Today we signed official documents to move forward with the adoption of our son Andrew. We had the visa fee on hand, so we were able to pay that now while in the agency office. That fee is now required before the 2nd trip. This is the most exciting paperwork we've ever needed to have notarized!
We arrived at the orphanage today with gifts for the staff in tow. We set them down inside and went out to greet our son. One of the caretakers brought him over to us and we immediately walked back to a secluded sandbox in the shade on the back of the property.
We brought new toys and he was content for sometime as we played. At one point he began to walk away from us to head for the other children. We called for him and he looked over his shoulder and took off running. Jen pursued, scooping him up and bringing him back to our bench. Another tantrum, although not nearly as severe as yesterday's. Jen held him on her lap and continued to say to him, "I love you" in Bulgarian. Aaron brought out the laptop and began to play videos we had taken of the three of us. This seemed to do the trick. So we spent some time watching them and holding him.
When Andrew was done with the videos he got down out of our lap and began to dig in the sand with some other toys we had brought. Aaron joined him and the two of them finished the morning on a high note.
When we returned in the afternoon, Andrew came out to meet us and immediately went to the bag to find the toy he had been digging with this morning. However it was time for presents and so we asked Andrew to hand them out to each of the women who have cared for him since birth. He absolutely loved it!
As we walked outside holding his hands, we passed a gated area where the other children were playing. He observed them but otherwise showed no interest in being with them. We returned to our bench. Andrew got right to the sandbox and Aaron joined him. As Aaron displayed his finest skills as a sand pile builder, Andrew copied every move.
Once again Andrew grew tired of the game and began to head towards the other children. Jen called for him and when he ran, she chased him down and brought him back to the bench to sit out another fit. Aaron brought out the laptop for more videos. The tantrum died down even sooner. We sat close holding hands and stroking his head while the videos played. We let him pick the videos out and press the play button. When the videos finished we gave him a snack and played another round of "ask nicely".
Jen left because she had the opportunity to see Andrew's crib, bed, shower and general living area. We have really had the chance to connect with the staff at the orphanage. They even told us to stay as late as we wanted to. Jen was able to talk with some of Andrew's caregivers about his time there. In talking with all those involved, it has really been the hand of God clearing the way before us, everything from volcano ash to the fact that if he hadn't been on the special needs list we never would have found him, to the fact that the decision had been made to take Andrew out of his program (special needs) and make him available for domestic adoption if international parents weren't found in the next few weeks. Praise God for his faithfulness to the fatherless!!!(Ps 146:9)
While Jen was away Aaron and Andrew spent some time together. Just the two of them. All week long the workers were asking Andrew to talk more. They would tell us that he does not stop talking about mommy and daddy. We weren't sure if they were just trying to make us feel good. When Jen left Andrew just began chatting away. Aaron could only understand a few words but it was wonderful to see Andrew content with no one else around but Daddy. He loves putting things away so the two of them packed up for the day.
Jen returned and the three of us continued to wander and play different games as several of the staff came out to wish us well. We stayed until 7 and we noticed that even Andrew seemed to be delaying the inevitable.
We weren't sure what we needed to say to him, if it would make sense or even if he would remember it. But when we heard him ask if we would be coming back tomorrow we knew we had to say something. We told him that we would be leaving for a very long time, but that the next time we come we would take him home with us. During the week Jen wrote him note telling him how much we loved him and will miss him. She told him how we needed to go home and get things ready for him. In it she explained that first it would have to get hot out, and then it would get cold, and then when it got even colder we would come and get him. Our translator wrote a copy in Bulgarian for us and we taped it in his photo album. One caretaker read it to him immediately with tears in her eyes.
When it was time to really leave we told him we loved him and would miss him. He then told his nurse he wanted to let us out. So, she walked with him to the buzzer to open the gate. He was smiling as he let us out, blowing kisses the whole time.
We will miss him terribly, but we know that leaving him now means we are that much closer to bringing him home.
What an amazing week! We are so blessed! Thank you, Jesus!