Friday, March 4, 2011

We Are Home

We are home!

I am sure that by now it has become apparent that trying to follow our process through our blog was NOT a very satisfying experience!! My intentions were to really allow family and friends to walk with us during our time in Bulgaria. It became clear on day one at Bojidar's orphanage that this was not going to be the trip we had expected. The time I had imagined using to update the blog was filled with processing, talking with Keith, praying, and resting because my mind really struggled to slow down enough at night to let me sleep.

As much as I tried to walk into this without expectation, it is impossible to not have SOME idea of how you think things will go. We also know that the reports we read on the children before we visit are sketchy at best, misleading at worst. One of our priorities in screening the files was that the child not be aggressive. We knew that there would be what are called "orphanage behaviors" that would be present to some degree in any chid, and that is something that you have to accept to walk through this process. It only makes sense that to start life in an institution vs. a loving family leaves children broken and hurting. What we saw in Boji went beyond that. His method of communicating is to lash out. We both were hit, bitten, etc. We also sat in on some of his therapy time and he drew blood from one of his therapists by head butting her. His need to be redirected (which brings out the aggression) is almost constant while he is awake. He will need a level of one on one time (for years) that we just are not in a position to give him. We were able to contact the International Adoption Clinic near our house (one of the reasons we chose to move to this area) and they mobilized quickly to speak with us, review video and photos and give us their long distance assessment. They agreed that there are several thing at play here for Boji, beyond his down's syndrome, and that he will require much individual attention -- to keep him and others safe. That was heartbreaking. SO unexpected and SO not what his file described.

We continued to spend our scheduled time with him for the rest of the week, even though Keith had heard a clear "no" from God by Tuesday evening. I had to work through some of my fear, people pleasing, etc and we knew God had brought us there for a reason and didn't want to miss what He was doing. By the end of the week I had come to a place where if God had asked me to do this hard thing my heart was in a place to say "yes", but at the same time it was clear that He was releasing us from moving forward with Boji. HARD!

On Monday we had another big surprise in store. We traveled to Lukovit to meet Lillia. We were expecting a little girl with big needs. Her diagnosis was spina bifida and hydrocephalus. We were anticipating wheelchair and possible low level of function. To our (again) GREAT surprise in WALKED this adorable, sweet, gentle, bright and beautiful little girl! We were blown away!! She is affectionate, giggly, girly, cuddly....I could go on! She does wear orthopedic shoes, but she can walk, run, and participate in any activity. The shoes do help her walk but her caregivers said they were glad she was coming to America because here she can get the therapy and care she needs to someday walk without them.

One of the things I noticed right away was that she looked a lot like me in my little girl pictures. Her hair is exactly like mine was (color/texture) at her age, and she has huge eyes and LONG eyelashes! Other workers commented on how much she looked like me! The whole thing left us speechless. We know she will have her own adjustment issues, but we can't wait to get her home and love on her!!!

Thank you so much for caring about us, and being interested in our new journey!! We continue to appreciate your prayers and love you all very much!! We will, Lord willing, head back to pick her up in 3-4 months. We can't wait for you all to meet her!!