Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2 months home and readoption

It has been just over 2 months since Andrew has come home. In the last month we realized that it feels like Andrew has always been here. Sometimes we think he feels that way too. The other day he was looking through some old pictures and came across one of the other 4 kids. After studying it for a while he looked at Jen and questioningly said, "Andrew?" He was confused as to why he was not in the picture.

Last month we travelled to Hilton Head Island for a short weekend trip and about an hour into the drive Andrew began moaning in the back seat. Jen turned around to check on him trying to find out what was wrong. She finally got out of him that his belly hurt. We tried to pull over but did not make it in time. We realized that the last time we packed everything up and left early in the morning was when we came home from Bulgaria. Oops. Although nothing momentous took place that weekend we noticed an immediate change in Andrew's overall attitude. It seemed like Andrew had really connected with us and now was truly a part of our family in his own mind.

A few weeks later we headed out to Gatlinburg, TN for a short family weekend. This time we talked about where we were going and how we would come back home. He seemed to understand, but apparently he still got anxious and ended up throwing up just as we got into town. No warning signs again. Hopefully, our 18 hour ride up north after Christmas will go a little more smoothly.

Both trips he did completely fine on the way back home. So, it definitely is not a car sickness thing.

We did have an opportunity this past weekend to go to Christmas party, which meant leaving all the kids with Auntie Jessie and Uncle Craig for a few hours in the evening at our home. We didn't have any idea how Andrew would react since it was the first time he would have mommy and daddy gone at the same time. He loves our extended family and we were not worried about him other than wondering if he would be too o.k. with us gone. We were relieved the next morning when we went in his room and saw that he had thrown up in the night. It sounds weird, but knowing that this is how he deals with anxiety, we were happy to know it was not all o.k. to him that we were gone for the evening.

He is bonding so well. Once in a while we do deal with a bit of an attitude from Andrew towards Jen. He decides for a moment that he doesn't want anything to do with mommy and only daddy. So, Aaron takes these opportunities to teach his son not to be rude and to respect his mommy. Occasionally, there ends up being some discipline involved. It's hard on Jen and even Aaron during these moments, but they are far and few between.

It has taken 2 months to get Andrew covered with our state medicaid program. So, we have yet to visit our pediatrician. The week after Christmas we will be able to see her. In the meantime, we have been able to visit the dentist. Unfortunately for Andrew, all the candy he got for being the favorite or to keep him from throwing fits has caused him a mouthful of cavities. Good news is that they are all baby teeth. He loved the dentist and could not wait for his turn. He still wants to go back even after having a quarter of his teeth filled on the second visit. We get to go back this week to get another quarter filled. His teeth are not black, which we were happy about, but you can see the decay. Since he could lose his teeth in a year, the dentist is not sure as to whether or not to fill the front teeth, but he said we had enough to start with before we decide that.

Well, here is the news so many have waited to hear. We've been asked, "Last we knew you needed a few thousand dollars more and then next we knew you were flying to get Andrew. What happened?"

As God would have it, on the day we were flying out to get Andrew from Bulgaria we called home to have one last check of our email before our long flight across the ocean. There it was - an email from Gift of Adoption stating that we had been awarded a grant in the amount of $3,500. God had provided exactly what we needed as we needed it. He had covered all $36,000 that it took to bring our son, Andrew home!!!!! Thank you, Jesus!!! There we were in the middle of the Chicago airport amazed at our God, Provider.

Obviously, we had to put the plane tickets on a credit card to order them, but fully expected God to provide the money. We have been waiting for the grant money to come through so we haven't mentioned it publicly until now. We got the credit card bill and then one day last week we received the grant check and were able to pay the bill.
This past Monday, December 13th we went to the courthouse in town and readopted Andrew stateside. No, we did not have too, but we had already run into a few problems with medicaid and could only imagine what other things in the future might be a problem. We had a lawyer friend take care of the legalities and we had enough adoption funds left to pay all expenses for this last step as well. God is faithful until the end!!!

So now the chapter on bringing Andrew home is closed. This next chapter will be full of new adventures as we live life with Andrew. At the start of our journey we committed not to go into debt to fund the adoption. We knew that if adoption was the path that God wanted us on then He would provide every penny. When things got down to the wire, we found assurance in the fact that if we took out a loan to pay for any part of this it would be our doing, but if God came through we would have nothing to boast in except His faithfulness.

We are truly blessed!! And, yes, we do have our hands full with 5 kids!!!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1 Month Home

We had our 1 month post-placement visit today. All interaction with our case worker, Cathy, from An Open Door has been over the phone, with the exception of a brief moment at our Welcome Home Rally at the airport. So, we enjoyed spending time with her in person today.

It's hard to believe that it has already been a month since we brought our son home. Our time in Bulgaria seems like a distant memory. And who was that child we had with us?

Our Sashko has decided that he now enjoys being called Andrew. Jen would ask him (in Bulgarian) what his name was and he would answer, "Sashko". Then she would ask him again and then answer for him, "Andrew?". Every time she did this he would giggle and smile. She did this a few times about a week and a half ago and let it be. The next day at lunch he pointed to himself and told his siblings "Andrew!". So we decided we would start to call him Andrew. Almost immediately we noticed an overall improvement in his attitude.

While we will not keep him from his Bulgarian roots, it seems that a "clean break" for the moment is better during this time of transition. Even pictures from Bulgaria or speaking too much Bulgarian seems to confuse him and cause him to disengage from us. We do have tons of mementos from the country and orphanage that we will tuck away for now and save for a more appropriate time.

Fits and tantrums have completely subsided. Meal time is no longer a hassle. As a matter of fact, when we sit down to dinner, Andrew will push his milk aside and start eating immediately. He will actually ask for permission before he takes a sip.

While Andrew is not at all shy (in fact he's quite a flirt!), he now looks to us before greeting extended family members and friends.

It's amazing how quickly Andrew has learned English. He does understand most everything we say. We will ask him a question in English and often he will respond in Bulgarian. When he hears us say certain words in English, like "more", he repeats the word in Bulgarian, "oshti". He has been using many English words and phrases; he copies us all the time.

We have decided to re-adopt Andrew stateside while everything is fresh in our memory and paperwork has not been lost. We have a court date set for December 13th. It has been a little tricky trying to get insurance coverage for him due to the specific documents they are looking for. We figure there will only be more headaches in the future and re-adopting will eliminate those.
We did the math before we started the adoption, but didn't realize how big a family of 7 was until we got them all together! Or how fun!

When we realized that we would be bringing him home soon, we made preparations to have many of our responsibilities delegated out until after Christmas. It really has been one of the best things we did for our family. Nightly wrestle matches, story times, and horsey rides have been great not only for Andrew but also for our other 4. They have done remarkable during this time of adjustment as well. We are so proud of their sacrifice, prayer, faith, and hard work throughout this entire adoption journey. Now that Andrew is home we are amazed at their selflessness, care and love. There is no difference to them, Andrew has always been one of us.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Travelling Home!

Waiting in Sofia airport at 4:30 a.m. and lollipops for all take-off and landings.

Walking around Frankfurt airport for a 3 hour layover and falling asleep only a half hour before boarding.

Car ride home from the airport. No issues with the seatbelt. Yay!!!

Day 7, Day 8 and Day 9

Hanging around the apartment and the infamous door.

Views of Sofia from the top of the National Palace of Culture.

Hadjidraganov's Houses http://www.kashtite.com/index_en.html

Toy camera and toy phone were the best toys we brought.

Sashko loves shower time.

Day 5 and Day 6 in Bulgaria

Church of Sveti Sedmochislenitsi and Rotunda of Sveti Georgi

Sveta Nedela and Statue of St. Sofia

Mineral Baths and Party House

Yuzhen Park (South Park) with Mt. Vitosha

Zhenski Pazar (Market)

Trolley ride