Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Big News

Hello, everyone--and thank you for following our news.

Actually, I do have BIG news!!! First of all, today, August 8, 2010, I'm typing from Sofia. Yes, yes, yes!!! Tomorrow morning I'm going to meet our new little one. Everything was hectic, with so very much to do and such limited time to get all done. Yet, everyone wanted to take care of something and help with something. A couple of days ago we had done a video of all of us, all greeting Plamen and talking to him, telling him how we feel about him. Catherine went out of her mind making it perfect, and also editing other videos she had from the Wild Animal Park,  from her last visit with St. Michael's Young Adults back in May, and from Disneyland, from when we had been there all together one week before. (BTW, if interested in Disneyland pix, you can pay a look at the post before this one.)

Given that I had been told there would be no internet connection in the room where the visits normally take place, Catherine did everything possible and impossible to get those movies on the new laptop's desktop. She had a really hard time with that, but was very determined to do it. Also, she had been the one going from shop to shop looking for presents for Plamen, for the orphanage director, the psychologist, and the two social workers. And, far from deeming her voluntarily undertaken job finished with the purchase of the gifts, she went ahead and did much more than expected--and, actually, much more than necessary. She also bought gift boxes with different colors and patterns, and even took care of matching each box with the colors of the presents.

Warren did a wonderful job with the artwork for a little something for Toni from the bottom of our hearts. We'll be thankful to her for life, and we found a way of just showing her our endless gratitude: a framed picture, including two photos of all of us, Plamen's photo, and a few words telling her thank you forever, from all of us. Besides, Warren looked up the Bulgarian translation for all the sentences in our family book--the one to be given to our little boy.

Gerard's role was not less important, as he spent all the time taking care of Thomas and Nicholas, and being ready to do whatever might be needed--from coming up with some info from the computer to doing the trash.

My mom helped in everything, and prayed all the time. Only her prayers got the child book plus another photobook of our family delivered on time by UPS overnight on the very last day--just on time to put them in one of my carry-on bags. Fortunately, from the day before we already knew from an e-mail from Costco Photo Center that the books had been shipped.

And now the big news!!! Together with all the presents, the child book, and some more photos and documents on our family that as an overly proud mom I cannot avoid to show, some other extremely important papers traveled with me, to be hand delivered to Toni: the commitment to adopt Illiyan and Philip--following Plamen's adoption, of course.

The week of July 19 had been a very anxiety provoking one. Common sense would have said to wait until being to Bulgaria, try to see the new prospective adoptees, and commit to them once back home. But our hearts were shouting out something different. We did not need more to commit. We already knew everything that needed to be known. Illiyan is in a wheelchair, the same as Plamen. Yet, in his case, it's not due to spina bifida, but to c.p.  He is 7 years old, and seven months younger than Plamen. Philip is 5, and his problems with his gross motor skills are not really significant. Although not entirely stable, he does walk, and can even go up and down the stairs by holding on to the handrail.

Despite Victoria's request for some sort of pre-approval from Heartsent, the home study agency, that was not possible. The social worker who wrote the wonderful home study is just a contract worker, with no decision-making power in the agency. Sybil, our amazing case manager, was leaving that very same week for a new position with an adoption advocacy organization. Heartsent's director, whom we have never met in person, said that it'd be against their policy to start a new home study until after six months following Plamen's homecoming. Yet, I assured Victoria that our family met all the requirements for the adoption of two additional children after Plamen, that we would not leave one stone unturned to bring them home, and that I had a plan of action already. Toni did help a lot, and Victoria agreed. From all of us, thank you, Toni, thank you, Victoria, and thank you, Carla, for trusting us. 

From now I intend to start gathering letters of support for the two further adoptions from many authoritative sources, including psychologists, medical doctors, priests, educators, and different other people, all with a title to their names. As for priests, I can get over twenty letters if needed--and possibly even a letter from a bishop.

I do understand that mostly these days, with all the negative publicity on older child adoptions, agencies are always scared of eventual disruptions--but, even without ever having met us, Heartsent's director had already heard of, and was impressed with, the extraordinary amount of volunteer work my children do. She had only positive things to say about us. Of course, even with proof, it's difficult to believe the true degree of commitment my older children have towards my younger ones--the ones home and the ones to come. Even if, let's say, Plamen, Illiyan, and Philip were home, and I got into an accident and died only one month after their homecoming, Catherine would do everything possible and more to keep the family together--and, at 13 or 14, Gerard and Warren would beg her to let them have part-time jobs to help. From now, all three of them claim it as a privilege to take Nicholas home one day if he is not able to live on his own. This is a family where everyone will do everything to make things work out--and that's not my own merit, but my kids'. Anyway, just in case I cannot convince Heartsent's director to speed up the new home study, I have some other alternative plans. Let's see. We are uplifted by our prayers, with my mom spending in prayer most of her days, and the prayers of my dad and my grandparents helping us from above, the same as they did in the past, when they helped bring Thomas and Nicholas home to us. 

My battery is low. I'm going to sleep, ready for a BIG day tomorrow.

Thanks everyone for your interest in our story.

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