Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day (Exciting News and Notes of Thanks!)

First, I have to share some exciting news that I have been trying to hold back!

We are going to be...

 Yes! We have a son!

Here is the story of how we found our son:

We first found out about M. on our agency's waiting child photo listing at the beginning of  March and inquired for more information. We received a few page description and 1 rather blurry photo taken 2 years ago. We found out M. was 10 years old and physically healthy. We  wondered if M. might be our son. We asked for updated information, photos, and videos.

After a month, we finally received the update with 5 video clips, and recent photos, and another page of updated information about him. We were scheduled for a homestudy update. (My thinking is Perfect Timing! Is this meant to be?) In our meeting with our social worker, we discussed the possibility of adopting M. with her. What would it be like to adopt a 10 year old? Our previous homestudy had approved us to adopt up to age 6, so this is an age adjustment. Did we feel like we could meet all of M.'s physical, emotional, social, academic needs? What support system could we have in place to support us as we parent an older child?

After thinking and praying and discussing it with each other and adoption professionals, we have decided to pursue adopting M. instead of waiting for the Bulgarian government to issue us a referral for a child. (I have always advocated for waiting kids and older child adoption for those who feel capable of parenting an older and or waiting child! Now I am taking my own advice!) On April 15, Andrew and I signed and had notarized a letter to the Bulgarian government requesting that we be matched with M.! On April 30, we received the news that the Bulgarian government had accepted our letter and placed M. on hold for our family while we update our homestudy and immigration to be approved to adopt a 10 year old! Now we are working as quickly as possible to get updated. We hope to have the official copies of the updated homestudy in our hand this week and file for immigration update!

I know you probably want to see his handsome face, and I would love to share. But Andrew and I are still deciding if we want to share M.'s picture online publicly. Come up to me in person and ask! I will be happy to share his picture with you!

This year I can't help but hope that by next Mother's day, there will be a son in my home. I little boy whose laughter will be the most beautiful sound, will be in my arms. He is already in my heart!

Now, after that exciting news, the other important part of my blog post! Today is Mother's Day. I must celebrate the Mothers for which I am thankful!

My Mother: Thank you for being a wonderful mother! You gave me life and a beautiful childhood! Thank you for dyeing Easter eggs with us, baking and decorating birthday cakes for me, and for so much more! Thank you for being the good friend you are now!

My Grandmothers:
My Mother's Mother: I barely remember you, you died when I was quite young. But I am thankful for you!
My Father's Mother: Thank you for the hugs, and laughs, and funny stories!
My Husband's Mother: I have you to thank for my wonderful husband! You raised your son into a strong and gentle, loving man!

My Son's First Mother: (I am choosing to use the name "First Mother" but some people say Birth Mother or Biological Mother) I know so very little about you. I have never met you and probably never will. I will probably never even get to see a photo of you. But I appreciate you this Mother's Day! How I want to thank you! I wish I could tell you "thank you" forgiving life to this child to whom we are both a mother.

My Son's Foster Mother: Thank you for being "mommy" to my son until I can come to him and bring him home and be his mommy. Thank you for your time and energy, for opening your home and heart, for giving of yourself when he needs someone to love and care for him. (We originally though M. was in an orphanage, but found out he has been in a foster home for the past year. He was in an orphanage for several years before being in a foster home.)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Easter, Bulgarian Style

In Bulgaria, Easter is the biggest holiday of the year. Bigger than Christmas. I have heard that the government and business shut down for a whole week.

Bulgarians are Eastern Orthodox and sometimes their Easter falls on a different Sunday than our Easter in the US. However, this year Eastern Orthodox Easter was on the same date as we celebrate Easter. We decided to add a little Bulgarian culture to our celebration of Christ's resurrection. We attended an early Easter service at our church. We though about going to a Bulgarian/Eastern Orthodox service too, just for a cultural experience, but we couldn't find a Bulgarian Orthodox church near us.

In the afternoon, we went to a Bulgarian Easter celebration. (How cool is it that the city where we live has Bulgarians living here?!) Some friends of ours who have adopted from Bulgaria also came. It was great to see them again!

Andrew enjoying some traditional Bulgarian dishes as well as American food. Lamb is traditionally served at Easter in Bulgaria. Andrew had some and liked it. I have had lamb before and didn't care for it, so I didn't try it. But I did try most everything else and thought it was all delicious!
I found a recipe in my Bulgarian cookbook for Kozunak, a sweet bread made at Easter in Bulgaria. I made it and brought it to the Easter celebration. I didn't know there would be a Kozunak competition! There were a lot of places and prizes, so most of the bread won something. My bread won a prize for taste!

I also brought another Bulgarian dish, Tarator, a cold cucumber and yogurt soup, seasoned with fresh dill and sprinkled with chopped walnuts. The recipe for this was also in my Bulgarian cookbook. It was the first time to try this recipe. Tarator is delicious! I am sure I will be making it again!
 Thank you to everyone at the Easter celebration for welcoming us with open arms! We loved experiencing a little of our children's culture!