It's hard to believe that it was two years ago today that we made the decision to begin the adoption process. It is completely mind boggling to think about how the past two years have stretched our faith and opened our eyes to the love of the Father in a way that we never could have imagined. Today we saw the firstfruits of every prayer and every step of faith that we have walked with your love and His grace.
Our case worker arrived at 9am and took us via taxi to the children's home. She had been there a week earlier so when he came around the corner he immediately saw her bag of cheese stick snacks and grabbed them from her purse. As we sat there we were introduced to the director who informed us of our allotted time there. Later his doctor came in to tell us how she had been there since the day he was born and had actually taken him home with her to visit. She gave him two forceful "Bulgarian - grandmother" kisses and told us we had the favorite.
We spent some time just simply talking with him trying out our few self taught Bulgarian phrases with him in an attempt to see some sort of reaction and make a connection. At first he was only interested in finishing off that bag of snacks by himself. Aaron pulled out our camera to record a few seconds of video. Still he only stared blankly at us, crunching on his snacks. As soon as Aaron played back the video on the camera, a sly smirk stretched across his face. We were in!!
Next Aaron pulled out one off the egg - shakers we had brought as toys, from his red backpack. Andrew paused from the snacks to observe Aaron as he held out the shaker for him to play with. Andrew took it with great interest only to set it down next to him and finish his snacks. Jen pulled out some of the underwear we brought him, and then he got it!! He quickly ran over to her and began to ask "What is this?" in Bulgarian. Jen helped him open the package, he took out all the underwear, put it back in, took it out and then dove for the red backpack of wonders.
He loved the first outfit we brought him. Folding and refolding it. We've noticed that he is very particular about having everything in its place and spent a good bit of time taking toys out just to put them back again. Not much interest in the cars, or the coloring book, but he loves the cardboard picture book. We scored big with the sticker book that we brought. The rest of the morning we spent on the floor with him helping him put each sticker in its place.
It was time to leave and we were helping him carry all his loot back to his room when the caretakers began to talk with him in Bulgarian. All of a sudden our interpreter's eyes widened as she turned to tell us that the caretakers had asked him who we were and he responded "mommy and daddy." We asked her if she knew if the workers a told him to say that but she had no idea. He blew kisses to us as we left. Either way it was the first high point of the day.
For lunch and the afternoon we played tourist with our translator as our guide. We enjoyed getting to know her as well as some of the Bulgarian history and culture.
3:30 we returned and as we came around the corner we saw Andrew come running out with his complete outfit on. He was so excited to show it off for us. Later as we were playing we noticed he had even put his underwear on over his diaper!
They told us we could take him outside to play with him. We asked him where he would like to play and he took us to the slide. At this point it would have been great to have our other kids along, but there we were. So it was now up to good old Dad to do what Dad's do best. As Aaron slid down the way too small slide screaming like a little girl, Andrew erupted in an adorable giggle that begged Aaron to repeat the scene several times over.
Jen had been inviting him all morning to sit on her lap and let her read to him. At one point she convinced him to sit for just a second before he was distracted by something else in the red backpack. So you can imagine her delight as later on when Aaron offfered his lap, Andrew turned and ran straight for Jen to sit with her. We pray that our son at home will be able to adjust to his new brother competing for time with "mama"!
When it was time to leave again, the caretaker took his hand and started to walk with us following. Then she saw us and told Andrew to hold mamas hand. He did immediatly. Jen said "tatko" (daddy) and looked at Aaron and immediatly Andrew took Andrew's hand. So, for a brief moment to the front of the building we were hand in hand, a family. His caretaker told him to give hugs and kisses to mama and daddy, so he did. She asked if he wanted to see us tomorrow and he said, "da" (yes). We said obichame te (I love you) and he blew kisses to us as we left. He even peaked over his shoulder as he walked away and looked at us one more time. We are so in love!!!