Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Change of Plans

We have a slight change of plans. Jon and I have changed all three of our flights to come home on August 14th. We still have the same departure date, July 29th. Yes, we are still leaving Livi in Canada.

I'm not entirely comfortable with this plan but I don't think I'd be comfortable with anything at this point... unless all three of us could come home early! Everyone keeps telling me that Livi will be fine. Logically, I know she will be, but the thought of her needing me and me not being there kills me. She is safe, with people who love her, people who we trust and she will have tons of fun. People also say she has no concept of time. Mommy and Daddy gone for 16 days instead of 11 isn't going to make any difference too her. We have Skype and will hopefully be able to talk to her almost every day.

The things that swayed our decision from me returning on the 9th with Jon and Sofie coming later was that with the flight we changed it too it won't cost us any additional money, except of course for the hotel but Jon and Sofie would still need to incur those costs anyway. This also keeps us together for the plane ride home which may be stressful alone. Mostly, though, we are considering Sofie's potential attachment issues. We think that it might make it harder for Sofie if we both go to get her then one of us leaves. She has had caregivers leave her her entire life. I don't want her to think I am just another caregiver. I want her to know I am her Mommy.

It is a bit of a weird situation. I need to remind myself that I have two children who need me to do the best thing for each of them, yet I don't have a firm attachment with one of them yet. Don't get me wrong, I love Sofie more than anyone can love a child that they haven't met yet. But I don't have a relationship with her yet. I don't know what she needs from me yet. She doesn't know she needs me yet. I have a relationship with Livi who knows that she needs me. I also know that Sofie needs me more right now, even if she doesn't comprehend it. She needs to know the love of a mother and father. Livi already knows that love and knows that we will return to her. I'm so excited to give that to Sofie too but every other part of me yearns to be with Livi.

I know we are doing the right thing, but that doesn't make it easy. With this plan we are praying and hoping and crossing our fingers that her paper work will be in our hands by August 12th. To accomplish this, Sofie needs to get her passport applied for this week and the offices need to be operating at their best possible speeds. Pray. Please Pray. If it looks look like we are not going to get her paperwork by then, I may opt to come home a bit earlier and Jon will probably be the one to stay. I really hope it doesn't come to this though.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pot Hole

This morning we got the email saying that Sofie has a virus and is sick with diarrhea. Because of this she wasn't allowed to travel today to go and apply for her Bulgarian passport and get her pictures for the Visa. This is a VERY frustrating bump in the road... It is even extra frustrating because we were originally told her passport would be applied for on July 18th. Our aunt eloquently called it a pot hole. It isn't a devastating engine blow up but a damned pot hole that looses a hubcap and gives you a flat tire. 

With this new development, we figured we had three options....
1. Postpone the trip by a week - This option would still leave us feeling uneasy about the timeline, uneasy about leaving Sofie in the orphanage longer than we'd want, and cost about $1000-$1300 more. 
2. Leave as planned with an undetermined return with Livi - This option would cost us an extra $1000ish for Livi's ticket but we could get a long stay apartment for about the same amount of money as the hotel we are looking at for a shorter time. We would have the extra stress of both kids and Livi with jet lag.
3. Leave as planned and one of us will return as planned while the other stays with Sofie until her Visa comes. This option means one of us staying alone and dealing with a Sofie, alone, on the plane home. There will be an extra $500ish in plane costs plus extra hotel costs.

Option 3 is what we are going with. None of the options are ideal but this makes the most sense. We already have child care all arranged for while we are gone. This way one parent will be home with Livi and another with Sofie and Sofie will be out of the orphanage as scheduled. Because of the legalities of Jon's pre-adoption leave and adoption leave it also makes the most sense for Jon to stay with Sofie. He gets paid pre-adoption leave while he in in country but he can't start his adoption leave until Sofie is in Canada. How ever we work it, this is going to cost us a bunch of more money that we don't have. We are living in our line of credit right now. The month that Sofie gets home is going to be a little rough too because there is a waiting period before EI kicks in. 

Okay, enough complaining. I still get to see, meet, hold, hug and kiss my baby on Monday! Anido also said in the email that we can't go to the orphanage until the Monday. I booked a night for us at Hotel Budapest in the city center for Jon and I to hopefully get some sight seeing in Sunday afternoon after a nap. Eeek! Only 3.5 days until we leave and 5 days until I get to hold my baby!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

One Week

7 days to go! Wow. I know I've been waiting for so long but now that it is here I'm wondering how it has sneaked up on me. We got an update from Anido, our Bulgarian agency, today saying that they have Sofie's new  birth certificate and are taking her, on Monday, to Sofia to get photographed for her Visa and apply for her passport! They also gave us a bit more clarity of what to expect when we get to Bulgaria. The director of the orphanage is insisting we spend three days there now instead of the two days that was originally told to us. I'm okay with three days if that is what it takes, I just wish it would stop changing. If they think Sofie is going to be any less traumatized from leaving with us the third day instead of the second day they are severely mistaken. They also told us we won't be going to the orphanage until the Monday. We get in to Sofia early Sunday morning. I've requested we go on the Sunday but we are waiting to hear.

I'm so emotional today. I can't even begin to properly explain what I am feeling. I'm so excited to meet Sofie. I can't wait. My arms are literally aching to hold her and comfort her. The thought of her traveling from the orphanage to Sofia, an hour and a half each way, with out me rips me apart. She may have never been out of the orphanage! Then as I was laying down for a short nap this afternoon and thought of saying goodbye to Livi at the airport. I started crying. Not just tears down my cheeks but heaving sobs and snot on my pillow crying. I know she is going to be well cared for and even have a lot of fun with out us, but I have only ever been away from her for 36 hours at one time and she was sleeping for 24 of those hours. It may be the hardest thing I have ever done to date. I don't want to freak her out either, so I can't start sobbing in front of her at the airport. I have no idea how I'm going to accomplish that.

I think I'm pretty prepared though. I have just a few more things to do. The orphanage clothes, gifts and candies are packed. We got a big box of Purdy's for the orphanage staff and a smaller box of maple leaf chocolate and maple truffles for Anido. For the director we got a small bottle of BC wine and some maple syrup. For the kids we got a ton of candy, yummy crackers and some chocolate dipped granola bars. I hope it all makes it safely to Bulgaria.

The next few days should be a little less busy than this week but with less distractions I'm likely to become more anxious. I've already been noticing I'm getting shorter with Livi. Please pray for patience and peace for me. I don't do good in these uncontrollable circumstances.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I think I am in full nesting mode. I am knocking things off the list left, right and center. I think I have bought all the travel essentials that we need. I've begun deep cleaning the house, four batches of muffins are in the freezer with one batch of cookies, two casseroles are also frozen. I even made a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam! I think it is a little too chunky though. I didn't cut the rhubarb small enough and I didn't really crush the strawberries either. Oh well, my family will eat it!

I also went through Sofie's clothes and packed for her! Since we first got the proposal for Sofie I've been collecting 18 month size clothes, but that was 8 months ago. I'm hoping she's grown a bit but I also have some really cute outfits that I'm hoping to get some use out of! I didn't own any 18 month size clothes from Livi. She completely skipped that size, so a lot of these outfits are new. I've now taken out Livi's 24 month clothes and bought a few special outfits to take. I packed a mixture of both sizes for Sofie.

I still feel like there is so much more to do. I think I need to prioritize though. I'm now fighting a cold and really don't want to get sick. A few things I really want to get done are to cook one more casserole to freeze, steam clean our couches (they are really bad), clean all the windows and window sills, of course pack and spend as much time with my daughter as I can! That is the stuff on the top of the list. Anything else is just a bonus!

Livi is doing pretty good with her parents both in a flutter. She is also an almost three year old and really good at driving Mommy and Daddy nuts! She has begun to learn how to "lie"... I'm not sure she really gets the concept yet but she is understanding that when she tells us she has to go pee (at night), we will let her go to the toilet even if she is supposed to be sleeping. After about 5 times of this in 30 minutes one night, Jon and I had enough. We had tried to explain that telling us she had to go to the bathroom when she didn't was a lie and made us not believe her. It sounds so harsh explaining that to a two year old! We finally got a hold of it though but had to be quite firm. I hate doing that. She hasn't done it since though!

Livi is also night potty training herself, much to our dismay. She takes her naps in just her panties now and wakes up in the middle of the night to go pee. She generally has a dry diaper in the morning. I'm pretty proud but I also am not ready to take the next step and actually take away her diapers completely. I'm worried she is just going to regress when Sofie comes home. If I tell her to just pee in her diaper though, Livi says "ewwww! Mommy, that's gross!"

Livi is so excited for Sofie to come. I love it. When ever she talks about her she says "My Sofie" or "My sister Sofie." It's so cute :) I wonder if she really understands how much her world is about to change. Today when I was picking out what shoes to bring with us to Bulgaria, Livi piped up with "Hey! Those are my shoes!". I told her they were too small for her so they were going to be Sofie's shoes now and she got all quite and a little confused saying "But they're mine." She got over it pretty quick though. She is going to be such a great sister!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I'm actually feeling quite calm for what is ahead for us in the next month. Maybe it is just this moment right now. I'm sure if you ask me tomorrow I will have a completely different answer. But, at this moment I'm feeling good. My list of 33 things to do before we leave has been cut down to only 15 things already! It was definitely the easier part of the list that has been accomplished.

For the most part, I feel on top of things. Tickets are booked. I've made the immediate doctor appointments for Sofie when we return as well as have a referral in at the Child Development Center. I'm sure I have enough clothes, diapers and formula to take with us. I just have to pack them yet. I wasn't quite sure what size clothes to collect but I think I've settled on bringing mostly 24 month size. The info we have for her says she is 19 pounds and 30 inches tall. That puts her at the weight of an average 9 month old and height of an average 12 month old. That was also 8 months ago when she was 31 months old. Has she grown? I still think of her as that tiny little girl who can't walk or talk yet. Part of me hopes she hasn't developed much so that I can be there for all the milestones. But, I know it would be better for her future if she has been developing with out me. I need to be prepared for however advanced or delayed she is. I've done most of the research I need to or can on Bulgaria, rules, customs, etc. I've started baking some goodies to freeze for when she comes home. I have enough cat litter and toilet paper for the Livi and her "sitters" while we are gone. I've done more than just that but I can't think of it all now. I still need to pack and book a hotel but mostly everything else on my list has to do with nesting and deep cleaning the house, like steam cleaning the couches. 

We are also trying to fit in our last minute visits and play dates with people we have bee meaning to see and get in our last "dates" with each other. I have two play dates scheduled for Livi in the next two weeks and one more pending. I booked a girly date with Livi to get our hair done, we both need a hair cut, and hopefully our nails done, then Daddy/Jon is going to take us out for dinner! Since we will be in Bulgaria on August 8th, Jon and I are also going to go on an anniversary date... it is his year to plan something. I'm hoping we get to go out and see the final Harry Potter movie before we go too. 

I think that's it. I don't really feel overwhelmed. I'm sure I will get more anxious as the date draws nearer. I am counting the days... 17 by the way. I just can't wait.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

A Letter to our family & friends
(adapted from www.a4everfamily.org)

Dear Family and Friends, 

As we prepare for the arrival of our daughter, we have learned that while decorating her bedroom and stocking up on the essentials is important, even more important is the emotional health of our little girl. In her short life, Sofie will have gone through more changes and life altering experiences than most adults could handle. Imagine how much harder the changes will be for her. While she may not consciously remember all the events, she will still experience immense loss, including feelings of grief and trauma. She's already experienced the loss of a birthmother and will soon experience the loss of familiar caretakers as well as the sights, smells, and language of her birth country. Her world will turn upside down. She will struggle with feeling safe and secure and she may lack the ability to trust that we will meet her needs. Research shows that there is only a short window in a child's life to effectively build a solid attachment relationship. Therefore, this subject is extremely important to Jon and I. 

We have prepared to meet Sofie's emotional needs so that she does learn that we will always take care of her and we will always keep her safe. We need your support. In order to form a strong and healthy attachment we will allow her to regress so that she has the opportunity to go through all of the emotional stages with us despite her chronological age. Although it may appear that we are spoiling her, we believe that it is best that we meet every need quickly and consistently. Until she has learned that we are her parents, we will need to be her primary caretakers at all times. It is essential that we always hold her, feed her, and do all of the nurturing. You may wonder how long this will take, but the timeline is different for every child. We will follow her lead and trust our instincts as her parents rather than worry about what society expects. Please wait for our cue to hold Sofie. 

I know we have all been waiting anxiously for Sofie to arrive but the truth is, she has not been waiting for us. She has no idea just how drastically her world is going to change in a matter of weeks. She may show her grief and confusion in many ways or he may simply smile and be the happiest child ever, but this doesn't mean that she is not grieving and we can suddenly pass her around the room. We are prepared to help her through her grief and prove that we are her forever family and this truly is her last stop. If too many people hold her in the first few weeks that she is home Sofie will merely see Jon and I as her new caretakers and will start to internally wait for the day that we will leave too. If you think this might be too extreme, find an adult adoptee and ask them if they have any attachment issues, trust issues, or abandoment issues. You might be surprised what you hear. 

What Jon and I are doing is trying to give the best to our children and we believe that attachment is fundamental to a child's sense of self and their overall security as they grow up. I know it won't be easy as you have all been waiting so long to meet her, but we hope and pray that you will support us in this next step of our journey. Of course, this doesn't mean that we don't want to see you at all when we come home... it just means that you need to phone first and not expect to hold Sofie right away!
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and for all your support and understanding. 


Katie, Jon and Livi

Here are a few Do's and Don'ts if you are interested...
(also taken from www.a4everfamily.org)


1. Offer household help (running errands, preparing meals that can go right from the freezer to the oven, etc.) so the mother and father can spend more time holding the child.

2. Trust the parent's instincts. Even a first time mother may notice subtle symptoms that well-meaning family and friends attribute to "normal" behavior.

3. Accept that attachment issues are difficult for anyone outside of the parents to see and understand.

4. Be supportive even if you think everything looks fine to you.

5. Allow the parents to be the center of the baby's world. One grandfather, when greeting his grandson, immediately turns him back to his mom and says positive statements about his good mommy.

6. Tell the baby every time you see him what a good/loving/safe mommy and daddy he has.

7. When the parents need someone to care for the baby for a night out, offer to babysit in the child's home. (After the child has been home for a substantial period of time.)

8. As hard as it may be for you, abide by the requests of the parents. Even if the baby looks like he really wants to be with Grandma, for example, he needs to have a strong attachment to his parents first. Something as simple as passing the baby from one person to another or allowing others, even grandparents, to hold a baby who is not "attached" can make the attachment process that much longer and harder. Some parents have had to refrain from seeing certain family members or friends because they did not respect the parents' requests.

9. Accept that parenting children who are at-risk for or who suffer from attachment issues goes against traditional parenting methods and beliefs. Parenting methods that work for many children can be detrimental to a child with attachment issues.

10. Remember that there is often a honeymoon period after the child arrives. Many babies do not show signs of grief, distress, or anxiety until months after they come home. If the parents are taking precautions, they are smart and should be commended and supported!


1. Assume an child is too young to suffer from emotional issues related to attachment or abuse. Babies are not immune.

2. Underestimate a new mother's instincts that something isn't right.

3. Judge the mother's parenting abilities. What looks like spoiling or coddling may be exactly what the child needs to overcome a serious attachment disorder. Parenting methods that work for many children can be detrimental to a child with attachment issues.

4. Make excuses for the child's behaviors or try to make the mother feel better by calling certain behaviors "normal". For example, many children who suffer from attachment issues may be labeled strong-willed by well-meaning family members. While being strong-willed can be seen as a positive personality trait, this type of behavior in an attachment-impaired child may signify problems.

5. Accuse the mother of being overly sensitive or neurotic. She is in a position to see subtle symptoms as no one else can.

6. Take it personally if asked to step back so the parents can help their child heal and form a healthy and secure attachment. You may be asked not to hold the baby for more than a minute. This is not meant to hurt you. It is meant to help prove to the baby who his mommy and daddy are. Up until now the child's experience has been that "mommies" are replaceable. Allowing people to hold the baby before he has accepted his forever mommy and daddy can be detrimental to the attachment process.

7. Put your own timeframes on how long attachment should take. One mother was hurt when she was chastised by a relative who couldn't understand...after all, the baby had been home six months. It could take weeks, months, even years. Every child is different.

8. Offer traditional parenting advice. Some well-meaning family members will tell a new mother not to pick the baby up every time he cries because it will spoil him. A child who is at-risk or who suffers from attachment issues must be picked up every single time he cries. He needs consistent reinforcement that this mommy/daddy will always take care of him and always keep him safe.

9. Fall into the appearance trap. Some babies/toddlers with attachment issues can put on a great show to those outside of the mother/father. What you see is not always a true picture of the child. Even babies as young as 6-months-old are capable of “putting on a good face” in public.

10. Lose hope. With the right kind of parenting and therapy, a child with attachment issues can learn to trust and have healthy relationships. But it does take a lot of work and a good understanding of what these children need.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thank You.

Before I get to crazy and overwhelmed with all the last minute preparations I wanted to take a minute and publicly thank the people who have walked down this path with us and supported us in their own personal ways... (This is mostly my thank-you's since it is my blog. Jon will need to make his own thank-you's himself.)

First and foremost, I owe every possible thank-you I have to my mom. She is a real life Super Hero. Honestly. She had the strength to restart her life with 4 young kids. She went back to school and started a new career while being a single mom. She made the decision to bring Maggy in to our home, and introduced us fully in to the amazing world of the differently abled. She understands me, listens to me, gives me great advice, has faith in me, wants the best and has sacrificed so much for me. I could go on and on. Marmee, Thank-you from the bottom of my heart. You are the most amazing mother anyone could ever hope for. Thank-you for always supporting me and guiding me. Thank-you for going above and beyond for us and with us on this adoption journey.

Maggy- Thank-you for being you. You have been a quiet listening ear and always been available for a hug. Thank-you for being my sister and loving me unconditionally. Thank-you for lighting the spark in me to bring your niece home and for introducing me to the wonderful world of Down Syndrome!

Grandpa and Grandma - Thank-you for praying for me and supporting me through out the years in all the numerous ways that you have. I am so thankful to be lucky enough to have such a close relationship with you and hope that my kids get to experience that with their Grandmothers. You have given me such a good example and I have been incredibly inspired by the acceptance, love and generosity that you have given to me. Grandma, I can only hope to be as Godly a woman as you are one day. Thank you for your prayers and dreams. Grandpa, you have been the strong, quite leader that I needed in my life. As your health continues to deteriorate I am so humbled that you continue to think of us and ask about Sofie every time I see you, with out fail.

Vanessa and Liz - Thank you for your happiness and being so willing to help out whenever you can. Thank you for your humor and keeping me laughing through out this long and stressful wait.

Alana, Danielle, Mary, Michelle, and all my other girlfriends - Thank you for being a listening ear. Thanks for always asking about the adoption and talking about it with me. Thanks for celebrating the milestones with me and letting me vent my frustrations with the wait and bumps in the road. Thank you also for the play dates that kept me focused on being present and not stressing too much about this whole process!

Mom B - Thank you for raising such a wonderful son. I could not be as happy as I am with out him. Thank you also for all your support through this adoption. I know this is a bit of a new world we are bringing you in to. Your willingness to learn, acceptance and openness to this new world is beautiful. Thank you for your excitement too.

Lisa and Tony - Thank you for all your facebook comments! I think one of you have commented on every single one of my adoption related statuses. Thank you for being such wonderful supports from so far away! Thank you for being such an amazing aunt and uncle. Even though Livi doesn't see you much she talks about you all the time. I know it is going to be the same with Sofie!

Keno Family - I owe so much thanks to you... I don't think I can adequately put in to words my gratitude. You play such a special role for us in adopting Sofie. You introduced Jon in to your community and to people with different abilities. You prepared him for my world. You led the way and adopted a son, with DS, from Bulgaria before us! You answered my hundreds of questions about this process. It was also you who sent us that email about a little girl the same age as Livi who needed a family. It was that email that got us thinking it was time to adopt. That email changed our entire lives for the better. Like I said, I can't adequately thank you for that.

Thank you to those who have adopted before me, given me advice and encouragement, and set a good example for me. Grandpa and Grandma, Emily, Mary Ellen, Daena...

Thank you also to all of you who have financially supported us. This is a very expensive endeavor and you have helped to alleviate a huge burden.

Thank you also to everyone who has been following this journey on the blog or Facebook. I love receiving all your comments and "likes"! It means so much to me!

Finally, I want to thank Livi for making parenting so enjoyable! And thank you to my husband. I love you. Thank you for being my partner. For being so patient, kind, giving, level headed, strong, understanding, etc... I could go on and on. I love how perfectly matched we are in some ways and how different we are in most! You challenge me and make me a better person. Thank you for wanting the same things for our family as I do and for being such an amazing Dad. We have been through so much over the last 10 years and I can't wait to see what the next 10 bring for us!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Almost Off!

You may have already heard that we got our dates! Anido is going to send the application for Sofie's passport in on July 18th and should receive it in about a week. They will then send off the application for Citizenship on the 24th-ish... which is when they suggest we come!!! They expect Citizenship and the Facilitation Visa to be approved within a week or two, so they suggested we stay for about 2 weeks.

Our Agency contact suggested we not leave to be there on the 24th but wait a week because she was worried that waiting for the Citizenship to be approved in Bulgaria would be cutting it too close for comfort. We've been desperately trying to decide between going for 10-14 days with out Livi or 3 weeks with her. Anido thinks it would be a little too stressful trying to stay in country with two little ones for too long. I've already contacted a travel agent and I think we have made the final decision!!!!

We are going to leave for Bulgaria on July 29th and return on August 9th with out Livi! The more we thought about it we really wanted to be as stress free as possible and have some precious alone time getting to know Sofie. Some of you also knew that we were thinking of stopping in Istanbul, Turkey before going to get Sofie as well, but we have decided not to do that either. Although it is Jon's dream to see the Hagia Sofia and it would only cost us about $1000 to add that on to our trip, he doesn't think it is the right time. We will be jet lagged and anxious to see Sofie. Hopefully we can make it over there one day with enough time to relax and enjoy it.

It is all but paid for. I have to go in to do that. Our flights are reserved! Jon and I will be heading in to the airport around 5:40pm ready for our flight to depart at 8:40pm on July 29! We have a 9 hour flight to London, a 9 hour lay over, then a 3 hour flight to Sofia, Bulgaria! We will be arriving at 3:45 am Sunday morning in Sofia. I'm assuming that is local Bulgarian time. They are 10 hours ahead of us.

I assume we will be taken directly to Plovdiv, an hour and a half out of Sofia, to where we will be staying for two days. We have been asked to spend time with Sofie in her environment for two days, which I am really happy about. I wasn't sure if we'd even be able to go see where she slept let alone where she spent her time. It will be hard meeting her then having to leave her in the orphanage for a night and seeing all the other kids, but I really think this will be good for us and help us catch up on our sleep before taking her to the hotel room! I'm hoping we get to meet her on the Sunday and then take her back to Sofia with us on the Monday, although they might prolong this until the Tuesday... I hope not.  We will spend the rest of our time with her in Sofia, bonding, sight seeing and finishing up some paperwork. We get on the 3.5 hour plane ride to London on Tuesday August 9th at 2:15pm, only have 1.5 hour layover before the 9.5 hour flight to Vancouver. We'll be arriving 6:40pm Tuesday, August 9th!

So, that is the latest! Those are our plans so far. I still have a list of 27 things to do yet before we go... I think I'm going to have to prioritize. Thank you for all your prayers and support. One last request is that you pray for the passport and visa to be issued promptly and smoothly. We are booking our travel before it is all actually done which is a little disconcerting. We decided that a little extra anxiety and prayer over paperwork was worth it to get Sofie out of the orphanage sooner. And of course pray for safe and smooth travels :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

2011 Vacation Pt. 2

We enjoyed one of the best vacations in recent memory and not just because we started it off with the most amazing news :) This week was the first time we really got to enjoy the property in Summerland for a substantial amount of time since Dad died. The first year the wound was still too raw and the second year we went up with friends and the weather was terrible. This year we went up alone, we were at peace and had pretty decent weather!

Within five minutes of getting to the lake, Livi was naked and in the water. 

She loved it so much there. She thought it was so funny that we encouraged her to pee in the lake! When she finally tried, she couldn't go for a few minutes... stage fright? When I asked her at the end of our trip what her favorite part of camping was, she answered "Peeing in the lake!"  That's my girl!

I bought sugary cereal from a box for her to carry on the tradition my mom started!

We camped at the property from Monday to Friday. Most of the time was pretty decent weather in the mid twenties with partial sun and clouds. I think next year we are going to try to go closer to August so we get the really hot weather. We stayed in the tent trailer so we had slightly better accommodations than tenting... although bed times still sucked for Livi! She finally fell asleep at 10pm the first night and 9:30pm all the other nights. Jon and I tried to sleep in the tiny bed together the first night but between the shortness of the mattress and the joints poking at me it was not a good fit. I took Livi's bed and Jon shared the other bed with Livi. We were all much more comfortable. It was good that Livi was sharing a bed with some one the last night because with the clear sky it was freezing cold!

The first full day we were there we ventured in to Penticton so Jon could peruse his favorite book store and we could all enjoy our favorite cafe, The Gypsy Dream Cafe. It is seriously delicious. We also spent some time at the camp site, on the dock, eating smores and watching Livi play catch with the dogs who live at the cabin! She really needs a dog one of these years :)

Livi LOVED the Baba Ganouj at The Dream Cafe... so did Mommy and Daddy!

Chillaxin' on the dock :)

The wind was making waves which was making the floating dock wobbly!

Never to young for chores!

Smores! Yummy! Livi actually didn't love the smores together. 
She'd rather eat the chocolate, marshmallow, cookie separate. 

Wednesday morning we went to visit Jon's Grandparents from his Dad's side. This visit was a colossal disappointment. I know I should be understanding and have grace because they are old and from a different era but honestly should that be an excuse for such inappropriate attitudes, responses, and beliefs? With out going in to too much detail, upon hearing that we legally have a second child and made them great-grandparents again they (mainly Jon's Grandma) did not give any congratulations but seemed to try and talk us out of it, said it was not worth it and too big a commitment, doted on Livi and said they only wanted more birth children from us. We only see them once a year but I am having a really hard time even entertaining the idea of seeing them again, let alone introducing them to Sofie. 

In order to salvage part of Wednesday, Livi and I went on a date to Summerland Sweets 
for ice cream and I got to do a fruit wine tasting. Fun!

Putting our feet up after a long day!

We always seem to get a family picture on the dock, and this year was no exception! 
This is the first family picture where there is legally four of us! 
Now if only we could just get the fourth one in the picture :)

My little angel... 
who may have gotten away with way too much while on vacation and wasn't quite an angel :)

Cuddling up with Daddy after getting cold in the water.

Ewww... Livi thought the dog "getting her wet" was so funny. 
She played with this girl every night for hours! 

Topless sunbathing!

Thursday was the warmest and sunniest day out of the week... so what do you do when you are at a private beach on a sunny day? Topless sunbathing of course! Livi and I also went exploring up the hill to the vineyard before nap time. After naps we all went in to Penticton again so Jon could make one last stop at the book store and I could do a little more window shopping. Then we went to the playground that is on the boardwalk. Livi had such a blast the entire week. I loved seeing how happy she was!

Monkeying around!

Friday morning we packed everything up and went for our annual brunch at Santorini's. We used to always go there as a family with Dad whenever we were there together. We have unconsciously continued the tradition. This trip was so wonderful for so many reasons. Jon had a much needed 4 hour nap one day, Livi had so much to explore and learn and play with, and I just loved seeing how happy everyone was. Next year we will have two little girls with us! Can't wait!

Breakfast at Santorini's

Saturday, July 2, 2011

How We Became Parents... Again.

So, if you've read my previous post you know that we have just had the best vacation ever! We went thinking we would enjoy a peaceful distraction from our disappointing news the week before. Instead we found out we have become parents again! My head was filled with excitement, dreams, and plans the entire week!

I guess I should start at the beginning. A lot of people want to know what changed. Honestly, it can't be explained by anything short of a miracle. Last Tuesday we got the heartbreaking news that the although the judge had looked at our file she had not granted the adoption order and was asking for more documents. These original documents were going to take about 4 weeks to be legalized and authenticated in Ottawa before getting to Bulgaria for a new court date. On June 22, our Canadian agency received the documents and scanned copies to our Bulgarian agency before sending them to Ottawa. Anido, our Bulgarian agency  forwarded them to the judge who took a look at them and issued the adoption order! I don't know exactly what date this took place but the adoption order takes a week to come in to effect so I'm guessing it was June 22nd or 23rd since the order took effect on June 28th!!! We had been parents again for an entire week with out even knowing it!

Monday afternoon we arrived at the property in Summerland that we have access to. It is so perfect there, despite the lady who now lives in the cabin and has kind of taken over the whole area. We had just finished setting up our camp and roasting hot dogs for dinner over the fire and starting to relax for the evening. Livi was down by the water throwing rocks when I just happened to check my email before turning my phone off. I got the email! My eyes got so wide and filled up with tears... happy of course. I just looked up at Jon and said "It's Sofie. She's ours." He must have been a little confused since I was crying, but I held up my phone to him and it all made sense. Livi came up to see what was going on. I gave her a big hug and tried to explain that these were happy tears and that Sofie was officially her sister... I think she was more confused than anything though. Jon immediately started calling people. I had to stop him to give me a kiss before he called his mom. He was so excited :)

I need to thank all of you who prayed for the judge to reconsider our application. It was truly a miracle that he did so early. Apparently this is not normal practice. Judges usually wait for the legalized and authenticated documents. I feel so blessed! The fact that we got the information at the lake where we have so many happy memories, but where Dad actually died too seemed so fitting. We haven't spent much time at the lake since Dad died and this was the first trip we were planning to spend a substantial amount of time there. We also used the money we got from Dad's life insurance to pay for the Home Study and start the adoption process. Getting the news at the lake seemed to bring things full circle and truly affirmed for me that we are doing the right thing. It was perfect. Even Jon said "It makes me almost believe in a God again!"... Jon actually does believe in God they just have some issues they need to work out.

So, what's next? Anido, our Bulgarian agency should have sent in the application for Sofie's new birth certificate with the name we have given her and us marked as her parents this past week. That should take about a week. Then they can apply for her Bulgarian passport. About ten days. Once that is received they can send in the rest of the application for Citizenship. This should take a few weeks. We are looking at 6-8 weeks before we can actually bring her home yet. 

Jon and I are actually thinking of going to Bulgaria earlier though. We can pick her up now, we just can't get her her in to Canada until citizenship is done. Jon also get pre-adoption leave, so he would get paid while we are in Bulgaria! We are thinking of going for 3-4 weeks with Livi! Not sure how much fun the flight home will be with two three year olds but how perfect would it be to explore Sofie's birth country with our whole family! Plus we'd get to be with her sooner! This idea still needs some researching, talking about and juggling of dates, but we could be leaving in a month! EeeeK!

There you have it... I'll hopefully post about the rest of our vacation later today, so stay tuned!