Amid some high highs intermixed with some very sad lows, we confirmed once again that this child is ours, through and through.
We had several glimpses into her pain-filled heart, leaving both Chris and I biting our cheeks to keep from all out crying.
It was a very big day for Hannah, for several reasons.
Our visits were longer today. We spent three hours straight together just this morning, and 2 more this afternoon. That's a lot to think about for a little one who knows little to nothing about mommies and daddies. For someone who has undoubtedly spent much of the past 14 years alone.
Chris and I had the opportunity to feed her for the first time ever. We'd been told that she eats slowly, but that she eats well and finishes her food without fail. When her snack came into our visiting room in that familiar silver bowl, we fastened a bib around her neck with velcroe, sat her in a beanbag chair (the only furniture in the room), loaded the spoon with food and...rejected. She was terrified. After trying for 20 minutes or so without success, a care giver was called in to finish feeding her. We watched intently, from a safe distance, as she ate. She opens wide, tilts her head back and swallows without closing her lips around the spoon or around the nipple of the bottle from which she drinks.
In our afternoon visit, we had the opportunity to try again. She allowed mommy to feed her more than half of her snack (one bowl of bread softened with liquid, and one of some sort of fruit puree.) "Bravo, bravo!!", we encouraged, enthusiastically. "Bravo, Hannah! You are so brave. Good eating!"
|Pictured in the background is Hannah's Lelya (aka baba). |
She is a lovely, softhearted woman who very obviously loves our daughter very much.
We are thankful to God that she will see Hannah nearly every morning
until we return to pick her up.
As part of our afternoon visit, we loaded up into two taxis (Chris, Hannah and I, our agency representative and a staff person from the orphanage) to travel to the town center for Hannah's visa photo. We had no idea what to expect taking her out on the town, but lo and behold!, such bravery from our girl once again. She thrilled in that short car ride, sitting up tall with a seatbelt fastened across her lap and over her shoulder, like a pro. She seemed to enjoy watching the hub bub of the city out her passenger side window. The taxi dropped us off a couple blocks from the photo shop. She was completely oblivious to the stares of strangers as she walked proudly holding dad and mom's hands, smiling all the way, our field trip a solid success.
When we arrived back at the orphanage, we journeyed upstairs via tiny elevator, through a corridor and down the hall, to the room where we enjoy our visits. Along the way, Hannah spotted a group of 4 colorful balloons hanging on the wall and made a beeline for them. We vaguely asked permission for her to keep them before handing them over and continuing on our way.
I didn't think any child could love balloons as much as Samantha does, but her sister may give her a run for her money. Hannah + balloons = love at first sight. From then on out, those balloons were all she could see. (Sam, did you hear that? Just like you!)
She loved them so much,in fact, that she very obviously wanted (aka desperately needed) to get those balloons upstairs to her room to be stored safely in her bed. Her caregiver shared with us that she hoards a little pile of favorite things in the corner of her crib. Some of those things she brings in and out with her each day, while others she hides for safe keeping from the other children.
At any rate, it became quite the emergency situation that Hannah couldn't get her balloons to her safe spot, resulting in a heartbreaking meltdown that was probably 1 part exhaustion from the day and 1 part her inability to set her thoughts on anything other than those darn balloons. We are confident she will be feeling much better tomorrow after a good night's sleep.
As a side note, I need to throw in a big ole' "Good job, Bulgaria!" because we were on several occasions today pleasantly surprised by kindness, charity, and good will.
One of our taxi drivers today was absolutely enthusiastic about our adoption. He also noted that there are many needy people in Bulgaria, living outside, isolated from society, that "might do even better than us (referring to himself) if they just had some help." I wish I could remember more, but that should be enough to give you an idea. His words were a blessing to us on our way to visit Hannah.
Then, on our way out of the orphanage today, we came upon a Bulgarian couple bringing two large bags filled to the brim with clothes they wanted to donate.
Later on at the photo shop, the woman who took Hannah's photo was genuinely kind to her and patient as she took shot after shot after shot trying to get one acceptable photo for the visa.
Back at the orphanage we saw on more than one occasion, a parent from the community walking in with their disabled child for therapy...and then walking back out with them to go home. Praise the Lord!
And last, but not least, we saw a young man with Down Syndrome walking down the sidewalk with his daddy today. He was obviously very well taken care of. What a gift that was to my heart.
Thank you all, really and truly, for your ongoing prayers and support.
Lots of love to all of you.