This was a day of an adventure, to put it politely. I knew by the end of it I would get to see my new baby so I journeyed through it all. Our translator and a driver picked us up after breakfast but didn’t have enough room in the car for all our suitcase plus the suitcases we brought for the orphanage. They had to leave us behind for 30 min to drop off the orphanage suitcases at the Anido office for Alex to bring with him on Thursday when he came to pick us up.
It was after 9:30am when we actually got on the road. Then, the driver and translator decided to stop for coffee and a smoke, or three, on our way out of the city. They said it was a tradition… I think it was more just a need for a cigarette so they could survive an hour and a half with out one. EVERYONE chain smokes here. I hate it. They are relatively clean about it though. They don’t flick their butts everywhere like North Americans. I did enjoy the art on the walls of the coffee stop though! Boobies, bums and banana’s with two oranges on either side adorned the walls. Only in Europe 🙂
We arrived in Plovdiv and checked in to our hotel before making our way to the orphanage. The hotel room is definitively lacking but since it is just Jon and I we decided to stay in the budget places with out Sofie and splurge a little to stay in a luxury hotel when we are in Sofia with Sofie.
We found the orphanage eventually. The taxi driver had never heard of it but knew the hotel beside it that we were told has a bad reputation. We had almost booked in there without knowing. It saddened me a little that locals have no idea there is a baby house in their own neighbourhood. I was so nervous, and hot with 37 degree weather, but mostly excited. We were taken in to a room with a long table a desk and cupboards with papers and stuffed toys in them. We had to wait for them to bring Sofie to us. This was it. This is what I was waiting for! Around 12 noon she walked in holding one of the caregivers hand and climbed up on a chair. I was crying. I remember being stunned with just how perfect she was. It took everything I had not to scoop her up but I didn’t want to frighten her. We knelt down beside her chair and cautiously introduced ourselves and gently touched her fingers, face, and hair. After a few minutes of her looking at me like “I’m liking all this attention but who are you?” I picked her up carefully. She is just so precious.
Love at first sight.
Scruffy beard. Not many people here have beards.
We played with her for about 20 minutes until she needed to be taken for her nap. We asked the caregiver a few questions that we could think of. The Director was not there to speak with directly but the staff answered all our questions well. They told us that she likes music, is independent, and that they have a journal of all the dates of her milestones, like her first steps and pictures! We were allowed to come back in the afternoon to play with Sofie in her playroom so we set out for the hotel. Navsco, our translator is a great translator but not the best guide. He took us on an hour and half hike up and down the hills through Plovidiv trying to find our hotel. Once we discovered the proper route, we realized it was only 10 minutes from the orphanage! It was quite a lovely walk through the non-tourist parts of town but in the 37 degree heat I started getting frustrated near the end. Navsco was kind of funny and fit the typical stereo type of not wanting to ask for directions. He did try to turn our trip in to a bit of a tourist walk and treated us to some drinks at a little cafe we found on top of an ancient Roman amphitheatre. Plovdiv was a Roman city from the 1st to the 5th century. It was really neat to think that we were sitting somewhere that was built when Jesus was alive!
My annoyance for the 90 minute journey subsided once I was able to relax my feet and get rehydrated. Navsco also treated us to lunch and asked if he could order a authentic Bulgarian meal for us. It was really delicious and I loved the experience. I couldn’t begin to name what was ordered but we started with a traditional salad. I think it might have been called Thracian salad. It reminded me a lot of Greek salad with out the olives and dressing. The only dressing was sunflower oil, a major export of Bulgaria and delicious! Lunch was a cheese bake thing with pork sausage and a tomato slice. We also got some bread to soak up the sauce/grease.
We didn’t have time to return to the hotel so we went straight to the orphanage again. We used a taxi this time. (I need to give myself honorable mention here… since we didn’t return to the hotel I had to use the toilet at the orphanage. It was a squat toilet! I think I need to take a picture for you to truly understand how terrifying it was and how proud I was for not getting myself wet!) Sofie came to us in the play room this time and seemed glad to to see us. She loved all the attention she was getting. I picked her up right away this time. One of the caregivers stayed with us and Navsco answering questions and observing our interactions to report back to the Director. She said we was surprised to see how comfortable Sofie/DiDi was with us. (They hadn’t known that we changed her name from Diyana to Sofie. DiDi is her nickname.) Sofie played with us, copied our actions very well, crashed blocks, climbed chairs, got tickled, danced, clapped, played peek-a-boo with the fuzzy we brought for her (she LOVED the fuzzy), and cuddled.
Playing with her fuzzy Oma bought her.
It was a really incredible experience getting to know our daughter this way. I can’t describe it adequately. So different from meeting Livi but just as powerful and cosmic. Less organic but just as empowering. I can’t say that I’m feeling fully like her Mommy yet but I can feel it growing. I love her. Wow, do I love her. But I don’t think the Mommy feeling will take full force until we are home with her.
We had to leave her in the orphanage for the night and won’t be allowed to take her with us until Thursday, despite Anido/Alex’s best effort to convince the Director to let her go on Wednesday. We get to visit her every morning and afternoon and it is giving us a chance to do a little sightseeing and hopefully shoe shopping! The shoes here are incredible! Alana, you would die! After dinner and Skyping with Livi, and uploading a picture to facebook we slept. Only until 2 am though. We keep waking up around then hungry and unable to return to sleep! So frustrating. We are going to stay up until 11pm tomorrow to hopefully get a decent night sleep for once!