We are so excited to share our Ethiopian adoption adventure, and our CRAZY lives with all of you! Our hope is that it will encourage you to step out in faith to do what God has called you to do! There are FIELDS of fatherless children waiting for someone to care for them, to love them, to tell them of JESUS' love for them...will YOU be the one??

Monday, July 26, 2010

How Long Has it Been??

Sorry, I'm behind as usual, but want to update everyone. Ava is still doing tremendously well! But here are some things I've observed;)....

*Her feet are "smooshed" from wearing shoes that were too small
*She has flat feet
*HATES the car seat(did I mention this already?)
*Is absolutely certain that sprinklers and swimming pools are NOT to play in!
*HATES bath time
*Has a very tiny belly button
*Has a TON of soft hair on her back..some on her legs, arms, and cheeks...
*Likes to play dress-up and "mommy"
*Corrects me when I try to give her the English word for something...She brings me her "obuvka", I say "shoe"...she hesitates and says "obuvka" and walks away!! Sooo funny!
*Makes this whiney noise when she wants something...to which my CHILDREN respond, "Ne Klencha"...NO WHINING...think I've overused that one??
*Is very happy wherever we go(once out of the car)..as long as I'm holding her..
*Is trusting Daddy more..sometimes...when she wants...if I'm not available..
*Sings in Bulgarian..too cute!
*Has learned to say "night-night", "Momma", "banana", "Bella", "Noah", "No", "shoe", "book", and my favorite, "OKAY!"...she yells this one over and over...it's hilarious!
*Is still a pretty picky eater
*LOVES her brothers and sister!
*POOPS 3 times a day!!!(this could make potty training VERY SCARY!)
*Sat on the potty twice..not scared..but no luck
*Is not interested in children's videos(but they're in English, so, duh!)
*Has a very raspy voice...thus the "strangled duck" sound when she cries and screams;)!
*Was not afraid of the animals at the zoo...yeah, we're nuts...but she did GREAT!

Okay, that's all...enjoy the pics:)!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Sweet Memory

Today our Youth Pastor and his wife, Joe and Joanne Lott, lost their precious Haitian baby boy, Marcos, to meningitis. They have been in the adoption process approximately 7 months, and were so excited to meet this little guy. Please pray for them today, as I'm sure their hearts are breaking.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

LOVE My Bloggy Friends!!!

Thank you all so much for your encouraging words and prayers!! Your support is wonderful to have!

We are adjusting well and Ava is now sleeping through the night! YAAAYY!!! She is also trying lots of new foods that she wouldn't try before...YAY! She is doing wonderfully well!!

I would never have guessed that she was in an orphanage for three years...! She doesn't rock herself or have any self-soothing habits other than sucking her fingers(ALL of them..one at a time!) Keep in mind, this is probably NOT the norm though...this little girl asserted herself more than the other kids(they told us this), so she probably got more attention because of it. She plays well with the other kids, and LOVES dress-up! She has even ventured onto the swing once or twice:).

Ben has been gone almost every night this week, so she really hasn't had a chance to be with him much yet...that'll change next week as his work schedule changes.

I'm worn out! Jet lag is kicking my butt and winning! But just wanted to give you a quick update:). And a THANK YOU!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Updates, etc.

We left Sofia at 7:30am on Saturday, July 10th, with me dizzy, nauseas, and light-headed...it was awful:(!! Not sure what happened... BUT...Ava did amazingly well and never cried once the whole trip home...she just sat on my lap and ate pretzel sticks and sucked her thumb..she didn't seem scared at all, just content..

Once home, she did just as well and went off with the kids to play...very happy and contented!:) She's probably thinking, "Hmmm, new orphanage, new kids, permanent caregiver...this is GREAT!"

She has attached to me very well, just as she did in January, and is slowly opening up to Daddy..more and more for sure. She does NOT like our dog, but as long as Bella is "contained", she goes about her business playing, etc.

She is eating better...moving up to string cheese and today, hot dog..okay, not necessarily healthy, but hey!

Last night was the first night she didn't wake up crying 3-4 times... We tried co-sleeping, but she is all over the place and still cries, so we opted for the crib next to our bed. That way, she knows we're there when/if she wakes us crying, but I don't get her out..I rub her back and talk in Bulgarian to her, and she's usually back down in a few minutes. To put her to sleep, I rock for about 15 minutes with her and put her down awake in her crib..she screams..for only 3-4 minutes(it's a mad, stubborn cry too), but I lay there and rub her back, again talking in Bulgarian till she falls asleep. I don't want to hold her till she falls asleep, because then she doesn't wake up in my arms...which may be more frightening than just going ahead and letting her cry for a couple of minutes at the beginning. We're being consistent with this, because it IS working! If I thought she was afraid at all of the crib or anything like that, we'd do it differently.

She really has been a breeze so far...fits right in, and just is having FUN! She's a very easygoing little girl. Although that stubborn streak is there...she gives me the dirtiest look when I tell her "NE" or reprimand her... I don't she's been told "Ne" much;)!


For the gut wrenching honesty you're all looking for, RIGHT???? You may want to skip this part, if you prefer...

First of all, we have fought tooth and nail for this little girl to be in our family, prayed without ceasing for her, etc.... So, I can't tell you how shocked I was when, on that first night in the hotel..when she screamed for two hours...I realized...this is NOT my biological child! Duh, I know....but I never in a million years thought I would feel any differently toward her, not after what we went through to get her! I was totally "empty" as far as feeling all "lovey" toward her! What cold-hearted person would not love this child???????? I kept longing to feel that take-your-breath away love you feel when holding your bio child for the first time...it just wasn't there! I knew this COULD happen...have read about it....but KNEW it would not happen to ME!!!!! I KNEW not to fall in love with the referral photo....and I just trusted the love would be there... It's very overwhelming to say the least.... Could I really LOVE this child?????????? My heart was breaking for her and I just wanted to hop on a plane home!

I think I've realized this is probably a last ditch effort by the enemy to undermine what we've done in adopting Ava....I'm praying...without ceasing...for the love to grow stronger each day....for more patience with myself... I've just been SO SHOCKED by all this, that I want to run, and I can't! This little girl is OURS now...forever my daughter....stubbornness and all! All this to say....if this happens to you, don't beat yourself up! Get on your knees and ask to be filled with more of HIM and less of YOU! That's what I'm doing. This is probably more common than anyone realizes and is linked to Post-Adoption Depression, so don't be surprised like I was...be prepared! For all those following my adoption from the beginning, please don't judge me....it's hard to admit any of this, and I want to be of help to all of you still waiting...so I felt like I had to talk about it..especially since most of you already have bio kids...

I'm learning that this is like falling in love..It's a process..it takes time and getting to know them first..so that's what we're doing... If you have specific questions, please email me, I'll be honest, I promise:)!

Believe me when I say, Ava is doing excellent! She is happy and content and LOVES her siblings(and they her)! She loves being in my arms and is truly a joyful child! My husband loves her to pieces, even though she "shuns" him most of the time;)!

Would you pray with me that my heart is filled with "ooey-gooey" LOVE for our little Ava? I want her to have everything she deserves and so much more!

And if you already KNEW all this could happen...? WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME!!!????:)JK

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just the Facts...

I've been terrible at keeping up the blogging in Bulgaria! Sorry...so here are just the facts...

1. Embassy medical was a breeze..no crying:).
2. Embassy interview was also a breeze...no crying:).
3. Bedtime has gotten better, but she is definitely a "flopper"!
4. Has stopped eating anything other than pudding and pretzel sticks...oh well...
5. Hates baths
6. Hairdryers scare her to death!
7. She has decided Daddy is NOT an option for holding her right now...feeding is fine.
8. She likes the baby sling.
9. Likes walks and isn't afraid of the mall, stray dogs, or cats....
10. Seems pretty content...
11. Knows her name is Ava and calls herself that.
12. Is not potty trained as stated in medical...but who cares!
13. Can scream like a banshee! Suicide inducing screams!(this is without a doubt the toughest thing, because it DOESN'T make me want to cuddle her...it makes me want to run from the room!

What else? This is harder than I thought it would be....emotionally..but I'll talk about that later.

Oh yes, Bulgaria...we have seen nothing but the mall for four days...we're bored...but I'm NOT putting my child in a taxi here if I don't have to...they're totally insane!

There are stray dogs everywhere..and cats...but they leave you alone, and most are friendly...

Please feel free to email me any questions you may have...I know I'm not hitting everything you want to know, but I'd be glad to email you personally:)!

Click here for pics:)


One more day, then HOME....ahhhh, that sounds soooo good!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Gotcha! Day one...

We arrived at the orphanage in record time yesterday...could be that our driver was going 90mph..I'm NOT kidding!! We talked to the director a bit, then the psychologist, then we went out to the courtyard where she had already been changed into her "going home" clothes. She didn't seem to remember us, but she went to Daddy which was a huge step...we didn't take any pictures of anyone or the orphanage..yeah, I know..we just wanted to leave quick, because she was starting to SCREAM!!

She screamed for about 10 minutes, until we stopped and got her a sandwich for lunch...then she settled down and slept for a while. She didn't cry in the passport picture this time(had to redo because of the new system)...and she was fine the rest of the day.

Our apt. is near the Center Mall, so we ate supper there(she'll eat anything, YAY!)...I'm bummed because we are really far away from all the "sights"..so much for my plan to sightsee this time around...

Bedtime was HORRIBLE! I tried to lay down with her, and she screamed, so I rocked...that worked for a while(about an HOUR)..but she just wouldn't go to sleep..by this time it was 10:00pm. So, I layed her down again and she screamed for about 5 minutes then she got quiet and flopped for another hour...sucking each and every finger on her hand over and over and over...at 11:00 I just got up and left the room, so I guess she was asleep...but she flopped ALL NIGHT LONG!! Poor thing...probably wishing for her crib..something familiar:(....or maybe it was the pizza;)!

Today has been uneventful..she won't go to Ben at all today, so I'm carrying her around in the sling mostly...I'm tired, she's tired..but she's not screaming:)!

Off to the Dr. appt. now for the embassy...hoping for NO screaming...did I mention her scream could literally peel the paint off a wall!!!!!????? Something like a duck being strangled....no, seriously!

Did I mention she's very sweet, cute, and TINY! Wearing 18 mos. clothes and they're still baggy..size 5 shoe!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

5:30 A.M.

It's 5:30 a.m., and I've been up for the most part, since 2 a.m....can't sleep!

We're leaving in an hour for the orphanage(4 hours away)to pick up Ava, and then heading right back to apply for the passport, etc...busy, busy day....GOOD busy though, since our sweet girl will be with US finally:)!

The flights were on time, no lost luggage, food good, nice planes....terrible turbulence!! OH.MY.WORD!! The weather could not have been more perfect for flying, but BOTH planes flew through it! Scared the heck out of me! The pilot on the long flight apologized a couple of times and said this was not forcast at all...hmmm...

BUT, GOD IS FAITHFUL! We arrived on time and went straight to our apt, then the grocery, where we shopped alone..but pretty much could figure out what everything was though...prices were high on veggies, fruit, and meats..but the market itself was in this big mall, with lots of american fast food chains...so we'll eat just fine..

We did bring lots of snacks for Ava, since we don't really know what she'll like or will be able to chew...Nutri-grain bars, oatmeal, PB crackers, Goldfish, etc...and some gummie snacks for just pure bribery when needed...you know...like to even get in the car with us today!;)

Also packed a new anti-nausea chewable for kids called Bonine that was recommended by a friend for carsickness..so pray she likes it and maybe it will help her sleep on the trip back to Sofia as well.

What else?????????????? Enough for now...gotta go ready to pick up my DAUGHTER:):)::):)!!!!!

Pray for continued safety for the kiddos back home(especially my little Caleb...he's absolutely into everything and is sneaky to boot, so he needs a couple extra prayers!)

Pray for Ava's adjustment today and throughout the week...good health for all etc...

And if you all have questions, please ask, my brain may not work properly due to jet lag, etc...so I won't think of everything to tell you;).

I'll say one thing now though...when you hear the words "park"...as in, a place to go play....don't think "nice American park"...they're NOT the same...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Leaving On A Jet Plane:)!

At 5:40pm today we will be on our way to Sofia! We would LOVE for you to continue to pray for us...specifically, our kiddos staying behind(this Mama HATES leaving them!), that our flights are on time and our luggage arrives with us. Also, pray for me, that the jet lag and air sickness will not be a problem(thanks to my handy Scopolomine patch:)).

Pray for Ava, that she will be "happy" to go with us and will adjust well. Her little life is about to change in a major way, so pray that we'll have the wisdom to give her what she needs in the days ahead.

Pray that any further attempts by the enemy to stall our pick-up will be cast down by our great God!!!

This isn't the end bloggy friends...only the beginning!

See you in SOFIA!!!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Erased! Gone! Taken Away!

Got the call and you're not going to believe it! It was a FALSE ALARM! NO measles at her orphanage AT ALL! They think maybe it was another orphanage or something...I think God just erased it;)! We'll take it!

WOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I'm going to seriously need some strong anti-anxiety meds and large amounts of hair color when this is all over!

But, would we do it again? ABSOLUTELY!! Focus on the prize! That sweet little face kept us going all along!