The day started out very early. We had slept for 12 hours the night before and all the excitement of the next day prevented me from settling my thoughts until well after midnight! I think I got about three hours before the alarm went off an hour before we had to be down in the lobby.
It was snowing outside and sticking to the roads. It was pretty once you got out of Sofia and the fog cleared up. Toni had arranged to have bag breakfasts waiting in the lobby for us and we did not have to wait long before Filip showed up. Halfway to our destination, the snow was completely gone, nothing on the ground and we ended up getting to the village early.
It was different seeing his village again. Seemed smaller, more rundown, deserted, yet familiar. I am sure some of that is from the effects of winter. It is where our son called home for 6 years, though, and I am glad to have some pictures to help him remember it when he asks. We seemed to come to each landmark quicker...the park we went to which had a couple new things to play on that were not there before, the spot the dog was that almost bit him, the street corner he ran in front of a truck at, and the little uphill road leading to those green gates.
We parked in the back, gathered our things and headed in.
We got to the orphanage by 8:30 But it was a good half hour before they brought him out. The director had just returned that day from holiday break. They came for his clothes and while we were waiting we gave the director the gifts. She was very happy about the ring links for the cribs as they are not available in BG she said.
Ben was brought out. He had been freshly bathed and the clothes I had brought were a little big on him. 3t clothes and size 10 shoes. Ben liked the puppy but kept on going to the other rooms like the first time we met. He called me mama but did not really want to be touched. He was curious about what we had brought and had me open the backpack for him. We did a little paperwork and then they said we could go to the school so they had us leave Ben there for a few minutes while we did that. It is right around the corner and I am glad we went because I was able to meet the aide who had been helping Ben in school for the past 2 years and ask her some questions and get a picture. We have her to thank for how much he has improved developmentally. Filip asked about seeing the rooms Ben did everything in so we could take pictures and they did let us as the kids were not in there. It was the same 3 rooms we saw before. They eat their meals in that tiny middle room. I asked which bed was his and they told me a different one from last time. Maybe it has changed or maybe she did not know and chose the closest one.
We went back to the lobby and reminded them about the pictures they promised so they got to work on it. They ended up giving me a little book full of writing and about ten pictures from when he was a baby until he was 3 and then they made a CD with all the pictures from ages 3-6. I can't wait to get the booklet translated to see what it says and look at the pictures on the.CD once home. It will help us piece together the missing pieces of his first 6 years.
Ben was brought back out. He wanted me to hold him this time and did not want down. He still likes his water bottles and gathering all his treasures in his arms.
They gathered all the staff together to say goodbye and do there ritual. At the end they wished us well, him success and a good future, gave me a small bouquet of a clover like plant that smelled strong and then we went outside. The director dumped water on the ground for us to walk across, we got a picture with her then left.
The drive back to the capital went well. No carsickness! Ben alternated between sitting between me and big brother and on my lap. He liked having my arms around him and would put my hand back if I moved it away. He loved wearing the kepi and copied what J did with it.
We found a place to park and walked to the passport office. That was a quick in and out stop and we were on our way again to the hotel. We headed up to the room to start to get to know our new son and brother and face time home so the rest of the family could see him.
It was surprisingly not emotional like I expected. So happy to be together again and to help our boy begin to heal.