appear to be able to see well at all. We'll know more once we see specialists, but we're optimistic about his ability to progress within his realm of ability.
Eli - Eli is excited about learning English and he has been practicing by copying English words into a notebook, just like his brothers and sisters have. He is feeling the pressure of the transition and among the three boys has the most difficulty dealing with his internal feelings and emotions - he had a difficult episode Tuesday but Valerie helped him work through it and it was a positive sign that he's beginning to understand that he has parents who are here for him. He tests boundaries and sometimes has difficulty listening to instructions (but to be honest, his obvious hearing impairment probably doesn't help with anything involving "listening"). He likes to play with the other kids and loves listening to music (very loudly).
That's it for now. So far, things are going "as well as to be expected" and we've seen no major surprises. The boys are integrating well into the family and we are optimistic for the future. As always, thank you for your love, support and friendship