Sunday, November 2, 2014

Meeting Our Daughter

We have been gone to Bulgaria for 2 weeks! Now that we are home, I will be blogging all about our trip.We have been gone to Bulgaria for 2 weeks! Now that we are home, I will be blogging all about our trip. Click this link if you would like to first read about our trip to Bulgaria.

From October 19:

I woke up sometime in the middle of the night. Was this from the time change or from excitement? I tried to go back to sleep. What time was it anyway? I looked at the cell phone given to us by our translator. It said December something 2013. If the date was wrong, the time was sure to be. The alarm we had set on the phone would be useless! I got up and check the time on the computer, then added 7 hours. It was around midnight here in Bulgaria. I set the correct day and time on the cell phone. I tried to lay still so I didn't wake Andrew and go back to sleep. Eventually, my stomach started to complain. I knew I would never go back to sleep if I didn't eat. So I got up and munched on the pretzels they had passed out on the plane. Poor Andrew awoke to me crunching away! Finally, around 3am (I think), I fell back asleep. 

We awoke to the sound of the cell phone alarm. I felt sleepy now - but I got up excitedly. Breakfast was continental provided by the hotel - fruit, yogurt, toast, different cheeses and cold meat cuts, scrambled eggs, hot tea or coffee, juice. Our driver and translator met us at 8:30 and we made the several hour drive from Sofia to the town where E. lives. We go to see some of the Bulgarian country side -  fields, Mountains in the distance, the occasional sheep or cows. We are both a little nervous and excited at this point. 

Driving from Sofia to the City where E. Lives

First, we went to the office of Social Welfare to meet the director. They were all very nice to come in on Sunday, their day off, and unlock the building and meet with us. Then the director went with us to the E.'s orphanage, which was a smaller "family center" (What we would call a group home in the US.) It was a newer facility with a large living room and dining area with kitchen. Home to 14 children. E. moved there only a few months ago from a large orphanage. 

When we arrived at around 11:3 or noon, I looked out my car window through the glass front door of the group home. I could see her sitting on the couch waiting for us. I started tearing up immediately! As we were getting out of the car, she got up and walked out to meet us. She came out the front door and was so excited! But here we were, a translator, driver, Social Welfare Director, and Andrew and I. She didn't know which off us was her mommy and daddy! She had her arms out to hug us, but wasn't sure which person to hug! I knelt down and gave her a big hug and then motioned that Andrew was her dad and she hugged him. Some one must have been prepping her because she said "I love you, Mommy" and I love you, Daddy" in English! I told her the Bulgarian words for "I love you!"

We went out on the back deck of the group home and sat down. The sun was bright in my eyes. They brought out herbal tea and Banitsa (a delicious pastry/bread made of Phyllo and cheese). E. served us both and the caregivers bragged about what a great helper E. was to them. 

Andrew and I were sitting on a bench together at the table. She came and gave me a kiss on the cheek and a hug. Then she hugged Andrew - she did not want to kiss him. Possibly it was shyness but she also did not care for Andrew's goatee!

We found out that they had been expecting us the day before. Apparently, there had been a mix up in the communication about when our plane arrived, etc. E. had gotten all dressed up for us the previous day and we never showed up. She was upset and told her caregivers "my parents are never going to come." They calmed her down and explained the problem, but I can't even imagine her dissapointment as the day went on and we never arrived!

I got a craft out of my bag and worked on it a little with her, then she wanted to go swing.  We swung for a little while and then the social worker suggested we take her to a park and visit there. 

Roses in the Park
We went to E.'s favorite park. When we arrived at the park, it must have suddenly occurred to her that we have other names besides mommy and daddy, because she asked what our names where! 

I spontaniously sang E. a little song with the words "I love you" in it. She loved it! From then on, everyday she would ask us to sing to her and with her.

The park had nice wide paved paths for walking, tall trees, a large fountain and a large play ground. E. wanted to swing again. We spent the whole time at the park pushing her on the swings. One would stand behind and push E. on the swings and one would stand in front and push her feet or knees. 

At one point E. asked our translator if "we would take her." We he told her yes, she said she was "a very happy girl." Breaks my heart that she thinks we might not want her. We aren't shopping for a pet at the pet store. She is a girl who needs a mommy and daddy! 

In the car on the way back to the group home, she gave us both a kiss on the cheek again and even allowed daddy to give her a kiss on the cheek too! Our first visit ended at 2:45 pm. She said good bye easily and "see you at 4!"

She took a nap in the afternoon while we were gone. The orphanage care givers told us she doesn't nap! Apparently all the excitement made her tired!

We returned at 4 for our afternoon visit. We spent the time with her in the back yard of the orphanage. First I braided her beautiful black hair in 2 french braids. I gave her 2 bows to put in her hair. E. asked why I hadn't given them to her sooner and I explained that I wanted to save surprises, not give everything at once. She loved that idea and became excited that there would be a surprise the next day! E. asked if she could do my hair, so I let her. She did my hair in 2 pig tails. It looked hilarious.

I brought a small picture album of our us, our home, her grandparents and brother, etc. to share with us. She liked it and it was nice to share with her. She had a few questions, but she was ready to swing again after looking through it!

We pushed E. on the swings in the back yard of the group home. E. loved to swing and would ask for harder in Bulgarian. The translator told her the English word and she tried to say "higher".

E. asked if she could give us a tour of the yard. We walked 3 times around the group home, pausing along the way for this and that. She picked us flowers. Next door was another group home like E.'s. Also home to older children. A boy in the group home next door came out and looked at us through the fence and she proceeded to brag to him about her momma and daddy. Other children came and looked at us over the fence too. This ended up happening every day for the five days we were there. When we were out in the yard playing or swinging with E., children from E.'s group home would watch out the window and children in the group home next door would come and look longingly over the fence at us. Most of them were boys. There were healthy older boys, and boys with varying levels of disabilities. It was a sad reminded of the many many children never adopted, and put a little sad damper on our joy of spending time with E.

When it was almost time for us to go, E. asked our translator what time we would be coming back tomorrow and tried to bargain with him for an earlier time! (She is so smart with time and schedules. She has the social workers schedule memorized and thanked her for coming on her off day. She knows the schedule of the orphanage and understands time!) Again, our good byes were easy. We gave hugs and said "ciao" and blew kisses from the car as we pulled away.

The day went so naturally - easily. I think it was because E. knew why we were there, was excited and broke the ice and our calmed our nervousness with her huge hug when we arrived. Fromt hat first moment, she accepted us as her parents and never looked back. Sometime that day (it all runs together now), one of E.'s caregivers was talking to her about her upcoming adoption. She said she was happy for E. to have a family but would miss her when she was gone. E. told her, "Please don't be sad when I leave. I will miss you, but this is the way it is."

I loved E. before I ever met her, from only a description of her cheerful personality and her pictures. But meeting her this first day made that love blossom! I will never forget how she welcomed us with such excitement and her outstretched arms to receive us!

I blogged about our 2nd Day with E here.

I know you all want to see pictures of our beautiful daughter. However, I won't be sharing any pictures publicly on the internet. In order to be allowed to take pictures with E., we had to sign papers saying we wouldn't publish her name or photos online.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I can hardly wait to meet E. myself. It will be awesome to have another niece! I do hope things work out for a visit this summer if a doting uncle and aunt won't be to much stress. Wow you guys are so brave. It will be a journey. We will enjoy each step.

  2. What a moment when she actually asked you if you would adopt her. Wow. I think my heart would have stopped for a second. There's so much meaning, such a story, behind those words.