Today is Madeleine and Audrey's first day of school and as they entered their new classrooms, on the other side of the world Sam experienced her first excursion.
|Madeleine 4th grade, Audrey 1st grade|
|Walking the streets of Bulgaria snuggly in her carrier.|
|Look at that face. I'm pretty sure she was giving me the hairy eyeball because I was the one who washed her while Grace held her. Thank goodness for the koosh ball. It provides her with relief when she is feeling stressed.|
|As do her fingers. She sucks them when she is tired and as a means of soothing herself. However, she is quickly learning that Grace will console her when she's in distress.|
Did you notice the pink stroller Sam was in? We bought that today because the one Grace brought was damaged on the plane ride here. Samantha can only tolerate being held for short amounts of time so Grace wanted a nice stroller to have when we travel home on Saturday. Sam will be much more comfortable being pushed around in a stroller, rather than being carried, during our layovers.
|Finding this stroller was an answer to prayer. The first store we tried was a toy store and when it proved to be fruitless we asked the lady working there where we could find one. Even though neither one of us could understand the other, through hand gestures, extremely broken English, and an act of God we found the store she referred us to and bought the only stroller they had (which just happened to be pink).|
|In this picture Sam is seen listening to music on Grace's computer. She LOVES music. She can't help but dance when she hears it. We have also discovered that she is fascinated by computers. She has helped both of us type on more than one occasion.|
|In this picture she is meeting her cousins for the first time over Skype. She slid right on over to see what was going on.|
|Here she is all settled into bed this evening. Last night was a rough one. Even though she was tired, she would not allow herself to fall asleep. When she wasn't rocking back and forth, chewing on her wrists, or grinding her teeth, she was standing up on the side of her crib, looking around as if to make sure we were still there. Grace was always right there to scoop her up. The ritual of laying her down, picking her up, and laying her down again continued for 5 hours. We've discovered that there's a delicate balance between making sure Samantha gets the sleep she needs and establishing security. Finally, at 1:00 in the morning, we turned off all the lights, laid her down, and followed suit. Shortly thereafter she fell asleep & this morning she learned that when she wakes up mommy will be there to lift her out of the crib, change her diaper, and give her a bottle. After crying so many tears out of extreme heartache yesterday, today they flowed freely out of joy. I am so thankful to be here to witness these beautiful milestones. I am also pleased to report that she is currently sleeping peacefully, only 2 hours after the first try.|
I am still trying to process what I saw yesterday and so many thoughts are rolling around in my head desperately trying to find a way to be weaved together in a way that will give justice to them. I don't mean to make light of this journey by only posting the cute things Samantha does. She displays many behaviors that are associated with institutionalization and it's heartbreaking to see. However, she has learned quickly that Grace will cater to her every whim and has even started saying mamamamama when she wants her attention. For the first time in her 7 years of life she is on the road to healing; the best first I have to report today.