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.
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.