Friday, January 28, 2011

What's Next?

I don't have anything knew too say about the adoption but thought I would outline what we can expect in the next few months...

Even though we know who Sofie is, we don't yet have the legal proposal. Our Bulgarian and Canadian agencies have her file exclusively, so she can't be taken by any other family. We are currently waiting for the official proposal to come through all the legal channels of the Hague Convention. Once we accept it we are then waiting for a court date.

Court will take place in Bulgaria. Our Bulgarian agency will go on our behalf and there the Judge will hopefully finalize the adoption and issue an adoption order! She will then be ours! I think I can then publicly share her picture :) Anido then applies for her new Bulgarian birth certificate, passport and Canadian Citizenship. There will be a transit visa to go in her passport to get her to Canada. After this is all approved we can go get her!

The exact timeline is very dependent on how fast the Bulgarian MOJ act in getting our proposal through the Convention and how soon we get a court date. Pray that it is soon!!! The birth certificate, passport and Citizenship "shouldn't" take too long, but a little extra prayers for those would be great too :) We've been told 3-6 months altogether. I'm trying to gear myself up for the 6 month wait because nothing has been on the short side of the estimates yet. I can't help but hope that there is a first time for everything!

In other news... There is not really any news. We are just maintaining our routine. I think Livi is getting a little board with me since we haven't had many play dates or seen any non-family members. We have a few planned in the next month so that will be good for her. It is so hard when we don't have a car and live so far away from everyone!

I have been trying new dinner recipes and loving it! I'm not good at meal planning but have really been making an effort. We have definitely been saving money and are using up all the beans, rice and meat sitting in our cupboard and freezer. I'm also trying to eat a lot more vegetarian meals and loving it! It is much cheaper and we don't need to eat as much meat as our culture does regularly. I'm also loving all the spices I'm discovering. Jon is a little wary of my skills, especially when I venture from the recipe. I don't know what his problem is. I maintain that it usually works out :) If you have any fabulous recipes you'd like to share, send them over this way! Preferably easy and not too many ingredients.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

More on Sofie

We got video and some new pictures of Sofie on Friday! I can not get over how incredibly cute she is. Unimaginably cute! Beautiful! ADORABLE! I want to squish her! Okay, maybe I'm a little biased but, seriously, I don't know how anyone couldn't think she is gorgeous :)

We got about five thirty second videos of her playing with toys and I keep watching my favorites over and over. My favorite of all is where they have her in a little rolling walker and keep giving her a little rubber duck. She keeps throwing it and they keep giving it back. Then they try to give her a ball and she whips that out of camera view too, then lays back in her chair triumphantly! I think we have a thrower coming!

The orphanage visit report from our Anido, our Bulgarian agency, gave us a lot of personal information too! She can't quite walk alone yet but she can when she is holding an adults hand or sturdy furniture. She will walk soon but her little legs are so skinny right now! I think she needs some fattening up and increased muscle tone yet. Selfishly, I am kind of hoping that she doesn't walk until she is with us. I would love to be there to see her take her first steps!

She apparently LOVES music. Whenever she hears her body starts "shaking"! I love this :) I think we are going to take her to Kindermusic or something of the like in September. That is something I could take both girls too without too much trouble and it is really good for development as well. She grabs and bangs toys together, puts them in her mouth or throws and can clap her hands. I think our initial guess of her development being around the 12 month mark is pretty accurate.

I laughed when they described her personality. Sofie "is quiet, gentle, likes to be pampered and to be center of the attention of the people around her." Identical to her Auntie Maggy! They are meant to be related! She can also wave hello, pronounce some syllables (like da, ba, ma I think) and likes to explore her reflection. She is curious, maintains concentration on something for a long period of time, shares really well and is not aggressive.

I'm not assuming that all this information is completely accurate but it sure is promising! You know how people always say you get your angel birth child first and then your second is extremely difficult? Does that work for adoptions too? Our first birth child was a breeze. From this description, our first adopted child sounds pretty "easy" as well. Is this a tease to keep us adopting?! Maybe we should just stop while we are ahead! I doubt it....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scatter Brained

I think this is going to be a bit of a scattered post...

Livi is doing well... sometimes a little too well for her own good! She is such a character these days and knows just how to make us laugh even when we are trying to be serious. It is not good for our parenting skills! For example: We told her to lay down in bed... so she lay down, on top of her blankets, upside down, tummy down. We told her to turn around... so she flipped on to her back. This repeated through her turning sideways on the bed too. Then it was time for kisses... so she stuck her tongue out for us to kiss! When we told her to put her tongue in back in she pulled it all back in but the tip and curled it! I lost it then and couldn't keep a straight face. She wasn't being a complete brat. She was giggling the entire time... and by the end she had me and Jon rolling over too!


On our only snow day I took Livi out on a "poor man's sled" (a storage lid and an old belt!)
So much fun!

For the past four months we've had Livi in gymnastics and it is pretty much the best thing ever for her! She LOVES it! She has become less clumsy... because lets face it, her fine motor skills where not her strongest point. When Jon was off for Christmas break he got to come and see her in all her glory! She was quite excited to show off her moves to Daddy...

 Showing off her balancing skills.

 On the balance beam all by herself!
 Somersault over the bar!

When the Spring Leisure Guide came out and I found a dance studio that offered ballet classes to 2 year olds! I asked Livi if she would like to go and she literally started doing flips! The day before the class, Livi told every person who looked at her in the grocery store that she was going to ballet. That night she didn't sleep until 10:30pm! She was way to excited! It was quite cute actually. When she finally got to her first class I think she was a little over stimulated with the expectation. She did really good though! It was perfectly adorable.

They were being butterflies!

She looks much to old in this picture.

Ring around the Rosie :)

Jon is of course very busy at work. A little too busy for my liking some times... but he loves his job. I think there is still some balancing that we need to work out between work and family time but things are falling in to place. He has quite a high stress job and with all the extra cut backs that he has to implement this year (government has to pay for the Olympics some how!) he has been stretched quite thin.

He still makes time to read Livi a bed time story almost every night he is home. 

Because of the cut backs, I am now officially un-employed. I was working for Communitas in a group home. I only worked one day a week or so. We were not depending on the money but it did get banked in to our adoption fund. It was more a way for me to get out of the house. Now it is a joke around the house that Jon got me fired :) It is a weird feeling to officially be a stay-at-home mom, not on maternity leave, just at home. That is now my job. It has changed my outlook on what I do with my day, which is a good thing. The house is cleaner and I've been putting more effort in to meal planning... which I have never been good at. I knew this was coming, it was not a surprise or unwanted, it is just a weird feeling to officially be a stay-at-home mom. Don't get me wrong, it is one of the best jobs on earth... I just never thought it would be me.

Letting Livi paint my nails.

I don't think it is much of a secret that I am a planner. I think about things exhaustively and make decisions well in advance. I take comfort in having things organized and planned out well. I generally have a back-up plan or two as well, in case things don't go according to my original plan. I consider it a positive trait... mostly :) I get things done, am always prepared, and am generally pretty efficient because of the planning. It becomes a bit of a detriment when I am agonizing over something I have no control over or is still very uncertain. Take this case in point...

We have no idea how much longer it will take to bring Sofie home. We have been told anywhere from 3-6 months. Jon and I decided to get a second car when Sofie is home so that I can take her to different doctor appointments and therapies. The question is what kind of car? Basically we are wanting to get either a compact SUV or a mini-van. A compact SUV would be totally adequate for our family of four. If everything goes wonderfully with the adoption, though, a third child may be in our near-ish future. We might as well save the energy and extra money and just get a mini-van. But what if we don't have a third child? Then there is no need for a mini-van. This feels like a huge decision! I know that I'm getting a little ahead of myself and I'm a little crazy. Either way, we'll make it work.

We are still waiting for video of Sofie. It is taking forever. The Bulgarian MOJ apparently takes a long time to grant permissions for things. I am dying to have her home. Pray that we get her home really, really soon! I feel so helpless.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Our Sofie

Yesterday we got the full files for the two girls that we were initially proposed. In case you are a little confused as to what has happened lately this is it in a nut shell...

-We got two preliminary files, without pictures, that we were told we had to choose from in November.
-We chose our Sofie based on the fact that one girl had a lot more information than the other.  (Choosing one child over the other seemed like an impossible task. Since we had tons of info on the one girl and no concerns, but still had some questions about the little information we got for the other girl, we chose the girl who came with lots of information.)
-Just before Christmas we got sent a picture of Sofie and announced her in our Christmas cards!
-Within a few day our suspicions were confirmed that the picture we received was not of the girl we had originally chosen. We found out the reason for this was that the Bulgarian MOJ wanted us to review the full files of both girl before they were going to let us commit to either of them.  (We were confused. We had already chosen, but then started to fall in love with the picture of a different girl. We had suspicions that the picture we got may not be the right one so I was guarded with looking at it. We wanted to believe it was her though... and even if she wasn't our original choice, she might be our daughter.)
-Yesterday we received both full files and was able to make a final decision.

Both girls were perfect and we want to be able to adopt both of them. It's not allowed by BC adoption rules and would not be the right thing for our family at this time any way. So we had to make an impossible decision. There was no criteria we had for our daughter, other than we wanted to adopt a little girl around Livi's age with Down Syndrome. Both girls were perfect and would flourish in a family environment.

After a surprisingly short conversation between Jon and I, discussing all the knowns, unknowns, and inconsistencies in the files, Jon "logically" decided and I "emotionally" felt that sticking with our original choice was the right thing to do and she was the right child for us. Then we really looked at her picture. Original Sofie is DEFINITELY our Sofie. She has dark brown hair and eyes and even looks like Livi! She is perfect and I can not wait to hold her in my arms. She is so beautiful. Today I was finally allowed to send off our official request to adopt her.

So, if you got our Christmas card the picture is not our Sofie. I have deleted all the pictures of the other girl. I had to, for my own sanity. I had hoped not to see a picture of the girl we couldn't bring home, but it didn't work out that way. Her face is now burned in to my mind. Plus, they are in the same orphanage! Am I going to be able to go and give her a hug? Or will I feel too guilty to even see her?  I might not even be given the opportunity to see any of the other children at the orphanage. This process is really teaching me how to trust that God has a plan for our family... even though I'm not completely convinced that is how He works. Hmmm... I feel my theology changing again!

We are getting updated pictures and video next week! I can't wait to see our daughter playing, exploring and hopefully smiling! I feel like I can really start the attachment process too. We aren't exactly sure what the timeline is from here. We should have her home by the summer time but hopefully sooner. It depends on how fast the two governments work and available court dates. Pray that it is sooner than later. I feel like our family is missing some one. We need her home.

If you want some of the updated pictures send me an email and I might secretly be able to show you... I want to show her off but can't put her on any public forums :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year

2010 is done and 2011 is under way! After the crazy busy, no sleep Christmas we had, Jon and I were not interested in going out. We decided to ring in the New Year with Chinese food for dinner, Jon's family tradition, and Tex-Mex dip for a later snack, my family tradition. I was thinking about making Jon some oliebollen but figured we had more than enough food for the three of us, and lets face it... I didn't feel like cooking.

Jon and I played a few hours of Beatles Rock Band, which we had bought on sale with some of our Christmas money. We put most of our money towards the adoption but because we thought Livi would enjoy rocking out just as much as us, we did decide to splurge a little. For those of you who remember me saying I would never buy a gaming system because I hate them so much, we didn't buy it. We got my brother's Xbox 360 when he left for China. Some how that makes it a little easier to accept. I still hate them... but Rock Band is pretty fun. I can justify it with Rock Band being interactive and not something you can completely zone out on. Okay, so I'm a hypocrite.

I've been trying to get Jon watch Away We Go with me, but for some reason he has little faith in my movie choices. I'd seen it before, probably over a year ago. I saw it just after I had come through our year of hell. (I don't know if there is any one post I can link too. If you've followed along you know what I'm talking about. If not and you'd like to know, send me an email.) There was so much in that movie that I related to, that I still relate to. Watch the movie... particularly if you are new parents.

We finished the movie about five minutes before the ball dropped so we decided to stay up. I yelled "Happy New Year!" not thinking it would wake Livi on the other side of the house in a room that is virtually sound proof because it used to be the garage. Next thing we knew Livi came around the corner half asleep for a hug! I must have woken her up... or possibly the neighbors out side. What made me nervous was that we didn't hear her open the door through the monitor. If she starts sleep walking... like I have in the past... what if she goes outside?! Well, she can't quite open the front door yet because it sticks. I hope it stays that way. It was the perfect way to start the New Year though! After a kiss from Jon, I got a big, sleepy, warm cuddle and kiss from my baby! My mom was still awake up stairs too so we took Livi up to give her a New Years kiss too :)

What is 2011 going to bring? Well, according to my New Year's dinner Chinese fortune "Your fondest dream will come true within this year." This made me smile. Not that I believe these generic, vague cookie prophesies but this one is going to come true! Aside from getting married and having kids, all with Brad Pitt, adopting a child with Down Syndrome is my longest, fondest dream! I have the married and child dream fulfilled. I don't think it would be very productive to hold out hope for Brad Pitt in 2011, but I am going to get my baby! How amazing! I'm so excited. It is a weird feeling to know that in just a few months I'll have basically everything I ever wanted! I am seriously blessed.

To top off my excitement for this year, I'll also be getting to end it in Mexico! Jon's grandparents have decided to take the entire clan to Mexico for a family gathering! I've done a lot of camping in my life and even stayed in the occasional hotel here and there but I have never had the all-inclusive vacation that most people at least get on their honeymoon. Jon and I thought we'd be saving money by going to Whistler... it was basically just as expensive. I'm so excited to go on a vacation that is nothing but lounging on the beach and drinking margaritas all day! No stress, no responsibility (except our children of course) and pure relaxation!

I don't have any real resolutions like I did last year... my life style change was a bitter failure. I did lose nearly 20lbs at the beginning of last year but I'm sure that I have gained it all back in recent months. Getting to a healthier weight is always a goal of mine but it has proven a more difficult achievement than I thought. I don't know what I need to maintain a healthier lifestyle but I hope I get there one day. If there is anyone in Chilliwack looking for a project in me or exercise partner I'd be willing to try something new! I just don't think I have the energy to commit to any exercise program by myself right now. I'm very much an emotional eater too, so a new child coming in to our lives doesn't make that hurdle any easier. It takes a lot of discipline to hold yourself accountable. I have so much respect for people who can do it!

Any how, 2011 is looking to be one of the best years of my life! I can't wait! Happy New Year Everyone!