Friday, January 29, 2010

I love this little guy, makes me wish we could have adopted 3!

Here is the info on Drew!

Boy, Born April 8, 2004
Drew seems to be one of the lower functioning children, but may also just be a "victim" of his environment :(( At 3 1/2 years he was not able to walk or really even sit up by himself. Drew has Down syndrome.

Drew is almost 6 now and should be in kindergarten with his peers! The wonders of a family, therapy, and proper encouragement and education could mean the difference between LIFE and "existence" for Drew! Won't you be his hope??

He has a $300 grant!


He would be the perfect twin brother for Yana!

***Drop me a line if you are interested. I can point you in the right direction!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Montage 1/21/10 at

*** You can hear her sweet little voice very clearly in this one! :) I dont' know why the videographer turned the camera sideways! LOL :)

My Montage 1/21/10 at

*** Please ignore my insane laughing! As a new mom, I am sure you understand how EVERYTHING our children do is CUTE! :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


:) Enjoy! Sorry it is so long... but I don't know how to piece the good parts together just yet.

Tavi... You can't see it, but she kept putting her hand on top of, or underneath mine. She likes to know exactly why or how something is occuring. She turned 4 years old in mid-Nov. :)

Okay, now THIS is Yana. Remember this little one is 2 months from her 7th birthday! She thinks she is quite funny! :)


Monday, January 25, 2010

1 day home

It's good to be home. I missed my husband and my kids, it was so good to hold them all! Luke can now have his world back to normal... as can John. :)

But boy I miss my Bulgarian babies too! Please pray with me that the remaining paperwork and clearances can be completed in record time w/o delay! I am praying to return in 3 months time [I would take sooner ;), but it isn't really possible.]

I have waited 11 months for them, I can wait a few months longer. God has kept them safe thus far, He isn't going to leave them now.

Again, thank you all for journeying with us! We felt every prayer!

Onward to phase 2 and getting these little ones home for good! :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

For Toni...

Just wanted to let you know that we are home. We had good flights, and only one short delay in Chicago. :)

Thank you for everything my friend! You and Alex are AWESOME!!!!!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The last day....

A sad day... so much progress and now I hvae to leave. :( BUT, I am determined to get everything done as quick as possible! And since I have to be home to do that... well, then I have to go. I miss my family too... so today is just bitter sweet.

Little Tavi had another good day. She listened to my Ipod and felt it all over wiht her hands and mouth. It really is cool to see her processing. And she remembered exactly how we did each thing yesterday and we have to do it the same way... even sitting in the same spot. I think she will give my kids a lesson in keeping things "just so"... because that is the way Tavi likes it! LOL

Here are some ADORABLE pics! :)

The camera battery died before I got any pics of Yana. But she has a cold, and is looks so sad that pics wouldn't have been too good anyway. Suprisingly, we had a good time. She purposefully interacted with me for 2 different 15 minute or longer sessions. It was the most she had truly tried to influence me on how to play with her. And she crawled to me across the mat at least 4 times!

I really do not think she has much vision to speak of... she isn't blind. She just needs glasses REALLY bad! Toni and I both think that by the time she has been home 6 months she will at least be taking a couple of steps on her own! She is going to change so much and so quickly the first year home!

The only new pic I hvae is the visa photo. It will make you smile. :)

We leave here at 10:30am tomorrow, and hope to arrive home around 10pm. Soon, phase 2 will be done and we will be back here to bring them home for good!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Yes mom....

HER EYE LASHES ARE THAT LONG! :) And you know now that I think about it... they haven't asked about Grandpa Andy... that is strange. LOL

A good day....

Today was a good day! Sadly we only got videos of Tavi, no pictures. But really cute videos! :) She was being really cute today. She sang a lot to me, said "mama love you." "Tonis [or Mama, or Slavkas] shoe", and all that she said yesterday. She copied a longer rhythm and was a little tired so more snuggly and less active ... which was nice for me as I love to hold her. Michele is in love with her and I am going to have to watch so she doesn't sneak her out and bring her home! LOL

It is so amazing to me to watch her little mind work and take in everything we do together. She is SO skilled at observing, and so quick! She leaves all 3 of us [Toni, Michele, and I] speechless often! I love her so much. Half my heart is staying in Bulgaria and it will not be whole till I hold them both once again in my arms, and for the rest of my life!

Yana had a great day today. Sadly she has caught a cold, and I think she got it from Tavi [note to parents adopting 2 children... wash the toys WELL if you can between sharing with the kids]. But she was snuggly, and smiling and crawled to me if I put her down. I love this little girl to pieces. She just makes me smile.

We found out from the director that Yana had been scheduled to be transfered to an adult mental institution... and not a good one. She is the size of a 2-3 year old and developmentally about 8-12 months old. The whole orphanage is so happy for her. When the director found out that Toni had found a family for her, she was able to keep her in the orphanage. From the very first time I saw her picture, she grabbed hold of my heart. I don't know why. She had severe special needs, her picture wasn't one of the cutest listed, and she was much older than we had initially been open towards. So why her? But the grip she had on my heart was firm.

As some of you know, when we inquired about Tavi, we asked for a few other childrens profiles. Out of all these children there was only 1 girl who could be adopted with Tavi at no extra cost. That was Yana. Okay, hhmmm, coincidence? And then we asked Toni if she could get more info. She was going to try, and we prayed she could get an updated picture though Toni said it was unlikely. But praise God, she got a positive update and a couple of new pics! :) And so with doubts of our ablities, but no doubt about Gods we said yes to both Yana and Tavi!

It has become very apparent to me what a "GOD DIRECTED" trip this adoption is. What if we had said no? What if we said her needs were to severe? What if we weren't willing to risk it, to take a chance? What if we felt the cost of raising 2 more kids was too steep? What if we had said "not me God, not now God, not her God!" ....

For Yana to be sent to this institution would have meant the death of this child. Once you meet her you will understand how big of a loss to this world that would be. She is a little light that shines beyond the evil of this world. She is a work of God, created to show HIS glory to all of us. I love her so much!

I am truly, truly humbled that God chose John and I to parent her. I wish everyone could be me in this moment, could feel what I feel when I hold her and Tavi, when I see them smile, or hear them laugh, or they reach for me! Joy this great should never have been mine, I am not worth... so not worth it. But I am keeping it. I am embracing it. And I will forever be thankful to and glorify God for the gift of these girls. I can never repay, I can NEVER repay... the gift of these girls is priceless.

Thanking God for you all tonight, for the prayers directed towards this journey, for the donations, for the abundance of help for my family at home, and just for being you! Thank you!

A couple of pics, and I will let you go:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ups and Downs...

Today was an emotional day. I am missing my husband and my kids. I am tired because I don't sleep real well away from home, and I am getting very sad about leaving the girls behind for 4 months [or longer].

We continue to visit Tavi in the morning. This visit was definitely an UP! I know I have said it in every post, but she truly is AMAZING!!! Remember all the strikes against this little girl, and yet... she is flourishing! She walks forward and backwards, very fast or very slow. She walks by herself very confidently feeling her way. She plays and interacts like a perfectly normally raised little girl. Today she amazed us even further. She was singing little songs to me. AND she was speaking the english words we said. VERY CLEAR ENGLISH. Some of what she said was "Where's Slavka? There she is!", "Hi Michele", "Slavkas Mama", "Scoot", "Jingle, jingle" and more. Her caretakers say she repeats everything they say... even telling the kids to be quiet or go to sleep. LOL

We got fantastic videos of her... but that will have to wait till I get home as I can't get how to download them.

Tavi John Mayden

The visit with Yana was a down, though the up part was that I did get to visit this sweet baby girl! And regardless of what else is going on... she will always be a bright light in my life. Yana was very disconnected today. I think she only knew I was there a couple of quick times. She did kiss me, but I think it was more like licking my face to learn about me like she does a toy. You can say eeewww, bt only if you haven't been the parent of child so sweet that she makes your heart beat faster just thinking about her!

She was very edgy today, and showed many institutional behaviors. She twitches, has this very strange lizard tongue thing she does, she makes a throaty/snot clearing noise, and she is OBSESSED with twirling anything she can, her favorite of which is my hoodie strings... first one way than the other.

I also think there is a good possibility that she has effects of FAS on top of the Down syndrome.

She did make some noises today, but calling them vowel or consanant sounds would be a stretch.

All these things together do NOT concern me, I love her so much. But they do break my heart. :( It was all I could do to NOT CRY until I got back to the hotel. I would have felt so bad crying in front of Tonis brother.... he is such a sweetheart and he has spent enough time in the company of the 3 of us he probably would have quit! :) The thought of leaving the girls continues to make me so sad... but the thought of leaving Yana in this state of existing in this silent inner world of hers was almost too much. She needs her mama to bring her home! Please GOD, I am begging, don't let her wait to long!!!!

I am needing some prayers of strength and fortitude! I am needing my sweet husband to hold me.

Here is my other sweetie for you to ooh and ahh over since I know you already did it to Tavie pics! LOL

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day #2, part 2.... heart just jumps when I think of this little one. Pure joy is what I feel when I hold her. And praise God, my friend Michele got to go with me today and she fell for her too! Yana is pure joy! She crawls, she sits up and even pulls up some by herself. She continues to think she is SO FUNNY! She loves to laugh, and with the twinkle in her eyes you know it is REAL! You may not know what she finds funny, but she sure enjoys laughing! She will crawl to you when you say her name and hold out your hands. She wasn't big on toys today, but preferred the string on my hoodie. She would twirl it first one way, and then a few seconds later twirl it in the opposite direction.

She is loved where she is, adn the director and therapist are so happy for her. But she will THRIVE in our family. Kids... you are truly just going to LOVE your sisters. John, you have no idea how much joy you are about to experience. When you meet them you will understand!!! They are going to LOVE their daddy! Be ready to run honey, I am bringing home a couple of wild ones! :)

We got some GREAT video of Yana today! I will have to share it another time, but you really see her personality shine and get to hear her laughing over and over!

Now for pics:

Day #2....

Such a good day today... my heart is so happy! [But I sure wish the rest of my family was here so we could be experiencing this together.]

Tavi first.... she is just amazing both Toni and I. She is SOOOO smart. She copies me with the rhythms I make with the rhythm eggs. She remembered me from yesterday and the fact that I had a bag with toys in it. She was talking a lot today, and Toni understood many phrases such as "where are you?", "I am here", "look a little chair" and more. And what practically had me in tears was her calling me Mama... so precious to me! She walks by herself, all over! She feels her way and seems to know just where she is going! She is a confident, independant, and sweet little soul. I do not think anyone has ever told her that she is blind! LOL

I love this little girl!! She has a sweet high little voice. My heart is going to be so lost without her until I return! She has been well loved, and I am so thankful!

Now for a few pics. She was very active today so Toni had a hard time getting a picture! :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Meeting Miss Yana Jewell Mayden....

Again... where do I begin? Yana had Toni and I rolling within minutes of meeting her. Let me tell you, this is one FUNNY little girl! Yana is tiny, but has some weight to her. And my goodness, she is FLEXIBLE! She turns her foot almost completely backwards, and she looks WAY up, like she is looking behind her a LOT!

She is very delayed, and not real interested in others, but I did see POSITIVE things. ONE, she thinks she is the funniest girl on the planet. Two, she has certain toys she prefers and throws the rest away. At one point I tried to take a toy from her and she kept catching my hand and holding it away or pushing it away... she was keeping the toy ... PERIOD. LOL

The other funny thing is she does NOT like the camera. Toni had it trying to take a picture of her, and she would turn competely away whenever she saw it and then SMILE like she was the cutest thing ever!

She moves constantly, a total wiggle worm. She walks holding hands pretty well, which is suprising because she is a wet noodle otherwise. What I saw in this little one was humor, a curiousity waiting to be nourished and encouraged, and a wild side. You can see it in her grin.

I could not be happier with these two little ones. And my heart is already breaking at the thought of having to leave them for a bit!

Now for what you really want... PICTURES!
This is Yanas bed. I was allowed to meet her "group" and see her room but could only take pics of her bed. I was able to hold the little boy who is in the crib next to hers... he is a doll. And I think he must have CP, but oh what a beautiful little boy!

Meeting Tavi...

Where do I start? I am in love with a little girl with dark curly hair, big brown eyes, a free spirit and a beautiful smile. She walked into the room holding her nurses hands and my heart just fell out of my chest.

Tavi is adorable, friendly, loving, and so SMART! You could see her processing everything and she figured out everything so quickly. At 4 years old she is small, but not tiny, her weight is good, and she is not all that delayed. If you figure she was born 3 months premature, and has been blind her whole life and lived in an orphanage her whole life she is a little miracle!

John... YOU ARE GOING TO FALL for her as soon as she grins at you! LOL

I could say so much, but I am still processing a lot of it. It was a PERFECT day, and yes I will be crying when I leave both of them at the end of the week. I thought I owuld be okay wiht it, but as soon as Tavi walked into the room I thought "OH CRUD, I am going to be a mess!" :)

One more thing and then onto what you really want! For those of you who are planning on meeting your children soon the absolute best toy that I brought was 3 plastic rhthym eggs. They are easy to hold, they can hold one in each hand and they both fiugred out how to shake them slowly or fast and the sound would change. They love them! So I highly recommend them!

Okay, so here is Miss TAVI JOHN MAYDEN!

[This is Toni's brother, Alex. Tavi liked him! It was so cute, both the director and the nurse thought he was the to be dad... and then he started speaking to them in Bulgarian and they were shocked! We all thought this was so funny to all of us!]

Sunday, January 17, 2010

We are in Bulgaria!

We had an easy trip and we are now at the hotel. We are having computer issues, so hopefully more later or tomorrow! We will be visiting Tavi in the morning and Yana in the afternoon! :)

to my husband and kids... I LOVE YOU! And I miss you already!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

1 more day!

So, just one more day and then I will be leaving! I can not believe this moment is finally here! What a joy and a blessing it has been to share our adoption journey on this blog! I have met many new friends, and the support we have been shown means so very much!!!!

All the questions, all the paperwork, all the money, all the setbacks... none of it matters anymore. We are finally here, and soon I will be holding little Tavi and Yana in my arms! "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord.

Thank you all! My heart is overflowing, and I just can't keep my joy contained anymore!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lucas got his hair cut!

Is he a handsome boy or what?!
Whenever he gets his hair cut, he becomes all EYES! :) He likes to pull his hair out, so he had 2 small bald spots, but at this length, you don't notice them much...