Saturday, August 27, 2011

Simple Gifts

A friend of mine made us a CD as a gift for bringing Sofie home and song caught my attention. We had just finished eating lunch. I was cleaning up the table. Both girls were playing in the living room, smiling, banging things, and being perfect children. It was a perfect simple moment with my gifts.

Its a gift to be simple, Its a gift to be free,
Its the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
Will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend, we will not be ashamed,
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right

Its a gift to be simple, Its a gift to be free,
Its a gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
Will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend, we will not be ashamed,
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right
Till by turning, turning we come round right

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Life is good... hard, but good. I'm going to talk for a minute about the hard stuff....

Helping Daddy with the recycling.

This adoption is truly a dream come true, but it has brought with it a lot of challenges. Most of the challenges were considered and expected before hand, but it still doesn't make it easy! Jon and I had talked excessively about the possibility of Sofie having certain behavioral issues but we had hoped we'd slide by with out Livi having too many issues. For the most part Livi is doing really well but she is having some jealousy and regression. She usually wants the parent who is taking care of Sofie at the moment. She has been very defiant, overly emotional and tells us she is going to do things that are not allowed. She has showed her regression too. I don't quite understand it and am finding it so frustrating. She has been potty trained for well over a year and in the past two days she has peed her pants 3 times and partially pooped in her pants twice. 

I know Livi is in transition and her whole world has been interrupted and turned around. We didn't bring home a tiny baby who just sits there, sleeps, and eats. We brought home a walking three year old who engages with us, seeks out our attention and has her own little personality. It seems to be very different from my friends experiences. Easier in some ways but harder in others. 

Bed time at night is the worst. Each night Livi is ridiculous. She won't lay down, bangs the wall, lays down the other way, wakes up Sofie so she gets out of bed and get us to come back in the room, and has a million excuses to gets out of bed. It is so beyond frustrating. Bedtime, which used to be a 15 minute routine is now up to an hour and a half. It is so ridiculous.

Tired out from the sun :)

Sofie is doing so much better than we could have hoped for. She is still indiscriminate with who she approaches and plays with but she is coming to us for food and comfort. I don't think I've seen her go to any one else for that recently. Her eating has improved more than I could imagine. She rarely cries during meals now and she has a pretty good appetite! She is still VERY picky about what she eats and prefers sweet things. What kid doesn't, right? She eats 8 month old baby food. The 12 month stuff has chunks which she won't eat. She still hasn't drank much. We tend to get a few sips of chocolate milk, and sometimes milk, in to her each day. Yesterday her Gramma got some juice and water in!!! This is the first time she has drank water since being at the orphanage! Yay Gramma!!!

Clapping with Auntie Maggy!

Sofie  is very quiet but she is definitely discovering her voice. She has started letting people really know when she is mad... usually because we are taking her out of the bathroom. She is starting to say mama more but I'm still not sure she is associating it with us. She is cuddling with us as she goes to sleep, instead of doing her orphan rocking thing that I hate! I love cuddles with my kids and I love that Sofie is choosing to cuddle with us! She is playing with toys too, which is so awesome. She stacks rings, loves playing with necklaces and tea sets. I think she might end up being really girly. She doesn't like barrettes in her hair yet though. She just started kissing us today though! I love it! They are so cute and usually have a little tongue in there but I think that is fairly normal for her developmental level. She can wave goodbye and blow kisses to. That came from the orphanage.

Sofie still grinds her teeth and clicks her jaw but she doesn't do nearly as much as she did in the beginning! The grinding teeth is also a symptom of low muscle tone and control in her jaw, not just a coping mechanism of the orphanage. She rocks way less... I will sometime go all day with out seeing her do it. She must be feeling so much safer and dependent on us to help her cope. She doesn't need that extra coping mechanism! Hooray!

Happy girl :) Signing for food here.

Nap times still suck though. Today, she took nearly two hours to get to sleep at nap time today. But she did finally sleep! The parents of child with DS need to more stubborn than the child! She doesn't generally cry like she used to when going to sleep. She just takes for ever to settle. Surprisingly she goes to sleep much smoother at night. Livi has the issues at night. Sofie's sleep is very unsettled. She is a pretty heavy sleeper but very unsettled. She tosses and turns like you couldn't even imagine. Most days she is ending up on the floor. She usually falls off feet first and doesn't hurt herself, but sometimes it is head first... I think we should probably set up the crib. I feel kind of bad for Sofie because in the orphanage she wasn't allowed to explore her world and never got hurt. In the first few weeks she has been with us she's gotten a few bumps on the head, a scraped knee, and a few good scratches on her arm! I think it is good for her though :)

We took her to see a fabulous pediatrician who looked her over and is making some referrals for us. The appointment will cost us over $200 because we don't have Sofie's citizenship card yet and can't get her Care Card with out it! I hope it comes fast. The pediatrician said she does have a murmur in her heart that we'll check out and wants to get a baseline for a bunch of things but over all she is doing well. Of course she is under weight and he thought what we were doing was fine. Basically get anything we can in to her, no matter what it is. She is 20lbs. That is in the 5th percentile of the DS growth chart and up half a pound since we got her, assuming the scales were both accurate. If I remember right she is 32 inches tall, which puts her under the 25th percentile for height. We also met with the Child Development Center this week. Sofie will get Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy and Speech Therapy! Yay! The CDC was really great too! Sofie is definitely getting a good start!

Riding on Daddy! Way to much fun!

Being goofs.

Bedtime story!

As far as parenting, I think I'm really starting to feel attached and like Sofie's mom. I love her completely, although it is still easier to love her in her easy, happy times. I think that is true with any child though :) It seems to be growing more slowly than with Livi though. I don't quite remember how things progressed with Livi. I remember not feeling it right away like Jon but I don't know exactly when I was fully attached. With Sofie, I think I'm so much more aware of the process and analyzing all my feelings. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

With Livi, I was the main caregiver, I was her food and usually her comfort. I spent 24/7 with her. I didn't have the freedom to go out for more than an hour with out her. I felt like I was the only one who knew what she wanted and needed and when. With Sofie, Jon is home full time until December (yay for government jobs and topping up EI!). I'm not the only one who can feed and comfort Sofie. He is very much in the exact same role as me here. I love this experience, but it is so different. I feel like I should feel guilty if I leave Sofie at home and take Livi grocery shopping, but I don't. I enjoy grocery shopping sometimes and am loving the one on one time with my first daughter. Is this normal? I think it probably is.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Today my baby is 3. Where has the time gone? I'm so proud of the little girl that she is becoming. When we came home with Sofie it seemed as though Livi had grown up over night and now we get to celebrate her being officially out of the toddler years! She is now officially in her preschool years. Wow.

First wake up picture as a 3 year old!

She kept saying she was two so we had to correct her.

Yesterday we had a small family party, with some wonderful party crashers, to celebrate Livi's birthday. It was quite a lovely day actually. The girls were both in great moods, for the most part. We just had a laid back time of visiting. The weather was really warm so Livi, Rebecca and Jude played in the blow up pool. I had made up a few water balloons for them too. Jon's mom got him good too!

 Good shot!

 Covering her face for her surprise present from Mommy and Daddy!
It was a kitchen center.

Blowing out the candles!
Sofie enjoying Uncle Brent's hat at the party!
I got Livi out for her annual birthday photo shoot today. Not the easiest thing in the world because she wasn't really wanting it and I was so tired, but I got a few beauty shots. I know I am biased but I think she is beyond beautiful, inside and out!

This is a bit of a transitional birthday for Livi. She is doing really well but showing some signs of regression and jealousy towards her new sister. She peed her pants twice today, which was unheard of before, and she is always wanting the parent who is with Sofie at the time. I feel bad for her and am feeling pretty guilty for how frustrated I've gotten towards her. I need to remember that her whole world has been disrupted and she is in transition just like Sofie is. I need patience!

Other than that Livi is flourishing. She is starting to figure out how to spell words, like her name and "stop" which she recognizes from the signs. She also almost has her phone number memorized. She has the first part down but frequently mixes up the numbers at the end. She can almost get in to a head stand all by herself. After we help her up she can hold it for a long time. She is very excited about gymnastics in September! She loves building towers, helping Mommy cook, dance, sing, playing with her farm animals and playing on Mommy's iPhone. She also has girly days where she pushes her baby around in it's buggy all day and puts her jewelry on. She LOVES to color, read books, play play doh and paint. She is way to smart for her own good and finds loop holes in Mommy and Daddy's rules. It is hard to be a good parent when you are trying to stifle giggles at the awesome logic of a 3 year old! She loves watching her new sister, giving her hugs and kisses and helping out where she can, like with feeding her or guiding her somewhere. She adores animals and loves swimming! I don't think she has a favorite cartoon character any more. We've actually been watching far less TV with both girls around to play with each other. She still sleeps with her Elmo and Fuzzy every night though and keeps her Bunny close by!

I'm so proud of who my baby is growing in to and I'm so excited to see who she becomes. It is going to be amazing!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The First Few Days

I think we are all settling in to our new lives as well as we could possibly hope for. We are all figuring out our new routines and what Sofie and Livi need from Jon and I. I am loving waking up to my girls every morning. They both wander out of their room and give huge smiles at our bedside each morning.

Jet lag hasn't been too much of an issue. We've felt a little sick but sleeping is going great! It was much easier coming home with jet lag was much easier than going to Bulgaria. In Bulgaria we kept waking up at 2am hungry! We've been sleeping through the night fine! The girls have been too!

Both girls are on the same schedule already which I'm pretty amazed at. They are even sleeping in the same room relatively fine too! They go to sleep at night around 8pm and have been asleep before 9 each night. Jon or I generally "sleep" in the big chair with them for the first 30 minutes until they are both settled. Nap times have been a little more difficult but we only had to move Livi to our bed once. They have both eventually napped each day. I'm convinced that so far this is MUCH easier than having had a birth child.

 Having a fun first bath together!

Jon and I are really enjoying both of our girls! Livi is a doting, patient, understanding sister. She wants to hold Sofie's hand and hug her all the time but is really good a backing off when Sofie has had enough. She always wants to know where Sofie is and be in the same room as her. Sofie is developmentally at a 9-12 month old baby with a 3 year olds strength and agility. She hits and pulls hair. We are working hard at teaching her that is not appropriate. I have been amazed by how Livi is handling that. If Sofie is hitting, Livi backs off immediately. When Sofie grabs her hair, Livi just goes still and quietly waits for Jon or I to deal with Sofie. She hasn't cried, or even been mad at Sofie. We explain daily that because Sofie can't talk she shows her fear and frustration by hitting, but we need to teach her other ways. Livi seems to be really understanding. She is empathizing too and said yesterday that if she were Sofie she'd be really scared moving to a new home and country too. I'm so proud of my big girl. Livi is definitely exhibiting some frustration and inappropriate behaviours, but I'm not sure if this is more because of Sofie or more because she had so many different rules with different caregivers for two weeks. I'm sure it is a combination.

  Meeting Opa :)
 Picture time!

Posing with Oma! 
It is so much harder to get a good picture with two kids!

Sofie seems to be adjusting really well too. She gives us lots of smiles. She is eating SO much better too. She still prefers baby pablum cereal but we are pushing other food and this morning discovered she loves mushed up banana and Cheerios! We even got a few sips of chocolate milk in her! She has her fussy times in the day but is pretty content most of the time. She has done great with Parker. We were worried, but we introduced them by showing her that we could hold and pet him. She was totally fine and has even pet him since by herself! She is doing okay in her big girl bed. We have a rail up but she has still managed to fall out of bed two out of the four nights we've been home. I think we are going to keep trying her in the bed though... unless she starts falling out more nights than she stays in... or breaks something :)

 Sofie's first hair cut with us. 
Her bangs were driving me nuts so this was a priority :)

Sofie and Livi are slowly starting to play together and Sofie is learning a lot from her sister! The first morning the girls were waiting in the living room for Jon and I to get breakfast ready. I walked in and found both girls standing on the coffee table and Livi trying to teach Sofie how to jump on to the couch! I think we are in for some pretty awesome adventures! In the two weeks we've had Sofie and the 4 days we've been home Sofie has developed so much. She cries so much less when it comes too food. She's drank a little today! She understands the signs for 'more', 'all done' and 'food'. She looks plumper. I'm not sure how much weight she has actually gained but her tummy is rounder and I think she has more water in her body or something because I swear there is more meat on her. The bags under her eyes when we first met her are mostly gone. She has been putting more things in her mouth and exploring her oral development! She is even starting to play with toys! She was stacking rings yesterday and playing with Livi's teacup... not throwing them!

I finally ironed out the confusion about seeing a pediatrician and am taking Sofie to see a highly recommended pediatrician tomorrow morning. We have an appointment with the Child Develpment Center on Tuesday. Friends are starting to stop by for visits and I'm thankful for the company and support. Sofie is on the right track and I get to join her on the journey. She has already taught us so much and added so much to our lives. I'm so thankful for her! I feel so content right now. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Coming Home - Aug 14

Sunday morning, Sofie woke up just before 8... that's 10pm on Saturday for BC'ers. Keep this in mind....

We left for the airport around 11:30am  and took off on our first flight from Sofia to London at 2:15pm Bulgarian time. Sofie fell asleep pretty quickly after take-off. The first 4 hour flight was quite uneventful and stress free... despite over 10 kids on the small plane. Sofie slept for the first hour and a half though! 
 Ready to go!

Getting in to and out of London was a little more stressful. We weren't sure where to go for the connecting flight and we weren't counting on having to go through security again. London was a little more stringent on their security standards then Sofia. Since we had baby food with us they searched both our bags, took everything out, made me taste 50% of the sealed jars and had us repack it all. They were nice about it but it was still really annoying. Sofie was getting frustrated and acting out a little plus we only made our connecting flight with just five minutes to spare. Jon was freaking out a little.

The 9.5 hour flight from London to Vancouver was, at times, very low. Sofie slept five minutes here and there and between hours 4-6 she just cried on and off... Mommy did too. I felt terrible for her. She was so uncomfortable and miserable. There was nothing we could do to help her. Thankfully, she cries pretty quietly so she didn't disturb to many other passengers. For only sleeping for a total of two hours in the 23 hours of being awake Sofie did incredible. I don't know how it was physically possible for a toddler to be awake that long and be so mellow, but she is making it a habit of surprising us every day!

 So Tired.

Finally landing around 6:45pm was such a release of emotions. Sofie was officially a Canadian citizen upon landing on Canadian soil and we were so close to seeing Livi! We had one or two more passport checks to get through and luggage to claim then we were free. Everything seemed to move pretty quickly and we raced to get out of there! 

 Everyone waiting! Jeremy and Andrew's girlfriend are behind people.
Sessa was taking the picture.

Racing to Livi!
I started crying even before we reached the turn to the meeting area. I was holding Sofie and Jon was pushing the cart. Everyone was at the front of the waiting area. I remember hearing Liz, I think, say "there they are!" I think I started running at this point. Livi was screaming "There's Mommy and Daddy!" She had a big sign too but I could only see her clearly. She was on the verge of tears too but I think happy tears confused her :) I grabbed her up in my one arm with Sofie in my other. She kept looking at my "wet" face and back at Sofie. Jon was a few short steps behind me and scooped Livi up from me. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. All four of us were together.


 Livi was in awe.

Livi was fascinated with her "sister Sofie". It was so precious. She wasn't sure if she could touch her or not... I think she just wanted to feel if she was real and give her hugs and kisses. Sofie was a little overwhelmed but took it in stride as usual! We sat in the arrival for a few minutes while everyone took a ton of pictures and got their chance to say hi. The car ride home was long but I think I fell asleep so it passed by quickly. Sofie fell asleep, finally around 9pm in the car too. That's right, she slept for two hours in twenty three!

Meeting Auntie Liz!
 Meeting Auntie Sessa!

Meeting Marmee!
Meeting Gramma!

When we got home, we just transferred Sofie to her bed and collapsed ourselves. For the first night we had decided that we would try Sofie on her 'big girl' bed, Livi could choose who she wanted to sleep with in our bad and the other parent would sleep in Livi's bed by Sofie. This was a great arrangement and the timing of getting home was perfect! We all slept until 8 in the morning! Hooray! Livi woke up once to go pee and then was scared of Sofie's snoring :) Although she had originally chosen to sleep with Daddy, when she got scared she wanted Mommy :) I was fine with that because it meant I could sleep in my own bed! Jon was a little miffed that I stole his spot but since it was 3 in the morning I figured we each got about half a night in the good bed!

Waking up, at home with both my girls was priceless. We pulled them both in bed for some cuddles. Livi was adoring and Sofie was eating it up! This moment was what we had been waiting for. It was perfect. I love my girls.
 Morning cuddles!

 Sister Love!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Goodbye Bulgaria!

We leave today! Thank God! All three of us get to go home together! I thought I would put together a Likes and Dislikes list to commemorate our goodbye....

Things I Like about my time in Bulgaria:
  1. The history!
  2. The random Roman artifacts laying around the city.
  3. The buildings and architecture!
  4. The driving... it is so fast. I believe I was born to drive in Europe, Canada can't handle me.
  5. The luxury for cheap!
  6. Cheap Taxis.
  7. Cheap alcohol. 
  8. The hospitality of people.
  9. The shoes! 
  10. The fashions, particularly jumpers.
  11. The weather has been awesome! 
  12. Most people here speak a little bit of English! It makes it a lot easier on us English-only speakers!
Things I Dislike about my time in Bulgaria:
  1. The standard of waiting tables. Horrible. They don't check on you. They don't bring your bill. They take forever. Food comes out at different times!
  2. The uneven and un-kept sidewalks.
  3. Graffiti everywhere. 
  4. How the poor are soooo poor. That sounds weird. But it is true. The homeless in Vancouver are poor but there are things in place to help them and make sure they get food and sometimes shelter. The poor here don't have any safe guards. They wanted our left over food. A Vancouver homeless person would never do that. This is a big place that Bulgaria could step up. 
  5. The food. Some of it tastes quite delicious but it is so different. I have not had a normal bowel movement since I've been here... both extremes.
  6. The orphanage system. My views on this are obviously apparent already. 
  7. How EVERYONE chain smokes here. Seriously, how are they all not dying of cancer?
  8. The lack of recycling and water conservation. One of their main exports is mineral water and everyone drinks it here so there is SO much glass and plastic bottles wasted!
  9. How this is a very child-unfriendly country. Not much for little kids to do, no kids menus or crayons in restaurants, and I only saw a handful of local kids at all! 
Being here with Sofie really was the right choice. Her having our undivided attention has been pretty invaluable. I think it will really go a long way on this attachment journey. She has come so far this week with us too! She already understands the signs for 'more', 'all done' and 'food'. She cries WAY less while eating, mainly because we aren't force feeding her and she is now able go communicate when she wants more or she is all done! She will still go to random people but she definitely recognizes Jon and I and will choose who she wants to hold her and when. She loves tickles and getting a reaction from us when she rolls herself off the bed and we run to catch her. She LOVES baths... to much. I swear she said "mama" in the bath today too! Not sure she completely understands what it means though. She loves music, dancing and interacting with people. I am so beyond excited to get home to where I am comfortable and where I can be with BOTH of my girls but I have really appreciated what I have learned and experienced while in Bulgaria. I am so thankful to this country for giving us such a precious, wonderful child!

We are off now! Pray for an uneventful trip, with no tantrums from Mommy, Daddy or Sofie and pray that Sofie eats well and we have enough cereal for her to last the trip... it will be cutting it close!

PS - My sister is going through a hard time today. The girl she works for got really sick all of the sudden, was put on life support and has chosen to be taken off today. She's had many medical issues throughout her life and was tired. It doesn't look like she will make it. She is very young and very loved by many. Pray for peace for everyone. It will be a day of extreme's for Sessa... meeting her niece tonight, after possibly losing one of her dear friends the same day.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The End - Aug 12 & 13

Yesterday was a getting-things-done-because-we-are-leaving-in-two-sleeps-day! We had to find gifts for all the wonderful people who have watched our child for these last two weeks. There is LOTS of clothes stores here but I wasn't about to buy clothes for every one, plus the clothes fit really small apparently. There are a few jewelry stores around but they are all kind of cheap jewelry, like the kind you'd find at Claire's or Ardene's in the mall in BC.

After breakfast Jon and I headed out to Anido one last time. We owed Alex a little more money that we didn't have on us the day before. We said our goodbyes then continued on our shopping ventures. Sofie was a little fussy and tends to make shopping more difficult in the best of times so I went to the mall alone and Jon went back to the hotel with Sofie. This was a much less stressful approach. I was able to look and decide with out the pressures of a whining baby and husband! I found some little treasures I think :)

Sofie got a little ridiculous in the afternoon because she had only slept for about 15 minutes. We had planned to go look for an icon at the Cathedral together, but Sofie had other plans. We made it too the lobby where we sat down and offered her food, again, which she didn't really want. She didn't really want anything... or she wanted everything, not sure which. Jon went on to the Cathedral alone and I stayed in the lobby waiting  and entertaining our babe. I did get to enjoy a chocolate mouse and rum and coke while we waited though!

Jon had his own adventure. As he was passing through the market in front of the Cathedral, he stopped to look at a possible gift for someone. The owner of the little stand grabbed him and started yelling at him in Bulgarian. Apparently, he didn't want Jon to touch the treasure. Not sure if he thought Jon was going to steal it or break it, but he should be allowed to touch if he is interested in buying it, right? Anyway, since he was shaken up from the encounter he ended up going the wrong direction back and took a lot longer to get back to us... giving me time to justify my treat :)

We didn't go out as far as we were planning for dinner. Although Sofie had calmed down a little bit, she was no where near her happy self yet. We stayed close to home and went to one of our regular restaurants for dinner. After Skyping with Livi we attempted to put Sofie to bed... That took an epic hour and a half. She finally fell asleep on the floor and we moved her to the bed. Jon and I watched Tosh.O on You Tube until much to late then settled in for a long peaceful sleep :)

Sofie slept in until 9am on the 13th! Yay! After brunch we went for a little walk in the park behind our hotel. We tried to get Sofie to play on the play ground but there were a lot of kids and she really didn't know what to do. So we went to sit by the fountain and took a little walk. When we came back to our room we all had a two hour nap! Go Sofie! Thank you!

Hanging out by the fountain. 

The beautiful fountain behind our hotel in front of the National Theater.

Mommy and her baby!

"What are you looking at?"

"Our" beautiful park!

Random statues every where. This one didn't make sense to me. 

Gettin' her groove on and waking up with some pop music videos. 
I hate rap, random girls singing and gyrating, and Justin Beiber. 

We took it easy in the afternoon. I think Jon and I are just really done being here and very excited to get home tomorrow! We went for dinner, came back to the hotel for Skyping and baths, then bed time. Sofie was not going to bed tonight. Maybe she could pick up on our excitement? Anyway... finally and 9:45pm Jon slung her and went for laps around the park. Finally success! I finished packing while he was out and now just have to check in for our flights tomorrow!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me - Aug 11

Today was my birthday. I am 29 years old. One more year left and I'm 30! Saying it out loud sounds old but I still feel like I'm in my early 20's and don't know what I'm doing half the time.

The day started out by Jon letting me sleep in a little bit... until it was his turn. When I got up I fed Sofie and gave her a bath because she still had food in her hair from the day before. I finally got Jon up to go shopping for gifts for everyone back home. It's been a little difficult to shop here. There are so many stores but nothing that seems very quality and they are all kind of the same. Maybe I'm just being to picky. We went to the flea market in front of the Alexander Nevski Cathedral. There is some hand made arts and crafts there but mostly WWII memorabilia. Do you want a compass with a swastika on it? That's where to get it! Lots of communist stuff too. We found a few little gems in the market. Sofie napped in the sling most of this time, which was fine with us! Two days in a row! Hooray! 

Daddy's turn with his sling!

We made our way to the Anido office to take them out to lunch as a thank you for everything. Lunch was a lot of fun. Neli, the President of the Anido, Alex, our contact for Anido, and Nasko, our translator came with us. We learned a lot! Apparently, when Alex had gone to the orphanage to get video of Sofie for us, he had to wear a mask because of apparent germs from the outside. Poor Sofie must have been scared of this weird masked man with a video camera! Also, on our first visit to the orphanage, we were not supposed to be allowed to take pictures of Sofie. Nasko kept this from us though and just handled it. He told the staff that since Sofie is our legal child we most certainly we allowed! Thank-you Nasko! Those first pictures of meeting Sofie are so special to us and to our family and friends! Apparently there was some problems with the previous director of the orphanage too, but Alex didn't go in to detail about it, so I don't know what that all meant.

We loved getting to know the three of them and really felt their genuine joy for what they do. It isn't just their job. They really believe in the well-being of these orphans. Alex, especially, is so caring towards kids and Sofie. He is always wanting to play with her and hold her. His wife and him had some fertility problems and even did IVF a few times. IVF finally worked and they got there little girl they were hoping for! Although he hasn't adopted I think he has a real appreciation for these kids and understands what a lot of the adoptive parents have been through. Neli is also a lawyer and is on the board of people who are revamping the Bulgarian child protection laws. She seems to really have a passion for plight of the under privileged children in Bulgaria. She was quite interested in learning what kind of supports and services we will be utilizing once we were back in Canada. Nasko is just a really kind and humble man. He has one son, about the same age as my girls, so he related and played well with Sofie. 

Our goodbye lunch! 
Left to Right - Neli, Me, Sofie, Jon, Alex, Nasko

 Sofie did so well with our big morning out so we decided to take it easy in the hotel room for the afternoon. We played, cuddled and Skyped with Livi! We found a bottle of wine on our bar too with a birthday card from the hotel! Fancy Schmancy! After we took notice of how much money we had left Jon said I could get a massage for my birthday in the spa downstairs! Since the massages are so cheap here ($35 Canadian for a full body massage in a 5 star hotel!), he threw in a facial! Right after Skyping with Livi, I got to enjoy an hour and a half of pampering! It felt so nice. I love how open Europeans are with their bodies too. They don't think it is a big deal. The girl did leave while I was undressing but then just took off the towel that was draped on me and left half my butt showing for most of it. Then when I was dressing to change rooms for the facial the new girl walked in, she did apologize, but then just stood there waiting with the door open :) That would never happen in Canada! I could do with out some of the sexual art in the coffee stops over here, but a little nudity never hurt anyone! Lets face it, we all like to be naked!

 My birthday present from the hotel!

I returned from my massage to find my baby sleeping! Jon had a really easy time putting her to bed with out me! I was so thankful for that. I love this co-parenting thing :) We opened the wine and lay down to watch a few episodes of Hell's Kitchen we've been missing while we've been here. We got to bed a little late but all in all, a really fabulous birthday!