Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Food preparations...

From what I observed and what we were told by the caregivers during trip 1, Esther is not able to chew foods. She won't even attempt to put anything in her mouth that is solid (same as Ben was like-it's sad to watch their eyes when they are hungry but know they can't eat something). Something is going on in her mouth, most likely infected teeth and gums, just like Ben had, which I imagine is quite painful. That prevents her from eating solid foods. She may also have texture issues and preferences of what she does and doesn't like. Whatever is preventing her from being able to eat properly is a big part of the reason she is so tiny. Hopefully we will be able to quickly figure out what is going on and get her eating, healthy and growing again!

This is all we were able to watch her eat when we were there. It is yogurt mixed with pureed fruit. 

Ben survived his first month home on yogurt, oatmeal, pureed soup, applesauce, carnation instant breakfast and cottage cheese. I ground up graham crackers into his yogurt or crackers to thicken soups. I am planning meals and preparing for much the same kind of diet for Esther until we get a handle on things. Thankfully now there are fruit and veggie pouches that will offer more variety in taste and convenience at the same time. I don't know if she is able to drink out of a straw (Ben couldn't) but hopefully being able to squeeze it will allow her to eat on the go and she will learn quickly that there is food available whenever she is hungry.

For the trip, I am bringing food pouches, oatmeal packets and Carnation instant breakfast packets, most of which I will need for baby Ruth as well. I know the hotel restaurant offered yogurt and scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes and a variety of soups so she will not starve! I'm bringing baby food puffs but she wouldn't touch them on trip 1 so we will see if she is willing to try them. I imagine we will be using Ruth as our guinea pig for all new experiences so Esther will be more willing to copy her. I'm debating bringing a small travel blender but I think we won't have any problems with finding appropriate food for her so it most likely isn't necessary. On the airplane, I learned that soaking a muffin in a cup of milk will work in a pinch.

I'm working on gathering soup and stew recipes that are hearty and tasty but without strong flavors. I can make them ahead in December and freeze in serving sizes to pull out for easy meals once home.


Next up, clothing preparations!

Busy Bags!

Now that we have passed court, we are waiting for our judge to sign the court decree. Once that is done, our NGO can apply for a new birth certificate and then we will receive travel dates.

To celebrate yesterday, we went and got big sister's passport application submitted. That should arrive in 2-3 weeks and we'll be all set to travel. We had Skype today and I tried to tell Esther she is our daughter now and what her new name is but without a translator there, I know she understood none of that. It is a mixed blessing to get to Skype when she can't understand what you are saying and you can't touch them and interact like you can in person. It's always a guess on if she can see and hear you as well. So ready to have her home for good!


I've been working on gathering activities for Esther to do during the pickup trip...time spent in the car for the ride to the capital, in the hotel and then on the plane ride home. Esther likes to hold little things in her hand and she has some sensory needs she meets that way so I'm hoping some of these will be a comfort for her. There are two apps that I have been doing with her over Skype. They tell the name of the animal in Bulgarian and then the sound it makes. She enjoys that and I usually tell her the name in English as well. I am hoping the first two of these activities will carry over from that to help her learn.

This is what they hold:
  • Farm animals with pictures to match them to 
  • Zoo animals with pictures to match them to
  • Pretend leaves (she likes to twist the stems of real leaves in between her fingers)
  • Feather (ditto-to twist with her fingers or tickle with or learn colors, etc)
  • Lacing animal cards
  • Lacing beads & strings to make necklaces and patterns
  • Lauri puzzles
  • Bead necklaces (she loved these on the trip, both to wear or to hold in her hand)
  • Family pictures to learn everyone's names (I have to laminate these still)
  • Pipe cleaners (to make whatever with)
  • Play silks
  • Stickers and a small notebook to put them on
  • Lauri pegs
  • Color wonder

These haven't arrived but we'll also have a finger puppet busy bag with these in it: 

One final busy bag that I'm still working one will have different textures in it like crinkly paper, bubble wrap, plastic bag pieces, etc that she can hold in her hand.

The last of what I am bringing...
  • Violet Leap Frog Puppy programmed with her new name
  • A little music box...I bought and left one for her on trip 1. I don't know if she got to keep it and what she will be coming home with but it's another thing we have played with during Skype so it will be familiar. 
  • A rain stick
  • Nesting cups (she loved these on the trip)
  • An eye-spy bag with little objects inside to look for (doubles as a bean bag and a sensory toy)
  • Quiet books (we've owned these for a while an my little guys like them)

Not pictured:

  • Bubbles, playdoh, a ball, balloons, a baby doll, and a little toy computer
  • Big sister has regular crayons and coloring books to do with her
  • A straw activity kinda like this one for fine motor practice:

Last thing I'm looking to add to the pile is a weighted lap pad. 

Hopefully these will help pass the time until we arrive home. Of course there is also her big sister and baby sister (plus her toys) to play with which should be limitless fun :)

Feels good to finally be preparing to bring her home!


Next up...food preparations!

Monday, November 24, 2014


Rejoice with us!!!

In a courtroom in Bulgaria today, 
we were officially named the parents of:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Auction Total and other updates

We raised $2500 in our second Bountiful Blessings & Books Auction!! 
$5500 between both of them!

As long as there are no unexpected expenses, once all the auction payments come in, we are now FULLY FUNDED for Esther's adoption!!

We are working on getting the last of the packages into the mail and getting our house back into some semblance of order. Then we can start getting the rooms ready and thinking about packing!!

Days left until court!! 
10 days until I can tell Esther she is officially our daughter <3

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We have a court date!!

November 24th at 9:30am! 

19 days...let the countdown begin :)

A year to the day that I asked my husband if we could adopt her!

2 years and 4 days after Ben's court date :)

A lot to be thankful for this year, as always...we have been very blessed in so many ways!


I just might have cried tears of relief in the store yesterday when we got the email that our dossier was finally at court after 8 weeks of waiting after being submitted to the MOJ!

Praise the Lord!

Now, we are waiting to be assigned to a judge and then for our court date to be scheduled.

Still most likely looking at January travel.

After missing last week's Skype session (maybe due to the time change, they decided to skip it all together?), we were able to talk yesterday. It was wonderful to see Esther's smile for the brief moment the video was clear enough to see her. We can not wait to get her home! It is so hard to talk over Skype without a translator. I just want to hold her.

She was smiling at baby Ruth. 
She looks very bundled up as I know it has gotten quite cold there. 
I hope I am bringing warm enough clothes to meet their approval to take her home in!

Please keep praying for a smooth rest of the process and for Esther's heart to be prepared to join our family. Pray as we prepare our home and children for yet another change when Esther joins our family. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

There is a little boy....

There is a little boy...
On the other side of the world, waiting for his family.

This little boy will always hold a special place in our hearts due to our connection with him. 

This is a hard post to write and share as we wanted more than anything for him to be our son. We are not the family God has chosen for him and so we are praying & hoping to help his family find him.

This little boy has a lot stacked against him...

* He is a boy
* He is already 6 1/2 years old
* He has spent his whole life in an orphanage, without a family
* His special needs will require a lot of your time, attention and patience
* He most likely will require therapy and/or medication to help him control his behavior
* He has delays, as expected due to his background
* He has strabismus and wears glasses
* He has no future where he is at

But he has so much more to offer...

* He has the greatest smile
* He is healthy, strong and growing well
* He is creative
* He is all-boy with lots of energy
* He can talk
* He has a great laugh
* He is capable of learning
* He is fast
* He can run, jump, climb
* He loves music
* He loves electronics
* He can be loving
* He does respond well to firm boundaries
* He is perfectly created in God's image
* He is a child of God and loved
* The right family will be blessed to call him their son

Will you help us find his family?

I have lots of pictures and videos to share with his future family as well as our observations of the time we spent with him in July.

Currently, WACAP has his file if you are interested in inquiring about adopting him. He is listed on RainbowKids, though some of the info there is not correct.

November is National Adoption Month and today is Orphan Sunday

November is National Adoption Month 
and today is Orphan Sunday

Two years ago, this month, Benjamin became our son, no longer an orphan. 

Praying we get news about court soon so we can welcome 
our daughter, Esther, officially into our family!

Please keep her in your prayers <3

Friday, October 31, 2014

One Week Left!

Only one week left to get your bids posted for the books you are wanting to win!

Auction ends at 11:59 PM, EST on November 7th!

Don't wait until the last minute...


We are still waiting for news about MOJ sig or court date or our unspoken request. 
Trying hard to be patient :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Auction Pictures...Part 2

These are the adult section books...

Gardening, Art, Travel, Music, Language, Party Planning, Decorating, 
Pets & Crafting Books. Parenting, Adoption, Special Needs, 
Bible, Inspirational, Health, Cooking, Fiction, Non-Fiction, 
NY Bestsellers, History, Miscellaneous

Bidding ends at 11:59 PM EST on November 7th. 

All of these books are available to be bid on here: 

Auction Pictures...Part 1

Here are some quick looks at some of the over 700 books up for auction in our current auction. There are a lot without any bids yet and many that are going for only $1-$3. This is the perfect time to shop for gifts and get a great deal plus help bring our daughter home at the same time!

Below you can see the New, Signed books, Educational books, Christmas themed books, Children's books, Ballet and Horse themed books!