Today we brought Andrew the photo album we made filled with pictures of our immediate families. During the morning we had wandered around the grounds a bit following Andrew and trying to find something that he was interested in doing. At one point he saw some lilac flowers in a tree and began to point at them. Jen asked our interpreter to ask him if he wanted Mommy to help him reach it and he said yes. So, she got to pick him up and hold him while they picked the lilac. He was smiling the whole time.
At one point Aaron sat on the ground and asked Andrew to come sit near him to see what was in the red backpack today. At first we showed him a small plastic container of dinosaurs. After asking politely he tore the container open, dumped out all the dinosaurs and then began to play with the container! Well, its a good thing we had those dinosaurs. Otherwise what else would we have had to pour out of the plastic bucket and put back in again!
After losing interest in the plastic dinosaurs, Andrew again went for the backpack. He asked for the puzzles and Aaron invited him to sit on his lap. He did so without hesitation and sat there as we went through a couple of them.
As soon as we noticed him getting bored, Aaron reached for the photo album. Andrew frantically reached to open it and as the first page fell open he became perfectly still. Aaron began to point out each person, "Mommy, Daddy, sister, brother" We had taken a picture of us with Andrew on our first day together and our translator had it printed out for us. Andrew's face lit up with a grin as we turned to see his picture with us in the album.
For the rest of our time together that morning and then later that afternoon, he would not let that album out of his sight.
When we returned after lunch we showed the album to the orphanage doctor. She was delighted to know more about the family she would be giving Andrew to. She also was very impressed that we had printed out the Bulgarian words of our family members and taped them alongside of the pictures. As she finished Andrew came around the corner and saw the book. He ran towards the doctor and pulling him up next to her she began to "read" the pictures to him.
The afternoon we played different games with Andrew. Other children were playing nearby but everyone recognized the importance of the three of us having as much time as possible together. So we were a little more on top of his wandering on a whim. At one point he began to throw a tantrum, but Jen scooped him in her arms and began to run around the yard with him. Andrew laughing and giggling the entire time. Distractions work well with him for now.
Our very last moment of the day he had another tantrum and Jen was just able to simply hold him until he was able to ask politely. While she was holding him she just kept repeating "Obiechem te" (I love you). The tantrums may sound like an awful experience, but first of all they weren't that bad, and second, they were major bonding moments, as godly discipline always is.
When we left today he gave us hugs and kisses again. We said obicham te (I love you) as usual and his nurse told him to say it to us like usual. This time he actually did tell us he loved us for the first time. He blew kisses at us like he does everytime we leave and he always looks back one more time and blows one more kiss.
We are so excited because our agency told us we need to take him to get pictures made for the next steps in the process, so we get to take him with one of the orphanage staff out of the orphanage gates again. We may walk or take a taxi, so it will be another time to bond with him as we explore the city.
On a side note. Many women here, especially older women) have blue, red, or purple hair (we're talking really crazy colors) and we've been told it's not on purpose. Obviously there is a problem, maybe with the hair dye?