Monday, May 25, 2015

Pictures from Meeting Martin

In October 2014, we spent 5 days getting to know our son Martin. No that we have passed court and he is legally ours, we can share pictures with you!

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of or with Martin on the first day we met him.

Mother and Son

Soaking up the Affection

Lunch together in a local restaurant

Third day in a row spent in a hotel room due to weather! Martin is doing just great though!

So glad I have the privilidge of being your mother!

Father and Son

Horsey Rides are a favorite!

Help with Sand Art from his foster mother, Tanya

We had hoped for a playground in the mall, but found this sand art place instead!

Making presents for Andrew, me, and Tanya

A few cents buys a lot of fun!

The mall also had an arcade place

Shooting basket balls together

I know he is going to miss his foster mother and sister!

More Horsy rides!

Last photo together before saying goodbye

So thankful for Martin's foster parents! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pictures from Meeting Emilia

Here are pictures from our trip last October when we met Emilia. We enjoyed getting to know her over five days!

Day1: Read about our first day visiting Emilia here.

We had just met Emilia and were sitting on the back deck of her group home where she served us tea and banitsa.

At the park together. Can you tell how happy we all are?

Becoming a family

We pushed Emilia on the swing every single day we visited! 

One of my favorite photos!

Andrew and I would take turns standing behind and pushing and standing in front and pushing her feet. We usually sand to her as we pushed her on the swings. I think Andrew is doing the Itsy Bitsy Spider in this picture.
Day 4: Read about our fourth day visiting with Emilia here.

Getting Visa pictures taken
Walking in the same park we went to the 1st day of our visit.

Playing at the Park together!
Day 5: Read about our goodbyes with Emilia here.

So hard to say goodbye

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Would a Rose by Any Other Name Smell So Sweet?

Have you ever thought about names, name meanings, and what makes a name beautiful? Here are some great opinions on names. 


"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself."

-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Anne Shirley:

"Well I don't know.' Anne looked thoughtful. "I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” 

― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

Diana Barry:

'Oh, I don't think so,' said Diana. 'Anne seems to me real stately and like a queen. But I'd like Kerenhappuch if it happened to be your name. I think people make their names nice or ugly just by what they are themselves. I can't bear Josie or Gertie for names now but before I knew the Pye girls I thought them real pretty.'

'That's a lovely idea, Diana,' said Anne enthusiastically. 'Living so that you beautify your name, even if it wasn't beautiful to begin with...making it stand in people's thoughts for something so lovely and pleasant that they never think of it by itself. Thank you, Diana.”

― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Avonlea

Emilia, we are sure you would be just as sweet if you had a different name! We think your vibrant personality makes your name beautiful!

Just like with Martin, (wrote about his name here) we are keeping Emilia's first name due to her age and the fact that it is pronounceable in English - besides the fact that it is beautiful and we love it! 

Also, like Martin, we will be changing her middle name, which isn't pronounceable in English and has the "ova" ending that means "daughter of" like traditional Bulgarian middle names. Her new middle name will be Rose. It is a family name in Andrew's side of the family. Andrew's grandmother, sister, and niece all have Rose for either a first or middle name. So Emilia will have a great grandmother Rose, Aunt Rose, and a cousin whose middle name is Rose! Doesn't Emilia Rose have a nice ring to it?!

Emilia's Name Fun Facts:

  • Emilia is ranked # 208 in US popularity, but Amelia is ranked # 17 (in year 2013). This name has grown greatly in popularity in the US in the past few years. Emilia is very popular in European countries right now! I can't find statistics for it's popularity in Bulgaria.
  • The name Emilia originates from the Latin “Aemilia,” which derives from the Roman noble family name “Aemilius.” It is believed to come from from the word “aemulus” meaning "trying to equal or excel.” Emilia works very hard to over come her Cerebral Palsy and master gross motor and find motor skills, so the name definitely fits!
  • We aren't for sure if Emilia's name is spelled "Emilia" or "Emiliya" in Bulgarian because we have seen in translated both ways! 
  • We think her nick name is "Emi" because the Cyrillic equivalent was on the back of her shirt for a table cricket tournament in which she played.

Our sweet girl had an opportunity to participate in a table cricket competition for children with disabilities. The Bulgarian/Cyrillic letters for her nick name, Emi, are on the back of her T-shirt.

Monday, May 18, 2015

What's in a Name?

Our sons name was Martin Anev _____. You may be wondering "What will your son's name be? Will you give him a new name? Did you choose the name Martin? Is Martin Bulgarian? Anev sounds Bulgarian, but Martin doesn't!"

The practice of renaming is very common in adoption. We understand why some people choose to rename their children and others don't. We are thinking about partially renaming Martin. We will keep his first name, probably modify his middle name, and change his last name to ours!

Our son's first name is Martin. We think his name was given to him by his birth mother. For a child who is 11 years old, surely his name is by now his identity. We wouldn't dream of changing his name and taking his identity and taking what is probably the only thing he has from his birth mother.

Fun Facts:
  • The name Martin comes from Mars, the ancient god of war in Roman mythology. Martin means "Warrior of Mars" or  "Warlike." (Martin, we think it is fitting that you are called Warrior! How many adversities has life given you, that you have struggled through! Keep fighting! We are coming to bring you home!)
  • While Martin is ranked #265 in the US for a baby boy name, it is a much more popular baby name in European countries. It is not a traditional Bulgarian name, but has recently became more popular. Even so, it would not be as common as other traditional Bulgarian names.
In Bulgaria, middle names are different in the US. Children's middle names are traditionally either their the mother's or father's first name with an "ev" ending for boys and an "eva" ending for girls. The ending means "son of" (or "daughter of"). We are considering changing Martin's middle name to Andrei. This is the Bulgarian form of Andrew and a masculine version of the base of his current name "Anev" minus the "ev" ending. In this way, we can still honor the birth parent he was named after. Besides the connection to a birth parent, Martin's new dad's name is Andrew and my middle name is Ann and he will have a great Aunt Ann! So the middle name Andrei will connect Martin with his new family, his birth family, and his birth country.

Artwork drawn by Martin Andrei in March of 2014

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Waiting Game

Recently, another mom posted this in a Bulgaria adoption facebook support group:

"What did you guys do while waiting to travel? I feel like I'm going to die if I have to wait months and months before meeting my guy. 
frown emoticon So, how can a mama be productive and stay positive during this crazy waiting game?"

That mom got all kinds of responses. We are almost at the end of the wait. With out a doubt, the HARDEST part of this adoption has been the time in between trips. We have met our kids but have to be away from them. After experiencing it, here is the advice I would give:

Create a Support Network

This mom has already done the first thing right! It is hard being separated from you child! Other adoptive parents understand. You can vent in a safe place with people who get it! You will also already have a relationship built when you need parenting advice after the adopting is complete! Our support network isn't only Internet groups. We are so thankful for the real life friendships we have formed with other foster/adoptive families and parents of biological children, and friends with no children, as well as friendships we maintain from college, Bible study, etc.

Explore Your Child's Culture

Andrew and I joined a local Bulgarian culture group formed mostly of Bulgarian families in our area. It has been fun to learn a little more of the culture and to form friendships with families from our children's country.
Bulgarian  Easter Celebration
Enjoy preparing for your kids!

Take the time to prepare a room, clothes, toys and games for your new children. Now is the time for dreaming! Andrew and I have been using the long wait to get the kids bedrooms ready for them. (This had been a big project and it is almost done. I will post about that soon.)

Prepare to be a Parent

While I feel SO ready to be a mother, I have still been consciously preparing to be the best mother I can be to M and E.  For me this has included praying and reading parenting books. Since trip one far I have read Love Me Feed Me by Katja Rowell, MD and listened to Brain Storm by Dan Siegel. I am 1 chapter in to No Drama Discipline, also by Dan Siegel along with Tina Payne Bryson.

Enjoy the last months together before your family grows!

Andrew and I have consciously been trying to take the time to enjoy our last few months as couple, going on dates, walks in the park, hanging out with friends, etc. Soon life will be happily busier with our 2 new additions. Dates and alone time with each other, as well as late nights at a friends house will not be so easy. There will be bedtimes or babysitters to think about! For a family who already have children but will be adding more, I think it would also be important to enjoy your family the way it is.  Adding new children will change the dynamics. All though love is not a pie, time is. You will have just as much love for all your children but it might be hard to spend the same amount of time with each child one-on-one.

Bowling with friends in January!

Traveling is definitely easier with out kids! I also took an out of state trip to visit my family. On the trip I got to meet my new baby niece Vivienne and color eggs with my niece, Annalise and nephew Collin. While visiting my family, my mom, sisters and grandma surprised me with a shower.

Find Resources for Your Child!

Use the waiting time to find research specialist to meet your child's particular needs, whether that be a pediatrician familiar with treating children coming from an orphanage in another country, an adoption therapist, speech therapist, or some other professional!  Andrew visited several schools and choose one. This week I will be meeting with the school psychologist to discuss how we can help the transition to English and the American school system to be a success.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Thoughts on Motherhood

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I am now a mother to 3 children across the ocean from me. Shortly they will be in my arms. But not this year for Mothers' Day. I received 3 cards for my first Mother's Day! Several people asked me yesterday if I feel like a mother? Yes and No. I feel ready to be a Mother. Or at least as ready as any mother ever is. I desire to be a mother to M and E! But I don't think I will completely feel like a mother until we pick M and E up.

Photography by Ryan Watters

Photography by Ryan Watters

What kind of a mother do I want to be? Patient, Kind, Caring, Loving, Strong, Fun, Godly, A Good Listener. I want to be a mom who can laugh and cry with her children. I mom who believes in her children and who fights for the best for her children.

I read a poem on a friends blog recently.

Be strong, but not rude. 

Be kind, but not weak. 

Be bold, but not bully. 

Be thoughtful, but not lazy. 

Be humble, but not timid. 

Be proud, but not arrogant. 

Have humor, but without folly.

- Jim Rohn

That got me thinking some about the qualities I hope to teach and model to my children, and the qualities I hope they have as adults. Then in church the next day the sermon about loving others brought my thoughts back to what I hope for my children.

My goals in parenting E and M:
  • My children to have a deep felt confidence that they are loved unconditionally by their parents and by God. 
  • My children to show love to themselves
  • My children to show love to others
  • To have a bold faith to follow God wherever He leads them in life.
  • To know how to know the balance of both working and playing hard
  • To be strong and humble