Friday, August 8, 2014

God is so good! We are almost a complete family now! In just a matter of days we will all be together! So while I have a minute and since I have not been very good or timely at keeping our blog updated, I decided while I have a minute or two, I will get everyone updated on where we are. Most of you following already follow us on Facebook, but there may be some who don’t so on here goes! (Warning, this could be a rather lengthy post!) On June 27, 2014, we became the parents of another Bulgarian blessing! God has blessed us with a son, Kaleb Michael Todor Buchanan. He has just turned four years old on July 30, which is also his grammies birthday! This makes him about 7 months younger than Kayti was when we got her. We finally got travel dates on July 22 of August 2-15. Unfortunately due to MANY reasons of which most of you know and I won’t bore you with, it was not feasable for me to go on this trip. Dale very bravely (in spite of his fear of flying) volunteered to make the journey to our son whom he had not yet met as I went on trip one without him. Gotcha or Family day would be August 4. Kayti and I took Daddy to the airport and went out to dinner afterwards. There is no way to explain how torn I was and even at the airport wished I could crawl in one of the suitcases! (And for those of you who know me know that I could probably have fit!) But, this will give Daddy and Kaleb time to get to know each other and bond! I am very happy to say that Dale’s flights to Bulgaria were smooth and uneventful and he was even able to get some sleep! I was happily surprised when I texted him Sunday morning to ask how the flight was and he wrote back excellent! As I write this now, he has been in country almost a week and has a little less than a week to go and I can not even put into words how proud I am of him and how much I love him! He is doing a wonderful job taking care of Kaleb and they are getting along great. Isn’t God great? Here are a few details from daddy about Gotcha…His first text to me was "He is cute as a button and he's so tiny he could ride in my shoe!" I think that must have been the quickest pick up I have ever heard of! Dale said they were not in the orphange more than 20 minutes. Dale signed a few quick papers and he came in already dressed to go. He did get everything back that I left except for the blanket. They gave him a blanket, but it was a pink blanket and not at all the one I left for him. They did take pictures with the disposable camera I left, so I am very anxious to see what is on there. They made great time to and from Yambol both times. It was 4 hours by bus and around 2 ½ by car. We were blessed to be able to have Miglena (aka Maggie) as Dale’s guide again. She is such a sweet girl and truly feels like part of our family! I am happy to say that he truly seemed to remember Maggie and ran right to her so I am hopeful that he will remember me as well! Kayti and I have Facetimed with our boys every day sometimes twice a day. I do believe that Kayti definitely misses her daddy! Some details from Daddy about Kaleb…He loves yogurt and bananas would eat them for every meal. So far, he is not very fond of any kind of meat and will throw it on the floor just as Kayti used to. He also loves mashed potatoes, nutella, and applesauce. Since you can’t buy applesauce or nutella in Bulgaria these are things I would recommend any BG adoptive parents take! One very surprising fact is that he actually LOVES getting a bath. Now, my fellow adotive moms with little BG blessings, you know how rare that is! I am very happy to hear that! Daddy even sent me a couple of adorable videos, that I can not wait to show his future wife someday Let’s just say he would probably be very embarrased! LOL! It is absolutely killing me to be here but if I were there I would be missing Kayti like crazy and worrying terribly about her, so I guess it works out! Dale has been blessed to be staying at the Budapest hotel with two other adoptive families on their pick up trips as well, as well as another mom who has 3 BG beauties of her own. We are eternally grateful to the Winslows, Brooke, and Mandy for everything you have done pinchhitting for a fellow adoptive mom. Everything from taking pictures (including stalking the hotel lobby:) thanks Mandy!, downloading videos, holding Kaleb so Daddy could eat, shopping for clothes, the list is endless and we love you and your families As of now, all of the appointments are done except for going to the embassy and then picking up our documents for travel from our wonderful NGO…I should say that the week we got travel dates, the worldwide visa system that issues visas crashed and lots of families were stuck for up to a week longer than planned because of this. They got it up and running that following Monday and on Wednesday or Thursday before Dale left it crashed again. Talk about added stress! I am happy to say it has printed all other families I know right on time! But please continue to pray for no more gliches! On Wednesday, they went for his medical exam and the newly (since Kayti) required TB test. He was not a fan of the blood draw They have been able to meet up once so far with our sweet BG friends Steve and Galina and hope to see them again at least once before going home. They found a stroller which Daddy said made a great impact on life! Also, there is no keeping this child in a pack n play as I did his sister, as he climbs right out! He is going to keep his parents and his new grammy very busy!! He is way more active than Kayti. And very quick. Speaking of Kayti, I can’t believe that my baby starts kindergarden in just a couple of weeks Happy and sad about that as only fellow mothers will understand! I am going to post a video of a facetime conversation with Daddy and IF you listen very close, you can understand her words. For example, one point her and daddy are talking about him bringing home her little brother like George (from Peppa Pig) and said you’re going to have a little brother and she says “Just like Peppa Pig” and she also tells him about her fall and the booboo on her knee and holds said knee up and says there it is! She definitely has come A LONG LONG way from that quiet, thin, malnourished little girl we brought home in May 2012. God, Love, and Family! She has grown in every possible aspect! And I know he will too. She also went to the dentist for the second time last week and I am happy to say did great and so much better than the first time! She has to have some upcoming dental work that will require anesthesia, which is a worry, but I know she will be fine and this has to be done! So to give you an idea of how tiny our little guy is at 4, I sent 18 month clothes and they are a little big yet….But once home, it won’t be long before he is growing just as she did and outgrowing clothes before I even take the tags off. As I finish this post, I would like to thank you all for your love, prayers, friendship, donations, and support these past 4.5 years and in our adoption journeys. It is very much an emotional roller coaster, and we could not have gotten through this without all of you I will try and keep our blog updated after Dale and Kaleb are home so that you can continue to see God at work! Much love to every one of you and many blessings Looking forward to life as a family of four very soon and yes our family is now complete. We can not physically, emotionally, or financially do another adoption ! In closing, I will say to anyone who remotely feels called to adopt, DO IT! There has been nothing so rewarding as these three (including my sweet little sister adopted from China!) beautiful additions to our family. Is adoption hard? Absolutely! Is it sunshine and roses all the time? Not at all. But truly these are few and far between at least for us and our family and we can not imagine our life without them! I leave you with a couple of pictures and videos and will post another update when we are finally all together! Lori Here is the video link and some pictures 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy 2 year Gotcha day baby girl! We love you so much!

I am sitting here writing this and I really can not believe that it has now been two years since our Gotcha day. Two years ago at about this time, we were in our hotel room in Sofia learning to be a family of three. It had been seven long months between trips for us and the wait was excruciating. But, I can now say that everything worked out perfectly and from the moment we picked her up at the orphanage and I held her again, all the pain, frustration, and even anger at the process I felt all seemed to melt away and I was happier than I ever knew possible! It is unbelieveble how the time has flown. I waited so long (43 years) to be a mom and I can say for sure that it was definitely worth the wait and she has taught me and Daddy so much and given us so much more than I ever thought possible. I have never known a love so complete. Right now, I am thinking back and remembering that quiet, sweet, beautiful little girl who must have been absolutely terrified inside of all of the changes that were happening to her then, but you never would have known it. She truly is an amazing child and although she still has communication and speech issues, I know without a shadow of a doubt she knows everything that is being said to her and around her. She knows many words and phrases now and has started to become a typical child who will even argue back with you now. For example, the other night she wanted to wear the clothes she had worn during the day to bed because she loved the shirt she was wearing. She said holding it up I sweep? I replied, no honey we sleep in pajamas. She says again holding the said shirt tighter No I sweep in this. I say NO, you will sleep in you pajamas and you may wear that again tomorrow. That was the end of the conversation! She has come so far from what she was when she came home. At that time, she did not know how to be loved. She hardly ever said a word or even made very much noise at least that was very understandable anyway. She still will occasionally talk in what we call her Bulgarian babble. She would not seek help when she was hurt or sick. She hardly ever wanted to be go to bed at night. It was a constant struggle to get her to sleep. It was almost as if she was afraid she would wake up from a dream. And to this day will still occasionally fight sleep. But oh how she has blossomed into such a little sweetheart. When she calls me mama and puts her little hands on my cheeks and looks into my eyes, gives me her sweetest smile, and then leans in for a kiss, it completely melts my heart. She is such a precious little girl just full of giggles, happiness, and hugs and kisses. She adores cuddling and being tucked in and saying her prayers every night. She now knows so many more words. She now knows how to love and how to be loved. In spite of her speech delays she seems to have no problem understanding everything around her and is just such an observant little girl. She is a smart little girl who is working very hard to overcome the negative effects of her first 4 years. She had a rather rough start in life and my heart breaks to think of all she has been through and suffered. She has grown in every way possible. She is over 10 inches taller and around 15 pounds heavier but her emotional growth which can’t be measured has grown more than you can imagine! It is amazing to see what the love of family, good nutrition, and of course, God can do! I am just so grateful that God chose us to be her parents. I love her with all my heart and soul. Whatever God's plan is for her, she is and always will be the absolute light of my life. I would also like to thank all of you reading this for your friendship, love, prayers, and emotional support these past 3 years during our adoption process and hope it continues through our adoption of Kaleb. She has really just blessed us beyond anything we ever could have imagined. I made this video of our Metcha and Gotcha trips and included the link if anyone wants to watch it. I will warn you it is rather lengthy because I made it for her and I did take a lot of pictures. Some of my fellow Razgrad parents will appreciate seeing this I’m sure! The IU5 school she attends has done such wonders for her. I can’t believe she will be going to kindergarden this year. She will be going to a Lifeskills classroom as well as a regular classroom as much as they feel she can handle. I know she will done fine and God has great things planned for her! As for our process with Kaleb, most of you know I went on trip on March 1-8 with my sweet friend Wendy while Daddy stayed home with Kayti. Our I800 was approved and our Article 5 letter issued April 23, so the US part is now done and we wait for Bulgaria to finish the paperwork, get a signature from the MOJ, get a court date, and finally bring our boy home and complete our family. I try not to think about him too much right now sitting in the same situation that Kayti was and pray he will be ready to join his forever family when the time comes. The adoption process is definitely not for the faint of heart and is emotionally very difficult at times. Unless you have been through this, it is impossible to know how it feels to have your child across the ocean and you have no contact with them. I just try to stay focused on Kayti and how well she is doing and I smile and know God has already got this and he will be ok just as she was.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Birthday and Metcha day!

Two years ago today at about this time, Dale and I were sitting in a room at an orphanage in Razgrad, Bulgaria waiting to meet our sweet little girl. Our journey to that point had been somewhat of an emotional roller coaster, as most adoptions are. I can’t speak for Dale, but I know I had every emotion possible running through my body at this time and was so very nervous to meet her. But I did not need to worry. I have no doubt that God had prepared her for us and she was so ready to meet her mommy and daddy. She came in and the caregiver told her mama and she came right to me and took my outstretched hands and patted them and smiled so sweet My regret is that they would not allow us to video the first meeting. Oh how I wish I could have had that moment preserved on video. It is etched in my mind forever though…Happy Metcha Day Kayti Elizabeth. Daddy and I love you soo, soo much and did from the first minute we saw you. I found the poem below shortly after trip one and changed a few words, but it describes how I felt that day perfectly! We also celebrated your 6th birthday and second birthday at home on October 5 and had a great weekend of parties this past week. She got so many nice gifts from everyone! She totally knew this weekend was all about her birthday! To those of you who were at her family party reading this, thank you for everything and about the drama towards the end, and we love you all! As always, I thought of her birth mother today and thanked her for the greatest blessing we could have ever received! I am sure that a lot of you are wondering where we are in our 2nd adoption process to bring our little boy home. We received USCIS approval on September 16, 2013 and are US agency is putting our dossier together to send soon. Praying it makes it by the last October meeting so we can travel this year on trip one. As for Kayti, most of you see how well she is doing and that she is thriving on her families love! She continues to amaze us every day and continues to make us laugh constantly, and just touches every place in our hearts. We are making progress in all areas. She can now dress herself completely, put her dishes in the sink when done with a meal, put her clothes in the hamper before her bath, bring us her cup when asking for a drink, and she now feeds our one chihuahua every night. She is now starting to recognize people and associate names with them. She recognizes letters and numbers. (NOT to read them, just know that they are either letters or numbers. She will say the alphabet when she sees letters, and start counting numbers when she sees numbers (ie numbers on a clock, watch, my keyless entry on my car, etc). She is starting to recognize her name a little bit now as well. Potty training continues to be a work in progress. I was extremely proud of her on Sunday as it was her birthday party with family, and as excited as she was she said she needed to go potty twice and kept a dry pull-up all day. Other days we get distracted and forget. She also pottys at school most of the time now as well! We will continue to work on it until we get it 100%. She is still going to her pre-school two days a week and loves it. They have been great with her and she loves her teachers! We had a great summer and enjoyed beautiful weather for our fairs and enjoyed our own camper this year so much. This weekend we are having our annual weiner roast and hayride and are looking so forward to that! Thank you all for your continued love and support! Love you all:) Lori, Dale, and Kayti!! How can I understand what I am about to see? The years of waiting arel now just a memory. Your eyes, your skin, your hair, the beauty of your face. I can’t believe that this day we finally embrace. Instantly the pain I felt so deep has now gone. Instantly I now have a child to call my own. Instantly you are my dream come true. Instantly, miraculaously blessed with you. I can hardly believe how beautiful you are. Practically perfection, the most precious one by far. A gift that was tucked away until this day. That we could meet, and I know your okay. Instantly and seemingly in a great big whirl, I have now met my sweet, beautiful little girl. Instantly and suddenly you are my dream come true. Instantly, so instantly I am blessed with you. How do I even begin to thank my Father above? Fow allowing me to know the depth of a mother’s love. Tears I’ve cried before this day don’t matter anymore. I have a joy in my heart I have never felt before. Instantly, a perfect gift bestowed upon me. I will love you until enternity. Instantly to you, I have lost my heart. Instantly I loved you so from the start. I will try my very best to love and care for you. Because that is just what mommies do! Instantly, suddenly you became my world. I love you to the moon and back my sweet baby girl.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Journey of a Lifetime 2

I think most of you already know, but for any one who missed it we have signed commitment papers and are in the process of adopting a little boy from BG. So Kayti will be getting a little brother. We are so very excited to be taking this leap of faith again. Of course, we couldn't do it without all of your support:) You all were so amazing over the course of our journey to Kayti and I know you will be there for us again! Of course, we are also using the same agencies as well. We are grateful for them and everything they do:) Thanks Carol and co and Angela and FNA staff! You go above and beyond so many times and we could not be more excited to be working together again. We are going to be doing a little fundraising and I am excited about a couple of fundraisers I have lined up. I am posting a link to donate to our RR FSP account which is already growing. Kayti is excited about having a baby brother, but I don't think she really understands what it means right now. She just likes to look at his picture. She is doing so well. Growing and learning every day. We could not possibly love her any more:)) I want to take a second to encourage every one of my friends who is on this roller coaster ride called adoption that in the end, it is ALL so worth every ounce of pain and every penny you spend. Nothing could be more rewarding in the end and the proof is in the fact we are going through it again:).  I hope everyone will be as supportive this adoption as they were with Kayti. I will give a more detailed update on Kayti soon as we have our 3rd of 4 post placements coming up in August. I can't believe we have been home 14 months on Friday! Where has the time gone?? Blessings to all:) If you all are able here is the link to our FSP that you can donate to help us bring our boy home! Thanks in advance!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I don't know how many of you even follow our family blog anymore and I have considered taking it down, but I remember how much I enjoyed my fellow adoptive families blogs when we were waiting. It is hard to find any spare time to write though. On May 7, we celebrated a quiet Gotcha Day with a nice dinner at home. And then as of last Sunday May 12, Mother's Day, we have been home with Kayti for one year. It seems as if time has flown by. I remember writing in my journal shortly after we got home Can't wait to see what changes being home one year will make. And now we are there!  I remember every detail of our Gotcha trip and have relived it in my mind a lot this past week, remembering what we were doing on each day. It has been a week of reflection. For those of you who haven't kept up on Facebook, Kayti started preschool and the Edinboro IU5 at Saegertown elementary school in April. She goes 2 days a week for 2.5 hours a day. She loves it and it is helping her a lot already. She has made some new friends and is learning to play with the other kids. It is very repetitive and that is exactly what she needs. She is learning more words and phrases all the time. One of the biggest things she did this past week was tell the teacher that she had to go potty and did. This is major because she still does not like being changed by strangers and she hates public toilets. She still loves Mickey Mouse and knows the words to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme. She loves to sing any song and the other day at church, she started singing Jesus Loves Me and I didn't even know she knew the words, although I do sing it to her and she got a stuffed bunny for Easter that sings it.  She also still loves Dora, Bubble Guppies, SpongeBob, Elmo, Doc McStuffins, and Sofia the first. She can tell you who each one is if you show her a picture of one. I am so thankful and grateful every day for this sweet girl. She is such a blessing. She has grown almost 7 inches and gained about 14 pounds in this past year. She is a good little eater and loves fruits and vegetables which makes me happy. We are looking forward to summer after a very LONG winter. We just got Kayti a new bicycle and a trampoline, so those should be lots of fun. We are looking forward to Memorial Day this weekend and then my birthday and the Bulgarian Reunion. We still want to go back for another one and there MAY be an announcement about that coming up soon. I don't want to say anything more yet  because I don't want to jinx anything. I will leave you all in suspense for now!! Here are some before and after photos just to show what love can do!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Our First Holidays Christmas as a family!

I have been so busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas that I haven't had time to update our blog in a while. I can't believe we have had Kayti for 7 months (almost 8 months on January 7). It has gone by so fast. It's the same amount of time we waited between trips which at the time seemed like an eternity. Kayti had her first big family holiday on Thanksgiving. She enjoyed it a lot and we had a wonderful day. We also drug her out of bed at 4:30 AM on Black Friday to go shopping with us. She was a little trooper and never fussed a bit. We are still wanting to go back for another one and this whole Russian adoption ban makes me want to get started sooner. Kayti is learning more English every day. She can say small sentences now such as sit down and pat the seat, drink milk, drink juice, drink water, ouch when hurt, do you have to go potty (when SHE has to go potty), love you too, don't do that, one more time, and now when you ask her what's your name she will say I Kayti. We are catching on more every day. I have been looking forward to Christmas for quite some time. I kept telling her about Santa of course and that we celebrate Christmas because it is Jesus birthday. We went to see Santa at the mall, and she was very happy to see him. I am not sure if she has seen a Santa before at the orphanage, but she sure was excited about it. Then we had our annual Christmas party at church and Santa came to that too. As soon as she saw him her face lit up and he said who wants to come and sit on my lap and she jumped off and was the first in line! So glad she is not afraid of him. In

Long overdue update.

I have been long overdue to update this blog. I have not written an update since right after Kayti's birthday in October. She has come so far in almost 8 months. We have our second post placement set up for this week so it can get to Bulgaria by the end of March. Can not believe it has been that long already. It will soon be a year. In a way it's like she has always been with us. I can't image life without her now. God totally knew that he was doing when he put us together! She is so much fun! I had to get her medical report from our Dr for this post placement and found out she has grown 5 inches and gained almost 13 pounds! Wow. Amazing what food and love can do! When we came home 24 month pants fell off. Now she is in a 4T. They still sometimes have to be tucked, because she is still thin, but they are right on lengthwise. The holidays kept us very busy, starting with Kayti's first Thanksgiving. She enjoyed every minute! We also drug her out of bed at 4:30 am on Black Friday to go Christmas shopping with us! I know bad mama, right:) She was very good and we had a nice day. Then mom and I decided to take her to see Santa one Saturday in early December. She LOVED him and could not wait to sit on his lap.  Quite a diffrence from Lianna who we could not even bribe to sit on his lap. She would only wave at him from a safe distance. But Kayti was excited about him! It was almost as if she knew who he was. I find this almost impossible though, because I can not really believe they had Santa visit her small orphanage. Then a week or so later, we had our annual Christmas party/dinner at church and Santa came there too, and guess who was the first in line? Yep, my girl! She was excited around Christmas with all the lights, but I know she had no idea what was coming. We went a little overboard with the presents, but we were as excited (or probably more) than she was! We had her picture taken at Wal-Mart portrait studios around this time. What a disaster. They turned out nice, in the end but suffienct to say I wont use them again! We had our Christmas with Grammy, Papa, Uncle Mike, and Aunt Lianna. She was a little overwhelmed with all the presents and wanted to rip into them. We gave her one and she opened it and started singing Happy Birthday...(as in her mind I guess the last time she got presents was her birthday). So we went with it and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. She loved all of her presents and had a wonderful night. The next day was Christmas eve and we went to our candlelight service at church. I was worried she would be to excited to sleep, but honestly in 7 almost 8 months, I have never had her fall asleep faster than Christmas Eve. We woke her up about 7 so we could get things opened and start preparing for our family dinner. She was excited about everything and played with each and everything she got. Our first Christmas as a family could not have gone better!  Unfortunately 3 days fter Christmas, Mama, Daddy, and Kayti got very sick with bronchitis. We had first fever and we all had on and off fevers for 3-4 days. 3 rounds of antibiotics later for each of us and we were finally better. She had a fever of 102.9 which made us quite nervous, but Childrens Motrin brought it down fairly quickly. Dr. Stabile saw her twice for this. What a nasty bug! We are trying to plan a trip to Disneyworld the last week of October if all goes as planned. We have an appt with our IEU to get Kayti evaluated and get some help catching her up. She really is doing amazing, and come so far from the extremely thin, timid, quiet little girl we picked up in May. Her personality develops more all the time. She is so funny and has a wonderful sense of humor. She loves to laugh. She has started to talk in small sentences, such as do you have to go potty (which means SHE does), apple/orange juce please, dont do that, ouch when something hurts, thank you, please, love you too, say I Kayti when asked her name and I 5 when asked how old she is. The other day we were driving home and she says Did you see that? I said did I see what and she said it again, but I know she saw something she wanted me to see, and just didnt know how to say what it was. She also will go to the potty on her own occasionally which is real progress. She loves to have stories read to her every night. We are working on learing our abcs and how to write our name. She is getting closer on the abcs, but writing her name not so much. Oh, she now likes noodles and they are almost one of her favorite foods now. She also loves all fruits and vegetables including cucumbers, carrots, brocolli, tomatoes, peppers, etc. This mommy is very glad of that. I will leave you with some pictures and promise to update sooner!