Today I met Maria! Let's sign those papers and take her home! I'm ready - she's all I thought she'd be and more. To say I am smitten with this little girl is an understatement.
She walked into the lobby holding a caretaker's hand and I would have recognized her if I met her on the street. Same haunting dark brown eyes and pixie cut hair. What surprised me is how small she is. I will take measurements but she is not as big as Lucas maybe a little taller than Molly, but she is built most like Beth. (She is 8 years old - a few months older than Myia, but more delayed than Molly is now who is 4)
She is very long and lean (skinny but not like a starving child). She was wearing a pink coat and orange pants and she was chewing on a carrot stick. It was a surpirse that she was eating such coarse food. I expected her diet to be all pureed food. She nibbled on that carrot most of the way through the visit until she accidently dropped it on the floor.
Maria...it's so hard to believe I'm here and already writing about her. Now that I'm back in the hotel for the lunch break, it's back to feeling surreal. (The whole plane ride here felt like a dream) But during the visit was very real. Now I almost feel like I dreamt that hour and a half.
Her little personality- within 5 minutes she was smiling! That was a big surprise as all her pictures were of that sad little face. But she flashed a guarded smile within 5 minutes.
The caregiver walked her to the visiting room and sat her in a stroller that was in the room and she sat there for more than 30 minutes. Didn't even try to get out. I started playing little tapping games on her shoes (dying to pick her up and hold her, but knowing I'd better move slowly with getting to close.) I would tap her shoes with my fingers and then click her shoes together 3 times and then I would pause and then repeat it. Within a few minutes she was moving her foot over to me to do it again. After several minutes of that I started chanting "shoes, shoes, shoes" and then pause for her to move her foot over. Then I didn't start up again when she moved her foot over. I took her hand and put it on my arm and said "More mama". Within one repeat she had learned to put her hand on my arm to get the game started again. All the while that guarded little smile and a giggle that warmed my heart.
Then came the big surprise.... after I chanted "shoes, shoes shoes" while taping her foot, she said "shoe" both Toni and I heard it and we thought it was amazing but probably a fluke....but within minutes of hearing her say it the first time she would chant "shoe, shoe shoe" when I stopped saying it. Soon we were taking turns I would chant it, and then she would chant it while I tapped her shoes. Then we moved to tapping my shoe and when I crossed my leg so she could see my shoe, she crossed her leg to match what I was doing! It was so amazing. We never played with a toy in the room or my bag the whole visit. She played the shoe game for most of the hour and a half visit! I think I tired of it before she did - but then she remembered she was sitting in the stroller with her coat on and she wanted to go outside.
When you were here, Mary, I understand that it was 80 degrees and sunny - today is gray, windy, a little sprinkle and about 60 degrees! (Toni is freezing and I feel right at home in this weather) It was just too cold to go outside so to distract her we started snapping and unsnapping the stroller seat belt. She tried with such good concentration and couldn't do it, but with her gesturing asked me for help. I did take her out of the stroller for a bit, but she wanted right back in because she wanted to go outside.
Why aren't there pictures? Well, (my children will laugh about this one...)I pulled out my camera snapped one picture and the battery was dead...go ahead Duncan children laugh at your Mama! Luckily I have my back up battery and the charger with me so this afternoon's visit I will have a charged battery and will attempt to post some pictures tonight.
When the visit was over I carried her upstairs to give her back to the caregiver and when she put her arms out to take Maria, she turned back and hugged onto my neck. It felt good, but I know the reason that happened. She thought we were going outside, not back to her orphanage floor. But once she realized she was not going outside she went into the caretakers arms and the woman gave Maria a kiss on the cheek. I liked seeing that affection from the caretaker. It's obvious that she is well cared for and they like her. (what's not to like!)
Also another good sign from that same caretaker. When she walked into the room with Maria at first she told Maria (in Bulgarian) "Look, this is your mama!" I thought that was a very good sign that they are supportive of the adoption.
And for all my Dream Bulgaria friends...I don't even have to tell you how amaizng Toni and Martin and her family is. Everything all of you blog about them is true. What a blessing they are to these children. The really do love each one of them and are just as excited to see them during the visit.
The hotel is great - the restaurant is in the hotel and they charge the meals to the room so I can just pay the whole thing with my credit card at the end. The food is good and relatively inexpensive. And mom-they don't serve beets! At first I didn't see that the menu was also in English, so I asked Toni to order for me, but just no beets. and she said - "No beets here!" That was good news!
The plane ride was so-o long. We left on time, 1:30pm (Pacific) and landed in Amsterdam at 10:40pm (Pacific) and I was in Sofia at 4:30 am Sunday morning (Pacific) - of course it was really 2:30pm Bulgaria time. I didn't sleep on the plane. It was too early on the long flight to go to sleep (I know,kids, I'm usually asleep by 10:40pm - but I knew I would have to get off the plane around that time so I didn't want to go to sleep. Then I had almost a 3 hour layover in Amsterdam, and then I tried to sleep on the plane to Sofia, but it was only going to be a 3 hour flight - I didn't fall asleep. But once I saw Toni and Martin at the airport I got a second wind and finally went to bed around 8:30 pm Bulgaria time.
On the first plane ride I sat next to a man my age who was travelling on to Uganda to build water wells! He lives on Bainbridge Island and the Rotary Club has put in 120 wells there and built a school and some other buildings. He was very passionate about what they've accomplished there.
On the second plane I sat next to a young man from Holland who is a fire fighter and he and his boss were traveling to different European Cities to learn how they do emergency preparedness. So a lot of good conversation and a lot of sandwiches on the planes (Sandy, come and walk with me!)
I miss my kids, home, family and friends, but I'm so glad and grateful that God has allowed me to come here to see my Maria. She has so much potential and she will fit into our family just perfectly!
- Home now and back to waiting
- Toni and her baby
- Happy Birthday Leslie!
- Chow, Maria
- Last Day with Maria
- Copy Cat
- Wednesday morning pictures
- Wednesday Monring -first visit
- More video second day
- Second Day-Afternoon visit
- Second Day -first visit
- Meanwhile Back at the Orphanage
- ▼ October (16)