Monday, October 6, 2014
Birthday girl, life as a family of four, and general long overdue update! As you can guess, with a new little one in the house, life has been quite a bit busier for me. It is a good busy though, and I absolutely would not have it any other way!! But we have had a LOT going on! I am sure that you all have noticed my lack of posts and pictures on Facebook as well, so I figured that it is time for a long overdue update on how we are all doing. Kaleb has been home almost two months now (October 14) and we really are adjusting pretty well. Better every day in fact! He came home on August 14, right before our two local fairs and we took him to both fairs and he did pretty amazing. He only had one day in that whole almost two weeks where he was pretty fussy and that was mainly just because he was hungry! But for a child who has had virtually no stimulation, he did amazing! Kayti and Kaleb seem to get along very well. They do not play a lot together yet, but she totally enjoys mothering him and telling him what to do! And right now he doesn’t seem to mind! We do have to remind Kayti quite often to share her toys and that if she takes something from him she is to give him something else. She has had a few moments where you could almost read the jealousy in her face when he was getting a lot of attention, but for the most part she is an amazing big sister and loves helping him with toys, helping give him a bath and getting me his clothes, etc. She even voluntarily gives him a kiss good night. She loves to sit and sing to him and it is pretty adorable!! He is sleeping in his own bed already and sleeps there throughout the night. Well, I should say most of the time he stays in the bed, but on a few occasions he has been sleeping elsewhere on the floor by the bed or sometimes the bedroom door, etc. He eats very well! Much better than Kayti first did. Actually, he eats like a little linebacker. A typical breakfast for our little man is a piece of toast, 1-2 scrambled eggs, 1-2 pieces of bacon or sometimes sausage, a cup of yogut, a banana, and sometimes a cupful of cheerios. He eats almost everything, but is more a fan of soft foods (ie yogurt, pudding, mashed potatoes, pasta, applesauce, bananas, etc..) and so far is not really a big meat eater other than bacon and garlic bologna! Strange considering the fact that Kayti absolutely loves meat! He is just now starting to drink well from a cup for me. He does not really like sippy cups or bottles AT ALL and struggled to drink from a regular cup for weeks but is now starting to get it! He is attaching well to all of us and seems like he has been here way longer than two months! He loves to blow kisses! He has a killer smile and the most BEAUTIFUL dark eyes and is definitely going to break some hearts someday!! He is always on the move! He loves trucks, tractors, and pretty much anything with wheels just as Kayti did as well as anything that lights up, makes noise, playes music, does something, etc! One good thing is that he seems to have a much better attention span than Kayti. And let me clarify that statement. She has an amazing attention span IF it is something that she is interested in, but if she is not, she will sometimes zone out! I know that this is probably one of her orphanage mechanisms! And that’s ok and she is getting better all the time! Focusing is definitely going to be one of her main goals at school!! She had to get a final set of shots before school and didn’t even flinch! She even made the nurse Connie cry as when we were leaving she said Thank you lady. We were so proud of her for that!:) As you know, she started kindergarten this year on August 27 and really seems to love it. It took some time for her to get used to going from a 3 day a week, 3 hours a day to 5 days a week all day kindergarden, but we have adjusted her bed time and she seems to be fine with the long day now! She is doing well and going to her regular kindergarden room more and more! One of my main concerns was her playing with the other kids, and from what her regular kindergarden teacher said at open house she has about 3-4 girls who have mothered her and she now even goes to them to play, etc, which is really wonderful news! I know that she still craves adult attention, as that is what she has missed her whole life and tends to gravitate to adults more than other kids! We have also noticed that her speech is getting better and her vocaublary is increasing all the time! She is putting sentences togther all the time. One night Dale was a little later than usual coming home from work so we started eating before he got there, and he suddenly he was standing at the sliding glass door waving at her and she said Hi Daddy, come in, sit down, eat! LOL! She is able to ride a small bus with just a couple of kids on it now so I am very happy about that! A friend of the family whom we have known and gone to church with for years is a bus aide and that has been a big blessing! Thank you Norma Jean for taking care of her on the bus It makes my heart smile to see her recognize you every Sunday and run back to give you a hug!! Of course, she has already gotten sick twice, as well as coming home with hives on her legs the second day. I am extremely fortunate and blessed to have a job that I have been able to leave to go get her when I needed to and take time off with them when needed!! Actually, we all had our own strain of something for about two weeks in a row. Hers and Daddy’s were mainly sinus, mine was more in my lungs (bronchial), and Kaleb’s was mainly in his ears. All in all, about two weeks of one or more of us not feeling well. I think that she has allergies and we have an appointment with an ENT to see about allergy testing and possible allergy shots on October 13. Hopefully this will help! Thankfully, we all seem to be on the mend now and other than this Kaleb seems to be in perfect health, other than some excema on the backs of his legs! It probably didn’t help that we had two weekends in a row of very busy activities. On Sunday, September 21, Kaleb was baptized and officially became a member of the family of God. We had a beautiful lunch after the church service thanks to mom!:) Really don’t know what I would do without her!:) Thank you mama and Grammy! We love you! I also had a photographer friend take some pictures and they turned out beautiful! Thanks so much again Kristen! I think they would have been even better if Kayti had been feeling a little better! Then, on the following weekend on Saturday the 27th, we had our annual fall party and turned it into a Welcome Home Kaleb party. It was an absolutely beautiful day weatherwise and we had a great time as always. Our thanks to all who came and/or helped! Kayti was still getting over her sinus issues and stayed in the house a lot, but also was out and played a lot, had fun, and went on the hayride! Now this weekend (Sunday) is Kayti’s birthday and I have ALWAYS had a big birthday party for her, but this mama is kind of partied out, so we opted for a quiet family day. Of course, there was birthday cake, ice cream, and most importantly presents. Hope this doesn’t this make me a bad mama! But between working full time, taking care of two kiddos, keeping a household running, and taking care of my 92 year old grandpa, this mama is rather tired!:) We also took Kayti out to her favorite restaurant Montana Chop and Ribs. She LOVES the steak there! I get a 12 ounce steak and split it with her and she eats AT LEAST half of it! Plus some of my salad and of course french fries. She amazed us while the waitress was taking our drink order! I said I would have a diet coke, Dale ordered an iced tea, and Kayti pipes up without any prompting and says I’ll have apple juice. The waitress explained that they don’t have apple juice only orange and cranberry juice and she gave her some choices and she said I’ll have lemonade then! So proud of her! First time ordering her own drink!:) She loved all of her presents! And when we picked up her cake she got so excited and said My cake, my cake!! As always around Kayti’s birthday, I think a lot about her birth mother and wonder if is thinking of her at all on this day and I also think of her five siblings and wonder if they are anything like her. I did find out from a caregiver at her orphanage that there were 3 sisters and 2 brothers and that the sisters were adopted 2 through BG foster care and 1 through international adoption to Canada which is more information that I thought I would ever get! We would LOVE to be able find her Canadian sister someday but would not even know where to begin to start to look. Her two brothers remained with her mother. I am not even sure how old they all may be because her mom is only three years younger than me born in 1972, so she could very well have grown siblings as she was the baby of the family. I really can’t believe that she is celebrating her third birthday with us! It does not seem like that much time could have passed. I can’t wait to see them in their Halloween costumes I just ordered! They are going to be Dora and Boots! I am now also sure Kayti is going to be so much fun this Christmas because the other day at Grammys she found a toy that played Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and mom said her face just lit up! So we know that she remembers! But then, this will now be her third Christmas at home too! Unbelievable!! It feels like just yesterday that we were picking her up from the orphanage. I have said it so many times, she has grown in all possible ways! She is a little over 12 inches (as in one whole foot) taller and around 15 pounds heavier for starters! We wore 24 month clothes when she came home that literally fell off. Now we wear size 5/6! She wore a size 7 shoe and now wears an 11 sometimes 12 shoe! That in itself is amazing! I am so proud and blessed to be her mommy! Kaleb’s too now! There are times when I look at the two of them, as well as Lianna and am just in awe that God could find children that fit our family so well. There is no doubt in my mind that they were hand selected by him for our family! We truly could not be more blessed. Lots of people have asked us, are you going to adopt again and I can say without a shadow of a doubt, our family is now complete. My heart and house are full and unless I would win the lottery which I don’t even play, we can not financially do another adoption! We are so very blessed and happy with what God has given us and are quite busy and content! Dale would be willing to adopt again way before I would! Adoption is addictive though! And again, I have to say, I really do miss checking for emails and news, etc!! But I will settel for living vicariously through my adoption group on Facebook and enjoy following their news and journeys! I will leave you with some pictures from our past few weeks and a cute video of Kayti singing to Kaleb in case you missed it on Facebook! Once again, our thanks to ALL of you who have and continue to support our family! We appreciated it more than I can ever tell you! Adoption is very hard and we definitely could not have done it without all of your support! Also, in closing, I would also like you to please do me a favor? Adoption is SO, so important…These are some of my close, dear friends who are adopting from Bulgaria as well and they all need us to share their fundraisers, blogs, and Reece’s Rainbow FSPs… Thank you in advance for helping! First, my sweet friend Chastiy and her family! They are bringing home three Bulgarian Blessings and still need around $12,000 to be fully funded. It is worth reading their story about their new daughters!! Please pray, help, share, advocate, etc!! Their Reece’s Rainbow link to donate is http://reecesrainbow.org/73524/sponsorvargas and I know they will appreciate your help! Also, my good friend Katherine who is also bringing home her second BG blessing! Her Reece’s rainbow link is http://reecesrainbow.org/79923/sponsorhorn. She is also having an American girl doll giveaway. I believe that it is an entry for every $20 donation…My amazing friends Doug and Lynda are on their third BG adoption and need help bringing sweet Christopher home..You can read about him and all of their fundraisers here, https://www.facebook.com/bringchristopherhome/posts/368610926629079 . My friends the Robinsons fundraisers are here adopttogether.org/robinsoncrewgrows. My friends the Ottens are bringing home two BG kiddos. Their fundraiser link is https://www.facebook.com/events/741112769306128/. Another friend Jennifer is adopting twins one who is blind from Burgas and their info is here: adopttogether.org/robinsoncrewgrows. My dear friend Denise is adopting two from the UK and her RR link is ttp://reecesrainbow.org/sponsordavis-7 And last but not least, my friend Ginger doesn’t need any funds, but would be happy to be linked up to others adopting. Her bloh link is: http://momentsdefined.wordpress.com/I am sure that all of these families will appreciate you even just sharing this blog or their links seperately on your walls. Many blessings and much love to all and will try to do a better job of keeping this blog updated!!
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 http://youtu.be/U2YeiNGSsIQ
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
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! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBeQAIkNVlU&list=UU1DhW7MWAUqqKjowa80nD2w 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.