Sunday, December 15, 2013

A few things....

I told myself that when I started blogging about our adoption process I wouldn't be one of those bloggers who stopped blogging when they children came home.  I think it is important for others to see how adoption works through the entire drama, not just until the kids come home.  Because in reality, this is just the start of any adoption.

So I'm trying to get back on the horse.  Since I've posted last, we've had our visa interview (in Bulgaria - our agency there attended) and were granted our article 5.  What that is I do not know - I just know we need that.  Now our dossier should change a few hands for about a month until we receive a court date.  The exciting news is  - when that happens and we have court - there will be two more Schildbachs.  Praise the Lord.

In the meantime we celebrated a lovely boy turning 7!!

We attended the annual Merry Maple.

And one sweet little girl turned two.  She got a box violin for her birthday among other gifts (which she proceeded to throw under the table when it wouldn't produce any sound).

The sparkly shoes and the berry cake more than made up for that.

Nate likens this part of the adoption process to having given birth but the baby being in an incubator - where life is a bit in limbo - while you wait to hold him or her.  I feel in limbo.  Very thankful for my healthy and happy brood but feeling like just a little part of my heart is missing.  Kids should be home sometime near February or March and I can't wait.  Life will be fuller and busier but so much sweeter.  And life is pretty sweet as it is.

Thanks for hanging in with us!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Gates

These are the front gates to Marin's orphanage. Every morning when Nate visited he waited patiently for Nate at these gates and soon he will walk through them one last time when we pick him up. 

I'm glad I have the holidays to distract me (it helps a bit).  That special day can't come soon enough!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Next steps

Nate did get back safe and sound from Bulgaria (with a couple extra pounds of Bulgarian Feta in his system).  He cried after leaving Nellie waiting for his taxi outside her orphanage.  It was hard to leave them both.  He came home very determined to get them home as soon as possible (and we joined him in that quest!)

St. Nicholas.  Patron saint of children.  Nate got this icon for us in B.

Next steps.

We have filled out the I 800 form for the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.  And like a Greek chorus we proclaim in unison (and on key)  "and we WAIT!"  This will be quite a long one.

We've sent in our new set of prints for the FBI to scan again for all three adults in our household.

We've signed documents for our adoption agency, had them notarized and apostilled.

We have a call in to our doctors office so that we can arrive with a mobile notary to have one last document signed.

When all those things are in the hands of our Bulgarian agency they will ask a judge for a court date, represent us in court, and our sweet Nellie and Marin will become OURS!!

Then we will go and get them and bring them home.  When they set foot in the US they will be citizens.

Nate has taken on a second consulting job (in addition to his main job and his first consulting job) to pay for our last fees and travel expenses.  We are selling books and other items on Amazon and Ebay.  The second trip has been lengthened a bit (due to more extensive TB testing for the children) and we need to raise a bit more.  It will come.  God wants his children in families.

These are pictures we had to include in our dossier.  I also used these in Marin and Nellie's photo books I gave them.  Marin was very excited to see them.  Nellie enjoyed the embellishments I put on them.  You can see more about how I made their "love books" here:

While we play the waiting game we are very busy getting ready to be a family of 8 (swooon!)  I am gathering recipes to feed our freezer, I am getting rid of any recipes in our folder that are not easy to make and easy to double (or triple!)

I'm back on the treadmill daily and using weights.  I need my body strong.

Clothing is being organized.  Tactile toys are being found (in our house or at our dump's free table).

If anyone feels led to help us this last bit of the way we would appreciate it.  Any extra raised (that we don't use for travel) will be saved for medical expenses or adaptive equipment in our "Nellie" account.

If you would like to send a check donation directly to our non profit agency:

About A Child Adoption Agency
479 Tiller Ln.
Redwood City, CA 94065

If you include a note (not in the memo space) telling them it is for "The Schildbach's adoption" and your email/snail mail address they will send a receipt.

Your prayers are also appreciated!!

We are on the last leg of this journey and it's been an amazing ride.  Thank you all!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day Four with Nellie

So today after exchanging some US dollars for Bulgarian Lev at a bank (and after they ran my US bills through a machine to make sure they weren't counterfeit and informed me on a form that they are on the outlook for money laundering activities), I went to see Nellie.  I met the Director, Teacher, and Social Worker for her house.  The teacher did inform me that at the Sofia Braille School that Nellie attends they have been working with her on orientation and movement, hence her desire and ability to move about and orient herself.

The teacher went with us to get Nellie’s passport picture taken.  It was a long process, which began with us hanging out in the house with Nellie for an hour until they found the closest shop to get the picture taken at that was open, and then about half an hour of waiting for the taxi to show up.

Nellie is not good with change, she had to get used to traveling in the taxi, and then we had to get out of the taxi and go into the photo shop for the picture.   Nellie was upset at being in this situation, and the picture has to meet specific standards for the passport.  The photographer seemed unable to have the camera in hand when Nellie was in a good position for the photo, so 20 minutes later the photos were done, and then 20 minutes of Nellie and the teacher and I hanging out in a park across the street, we had prints and a disc of them.  Then back home, but the trip was easier for her, and she was glad to get back to her home. 

I hung out with her for another hour and a half, she was tired out from the day and because time “fell back” here this past weekend, and it just got her (and the other people in the house) out of whack.  She spent the time with me climbing around on a stool and a chair and exploring the living room of the house by walking and feeling her way around the room.

Tomorrow is the last day of visits and I fly out Wednesday EARLY and return at the end of the same day.  It will be hard to say “goodbye” to Nellie, but I cannot wait to see my wife and kids.

Update from Saturday

Saturday Nellie was like a cat (kotka), she liked to do what she wanted to do, and if I did what she wanted me to do, then she didn't take out her figurative claws. Today, she played at being a frog (zhabata) - at first she was quite grumpy, wanting to stay in her "safety chair" and suppressing any laugh I tried to get out of her from tickling. She had taken a bath, and the caregiver we met yesterday told me that she DOES NOT like taking a bath. So, she was pretty non-plussed with my existence until I took her out of her chair.

She did her typical LeBron James move and when she did, I noticed she pulled her legs up like a frog, so I decided to make her "hop". I picked her up and made a silly "hopping" sound and she started to laugh hysterically. She couldn't get enough of it. She got upset when I started getting tired of doing it (she is not a featherweight). She also spent time crawling and getting into and out of chairs. She even sat in a chair facing forward, and then turned herself around in it so she could face backwards, without any help. I tried to put her back in her "safety seat" and she would have none of it - she tried to climb out (and I'm pretty sure she could have - whatever she puts her mind to she seems to do).

She also likes being held on my hip, being carried like a baby, playing "Peas Porridge Hot", "Ride a Cockhorse to Banbury Cross" and "Trot Trot to Boston". She couldn't get enough. She took a little break to eat lunch and then she decided to crawl around some more and climb around on the chairs and play with them. She was not happy to go back in the chair when I left, and hardly seems like a docile, fragile child who needs to be coddled and likes to sit and rock herself in her chair.

Friday, October 25, 2013

In Honor of My Mother's Birthday

It is my mother's birthday today and it seems fitting that I am running around Bulgaria loving up these children - I am the youngest of six children and after these adoptions we will have six children.  When people look at me crazy for having so many kids I say, "Ah, I was the youngest of six children...."  So thanks to my mom for raising all of us and giving me confidence to do this.

One of the most fitting things that happened at the END of today was when I arrived at the Budapest Hotel in Sofia after my first visit to Nellie (Anelia) and found that the elevator buttons were detailed in Braille.

I don't think I'd seen Braille in Bulgaria, so this had special significance to me after spending time with my blind daughter-to-be.

Anyway, after arriving in Sofia, I went straight from the bus terminal to the house where Nellie is staying.  Again, the director was not there (she oversees another house in Sofia and had to leave to deal with a situation there) but my attendant and I went into the house, stored our luggage in one of the children's bedrooms, and as she went to the kitchen to speak with the woman who was working, I noticed in the adjoining living room a certain young girl sitting in her chair that I knew well from photos of this place.  It was Nellie.

I went over to her and she reached out and took my hand and placed it on her head.  Now, shortly thereafter I realized that she put it there because she thought I was the woman working, but still, it seemed like a good sign.  We decided to move Nellie to another room so that it would be quieter and we could be away from the other residents who were in the living room.  Nellie did not like this.  While she did like walking down the stairs (I had just learned yesterday that she could do this) she needed to be carried the rest of the time, and when the person working there left me and the attendant and Nellie alone in the room, she cried and cried and I took her on my lap and she would have none of it.  She wasn't interested in the musical toys I'd brought her (although she did hold an egg-shaped shaker like grim death) and shortly thereafter we returned to the living room and she to her chair where she at least stopped crying.  And for a child that small, she is quite sturdy and strong.

She was still pretty non-plussed with me whileI held her hand and handed her different instruments and then I remembered that I had brought her a little elephant shaped kids xylophone that you play like a piano.  I knew she liked this because in the videos we had been sent she played with one.  

Elephant Piano with Nellie Edited Out
It instantly transformed her. She became calm and quiet, and just as in the video, she very deliberately began to explore it with her hands and play it.  I played what I could of "Ode to Joy" for her and "Jingle Bells" and she was hooked.  She was a different child.

So I started to scratch her head and she enjoyed that too.  Then I realized that she keeps her body tense.  I noticed how her legs tense up when she walks.  And so I started rubbing her calves and her feet and she relaxed and sat up and even let loose with short giggles.  The transformation was incredible.  She especially liked getting her feet rubbed, which is funny because so do Kim and Jericho and Olive.

Now, when we saw here video originally, Kimberly and I both thought that Nellie was hiding away behind some behaviors she learned in the institution where she spent the first years of her life ; it just seemed that there was more to her than her rocking and other behaviors.  When she played the piano in the video, just as she did today, there was an intensity in her face.  She was focused and calm.  And when I rubbed her feet today, she became different, and she clearly wanted more attention and love and someone to connect with her.  Someone to help her make sense of this world that she cannot see and that she finds scary.
I got this icon of St. Nicholas -  patron
saint of  (among other things) children -
 in Veliko Tarnovo

She ate and then we had to leave for the night, but as I left I thought, 'This is why I came.  This is why we raised this money and why so many of you helped to fund this - Nellie (and Marin too) have so much within them that just isn't understood as well as it could be".  I don't know where Nellie will end up with her ability to interact with her world, I don't know how far her communication skills will grow (one of the social workers who assessed her said that she felt her behaviors were based on her institutionalization, not anything organic) but I do know that I, along with Kimberly and the rest of our family want to be a part of getting to know her and understand her, and seeing just how far she can go.

I get to see her again at 9am tomorrow and I cannot wait.  Thank you again everybody for your support - it has all been definitely worth it.

Day Four with Marin - The Final Day (One Day Early)

Today started with not so good news.  When I made my first visit to Marin’s orphanage, the director had said that with my travel schedule and trying to see Marin on Friday and then get to Sofia (three hours away) to see Anelia, that it would be okay if I did not have the brief visit I was planning with Marin on Friday and instead have the last visit today, Thursday.  I had worked with my attendant/translator and we had it figured out that we could do the brief visit Friday morning, get back to Veliko Tarnovo, check out of the hotel, get to the bus for a 1:30 bus to Sofia, to get to see Anelia at about 5pm for the end of the day visit.  

That was before we went to the bus station (not the bus/van to the town for Marin bus station, but the coach bus to Sofia bus station) and found out that despite being told there is a 1:30 bus on Friday, there is no 1:30 bus on Friday.  Plus we need to be at the bus station by noon for the 12:30 bus, so it doesn’t arrive and decide no one is going on it and keep on going to Sofia.  This pushed all our other bus times back making the Friday visit pointless, so I made the decision to check with the director if Thursday’s visit could still be the last visit and rush to the town for Marin bus station so I could spend as much time as possible with him for the last visit. 

When I got to the orphanage, the director was still understanding about my schedule and said she could make an exception and my visits would be considered complete at the end of Thursday.

Less time with Marin (by a little bit), but it was mostly moving the “goodbye” day up that was the hardest.  I gave him a present of some knock off Legos I bought in Vileka Tarnovo, and my attendant/translator and I mostly put that together, but he did like to play with it (the instructions were maddening and we ended up improvising its construction in the end).  We also played more soccer with the basketball (Marin did compliment me and say I was better at blocking his shots than on the first day) and I took pictures of him, he took pictures of the yard and of me, and he took a few pictures of himself.
We played Frisbee in the shade at the front of the orphanage when it got hot and then eventually we had to say goodbye.  It was hard for him, it was hard for me.  Not sure how else to express it. We went to the director’s office for the paperwork we needed, I hugged him and kissed him and told him his family would be back for him.  He walked me out, hugged me again, and then went back in with the director, and I could tell his eyes were welling up with tears.  It was just hard – waiting all this time only to wait some more.

Tomorrow back to Sofia and my first visit with Nellie.  I learned today that she is attending a school for the blind and I am curious to see what she is working on there.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


We have been given a generous grant from The Gift of Adoption. With just a few more donations we will be FULLY FUNDED!!
Anyone who has considered helping us and hasn't yet - now is your chance.
Any extra we raise will go to medical expenses and adaptive equipment.
Thank you so much!!

Paypal link is on the left.  GoFundMe is on the right.  Tax deductible donation can be sent here:

About A Child Adoption Agency
479 Tiller Ln.
Redwood City, CA 94065

If you include a note (not in the memo space) telling them it is for "The Schildbach's adoption" and your email/snail mail address they will send a receipt.

Days 2 and 3 with Marin

Day 2 was largely spent with Marin using my camera (besides some playing Frisbee and him taking pictures of me playing Frisbee with another child at the orphanage) and since I can’t post any pictures here for legal reasons, I can sum up the day by saying that Marin greeted me at the orphanage gate and gave me a big hug, he had been waiting for me.

We went inside and I gave him three coloring books, one with English/Bulgarian words that I picked up at the grocery store on the first day, and then two we got in the US – one on horses, the other on animals in the woods (similar to where we live).  He colored one horse picture and then wanted to go outside, where some playing and much picture taking commenced.  At the end of the day we hugged and I turned as I was walking away out the gate and he turned and waved and shouted, “Ciao!”, which is a typical Bulgarian way of saying “Goodbye”.

After getting the disappointing news from Kim that a metal relief head of Josef Stalin was NOT something she wanted me to purchase (I know - an opportunity I may never have again), I had breakfast and went to get the bus to Marin’s orphanage.  It was market day, so the bus got jam-packed two stops before ours where the market is  and made for an energetic ride.  When we got to the orphanage we were informed that the driver for the orphanage would take us along with Marin and a social worker to get his picture taken in a nearby town for his US passport (cool beans!). 

So we went and his picture was taken and we would have liked to have the printed copies right away, but the photographer insisted he was too busy due to market day, so the director is going to have the driver go back tomorrow to get them. On a positive note, Marin was glad he didn’t get sick on the ride (I forgot that the director said he has motion sickness – I probably wouldn’t have sat so close to him in the car if I had…..).

We took the ride back to the orphanage and Marin got his coloring book to show me the picture he colored after I left yesterday and to color another one.  I gave him a couple pads of drawing paper and some more pens and he drew a picture of our house, that he said he would give to me to take back to the family.  After the coloring was done, Marin went to eat lunch with the other kids and I went outside with my attendant.  

I went to take pictures of the mural on the side of the orphanage and then he showed up (he eats fast).  He wanted me to follow him around while he took pictures of different places in the yard and then while he followed me around taking pictures of me.  I was looking at the once-upon-a-Soviet-era-time swimming pool (now more like an untended fish pond) and the structure next to it which had four narrow rooms in it with toilets and sinks in each (changing area/restrooms for the pool? – a little far from the main house to use regularly as restrooms).  I did get some pictures of him in these as well.  

We kicked the basketball (there’s no basketball court) back and forth as well for a time, and then the other kids in the orphanage came home from school and he wanted to go speak to them.  After that he got his Frisbee and we tossed that around with another girl at the orphanage until I had to leave to catch the bus back.  Marin likes to throw low to me and the girl so we can’t catch it, and then gloat because we didn’t.  So I started throwing the Frisbee into the ground and saying, “How come you didn’t get that?” which made him laugh hysterically.  So basically about ¾ of the time was spent with all of us making throws no one could catch and then goofing on the person that they didn’t catch it.  I also did give him his Red Sox hat and a (UMass) Minuteman sweatshirt.

Kim and I are talking about leaving something behind for the kids for Xmas (since shipping something to them is out of the question) and also got the ok (“dobre” as the Bulgarians say) to send him letters until we can come pick him up. 

Tomorrow morning before going to see Marin, S******** (my attendant/translator) and I have to go to the bus station (not the bus to Marin’s orphanage bus station – it’s a different one) to get tickets to Sofia for Friday for my first meeting with Anelia.  This next part of the journey is coming up fast!  I’ll post again tomorrow.

Monday, October 21, 2013

First Day Meeting Marin

My trip began this morning with a taxi ride with S**** (our guide and all around amazing translator) to the bus station (which is too far off to walk to).  When we got there we had about 45 minutes to waste so we took a walk around the neighborhood there so I could see the city and take pictures to send back home and to remind me of what the city is like.  There wasn’t much in the area of town, it’s an industrial area, although we got to go by a school.  I didn’t know what it was at first, it looked like a brightly colored bomb shelter or similar poured concrete structure.  I asked S**** what it was and she said that if we saw kids hiding in the bushes and smoking cigarettes then we’d know it was a school.  I was surprised it was a school (not because of the smoking – that’s more common than in the US), but then she pointed out the area of asphalt, which I thought was a decrepit parking lot, and that the thing that I thought was a lamppost that someone had torched was in fact a basketball stand with a backboardless backboard.

In any case, we went to a grocery store (Billa) where I found Bulgarian/English word books!!!!  One is a coloring book which I will bring to him Tuesday with some art supplies, and the other I am bringing home to help him when he gets here.

The bus to Marin’s village of ******* is really an oversized van, like the ones retirement communities use to bring their residents to events.  It was about an hour ride there, very bouncy, but we got there and found the orphanage.

The director was not there, she had to go to visit a government official, I think in the Ministry of Justice, so we were greeted by the orphanage’s social worker. She was nice, we talked about Marin briefly, fi they have any records for him from the first orphanage he was in (they don’t), and then she said she’d go get Marin (who was at school a short way away).

I was expecting her to come back and have an introduction where he was somehow eased into meeting me, not sure how exactly, but in any case they just came in and he shakes my hand and shakes Slavina’s hand and we sit down (I found out later that he was told we were coming SOMETIME, but not told we were coming TODAY). S***** explains that I’m visiting him from America because I’d like him to take him to live with our family.  To me he looks like he is shell-shocked or has just seen a ghost or something; he almost looks like he’s gonna cry.  I ask S***** if he’s all right and he says he is, but I’m a little worried.  That, and he won’t look at me.

Fortunately, we all go outside.  He goes to get his jacket first (I had been told Bulgarians dress their children I a lot of clothes and it is true – a sweatshirt, a vest on top of that, and a ski jacket – and it was at least 65 degrees at the time) and S**** and I go outside and I ask her if he's in shock or something and she says, "Oh, no, he's excited, just shy...."  but I don't believe her, I’m taking no comfort in it.
We sat at a gazebo like structure in the orphanage yard and I showed him a card that was sent by one of the children who was adopted from the same orphanage who now lives in the US (Kim had found his mom via the online group for our adoption agency).  Marin remembered him and was very happy to see the card and the pictures of the boy in it and his message to Marin and said he wanted to be able to visit him some day (I explained using a map of the US that he isn’t so close to just walk over to his house or anything and he understood).
Then I showed him his “love” book that Kim made, which shows our family, and he likes it, he’s starting to warm up.  He sees our dog and says he likes dogs.  He’s still pretty quiet but looking less stunned.
I think that now it’s a good time to take out the Frisbee I brought for him, and although he had never played with one before, he took right to it.  We threw it back and forth to each other, then threw as far as we could with him running to get it.  I was worried he might have some movement issues, but he was clearly in his element running and jumping – he was filled with joy to do this.  The Frisbee got stuck in a tree at one point and he got a soccer ball to throw at it to knock it out and since soccer is his favorite sport we kicked the ball back and forth and he had some impressive soccer moves.

The director showed up, and it was 12:10 at this point so Marin went to eat and we went to speak with the director.  The director was very nice and we agreed that I would come each day on the 9AM bus (get there about 9:30) and leave at 3:30.  This works with the van/bus schedule but still gives me plenty of time with him.

The director said that Marin is a bit behind in his math and reading, and that homeschooling would be good for him because he could use more one-on-one attention and could learn without the pressure of keeping up with the group which she feels sometimes frustrates him and makes him feel like goofing off, which he does, which then makes him fall behind in learning.  Also, it must be very sad to live in a place that is run down, without a family and without a clear future, with people who aren't as invested as a family would be in you succeeding. 

After lunch he came out and we played more and did a puzzle I’d brought and played Old Maid.  He really enjoys taking pictures with the camera and took pictures of me and the puzzle and Old Maid cards too.  One of the other children at the orphanage joined us for Old Maid and then some more Frisbee.  He had clearly warmed up to me, and right before we left he asked S***** if I was going to be his dad, and she said I would, so he said he would call me dad (which he pronounced “dod”).

As we were leaving he started to walk off and I called him back and gave him a hug and then he asked for a kiss so I kissed him on each cheek and on the lips and told him I’d come back Tuesday. 

He is a sweet little boy who loves to be outside and be active and would really thrive in a family.  He clearly loves to be with other people and interact with them and I can see how he would be completely stifled by living in an institution.

I’ll have more to share tomorrow!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Nate Is Now In Bulgaria - First Visit with Marin is Tomorrow (10/21/)

Keying off the IP addresss I'm using, Google has decided to translate parts of the Blogger site into Bulgarian.  Fortunately I remember what most buttons and links do without having to read them......

So yes, I (Nate) am in Bulgaria in the town of Veliko Tsarnovo, which is the closest town with hotels to the town where Marin is living.  The attendant for the adoption agency in Bulgaria informed me that his name is pronounced "MAH-r̃een", with the accent on the first syllable.  We have been pronouncing Anelia's name correctly - "Ah-NELL-ee-a" - but also mispronouncing the capital Sofia ("SOH-fyuh" is correct).

Tomorrow I will get to take a bust to the village where Marin is and meet him for the first time.  I am really excited, and I am forcing myself to stay awake until 9pm tonight so I can switch to this time zone and get the most from my time with Marin and Nellie.

If you want to see new photos and keep up to date on this trip and how it goes with these beautiful children friend Kimberly on Facebook ( if you haven't already and then ask to be added to the group.

Thanks again to everyone for their support!

What we did while Nate left to go to Bulgaria

We went to the  Zoo and missed him so much!

The emus attacked the guinea keet, then the tom turkey attacked the emus and then the emus attacked the turkey.  Then they ran the gate and tried to peck my camera.

 This is what we call the "Nate face".  Just for our Papa! :)

If you want to be included in the "private photo group" we have started on Facebook you can friend me here:  and tell me you would like to be included.

And if you are following along and can contribute to help us reach our final goal we have about $4000 left to go to be fully funded (anything above that will go towards medical expenses and adaptive equipment). 
Thank you very much!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

In Nate's bag

Some might think it is ridiculous that Nate is traveling internationally for 10 days and will only be packing things for himself in his carry on.

But we think differently.

Nellie is delayed.  Not because of her blindness but because of her mode of care and the realities of institutional life.  Not many have given her the chance to "go to the action" (imperative for children with visual impairments to learn).  Not many have had the chance to hold her hand while she explores her environment (or provide her with "pre cane" items like a doll stroller or other push toy).  Not many have taken the time to provide her with the word for her experience again and again until she says it herself.

We can't do anything about that yet (and oh how I wish we could!!) but we can leave her with some choice toys and items to awaken her curiosity and provide her with some appropriate learning tools.

The purple book is a love book I talked about in this article.  I'm praying the staff will read it to her often and they will see the pictures of her adoring family.  A Braille book with tactile illustrations to get her fingers responsive to touch.  Another piano to match the one she has now.  Two balls with texture, again to open up her fingers.

Someone gifted us this toy.  It's the Neurosmith Sunshine Symphony and it plays Peter and the Wolf, Handel's Water Music, The Nutcracker and Mozart.  I love that it responds to touch.  Nate will buy a huge pack of extra batteries while in Bulgarian for the orphanage.  I have made a playlist on our iPod with the same songs for when she comes home.

The wrist bell and shaker are for her to enjoy - in the color I think of as "hers".

And from a sweet friend, a tiny baby to cuddle that smells like lavender.  I can't wait until it is me she cuddles.

Even since we committed to these two Nate has been scouring our dump for free finds (we have three "free" sheds at our dump!!).  The UMass Minutemen sweatshirt showed up early.  Can you believe it is the right size for Marin?  A Boston Red Sox hat and his love book.  Marin also gets a letter from a friend who lived with him at the orphanage but who now lives in the US.  He's sent Marin a card and pictures of him in his new life telling him to come to the US!

A puzzle, glow in the dark Frisbee (for some fun with Nate) , calendar (to count down the days), a map (to show him where we live, it is US on the other side).  A card game to play with Nate, coloring paper, and books.

Lots of art stuff.  They have none at the orphanage.

And one lonely pair of socks.  The mother of the boy who wrote the card said that it was one of the poorest orphanages in the country.  They don't always have the funding to turn on the heat!!

If anyone would like to make this pile bigger the clock is ticking....

Nate promises to update the blog twice a day while in country.  What else does he have to do?    No diapers to change or meals to make or laundry to do or kids to wrestle.....   he's going to be stir crazy!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

We Have Travel Dates!!!!!!!

We got travel dates moments ago from our adoption agency.  Nate will fly to Sofia October 19th and fly back October 30th.

This is our first visit to the kids to finally meet them.

We have a private Facebook group that you can join so you can see pictures from the trip (the orphanages don't want photos of the kids published on blogs or other public places, but a private FB group will do - just don't share the photos PLEASE) - go to Kim's page (, friend her (if you haven't) and ask to be added to the group.

Thanks again to everyone for their support!!!!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Our Dossier Was Approved!!!!!!!!

The Bulgarian agency that reviews and approves adoptions reviewed our dossier yesterday and approved it.

That means that in 2-3 weeks we will get a written referral from them which will include travel dates for our first trip.  This means that I (Nate) should be traveling to Bulgaria to meet the kiddos in mid to late October.

This is what we have been waiting for for months, and it means we are one step closer to getting them home (still off in early 2014 at this point, but closer than it was before yesterday's meeting).

This following on the news of receiving out grant is the best news that could have happened - not only is our fundraising down to the last $4000, we're finally hitting the last leg of this journey.

Thanks again to everyone for all of their support!!!!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


The weather here is blah, we are still waiting on our travel dates (hopefully next week! Don't I say that all the time?), Olive is waking up more at night....grumble, grumble....complain, complain.  

I bet you're happy I chose this day to update our blog right? :)

How about some pictures so you know we are still alive?

World's largest fruit salad:


Clay work:

Some rain:

Some rainy video game play:

And then there was the newspaper issue based on the boys' stuffed animal world "Gibbonville".  Bert got passed over for the presidency and then many started eating bananas to celebrate Gibbon's reelection.  You can see how Bert feels about that here:

It's nice to know even though I am feeling very blah stuff has been going on.  Now for travel dates.  Next week I'm sure!! :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A VERY Welcome Surprise..........

Friends and supporters! 

We have been given a very large grant by Show Hope Foundation (an organization founded by recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his family and supported by the Tim Tebow Foundation) which means…..


...we only need $4000 more to be absolutely positively 100% fully funded for these children’s adoptions!  
(Any funds given beyond the $4000 will help pay for adaptive equipment and medical expenses when they are home.) 

All of your support, prayers and love are lifting these children up!! They will have a home early next year!! No more lonely nights, group birthdays, or institutionalized care.  They will get what all children deserve.

Please continue your support and love.  We couldn't do any of this without it! 

All our love,

The Schildbach Family

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day in the life Thursday

The Goldfinches are congregating on the feeder.  Time to make their winter nests.  I am yearning for fall.

Jericho spent a fair amount of time this morning buried under a mountain of magazines I got from the library yesterday.  Ranger Rick, Cricket, Ladybug, and Click.  Maybe it is time to revisit the idea of a magazine subscription for him.  I think he would love Dig.

After several failed attempts Jericho and I started making a new batch of rock candy lollies.  Peppermint and lemon without the coloring.  I like the colored ones better but hate thinking of the kids eating them.  I remember eating these on a string as a kid.

Our dining room table at some point.  Jericho wanted to do a page or two of writing after hearing me talk about my interest in calligraphy.  He assured me he doesn't want to do calligraphy telling me "stop telling me about cal-a-gippy".   Gaelan and I did half an exercise of Editor in Chief, which we find fun.
Lucas finishing up all our windows.  Getting a jump on winter weather.

Jericho and Olive did some watercolors and then wanted more "hands on" fun.  Cornstarch and water.  It got ugly a few seconds after this picture was taken.
 Which is why I might have been inspired to grab one of my husband's few t shirts and write this on it.
I called and told him about it and he said "I don't get it."  Maybe you needed a 30 minute clean up of cornstarch goo off your floor to really appreciate the humor.