5 Things You Should Know About Orphanage Life and Your Child
All Adoption Stories
Welcome home Jia Jia
We started this process over 14 months ago and God has blessed us all the way through the journey!!
Here is a little history: For many years my Amy and I have wanted to adopt once our two boys were a little older. We have heard the call that we are to provide a home for orphaned children. We contemplated domestic and international adoption, and then after I went on two trips to India, I saw the need. After prayer, God led us to adopt from Bulgaria.
Amy and I decided that we would like to adopt a child(ren) between the age of three years old and younger than our sons. We would also consider adopting a sibling group. In February, we received the “Waiting Child” list from our adoption agency (Children of All Nations – CAN). The Waiting Child is a list of children that are either a sibling group, getting close to ageing out of adoption, and/or have special needs. We reviewed the list and it only contained two Bulgarian profiles. The first was for three great looking brothers, but two of them were older than our boys and we wanted them to be the older siblings. The second profile was for an almost 9 year old girl.
We read through her profile and as we read we started to feel that indescribable feeling like she is the one. She had been in the orphanages since she was very young and is socially behind.
We continued to review all we could and that is when Amy said the words I will never forget….”Sounds like she needs a teacher for a Mommy!” That is when it felt right!
Then we see the bottom of her profile and the phrase “File Pending.” We were heartbroken. The next morning, Amy and I decided we still needed to ask for more information, even if it was just to know more about this precious little girl. So we did. Within an hour, Amy received a phone call from the agency. They were ecstatic!! Apparently, the family looking into adopting her had to discontinue their adoption process for reasons not pertaining to this little girl. The agency can only hold a child’s profile for so long and that period was only five days from expiring. We went from heartbreak to warm hearted and requested the rest of her profile. On Valentine’s Day, Amy and I signed an agreement to adopt this precious little girl.
From February to May we completed all our adoption processes and received our home study approval. Then during the summer we received our approval from Homeland Security. Our dossier was sent to Bulgaria and by mid-August, we received our approval from the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria.
The Bulgaria adoption process requries two trips to Bulgaria. One for an initial visit with the child and the second to bring the child home.
That brings us to today, November 6, 2013 Amy and I are now packing our bags to head to Bulgaria (first trip). Tomorrow, after Amy completes her day of teaching, we will deliver the boys to Amy’s parents and we will drive to Dallas. We fly to Bulgaria on Friday and will arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria by Sunday afternoon. From then on, we will be taken care of by the adoption agency that partners with Children of All Nations. They will pick us up from the airport in Sofia and help us get settled, and will even take us site seeing on Sunday. On Monday, November 11, we will travel to Montana, Bulgaria. This is where we will spend the week.
November 11, will be a glorious day!! We will travel to the small village where the orphanage is and we will get to meet “Z” for the first time! We will actually get to see our daughter that we have been praying and dreaming about for almost 9 months! WHAT AN AMAZING DAY THIS WILL BE!!!!!!
May 6, 2014 seemed like it would never get here, and then the next thing we knew, it was upon us and we had to get prepared for the next step in our journey (second trip). We got the boys over to my parents late on the 5th and then we went home to finalize our preparations. I do thank God for the wake up call the next morning as we needed to leave town early and I apparently turned the alarm off instead of getting up when we originally planned. However, we did get on the road on time…..at 3:45am. Our drive to Dallas was smooth (Amy got some rest and I managed to stay awake the whole way). 25 hours after jumping in the car, we were at the Sofia airport picking up our luggage. Besides the happiness to see all our luggage arrive with us, it was so awesome to have to bring additional luggage; A suitcase with “Z”’s clothes and toys. We then met up with our translator, and our driver and headed to our rented apartment. After settling in, Amy and I took advantage of some quiet time and caught up on some necessary rest!!
…..That leads us to the next chapter of our lives!!
Thursday, May 8: Our guides picked us up from our apartment at 7:30am and we headed to the village. After our 2 1/2 hour drive, we made the familiar turn down the road to “Z’s” orphanage. The butterflies really started to hit Amy and I as we headed through the gate and towards the door. That is when we see “Z” in the front window and we could see her familiar smile!! The door opened and out came “Z”…….A big hug erased all the butterflies! We finally have “Z” in our arms again!!
After delivering gifts to the orphanage and finalizing paperwork, “Z” said her goodbyes to the orphanage for the last time! “Z” held our hands and we walked to the car. Though, it was another 2 1/2 hours in a car, it was so cool to have her fall asleep in my lap!! We arrived back in Sofia and met our Bulgarian adoption representative at the immigration center to start “Z’s” passport process. While, I may be biased, “Z’s” passport photo blows all other identification photos out of the water.
It was then time for a late lunch. We found a nice pizzaria down the street from our apartment. We ordered a couple of pizzas thinking we would bring the left overs back to the apartment for later. Nope, that did not happen. First, I have a pizza addiction and I can pretty much put down more pizza than any person should eat in one sitting. But found out, “Z” can hold her own, as she put down four slices and a small plate of spaghetti.
After lunch, we said goodbye to our rep for the rest of the day. Amy and I are now alone with “Z” for the first time ever. It is time for us to be her parents and for her to be a daughter in a loving family!! It is also time to see how well we can communicate with each other. ”Z” does not speak English and while Amy and I are trying, we do not speak much Bulgarian. It has been a little over 5 hours and God has continued his blessings as we have been able to pass the communication test. While we do not understand all she is telling us in speech, we do understand what her needs are by action and constant interaction. Amy has done a fantastic job creating ways to teach “Z” and for us to learn from her. I am always amazed with Amy and her interaction with children!! ”Z” has definitely tested her limits with us and we have had to ensure boundaries are not to be broken or compromised.
It has been such a glorious day!! Amy and I have been able to hold and hug our precious “Z”!! Holding hands while walking down the street are memories that will last forever!! Amy gave “Z” a bath and put her in brand new PJ’s. It is so cool to see Amy with our daughter, making her all pretty; blow drying her hair and putting bows on her head! It is getting late and it is time to put “Z” to bed (and Amy and I are about to fall over asleep)!!!
Please continue to pray as this chapter in our lives will last forever!!
Great Wall China Adoption is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Austin, Texas. Since 1996, Great Wall has placed more than 8,000 children with forever families. Between the headquarters located in Austin, Texas and the sister office in Beijing, China, we work on behalf of families each day to be experts at exceeding China’s requirements and adoptive families&rsquo...Learn more, see kids, or contact agency 248 Addie Roy Road, Suite A102 Texas
Its not a surprise that families come in all shapes and sizes!
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Includes the "bible" of homeland visit planning a
A beautiful adoptee story
Changes are difficult. Think ahead of what you can do during the crucial transition period for both you and your child.
A reflection on adopting an older child with special needs
Be prepared to be amazed!
US Department of State Poses Extreme Restrictions on Child Advocacy for Adoption