Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We Have Our Boys!

Well, the day finally came! We picked up all three boys today…..and I wish I could blog about all the details but, since it’s like 2AM I’m going to just have to go with the highlights for now (and sorry, no pics until tomorrow!!).

I’ll start off by saying that God really gave me supernatural strength today because I haven’t been getting good sleep at all, with the time change, and last night I think I was so anxious, that I only got three or four hours of sleep (I need 9!) I asked him, “Lord, just redeem the time I’ve lost on sleep and give me the strength for tomorrow.” And praise God—he really did! I’m even still awake enough to get these thoughts down before I go to bed.

So, I got up early in the morning and met Plamena, our facilitator, and the first thing she told me was that our little Josiah (new name) the six-year-old, has been ready for us to come and get him for months. She said that every time the social worker at their orphanage would enter his classroom, he would ask her if his parents were here to get him. And last week, when Plamena had another family at his orphanage, visiting their two boys, Josiah told her, “I have a Mama too.” When we got to the orphanage, we had planned on transitioning slowly and playing with him for a while there before leaving. But his social worker told us, He is SOO ready to leave with you—I don’t recommend staying here—you should just go. So that is what we did, and if you can image what it’s like to keep a child who acts like three-years-old occupied from 10 AM until 8:30 PM, out in the city all day long, then you know that it was a looooong day! (our return flight didn't leave until 8:30)  Whatever genius decided that every playground in the town needs to have carnival rides and money-spending attractions all around it, surely only cares about revenue and not the parents trying to just take their child to the park. Of course, I couldn’t keep his attention on swings and slides when there were merry-go-rounds and electric cars all over the place. So we spent some money but then of course, he just wanted to do the next thing, and the next, and the next.

Finally we decided to go to the mall and try a movie—at least we could all sit still for a while and kill some time, and hopefully he would take his nap. Well, he likes movies about as much as my four-year-old. And he quickly figured out that the best way to be able to get up out of his seat was to tell me that he had to go to the bathroom. So, we made several trips there and then ditched the movie for an indoor playground in the mall.

Meanwhile, Norman was back at the apartment waiting for our two older boys, Steven and Benjamin (new names). They finally got there, and all I have to say is that I hope Norman has a renewed appreciation for my role in our children behaving so well.  He just gives a command and they usually  do whatever he says. But today was different. Today I received more than one phone call telling me something like this, “Benjamin is all over the place…he’s into everything…when I tell him ‘no’ he doesn’t listen…..if I say it sternly he cries” Then it was, “Your computer is gonna be broken in about five minutes” then “Both the boys are crying and I have no idea why.” (it turns out Steven was sad about missing people from the orphanage, and I think Benjamin was upset  because he wasn’t getting his way) Finally he got them settled down and took them to a park, ate dinner, watched a movie here at the apartment, etc. and eagerly awaited my return!

Josiah and I didn’t get back to the apartment until about 10:30, at which point it was all excitement and hugs and greetings. We cleaned up, brushed teeth, got pajamas on, skyped with our kids back at home….and then TRIED to get the three boys to bed. Benjamin started crying inconsolably, and Steven was so sweet the way he was talking to him in Bulgarian, trying to cheer him up and make him feel better. I am amazed at how well Steven can already communicate—he has such a drive to learn English and already knows so many words. He was a great help translating back and forth for Benjamin. Benjamin would say something like this, “skdgoweitahgkrjehrietreaihiretretoaijwortijer,” only it sounded even more confusing because they don’t use the Latin alphabet like we do. Then I’d turn to Steven and say, “What did he say?” And Steven would think for a minute and say, “Ummmmmm…..dark” Ahhhh, ok, so Benjamin is afraid of the dark! Got it! Easy fix with a light on in the hallway. Steven kept telling Benjamin, “Just speak English…it’s easy.”

Unfortunately Steven isn’t much help translating for Josiah since Josiah has a very serious speech impediment due to his cleft palate. He basically only speaks in vowels. But tonight it was like the Lord gave me the gift of interpretation to tongues, because Josiah said, “Uh ahhh aagh oh.” And I, with divine utterance, said, “Mlyako?” (which means milk) And he shook his head “no” which, for anyone familiar with Bulgarian will know that that means “Yes!” So, how about that—I got it right!!

I learned about ¾ into my day that I was going to have to put all of the political correctness aside of trying to learn as many Bulgarian words as possible and not trying to impose English on them so quickly. NOPE, not gonna work. They must learn English and they must learn it quickly!! So I started my day, saying “Ela took” (come here) and “posle” (later) and “chakai” (wait) and dah and nay. And it’s actually amazing how far those five words will get you with a 3-year-old like child. But then I realized, I can say as many Bulgarian words as I want but it’s still not going to help ME understand THEM! And so, right in front of all the Bulgarian moms and dads, I kept saying one English word after another and making him repeat them. I wondered if any of them thought it was bad of me to be disregarding his language and teaching them my own instead, but then I thought, “Well, I’m the one who is going to be raising these kids, not them…..and if any of them have a problem with it (which none probably did!) then I can refer them to a few thousand orphans that they are more than welcome to adopt themselves….and they can speak to them in whatever language they want.

Benjamin’s crying went on and on so we got all the boys up and gave them some bread and butter ( it was about all we had) and some milk, and we decided NOT to try brushing their teeth again, as the first time it entailed Josiah squirming and crying a LOT, and Steven’s gums bleeding…..poor guys… you can see cavities in both Benjamin’s and Steven’s molars. We finally got Benjamin to sleep but Josiah just wouldn’t fall asleep so we brought him to our bed. After a while he started crying very sad sounding tears and was saying a word over and over, for which the Lord did not give me divine interpretation this time….so we had no choice but to just let him cry it out. And now all three are sound asleep.

So all in all today was a happy and exciting day. We learned that all three boys have been anxiously awaiting our return for all these months and were driving their teachers crazy asking about when we were coming for them. We got to see them experience so many new things in just this one day. And we saw them testing us out….trying to figure out if we are just some cool big friends who are going to give them a lot of fun times….and if not…..what exactly ARE things going to be like in “America.”

Tomorrow is Steven’s 13th birthday so we will plan something fun for him and we have a gift for all three of the boys, since we didn’t think they’d understand why only he was getting one. (We do NOT do that with our other kids….but that’s because we can explain to them the reason in English). I will upload our pictures onto my computer and blog again with some fun pictures of our day with them, so check back sometime and please PRAY that they DO NOT wake up early in the morning. I wrote this for ya’ll, so you owe me some prayers that I can sleep in!! Blessings, and thanks for all your support and prayers!!

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