Sunday, February 16, 2014

We are half way there!

After all of our ups and downs with this adoption journey, it finally happened. We found out a few days ago that our home study has been approved!  The kids and I were home due to a snow day, and we literally did a happy dance in the kitchen after I received the email with the news.  We then called Rob at work and left this loud and crazy message on his voice mail with the kids screaming, "We are home study approved!!!"

I took the rest of this day to revel in the good news and simply enjoy the moment as we took one very large step in getting closer to meeting Lucy and holding her in our arms.  I did a lot of daydreaming that afternoon as well as I imagined what it would be like the first time Rob and I get to see her.
I also thought a lot about our first meeting with Yuli at his orphanage and remembered how timid he was.  After all, we were complete strangers to him. He would only steal a glance upward to look at us when he thought we were not looking.  I imagine that those first few hours with Lucy will likely be similar.  Trust and attachment do not happen overnight with these little ones whose lives started out with such loss.  But, Rob and I are more than willing to work on trust, attachment and bonding with Lucy for as long as it takes.

When I think about our first meetings with Yuli in a small upper room of the orphanage, I also think about the backpack full of treats and small toys that we brought each day to help engage Yuli and begin the attachment process by playing together. We took several small cars, bubbles, a coloring book and crayons, a stuffed animal and a few other items. Yuli did not have much interest in any of the toys, including the toy cars. He had never seen a toy car or a real one for that matter and did not know what to do with them. Even though he was four years old, he had never colored in a coloring book or even held crayons in his hand. He would just pour the crayons out of the box and put them back in as this was play to him.

The thing that finally got Yuli's attention and made him laugh over and over again was a balloon.  At the suggestion of another adoptive mom, we bought a dollar pack of balloons at Target and took them to Bulgaria with us. Rob got the balloons out that day and blew up a few and then we showed Yuli how to bounce them in the air with your hands.  This intrigued Yuli, but the laughter and the smiles came when Rob decided to blow one up, not tie it off, and let it go squealing across the room. Yuli loved it! I can still remember his cute, hearty little laugh. Rob continued to blow up balloons and let them fly across the room for the next hour, and Yuli continued to laugh.  That night as we walked down the stairs at the orphanage with Yuli and his caregiver, something amazing happened.  When we got to the bottom of the stairs and as we were saying our goodbyes for the evening, Yuli began to cry. I was overcome with joy and began to cry myself.  You might wonder why I would be happy that this little boy was crying.  He was crying because we were leaving and he did not want Rob and I to go. He was crying because attachment had begun, and I was happy that we had broken through the ice finally with our son. I got down on my knees in front of him and pulled him to me for a hug.  It was a moment that I will never forget.

Now that we are here and so close to being with Lucy, I wonder what that moment will be like with her.  What will be the thing that breaks the ice and lets the trust and the caring start to take place in her beautiful little heart. I have started thinking about items to take in a backpack to Lucy's orphanage each day.  Will she like dolls or will she be like her big sister and prefer to play with toy cars? Will she like bubbles and balloons? Would she like a chocolate treat like some mini m & m's.  Let's just say that I plan to take them all so that Rob and I can find out.  We are also packing a lovey for Lucy. This lovey is very special as it was Julia's first doll, and she simply adored her. Her name is BaBa (bey -bey). I hope Lucy likes her too!  And, as you can see, Baba is very excited about going to Albania!

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