Saturday, October 3, 2015

Coming Home...Day 1 {A Reflection}

{Day 1}

A heavy fog greeted us as we began our journey to Sliven. Our car lost electrical power three times during the 3.5 hour drive, leaving me silently panicking in the backseat while our guide was, I'm pretty sure, swearing in Bulgarian on the phone with someone about this problem. When we lost power and pulled onto a way side that held a burned-out bus on its side, I literally prayed with all my might to and we'd deal with whatever followed.

As we pulled onto the road leading to Mimi's town from the highway (I call it the "Road to Nowhere") sleet began to fall and the song "I'll be home for Christmas" came one the radio.  It moved me to tears and beyond words. 

When we arrived at the orphanage, I noticed the gate was now adorned with an actual doorknob and indeed locked. This been installed since the last visit. It made me incredibly sad. We had to wait seconds for a staff member to come out and unlock it.  It felt like an eternity. We walked inside to see Tatiana and Eli (Mimi's psychologist and teacher) running down the hallway to greet us with big hugs. The experience went something like this: Hug then give gifts. Hug then hear what they had to say. Eli runs to get her camera. Someone in the office needs us to sign something. Did we bring clothes and shoes? Yes. Oh the shoes are way too problem. I had asked for her to keep the outfit she was wearing on, as something for her to look back on when she is older.  Eli told me she'd just give me the shoes she was wearing.

We were given a small photobook of Mimi's life in the baby house in Sliven. What a treasure. Tatiana went through the whole thing with us and explained what certain things were, photos of her as a baby, photos of her for Baba Marta, with Santa, and with her friends. The ones that blew me away? There is a tradition in Bulgaria that when I child begins walking they set items out on a table in the middle of the room. The child walks around the table to choose an item. It is said that whatever they choose will be their profession. Our girl chose a book.

Tatiana also wrote Mimi a letter, upon my request via email, about her life in the orphanage. She had printed it on a beautiful piece of stationary. She thanked us for staying up late every week to Skype. Um, no. Thank YOU. She told us how important it was to her and how important she felt it was for Mimi to create that connection with us. She shared that Mimi really loved Fridays...she knew it was the day she'd Mama and Tati (annnnd get some treats but hey....). She would light up when Tatiana would come get her from the playroom and the other kids would get jealous. I cried. Those tender hearts. Mimi would return to the playroom feeling all important.
Oh here she comes, walking down the all her Miminess!

She was happy to see us and knew who we were...even though we weren't on a screen. This girl is so much a part of a family. While her care was still group care, she is SO LOVED. These women were standing wiping their tears when we left. They insisted on walking us outside to the courtyard. They insisted on 3,245 pictures. I love them. We love them. Mimi loves them.

We got in the car and she did so very well. Even though our ride back was longer due to more fog and the car faulting one more time, she did well. She ate almost the entire in the car. She shared her snacks with me which was a step in the right direction. As in a pretzel stick going into my mouth, or nose. Whatever. She ate all of the fruit snacks, pretzels, chips, and drank two bottles of water. A LOT of water. I've never seen a child so thirsty for water.
We arrived at the Passport Center just in the nick of time and took 2,195 pictures in an effort to get a picture for her passport. First, this place was jammed with adults, which I'm sure she's never seen so many in her life and big oversized BRIGHT fluorescent lights. She was in my arms when we walked in and she looked up and panicked instantly. (I mention this as its one of the things our vision specialist told us to watch for....changes in her mood/etc when in bright or dark places,etc. She was stressed, tired, anxious, grieving, check all of the above. This girl has a scream that would wake King Tut. Oh my stars. When it comes out, its terrified and full of emotion. Its ugly and raw and difficult for her to calm. We also started to notice her loosing her balance A LOT and seeming very disoriented. When she falls its often wonky and well, its just its own flavor. It wasn't pretty, but after a run to the car and a very savvy attorney who worked her magic, we got a photo.
We returned to the hotel and after hanging for a bit we decided to go downstairs to the empty white bright restaurant for dinner. See where I'm going with this? Yeah, nada. She had a full on meltdown and we asked for our dinner to be brought upstairs. She was grieving, tired,  ALL OF IT HIT HER AT ONCE. 
How do you comfort a child whom you love and want to soothe who thinks you are the green martian that just stole them from their happy planet?

She calmed and ate with us. She allowed me to feed her some, which was unexpected as she's such an independent eater. When you don't have a mini table and chairs, you improvise. She allowed me to feed her with a fork, which I'm not sure she'd ever eaten with, and then she got it a little too far in her mouth-that was the end of it. She munched on some french fries and then she was done.

Remember when we visited her in July and they told us how she avoids sleep?  By screaming? Heavens. And all we could do was be there and watch. Once she fell asleep, she had a pretty good night's rest, minus a lot of dirty diapers. She wandered over when I turned on the light this morning. She snuggled up to me for cuddles and let me hold her for about 10 seconds. She is constantly on the go or engrossed in something. I took it as a step in the right direction...
Jer slept while round 2 of my adrenaline kicked in and I was up most of the night feeling it come down. Crying, bawling, shaking, processing, texting adoption friends and my mom in the bathroom after showers trying to calm myself down, denying, scared, terrified, excited, worried, etc. listening to her little feet slide on the sheets as she moved in her sleep 1,204 times. 

The thing about adoption. Its two-sided. Its beautiful. But its also ugly. The circuit between the two can switch at any time. We have a whole new normal happening now. You survive, one hour, one minute, one second. Whatever you need to. There is no magic duct tape that will heal all that has happened, and will continue to happen in the next few days. It needs to come together at its own pace. And I know it will.

If not, there are plenty of vodka mini bottles in our mini-bar.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Directions for Leaving a Comment:

Scroll down to the bottom the post you wish to comment on. You will see the time/date stamp on the bottom along with the number of comments and a small envelope. Do NOT click on the envelope! Click on the "0 Comments".

A text box will appear for you to write your comment. You can use Anonymous, just leave your name at the end of your comment so we know who you are! Thanks!