Letting Go

Saturday, December 31, 2011

There is something that I absolutely must let go of before the New Year. I refuse to take this incredible weight with me into 2012. So I am letting go. This is really it.

It sounds so serious. Some crazy resentment, anger, or regret. Nothing of the sort.

It is a piece of paper- literally. But really, to me, it is much more.

On Valentine's Day 2011-- one of the many holidays this year that we spent wishing our son could be home with us-- Archie's teacher sent me a picture of him holding up a heart that he had painted for me.
In the email with the picture she wrote:
"Today is Valentine's Day and Gogo (Archie) made a heart for your family. He said- 'this is for Mommy Lisa- a heart'. It was very kind."

That heart represented so much to me. Although he had never met me, he knew I was his mommy. He was excited to have a mom that he could make things for.

Here he is in his orphanage with the heart.

It says "A Heart for Mama Lisa" in Bulgarian on the bottom

When we met Archie for the first time, he ran to us holding this piece of paper. This perfect heart that he worked so hard on. He was so excited to show it to us, and he explained it to us in a million miles per second Bulgarian gibberish. He was saying over and over, "this is a heart, this is a heart."

Ace showing off her brother's masterpiece

When we left the orphanage after that first visit, we took the heart with us. Joey hung it on the mirror in our hotel room. I would literally stare at, wondering, "am I really here?", "am I really touching this creation that my son made?", "is my son really just a few miles away from me right now?" It was something physical that I had, that he had created, and it made everything very real.

The days past quickly and it was time to leave Archie's town, and head back to the capital city to prepare for the long journey home. Leaving Archie behind.

Soon after leaving the hotel in Kazanlak, I thought of the heart. I knew we had forgotten it. Left it hanging on the mirror. I asked Joey, praying that he would say he had gotten it. But he hadn't. It was too late to turn back, and I figured the heart was long gone.

I quietly cried for the rest of the drive. I was devastated.

But that was not the end.

Our amazing facilitator Toni saw how upset I was, and asked if she wanted me to call the hotel to see if they could find it.


She did.
They did.
Heart was in hand and they were going to mail it directly to Toni.

All of this trouble for what probably seemed really silly and trivial to anyone other than me. I didn't care though, I wanted that heart.

A few days later, when we were back home, Toni emailed me to let me know that she had the heart safely filed away with all of our paperwork. What a great feeling of relief.
We would get it back on the trip to pick up Archie.

It felt so good to hold that heart in my hand once we had Archie home.
I imagined all of the ways I would display it.

I was finally ready to do something with it. I was going to get the picture of Archie holding the heart in his orphanage the day he made it, and the picture of Ace holding it the day we met him, both blown up and put the two pictures along with the heart in a big frame. It would be a perfectly beautiful treasure and I was very excited about it.

That morning I left the heart on my kitchen table. As I set it down I thought, "is this really a good place to leave it?" It didn't seem so safe considering the four little hands that had a record of grabbing things off of the kitchen table and putting them places never to be found again.

But I got distracted and the heart stayed there. We went about our day, a few tornadoes came through our house, and we were in and out running various errands. Then that night when we went to sit down for dinner- the heart was gone.

There is no explanation for its disappearance. But that was it.

I searched every single nook and cranny of the house...trying hard to convince myself that maybe I had put it in a spot that I thought would be safe, and now I couldn't remember where that spot was. (That is a common occurrence for me). But I knew that it wasn't the case this time.

I OBSESSED over finding the heart. And then once I accepted that it was gone, I obsessed over that. I lost sleep. I couldn't even look at pictures from our first trip, or watch the video of us meeting Archie because my stomach and heart would just drop. All I could think about was the heart.

I even considered trying to recreate the heart myself and pretending it was the real deal. No one would have ever known. And I could have eventually even convinced myself that it was the original.

Wait, I might still do that. Seriously.

No. No. No.

Goodbye paper heart. I will no longer lose sleep over you, or feel stressed over you.

Wait, am I crazy?

Now that I am putting this in writing, I am wondering if it is just truly ridiculous.
Archie is currently sitting on the floor at my feet playing with his sister and quoting Finding Nemo. He is here. That's what matters.

But I needed to let go of this, and I am already feeling some weight being lifted. So, crazy or not, I needed this.

And while I am at it, here are a couple of other things that have been lost along the way of my life, that I have lost sleep over. I will let go of these things now as well:

-The online journal that I wrote in every day from the day Ace was born and for the first several months of her life. Many detailed pages of new life with my precious baby girl. All accidentally deleted. By me.

-The tiny piece of cloth from a blanket that my late (eww I don't like that term) brother Corby slept with during a time we were far apart. He twirled it up and made a little ring out of it and gave it to me to wear so that I could always feel close to him. Oh what I would do to have that back.

I think that's good. Feeling better. Ready for 2012.

Ace and Archie say, "HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

I cannot thank you all enough for your incredible love and support this past year. I still cannot believe how blessed we are. Looking forward to what the New Year has in store for us!

Lots of Love!

Baby's First Christmas

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Okay so he isn't technically a baby. But he is my baby.
And his first Christmas could not have been more perfect.

This Christmas was a little different for us. My dad rented a house for our family in Gruene. We were there for Christmas Eve, and Christmas day and night. It was an awesome house and the kids had the best time.

I know that I will never get my Christmas post up if I don't do it now. But I am so incredibly exhausted after all of the festivities that have just now died down. So I will let the pictures do the talking!

Doing some decorating

So darn excited

Making cookies

Ace "teaching" him how to make cookies

Fun at Christmas Eve Dinner


They each got to open one present on Christmas Eve

Slippers! Smurfs for Ace and Elmo for Archie

Christmas morning. One little boy was dying to see the "moo cow".

Ready for Christmas!

Rudolph left some graffiti

Christmas snuggles for Aunt May May

Time for presents

Saved their big present for last


Costume change

They can officially start a band

I think it is safe to say they love their LeapPads

Artists at work

Patiently waiting to see what animal is going to grow

S'mores Time

And late night games!

So blessed. So grateful!

Lots of Love!

Merry Christmas to ALL!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dear Lady in Walmart who gave me the stinkiest stink eye three times,

I am sorry that we cost you 15 extra seconds in getting to your "Welcome to Grandma and Grandpa's House" doormat. My kids take turns being pirates in the basket of the shopping cart and sharks on the bottom. It does involve me stopping the cart every once in a while to rearrange them into their various designated spots, but I am always sure to pull to the side, so we do not block the aisle. You could have easily walked around us, but instead, you gave us the stink eye, and even moaned loud enough to be sure that we heard you.

At first your unnecessary rudeness and looks of disgust aimed at my children really bothered me and I wanted to say something really rude. Instead I smiled and continued to laugh with my children, hoping that we would not cross paths with you again, as we made our way to check out the Big Wheels.

I hope that your day got better.

And my wild and crazy kids would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Lots of Love!

Behind the Name

Friday, December 9, 2011

People often ask us about Archie's name. So here's the scoop.

Archie was not Archie until he came home. Well to us, he was always Archie, but he was not in his orphanage.
His full, legal name today is Georgie Archibald Eicher.

When we clicked on that link and saw our son, we did not know what his name was. We wondered and guessed. We showed his picture to Ace.
I remember the first time she looked at him. It didn't take her long to figure it out. I asked her, "what do you think his name is?" And she, without any hesitation at all, said, "Archie". I wasn't sold right off the bat. "Archie, huh. Are you sure about that?" "Yep, mama, his name is Archie."

I wish I could say that there was some really sweet or sentimental reason for her choosing that name. But the truth is, at the time, her favorite movie was Dr. Dolittle 2. One of the main characters in Dr. Dolittle 2, is a bear named Archie.

So from that moment on, he was Archie to us. Nickname- Archie Bear.

Georgie was the name that was given to him by his birthmother. Although in Bulgaria it is pronounced with hard G's. As is "Go". We pronounce it with soft G's.

Speaking of "Go". When our friends the Chances were at Archie's orphanage meeting their son Joel, they let us know that Archie actually went by the name, "Gogo". (And that there was good reason for the nickname which was reflective of his personality....we totally understand that now).

After the first trip, I wasn't sure what would end up happening with his name. I knew that I wanted to keep Georgie as his first name. His birthmother chose that name for him, and I did not want to take it away.

I wondered though, would he want to be Archie? Would he want a new name?
One little pint-sized princess was quite adamant that he was Archie. I asked her what she thought about keeping his name Gogo.
She cried.
He was her Archie.

So I thought, alright we will see what happens when he comes home.

Within days after coming home, this boy was introducing himself as Archie. He was ecstatic to be Archie. Maybe being in a brand new world, with a family of his own, with a whole new life, he wanted a new name to go along with it.

The name Archibald means "truly bold".
And this boy is just that.

We love you, sweet Archie Bear. To the moon and back. And back again.

Lots of Love!

Muted Monday (Cause there's no time for words)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lots of Love!