Bringing Sevy Home: Part 1.5 (cause i totally left out an important piece of part 1)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

So I got my days all out of whack when I was writing Part 1 and left out a very important piece of our first day with Sevy. We didn't just hang out in the hotel room that night. We had an awesome night with a new friend.  So let's back it up: 

On Sunday the phone in our hotel room rang. It was a woman named Tonya. Tonya lived in Sofia and explained to me that she had been following our journey since the beginning when we brought Archie home. She was so nice and it was really such a breath of fresh air just to talk to her. She wanted to meet us and do something nice for us so we planned to meet in the hotel lobby the next night.

I was pretty excited for some adult interaction, especially with someone who spoke English. When we got off the elevator and walked into our hotel lobby Monday evening, we saw Tonya standing there, flowers in hand, and we had a big group hug. We chatted for a bit and then decided to head out to dinner. She took us on a little tour of the city on the way. It was really cool to see parts of Sofia I hadn't ever seen and to learn some history. We ended up at this giant mall where she told us we were going to be eating at a restaurant called "Happy". Ace was so pumped because we had always seen the huge "Happy" billboard when driving in and out of the city. She always wanted to find it and go, but I was slightly apprehensive that it might be an adults only type of venue. So I was thrilled to find out it was just a restaurant. 

Before heading to dinner, we adventured around the mall, hit up the toy stores (obvi).  But the best part was finding this giant hanging butterfly art installation. As soon as I saw it I got a lump in my throat. After my brother died, my mom told me that whenever she sees a butterfly, she knows it's Corby reminding her that he's still there. So naturally, for the last almost ten years, I have done the same thing. And the butterflies always appear when I need them most. I needed to know that he was there. That he saw me and that he was proud of me. And so he sent hundreds of butterflies to make sure I got the message loud and clear. 



We finally got to Happy and had the best dinner ever! I think Tonya ordered one of everything off the appetizer menu. She wanted us to try it all. And oh my goodness it was amazing. Sevy was (inevitably) overwhelmed. She was incredibly giddy and excited. I had to really watch her closely because she was stuffing food in her mouth as fast as she could and hoarding as much as she could onto her plate so that we couldn't get it. It made me so sad. It also brought me back to the days when Archie was first home and did the exact same thing. 

My little foodie, Ace, was in heaven. Never thought she would get to enjoy sushi in Bulgaria. She was so happy. Tonya and I talked about any and everything. It was like talking to an old friend. It can be really hard to go out anywhere in Bulgaria with a child with special needs because they are simply not accepted in their society. So it was really nice to have someone with us, who was from Bulgaria, who had our back. Made me feel very secure. 






Sevy gave me some major attitude when it was time to go. This was the beginning of the arms crossed, glare as hard as she can thing she does. Quite regularly. 


But as soon as she saw I was taking her picture.....This: 
SUCH. A. HAM


Tonya dropped us back off at our hotel where we said our goodbyes. As we headed back up to our room I thought, "I wanna be more like Tonya." What an awesome person. She didn't have to do any of that. She went out of her way to give us such a special night. Brought us flowers, treated us to dinner. Nothing to gain. Just a woman who wanted to love and support us in what she knew was a crazy time. She told me many times how thankful she was for us. And we are so incredibly thankful for her. 



 Still to come: The Real Part 2

Lots of Love!
Lisa





Bringing Sevy Home: Part 1

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Seven weeks ago today, my girls and I were spending our last night in Bulgaria before heading home to our boys. For some reason, in the last seven weeks, I have been completely unable to sit down and write about our pickup trip, and life at home with Sevy. And it isn't "busy's" fault. Sure I have been busy, but I have had more than enough time. It has just been difficult for me to put the words in order. But I'll give it my best shot:

Our flights to Bulgaria were smooth as could be. Aside from that one time when I almost fainted. Ace was asleep in my lap and the last thing I wanted was to wake her, so I couldn't move. But I knew I was about to faint. I have a history of fainting so I know when it is coming. I broke out into a sweat and lost vision. I knew I needed orange juice stat, but I didn't have the strength to lift my arm and push the attendant button so I just waited it out. Laid my head on Ace, breathed slowly, and waited for it to pass. Then when I was able to, I pushed the button to call the attendant. I didn't feel like I could talk so I typed onto my phone "orange juice". But by the time she got to me I was able to say the words. It was really freaky. Especially on top of the anxiety I was already feeling. Not cool.

But aside from that weirdness, flying with just Ace was a freaking picnic compared to our previous trip when we had Radko with us. She is such an awesome little traveler.


So we arrived in Bulgaria on Sunday morning. Got to our hotel and immediately walked down the road to Ace's favorite store where she stocks up on kinder eggs. These chocolate eggs with a prize inside that she is absolutely obsessed with. So many chocolate eggs.



Then we went back and just hung out in our hotel room for the rest of the day. We tried to stay up as late as we possibly could. It didn't work. We crashed way early and then we were wide awake in the middle of the night. But we were totally slap happy and giddy about picking Sevy up the next morning. We were delirious and laughing until we almost peed our pants. The perfect sleepless night. 

The next morning we headed to get Sevy. The whole thing was so different from our experience with Archie. With Archie there was so much more of a build up. In this case, on both the trip when we met her, and the pick up trip, we just opened up the door to her tiny little group home apartment and there she was! 


video


We stayed there for about twenty minutes. There was one worker who was visibly struggling with letting go. She tried to hide her tears from me but I could see the sadness in her eyes. She told my translator that she was going to miss her so much, but was so very thankful that we were taking her home. Then they explained to her that she was going home with her new mom and sister, said some teary goodbyes, and off we went.


We spent the morning exploring Sofia. That afternoon we had her Visa appointment. After that we went back to the hotel and just chilled. Well, I chilled. They jumped around the room like a couple of monkeys on speed. I could tell immediately that I was in trouble with this girl. She was a firecracker right from the start and was into absolutely everything. I had to rig up the mini bar after I found her hiding in a corner attempting to open the tiny vodka bottle. 



She loved the bath. Spent as long as she possibly could in there. Splashing and singing and cracking up. It was so awesome to see her filled with such joy. I was a little nervous about bedtime. Her first night away from the only home she could likely remember. She laid on top of me and kissed my cheek. Over and over and over. She literally kissed my cheek until she fell asleep. 

At some point in the middle of the night I woke to her sitting up next to me, ferociously rocking. No sounds. Just rocking. A tough reminder for me of how my girl spent her first twelve years of life. I sat up and put her in my lap and rocked her. Up to that point I hadn't cried. I didn't cry when we saw her, I didn't cry when we drove away from her home. I was starting to feel strange about the lack of emotion I was feeling. But at that moment the dam broke. I held my tiny twelve year old girl and rocked her in my arms. I thought about Archie and his life before we got him. I thought about Ace and Radko when they were tiny babies and I would rock them for hours. It is painful for me to know that two of my babies didn't get that. When she finally relaxed and was back asleep, we laid back down. She made sure she was cheek to cheek with me. And we stayed like that for the rest of the night. 


Part 2 coming soon...
Lots of Love!
Lisa




23 Hugs

Thursday, March 24, 2016


{Preface: For those who keep up with our family strictly through this blog...Sevy is home! I have a post in the works about our pickup trip, her homecoming, and settling into our new normal. But this moment had to be documented today}

Ace has been super anxious for me to bring Sevy up to school at lunch so that her friends and teacher could meet her. I was a little bit nervous as we walked in. She's still a little unpredictable at times, and I just wanted this moment to go just as Ace had been envisioning it. Sevy was excited. She didn't know what we were doing but she knew she would be seeing Ace. She skipped (her version of a skip) all the way in. Wearing highlighter lipstick and eyeshadow that she had applied, unbeknownst to me, in the car on our way there. 




Ace was so happy to see her. She beamed with pride as she walked her to our special table away from her class. Her classmates looked on to see Ace's new sister who they have heard so much about. We ate lunch and small-talked about Ace's morning. 




Then towards the end of lunch we headed over to her class table to introduce Sevy. We walked down to the girls' end of the table, and Ace rejoined her class. The girls were thrilled to see Sevy. They asked about her "makeup" and told her that she did a perfect job on her eyeshadow. They giggled with excitement and told her their names. 

The boys were obviously interested but kept quiet and just observed. I watched their faces as they looked at her. I could see the wheels spinning in their inquisitive minds. We stood there for a couple of minutes. I answered some questions from the girls as the boys listened intently. We were getting ready to say goodbye, when one of the greatest moments of my life happened. Without so much as a word, a little boy got up from his seat, walked towards me and Sevy and asked me, "would she like a hug?" I told him she would love that. He opened up his arms and she went in for the hug. He embraced her. Not just a pat-on-the-back, side hug. And the next thing I knew every single boy was lined up behind him. And the girls followed. I choked back tears as I watched my daughter light up with pure joy as 23 second graders patiently waited their turn to give her a hug. 

Ace was absolutely giddy. I know that it was completely unexpected for both of us. They didn't have to do that. They aren't at an age where I would have even expected anything like it. It wasn't in their comfort zones. While most of them have been around Archie, Sevy is even more "different" seeming to them. They know that she's twelve, but I know they wonder "HOW is she 12?" She's so much smaller than them. They know that she was an orphan. That she has only been with us for one week. It's all a lot and I know that it's hard for them to comprehend. It's hard for me to comprehend myself! 

It was just one of those moments that changed my heart forever. You know those moments. It wasn't some grand gesture. In fact, onlookers might have thought nothing of it. It was a simple act of love and compassion and kindness displayed by a class of second graders. And it was everything to me. Absolutely everything. 

Lots of Love!
Lisa