Saturday, April 12, 2014

For everyone NOT on Facebook. The pictures from the week.

Nellie is doing much better.  Doesn't scream when out of the room.  She was playing with Nate last night and giggling with Marin.

Marin is having a hard day today but it's to be expected.  They have been through so much.

Nate is BORED and can't wait to come home and clean something, let out a dog, cook something.  I don't blame him and we MISS HIM!!

As we say in this house - 5  MORE SLEEPS!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Day one continued....

So we arrive at Nellie's place and the director comes outside, we shake hands, she meets Marin.

WE go in side and i forget the camera and go bakc and get it and I am nervous.  We go in and walk up to the top floor and Nellie is sitting on the floor in her Ernie jump suit and I snuggle her and Marin comes over and sits next to her.  Dani takes a photo or two and then gets a phone call.  Meelen (the boy with downs syndrome) comes over to me and wants to interact, I give him a hug and then one of the staff members redirects him.  Marin and I give the director the candies.  THen Marin and I go back to snuggling Nellie and then Dani says we have to go NOW because we are the last appointment of the day for the immigration people and have to do it now.  So we say "Ciao" and rush out with Dani asking questions of the director as we take the elevator down.  We jump in Dimo's car and Nellie is upset at first.  She is sitting on my lap and calms down.  We get to the immigration office and go in.  IT's 8 million degrees in there and there are 9 million people in it, many look like Syrians.  We go to a booth thing for a photo.  Marin goes first.  He is helped by another FNA woman (I forget who).  I and Dani and Nellie go outside so we don't bake. in 5 minutes Marin comes out for us.  We go in, Nellie sits on me to get the photo done.  It's not happening and the FNA woman has her sit on her since the photographer can give her info in Bulgarian rather than translating it too late to me.  Within 5 minutes the photos are done.  WE go outside, Dani tells me more photos are needed for the medical report, and those will happen Thursday.  We get in the car, Nellie is imploding, we get to the hotel (it is only a few blocks away) and Dani helps bring in the luggage and we collapse in the hotel room.  It has been a long day.
I am exhausted, we are hungry, we have water and olives and a cucumber.

 I feel frazzled.  The rest of that day is kind of a blur.  We had to go downstairs to go to the ProMarket for juice and Nellie imploded.  We had to go to the Restaurant for a menu and Nellie made it half way there without imploding.  We had to go back to order and Nellie made it to the basement (where I met another AAC mom).  In the end I got to learn about the foods the kids liked (goulash was good, so was white cheese and tomatoes - more complex dishes not so much).  Nellie went to bed after a wash up and teeth brushing about 8.  Marin was tired and went out about 8:30.  Now the second night it is 10 and NEllie is still awake.  Making raspberry noises.

Day one narrative.....excuse the typos... :)

So it was a boring ride out to Veliko Tarnovo the Sunday day before gotcha day.  Dimo was the driver (like last time) and Danislava was the attendant.  She had worked in Ptown 2 different summers and was from a town not far from Veliko so she knew the area.  Dimo remembered how to get to the Arena HOtel.  There was a soccer match that night and they were blaring horrible metal music (Queen, AC/DC, soemthing else like that).  It ended before we went to bed.  Before bed, at 7:30, Danislava and I discussed questions I had for the orphanage directors because we had so little time to get in, get Marin and get out and along to Sofia.  Questions were:  who were his friends, did either ever have visiitors (no), were they allergic to anything or on meds (no), what helped to calm him down if he was aggitated, what were their waking up and going to sleep schedules (6:30am and 9:30pm for Marin, for Nellie 6:30 and a nap from 12:30-3:30 and then sleep 8ish (she put herself to sleep).  NOne of that works for us so i am bring back their sleep times and also cutting out Nellie's nap.

So the next morning i got up at 6pm, we left at 7:15.  THe hotel packed up bag lunches.  I could eat the apple and 2 slices of meat and cheese.  Then when we were in the car, Marin was nauseous and I didn't want to eat around him so I didn't eat again until supper that night.  Adrenaline can do that for me.  So we had to drive about an hour to get there, and I remember the route from the bus trips and Dimo has been to the orphanage twice before so he knows where it is (I have to think once for Benjamin/Svetozar at least).  So we get there, I drag presents in, we go in the same door, the same director is running it and the same social worker. THere is another new woman I never saw.  THey start looking thru the donations because they want to generate a receipt and log it all in officially.  So the woman i havent' met heads that up and i sit in the director's office as before when I first met marin and the couch is still not at all supportive and we discuss the questions that i had and get the answers I listed above.  Then i am given records that FNA will take and have translated.

FInally, after waiting at least half an hour, they bring in Marin with little warning and I see him walking towards the office and I think, "WOw, he has grown like a foot" and his hair is thicker.  He comes up to me and we hug and I kiss his head and we embrace a little and I also notice he seems to be limpoing or favoring his left leg (I think) and we get ready to leave (like "snap, that' it") and we leave and I think he is favoring his left leg but it's that he's running (he runs to the gate where the car is) and he has his pack full of stuff on his back and it's making him shift hiw weight sideways.  So we get to the car and we get in and take off.

Marin does get car sick, after about an hour he starts turning green.  I have trash bags with me that I put inflated balls that got donated in so i have one open and ready for him.  We stop once at a gas station. Then we stop again at the side of the road just for him.  Eventually though he throws up in a bag and gets some on the front of his sweatshirt (Minutemen sweatshirt).  We're still an hour from Sofia at this point so we stop two more times once at a gas station and once at thje side of the road.  Dimo never complains about stopping because he smokes (and he has a little boy so he gets it).

We continue on to Sofia and Dani has told Marin we are going to Sofia first before taking a plane (samonet) to America.  So when we get into the outskirts of Soifia, Dani tells him it's SOfia.  HE says, "Where?"  and she says, "All of it".  So he is feelign better in the car and we have to head straight over to Nelliie's house.  Dimo has directions from the house director and we do find it, but it takes a bit (it is hard to find).  We are in a rush so we meet the director outside and Marin gets to meet her and she thinks he is handsome and will make a great brother.  We head on into Nellie's house........

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Our gift registry

Many have asked about a gift registry or a meal drop off list. Nate and I threw together a gift registry on Amazon. Here is the link and thank you!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Coming HOME!!

I (Nate) will be traveling to Sofia,  Bulgaria April 5th and returning April 17th with the kiddos!!!!

Thanks to everyone for their support with this - it's been a long time coming and we couldn't be more excited to have them coming home!

Easter is going to be fun this year!! :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Puffy paint fun

*Moments* of time with puffy paint and free coloring sheets off the internet gives Nellie something to do in the hotel room.  Now if we could just get those dates to travel!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

We passed court!!

Two more faces to kiss, four more hands to hold.....

introducing Anelia Ann Prayer Schildbach and Marin Praise Schildbach!

We passed court!

Ours forever!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Listening to God and COURT DATE!!

God has had his hands all over this adoption right from the beginning.

Nate and I knew we were always called to adopt.  Everyone seems to have a similar story.  Then we watched Bulgaria's Abandoned Children and knew that we were wasting time.  Time that children spent in orphanages or aged out without ever having a family.

But we didn't have the money.

The day we were sure God was calling us was on a Saturday.  We were in Mass and it was a few weeks before Christmas. The priest laid out all the Giving Tree donations that had been made by members of the congregation.  In my head I did the math.  Those donations totaled over $15,000 and were gathered in a week.  God was telling me that people care.  We were all ears.

I started sending Nate pictures of children listed on Reece's Rainbow.  He was non-plussed.  They were cute but none were ours.

As I lay down that night to nurse Olive God spoke (yes he SPEAKS to me even if I'm a bit daft) "you will adopt a little girl older than Olive but younger than Jericho".  Ummmm.....Okay dokay God whatever you say......

The next day the first child listed on Reeces' Rainbow's new listed children site was our Nellie.  Nate had no reservations - "that's our girl!" was all he said.

Then again, when we had raised about $20,000 and I really wanted to fret about the last $10,000 we had to raise God wouldn't let me.  He would soothe my anxiety every time telling me that our grants that we had applied for would provide it.  "But God, if only you would listen to ME you would SEE that we need more money!!"  HA!  Two of the grants came in and we were almost fully funded.  (Except for those pesky post placement fees - we didn't gather donations for those!! Bad move.  Whoops!)

And then the court date.  Last Friday every last waiting family on our agency's Facebook group got their court dates.  But not us.  I fretted, I fumed, and he soothed me with a message - our court date would be March 4th.  Ummmm....okay..dokay.....

And today - TODAY we have our court date!!

March 4th.

The day Nellie and Marin will become our legal children.

When will I learn!

Listen up people - he is speaking!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Fundage

When Kim and I decided to go forward with this adoption, I really had no clue where $30,000 for it would come from.  We had fundraising ideas, and figured some people would help with what they could, but $30,000 is some serious cabbage.  A Mr. McGregor's garden-full of cabbage.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

 There were many adventures along the fundraising way.  There were online auctions, in person auctions, yard sales. Small donations, big donations, mind boggling donations. A few grant applications, fewer grants.  And many items sold on eBay and Amazon.

A street scene in Veliko Tarnovo

There were improv troupes , churches, and church cafes involved.  Friends, relatives, complete strangers, and acquaintances have all been a part of it.

This is on the end wall of Marin's orphanage.

That's not to say that the fundraising is done.  Not completely done that is.

Yellow Bricks of Sofia

However, I am pleased to announce that of the original $30,000 we set out to raise, $29,350.72 is already in (and most of it already spent).

I got to wear these slippers at Nellie's house - very butch.

I thought, and many people agreed, that adopting these two children and having faith that the money would somehow appear to make it all happen was crazy.

$30,000?  A bargain at twice the price!
But one look at these two kids and you know, you just know, that sometimes crazy is the only sane choice that you have.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Generosity on Top of Generosity

On the first trip to Bulgaria, I took many pairs of socks that people donated to give to the orphanage that Marin is in.  I was given this official document as a receipt and to show that I'd given them to the orphanage - or maybe to show that they'd received them - well, it says something anyway.

Official Bulgarian Document

The point is, many people were generous and the socks were well received and I'm sure the kids can use them.  Especially now in the winter.

Pretty sure this is from the Ministry of Very Important Grains

Already for the next trip a friend has bought SmartWool socks for the kids in the orphanage AND she has knitted and felted a hat for each child who is left in Marin's orphanage.  Each one.  She even searched online for an idea of what typical hats in Bulgaria look like and made her  hats to match.  That is a serious amount of work and a healthy dose of generosity - it's really above and beyond the call.

Yes, it has been snowing.........

There have been many cases of this crazy level of generosity during this whole effort to raise funds to adopt Nellie and Marin and work our way through the process of adoption.  The community around us (virtual and the "real for sure" one as Raggedy Ann would call it) has been very supportive and the generosity still amazes me.

While playing in the snow (Jericho, Olive & I were tracking Gaelan),
 Gaelan found where a squirrel had dug up its nut cache.
Close up of the nut cache - only one acorn was left  behind as evidence.
 When I began writing this post I was going to whine at this point about how the process in Bulgaria was stuck due to a technicality and some judges who keep putting on their grumpy pants day after day, but then another technicality just happened to happen in the Ministry of Justice and it all cleared up.

The road to hell may be paved with good intentions,  but I am happy to
note that the road to Amherst, Massachusetts is just paved with snow.
It has been like that this whole process - we wanted to do this, we thought we were nuts - other people thought we were nuts but supported  us - someone knits 30 some-odd hats - you can see a pattern forming.  So I just keep being grateful for friends and family who support us and strangers who support us and Bulgarian bureaucrats who make things happen to bring these kids home and even 12 degree weather and more snow.  After all it is all part of the there and back again of getting Nellie and Marin home.

I met this dwarf on his way to the Misty Mountains........