Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I need some advice from those of you that have experience with older adopted child behaviors.  For the past few weeks, Blake has been increasingly disrespectful of his parents, teachers, and classmates.   He is mouthing back every time he is told no or corrected.  He is very close to yelling when he does this.  We are hearing things like "it's not your business", "you are mean", "why don't you like me", "Blake was the boss at the orphanage", "shut up", etc. etc.  He recently added a long loud disgruntled huff and eye rolling.  He is developed quite the attitude!

We have been taking away privileges, like playing outside, following a warning.  It doesn't seem to be getting much better.  We now feel we need to forego the warning and be extremely consistent on giving an immediate consequence (loss of privilege) for his behavior.  We think that if we are consistent, he will eventually realize that his behavior is unacceptable.

Any suggestions or insight would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Connection in Bulgaria

As I wrote in my previous post, Dee Dee, a person doing mission work in Bulgaria, put me in contact with Jack and Elsabe Louw.  Jack and Elsabe adopted a child from an orphanage in Bulgaria years ago.   They also established a foundation to help orphans in Bulgaria.  Please go HERE to read their story.  This family is truly dedicated to improving the lives of Bulgarian orphans.

Elsabe contacted me at times during our wait to pick up the twins.  She provided a lot of information about our twins.  She told us that Blake received a lot of attention from one of the office workers in the orphanage.   We can see how this has positively affected Blake.  She also told us how severely neglected Emery was at the orphanage.  Several times, when they visited the orphanage, Emery would either be in a far off corner by herself or locked in a room with a few other kids who were all lined up banging their heads against a radiator for stimulation.  They noticed bruises on the children's foreheads from the banging.  Emery was quiet, didn't speak and demanded no attention.  Therefore, she received no attention.  Elsabe also told us how happy Blake was when he received his crutches.  Before he had crutches, the other kids would push him around and walk right over him.  His personality changed after the crutches.  He immediately began zipping around the orphanage with ease.  He became a very spirited boy.  The crutches changed his life.  Elsabe had Blake taken to medical specialists regarding his leg.  They had high hopes that his leg could be saved.  Elsabe and her husband somehow were able to find someone who advocated to let the twins remain in the baby orphanage rather then moving at age 3.  I am not sure what kind of orphanage they would have went to at age 3.  But, due to their special needs (Blake's leg and Emery's developmental delays), they would have been moved to a disability orphanage at the age of 7, if we had not been in the process of adopting them.  To see what happens to children in Bulgarian orphanages for disabilities,  visit Elsabe's foundation website or google Bulgarian orphanages.  What you see will shock you beyond belief.  The thought of our twins in one of these places sends chills  through me.  I cannot even force myself to imagine what would have happened to them.  There are so many orphans in need of being saved, it breaks my heart. Things are slowly changing in Bulgaria, but not fast enough to save all of the children.

We planned to meet Elsabe and her family while in Bulgaria picking up the twins.  We wanted to get together for dinner with them and Dee Dee and her family.  Unfortunately, the day we could all meet, the twins were having a bad day, especially Blake.  We decided it was best not to go out to dinner.  Elsabe, Jack, and their daughter, Lora, were kind enough to come meet and visit with us at our apartment.  How wonderful it was to meet such a family.  A family that has devoted their life to helping orphans.  I never thought I would ever find myself meeting such special people.  Elsabe talked a lot to Blake and helped us to understand him better.  They gave us compassionate advice.  They brought us a medical file on Blake and pictures of the twins that they had taken over the years.  I can't put into words how wonderful it is to have these pictures.  Their kindness continued beyond this visit.

They actually met us at the Sofia airport on the day of our departure.  They gave the twins some Bulgarian candy for the plane ride.  I saved the candy wrappers for their memory boxes.   They took our family picture that is at the top of my blog.  They gave us a wonderful send off.   The twins knew Elsabe and her family from previous orphanage visits.  It was nice for the kids to have familiar faces to say their goodbyes.

Even though we had just met this family, it somehow felt like we knew them for years.  I guess we sort of did, through our twins.

One of the most amazing parts of this whole story is during the time I was researching adoption and Bulgaria, before we even committed to the twins, I found Elsabe's blog and was overwhelmed with emotion over their journey with their daughter.  I was touched by their faith and dedication to the orphans in Bulgaria.  Little did I know at the time, this family knew our twins and one day I would meet them while in Bulgaria picking up the twins!  Who would have ever thought? God truly does work in mysterious ways!

Elsabe has continued to keep in contact with me periodically to check in on the twins and to offer insights.  I love hearing from her and appreciate all of her kind advice.  She recently printed out all of the pictures I had posted on this blog of the twins and took them to the orphanage to share with the caregivers and the office person who was so close to Blake.  She said the office worker cried when she looked at the pictures.  Elsabe also put me in contact with this office worker.  Apparently, this lady has additional information on the twins' history and possibly information on siblings.  I am excited to obtain any history on the twins.  I will share in a future post.

Meeting this family, discovering I had already read about them, and knowing their connection with our twins, only confirms the fact that God was with us from the very early beginning of our adoption journey.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Connection in Bulgaria

For several months before we decided to adopt our twins, I would periodically "stalk" them on the Internet.  If you have followed my blog from the beginning, you know that I actually found a few videos where I saw the twins and a reference or two about the twins.  Even after our first trip, I continued to stalk them, hoping and praying I would catch a glimpse of them.  Well, I didn't find any current videos of them.  I found something better.

Sometime in between our first and second trip, I came across a blog.  The blog was about an American family who decided to sell all of their belongings and move to Bulgaria to do missionary work.  This family was going to minister to teens and young people about God and how he created everyone equal.  Their goal is to slowly change how Bulgarians view and treat the Roma people.  The family was supposed to be assigned to live and work in a certain city in Bulgaria (I can't remember the name).  Something didn't work out and they ended up in Kyustendil.  Kyustendil is where our twins were born and where their orphanage is located.  I contacted the family and told them about the twins and their Roma heritage.  Dee Dee, the mom of this wonderful family immediately responded to me.  She told me they had not been to visit any orphanages yet but would keep our twins in mind. 

A short time later, she contacted me again to tell me she met a minister and his wife who knew our twins!  They had worked in and donated to the twins orphanage numerous times through their charity foundation.  In fact, they actually donated Blake's first pair of crutches to him when he was about 4 years old.  He only could crawl or hop to get around before the crutches.  This couple and their daughter, whom they adopted from Bulgaria, would often pray for a family to adopt the twins.  How awesome it felt to have a piece, although very small, of the twins history.

Dee Dee contacted me a second time with more exciting news.  She and her family went to visit the zoo in Kyustendil.  As they were walking out, a group of children and a few adults were just arriving at the zoo.  Dee Dee noticed a little boy on crutches.  She thought of Blake.  She immediately realized that this group of children must be from the orphanage down the road.  She and her family introduced themselves to the caregivers and met Blake (Rumen).  They were able to talk with him and he was very friendly and wanted to try out their iPods!  They said hello to Emery (Trayanka) but she was very shy and quiet.  Dee Dee tried to explain to Blake and the caregivers that she had talked to the twins Mom in America.  But, since Dee Dee hadn't been living in Bulgaria very long, her Bulgarian was sketchy and she didn't think they 
understood what she was saying.  Imagine how great it felt to hear this information.  I was completely overwhelmed with emotion.  Hearing about our twins during the long waiting period before we could bring them home was truly a blessing for me.  

Dee Dee and I have periodically stayed in contact ever since.  We tried very hard to meet with them while we were in Bulgaria picking up the twins, but the timing never worked out.  Dee Dee also put me in contact with the minister and his wife who knew the twins.  That story is another special post in and of itself, which I will be writing soon.  

If you want to follow Dee Dee's family blog and their mission and life in Bulgaria you can find it here

I will forever be grateful for finding this family's blog.