Thursday, July 25, 2013

Medical Clearance - Check, US Embassy Interview-Check

Not much to add to that.  The last of the Documents, the last of the people to convince that she should come home with me.
The only new news is that at the medical appointment I found out her weight....22lbs.  That's up from 19 lbs when I committed to her in December 2011.  (Yes, it's taken that long. but, just like giving birth, once that child is in your arms you foget about the long pregnancy, you forget about the discomfort, you forget the frustration and the worry.  So here' the little Princess Kolina dressed up for the Embassy interview!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

First full day together

She slept through the night, I like that in a child.  A very nice quality.
But the constant spitting up has to go.  I decided to put her on the BRAT diet and went to the little grocery store near the hotel to see if I could find more rice ceral and applesauce.  I asked the clerk if she could look at the labels for me, but she had only limited English so together we were finally able to gesture/point/laugh that this box has rice and apples in it and no wheat.  OK.  close enough.  I was also able to find some baby food jars with apples with bananas already in it.  That was helpful.
Good thing she loves it, she's now had it for 24 hours straight and NO spitting up!  I wonder if she has Celiac.  Well, there's time for inestigating that when we get home.
We took a walk after the store, but she was very fussy, which is not at all like her.  When I got back to the hotel I spotted the infant car seat that I brought for the airplane ride home, and decided to try later putting it into the stroller so I could see her face.  That worked.  In the evening we went for a longer walk and she was fine as long as she could see me.  I remember Molly wasn't happy early on when I pushed the stroller, but if a sibling did then she could see me walking beside her.
I'm concerned about her legs.  The almost seem disconected from her.  When I pick her up, her legs dangle for several seconds before she seems cognizant to wrap them around my waist.  And when I'm changing her, her little legs seem lifeless.  She is not weight bearing so I know that's part of it. 
Looking at her teeth makes my mouth hurt.  I don't know how she can stand the pain.  Soemthing has to be done about them.and that probably means most of them need to be pulled.
Today is our final do nothing day.  Tomorrow will be her medical exam and then the embassy.  I'm hoping to move up my flight and go home Friday instead of Saturday.  I'd love to get her home a day sooner!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Gotcha Day at last!

Today she is truly mine.   Legally she's been mine for more than a month, but today when I took her in my arms, she is really mine.
I was so pleased to see that it was Baba Vera who stepped off the elevator carrying her.  I had given the worker Kolina's going-home-clothes and Vera was upstairs with her waiting to dress her.  It was a very hard morning for Vera.
For all you Pleven families, I'm so happy to report a whole different feel to the orphanage than when I had my first visit in June 2012.  The new director had just taken over and things just felt dark.  Now the lobby has wonderful pictures of the kids and staff together and it just feels lighter.  I saw many children today walking through the lobby with workers and their Baba's and the children's clothes were nice and the kids were clean.  When I was there for the first trip, Kolina didn't have a bath all week and the oatmeal stuck to her hair on day one was still there on day 5.  It is so much better now.
This little girl loves the car.  Not one squeak out of her for the 2 hours it took to come back to Sofia.  Then into the police station for a passport picture.  Other than it was difficult to get her to look at the camera she did great.  No tears, no screaming.  Just a curious little girl.
We've now been back in the hotel for about 4 hours and getting to know each other.  She is still eating baby food.  She will not take a bottle or a cup, they told me and they think she's allergic to milk.  I'm keeping her hydrated by adding water to her baby food and giving her lots of applesauce.
We took measurements of my youngest daughter Beth before we left and here's how Kolina compares in size:
Beth's waist is 20" so is Kolina's
Beth is 39 1/2 " tall - Kolina is 37"
Beth's foot is 6 1/2 inches long, Kolina's is 5".

The difference in age:  Beth is 3, Kolina is 10
Her teeth, what she will let me see, are horrible.  They are rotten and worn down to the gum line...most are just stubs.
The only medication she is on at this time is a Thyroid med.
When we get home, I'm fairly certain she will be on some stomach med because her reflux is horrible, which explains her bad teeth.
She doesn't feed herself, and she is not weight bearing. 
She is way more interactive than I thought she would be.  She's more vocal than I thought she'd be and she is a snuggle bug!  She held my hand in the car for two hours and when I pulled it away she reached for it.  When I sat on the floor she would scoot over to me and put her arms up to be held.  I sat her on the bed next to me and she put her head on my chest.  When I carry her she hangs on!  This is so important for bonding!  When I get a child who wants to face away or doesn't hold on when being held, I know I have a long journey to get them to attach.  She puts her hands on my face when I'm talking to her and she hugs my neck.  Such great signs.  I owe these huge steps to her Baba.  Without her, Kolina would not understand love and I would have a longer journey with her.
She has some orphanage behaviors.  Rocks that familiar rock, she flaps her hands and she slaps herself.  But those will extingusih over time.  My kids are doing good at home and I have my new baby.  All's right with my world tonight and it's a big world.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Finally here!

I am in country now and have caught up on sleep.  Flying fromt the west adds around 5 hours air time plus this time there was a 7 hour layover.  Flying in the winter is cheaper and faster.  Golden Rule almost couldn't get me here.
But I am here!  This morning I ventured out and walked downtown.  It took me less than an hour to get downtown so it's not too far.  I'm in the Hotel Europe so this trip I am south of downtown.  Went over the eagle bridge and straight into where the demonstrations were being held.  I could hear them before I could see them.  Just a whole lot of shouting.  I talked to a police who was behind a baracade and he said so far all was peacful and to enjoy the sites of the city.  Sofia like Riga, Latvia is breath-taking.  We have nothnig this old in the whole United States and in Washington State I doubt  there's nothing more than 150 years old. 
There's a grocery with baby food and diapers right around the corner so if anyone else is coming to Hotel Europe you can get supplies here.
Tomorrow Yavor will pick me up at 8am and we will drive to Pleven.
So excited! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Update on Kolina - Finally, movement on this process!

This morning I received the e-mail I've been waiting for - I've been granted the Article 5 letter! 
Adoption is always a roller coaster ride.  Each of my adoptions has had it's share of high and low moments.  But no adoption has been wracked with as many low points as this one. And my faith tells me that the joy coming will be equally as high.
Every step in this adoption has been met with a letter of propsed denial.  Denials, re-do's, appeals, and I've been hesitant to share these low points because I don't want to scare off potential adoptive families or families who are newly into the adoption process. 
Day after day I watch other families bringing home their child or children.  People who started their process long after I committed to Kolina.  And she waits.
Why did this adoption come with so many low points?  I can give some practical reasons, I'm a single mom, an older single mom, with an unusual income stream, with 14 adopted kids still at home, with two kids who turned 18 during this process which then required re-do's of paperwork to consider them as adults in the household, which includes background checks, finger prints, etc.  But ultimately I don't know why God has had her sit in the orphanage for 10 months since I've seen her.  I don't know what His plan is that kept us apart for so long.  But whatever His reason, things are now starting to move along.
When will I get to bring her home?  That is still the question in my heart.  In 42 days it will be one year since I kissed her goodbye.  And still she waits.
But today my heart is soaring.  I've passed the final scrutiny of the US government.  They have said yes, I can bring her home.  Now it is up to the court in her country to give me the same permission.  Please pray for a speedy court date.  Please pray for the Minister to pick up his pen and sign the adoption decree.  Please pray that Kolina's healthy enough to travel.  Please pray that her wait is over.

Update on Maria!

Maria has now been home for 10 months now.  Her transition into our home is the easiest of all 14 adopted kids.  From the first day she walked into our home it's as though she's always been here.
She has grown physically for sure.  She came home in size 3T clothes and now is wearing 6.  Her shoes were a size 8 and are now a 10.  But more than the physical growth, her developmental growth is phenominal.
She had no expressive language - she now has 25-30 words that are understandable.  She has learned twice that amount of signs.  She is signing a whole sentence at the table, "May I have more milk please."
She is calling out, "Mama" to get my attention.  Her receptive language is age appropriate.  She knows most colors and will sign them and has learned to totally dress herself and moves through our families routine without a hitch all day long.
She's gone directly from absolutely no school into the third grade with her brother Lucas.  From the first day at school she took ownership of her desk and moves through her school day with joy.
More than that she has stolen the hearts of all who meet her.  That sad little face now has a very quick smile and a belly luagh that brings joy to my heart.

Maria - Home for 10 months

Maria in Bulgaria

Maria home