Sunday, June 30, 2013

He's Home!


After a very long trip, Dan and Joseph are finally home where they belong!
it was a very rough night...Joseph was overwhelmed and tired and didn't handle coming home very well.  This morning was difficult, too...he had a hard time being around anyone but Daddy.  He has done a lot of crying and we're just trying to figure out what best to do to keep him from being overwhelmed.

It's been several more hours now and Joseph seems to be settling in a little bit more than he did initially.  He had a much needed haircut, spent some time getting to know us all and is taking a nap right now.

It was a rough start...but the poor little guy has been through so much this past week.  It's going to take time.  We were all very encouraged with how much better he was handling things after lunch today.  He just seemed less stressed.  And we're so thankful that he's eating...crying a lot about it, but he is at least eating.  We've bathed and changed him now and I can't even explain to you how under-fed this little guy was.  It's down-right scary. That's a big priority for us right him adjust and get him eating.

Praying that he continues to settle in more and more each day.

We cannot begin to say "Thank You" enough to those that prayed for us and for Joseph and for those that donated to help bring him home.  We could not have gotten to this point without your support.  Please keep praying.  This is just the start of what is going to be a difficult journey for our family.  Now the hard work begins.  Please remember us in your prayers!

We plan to blog a lot.  We always treasured being able to read the adjustment periods of other adoptive families because it helped us to understand the whole adoption process...the good and the not so good of it all.  Check back...and we'll try to keep you posted on how it's all going :)

God is good.  And it is good to finally be all together.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


They've come a long way...but Dan and Joseph are stuck waiting on one of their connecting flights that has been delayed several times now.  At this point, we don't know when they'll be getting home.
They are both pretty tired, but Joseph has been doing really well up to this point!

Dan said Joseph's getting really tired now...and the airport is a pretty busy, noisy place.  Please say a prayer that he can hang in there will all their delays.

We'll be back here soon.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Finally heading home!

Dan is finally heading home with Joseph tomorrow!
Please say a prayer for them both...they have a very long trip ahead of them and I know they are both going to be totally exhausted.  Praying that Dan can manage Joseph well through the lengthy journey and that Joseph can deal well with all the craziness of international travel.  

Could you please say a prayer that their travels are uneventful and safe?
Maybe you could also pray that Joseph will eat despite all the change and chaos?

We'll keep you posted as they get closer and finally make it home to us!
And, yes...we are all VERY excited to finally have them home ;)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Zoo Visit

Today I was going to try to go to Boyana Falls in Vitosha mountain national park, but since the weather wasn't cooperating, I decided to take Joseph to the zoo instead.  It was a bit of a flop, I'm still learning Joseph's limits and I think this trip was a little ambitious.
Waiting at the metro station for our train
At the entrance of the zoo

At the primate cages, wasn't interested

Some of the primates

Wasn't too interested in the zebra either

A car ride was a little interesting

Too out of his comfort zone to eat...

So I got a cab (I think charged me a too much) and got back to the hotel where Joseph is in his bed to take a nap and try having lunch again when he has slept a little.  Tomorrow is busy with more paperwork; I wish we could head home now and get Joseph use to home instead of this hotel room.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Cathedral of St. Joseph
 So today I had to make it so church and yesterday I had scoped out what I thought was the Catholic church nearby.  I gave myself 45 minutes to walk to the church before Mass.  When I arrived at the church, it was still locked, a local guy tried to strike up a conversation with me.  Being American, I couldn't communicate in his Bulgarian or Spanish- but I did my best with Google translate on my iPod.  Turns out I was at the wrong church, so I scrambled to find out where I had gone wrong in my search, and found that I didn't walk far enough down the road to the Catholic church.

Inside the Cathedral
 Even with my mistake I was able to make it to Mass for 9am.  Following the Mass in Bulgaria was tough, but I muddled through.

Church near the open air market
After Mass I went for a walk and came across an open air market.  All kinds of fruit and veggies, dried fruit, clothes and some other stuff.  There was an Orthodox church nearby and it was playing their Mass out through the speakers on the outside in the market.  It sounded beautiful.

After my walk I headed back to the hotel and hung out with Joseph.  He's doing okay with the medicines the doctor prescribed him.  I forgot to mention that when I brought him in, the doctor had me weight him twice, she couldn't believe that he only weighted 21 pounds.   Tomorrow I bring him in for his official medical examination and get his photo and application put in for his Bulgarian passport.

Spending time with Joseph
View from our room

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Gotcha Day

Wow, after such a long wait it was great to finally get Joseph out of the orphanage; for good!

He's been great, cuddly and calm, and has only fussed when something is wrong.  After picking him up we drove from Varna to Sofia, ~7 hours with stops.  Joseph was great the whole time and only started getting fussy during the last hour of the drive.

My challenges have mostly about what to feed him- The orphanage workers said that he'd eat everything put in front of him as long as it's pureed.  I've found that this isn't the case and he a little more picky then I was lead to believe; making find food for him a little tricky.

The other problem is that Joseph left the orphanage sick.  He had some congestion the day I picked him up; and it only got worst throughout the day.  Since I was more concerned about food and liquids, it kinda got put on the back burner.  When he woke he was worse and I thought he had a fever too, I decide to call my attendant to get him looked at.  

The doctor told me that it was good that I brought him in, he has a viral infection and I caught it early enough that it shouldn't pose much of a risk, but that if it had been left untreated it could have gotten really bad given Joseph's general poor health.

I don't know when Joseph would have seen a doctor If I didn't, it just goes to show that a family that cares is  the best place for a child.
Finally broke him out!

Getting use to the seat belt

Joseph took a little nap during the drive

A monument celebrating Bulgaria's 1300th birthday, built by the Socialists

I'm getting really bored Dad!

So we're hanging out at the hotel getting rest and eating what we can, and I'm glad I'm his Dad.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Spoke with them...

From Kim:

We finally got to video chat with Dan and Joseph!  It was so nice to see them both...Joseph looks good...and desperately in need of a good haircut!  He was crawling all over the hotel bed, looking pretty happy...and he was hugging and curling up with was just so nice to see him looking content and being with his Daddy.  Its so exciting to see him OUT of the orphanage...its so different  seeing him out of that institutional type setting.  It's so good to know that he's out and he's with his Dad.  It sounds like he has some kind of upper respiratory thing going on...he's coughing a lot.  Luckily, he has a medical appointment on Monday.

 Dan said he did awesome on the long car ride and has really been handling all the changes really well.  His biggest concern right now is getting him to eat.  He really hasn't eaten much of anything today and hasn't drank anything.  He's already a pretty thin little guy...please pray that Dan finds what works to get him eating more.  When I spoke to him a few minutes ago, he was on his way to trying to get them both something to eat.

I'm sure Dan will be posting stuff as well once they get settled.  Today was a long day of car rides and getting to where they'll be staying for the week.  We'll put some pictures up soon!

Still waiting to see his handsome face ;)

I skyped with Dan at about 12:30am this was 7:30am Friday morning for him and he was packing up to check out of the hotel and head to the orphanage and pick Joseph up.

Right now it's about 3:40pm there and Dan is still in the process of taking a car from Varna to Sofia, Bulgaria.  He and Joseph need to be in the Capital city to spend the week finishing up all the paperwork, medical appointments etc. before they can come home.  Its about a 5 1/2 hour car ride with no stops.  I wanted so badly to be able to speak to him as soon as he picked Joseph up, but there wasn't any place for internet access so he could talk with we're waiting.  And waiting.  The very first time we'll be able to skype with him and introduce him to his siblings will be when he finally arrives at his hotel in Sofia. 

Praying that Joseph's first long car ride is going well...and waiting ( a little impatiently) to see them and talk to them once they get in and get settled!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Finally Here

Well, after nearly 24 hours of traveling I've made it to Bulgaria.  The flights were pretty good and my only difficulty was having to go through security a second time in DC for no reason...
So Kim asked for me to take a lot of pictures, so here are some moments I captured so far...
A selfie of me in Frankfurt, waiting for a connection

Arriving at Varna International ;)

A shot while waiting for my attendent, the hills in the distance are what struck me.

After grabbing some dinner I walked around the cathedral again

One thing I like about Varna is all the little courtyards that people have, this looked particularly peaceful with the grape trellis.
So I'm pretty tired after my travel and I have a really big day tomorrow.  I hope that Joseph likes getting broken out and that I can make this transition period as easy as possible for him.


Dan is in Varna...

Just a quick note:

Skyped with Dan this morning...he is finally in Varna!  He says his flights were really long and tiring, but he's finally arrived.  Now he needs to run around and transfer his money to local currancy, pick up an adapter etc. and then hopefully get some sleep. 

Thank you for all the prayers for him.

He will be picking Joseph up at his orphanage tomorrow morning Bulgarian time.
They are 7 hrs. ahead of us, so its exciting to know that when we wake up tomorrow morning he will have already picked him up! 

I'll post as soon as I hear something from Dan after he picks Joseph up :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Airport in D.C....

Just a little mini update ;)

Dan has already flown from Charlotte to D.C.  He's now waiting in the airport in D.C. for several hours to catch his very long overseas flight to Frankfurt, Germany.  He will be flying this afternoon and all through the night.  He should arrive in Varna, Bulgaria around 5:30am our time tomorrow morning. 

I can't even begin to tell you how incredibly excited we are! 
Please keep up the prayers for Dan as he travels this very long trip to bring our boy home.

More to come... ;)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Love of Christ and Dan's leaving for Bulgaria...

I've wanted to write so much here on this blog...but life with 5 kids at home can be busy, especially when one of those 5 is a young baby.  There has been so much going on these past few weeks.  Lots of emails back and forth with our adoption agency and the agency in Joseph's country.  I can finally, offically post that Joseph is from Bulgaria!  So, if you were wondering which Eastern European country he was from, it's Bulgaria ;)  Bulgaria is not the country that we originally set out to adopt from...instead it is the one that God hand-picked for us.  Because that is where Joseph was.   And it is now a country that has become part of our family.

Dan leaves for Bulgaria tomorrow.  We can hardly believe it.  It just doesn't seem real.  Even with the suitcase in the hall, filling up with all the necessary things...its still hard to truly grasp the hugeness of this all...that on Friday morning,  Dan will be taking our little boy out of his orphanage forever and bringing him home to us.  I'm washing little boy clothes and worrying that maybe they might not be the right size and I'm packing away baby food since Joseph is used to pureed and watery foods and I want to make sure he's eating...and all the while I keep coming back and reading these verses in the bible....every day now for about a week I've been taking in these verses from Ephesians (underlining emphasis is mine)...

17 ... And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I just keep thinking to myself..."how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." 

It is so wide and long  that it takes simple people and stretches them across the ocean to rescue the forgotten.

Christ's love is so deep that it pushes us to take on things like adopting a special needs child because
the deepness of Christ's love is not about living our own lives in prosperity, but about laying our lives down for others.

Many people put off the idea of adoption because its not practical, its too expensive, its too difficult.  From an intellectual standpoint, it seems kind of crazy to go through all this and take a stranger into your family.  But scripture is very clear that God's love "surpasses knowledge."  Its just more than we can grasp.  And we have definitely found this to be true.
This adoption has taken and stretched us far beyond ourselves...and it has witnessed to how long and wide and high and deep our God's love really is.  That He would put this on our hearts to go all this way and through all this effort to love this one little boy.  That is not us.  That is God.  This was all God's doing.  And He truly has done immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.  We  prepared for the worst...not being sure what to expect.  And Joseph was amazing.  And our hearts broke to leave him.  And we can't wait to bring him home.  

We are so thankful that we heard God's call and answered it.  There is nothing sweeter in life than doing what God calls us to matter how hard that calling might be.

Please pray for my amazing husband...who not only happily welcomes all the kids that God blesses our family with, but goes even further to be obedient to God's call to stretch and adopt and says "Yes, Lord!"  He is my other half.  I love him dearly.  And I will miss him while he is away bringing our son home.  He will be away for his birthday AND our anniversary.  I am so thankful for his willingness to go bring our boy home.  I'm a lucky girl.

Pray for safe flights tomorrow.  Pray for an easy and smooth transition for Joseph.  The orphanage is all he's ever known.  We've been praying for months now that his transition from the orphanage to our home would be a smooth one for him.  Please pray for his well-being while he is in Bulgaria....with new sights, sounds, food, surroundings.  Please pray that he's not too overwhelmed by it all.  

I'll keep you posted about Joseph's Gotcha Day on Friday morning and how Dan is doing on his trip.

Thank you to all that have been supporting us with your prayers and donations.  We are so very thankful!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Our South Mountain...

When we lived in New Hampshire, we had "our place" that we brought the kids to.  It was just a little, out of the way creek with a sandbar that the kids could play happily.  It was a quiet place...we're not much for loud amusement parks and tons of people.  We'd much rather hang out in a creek where the kids (and Dan!) can build dams and catch critters we can photograph and look up in our field guides.  We've finally found "our place" here in the's South Mountain.  We love it there.  We've been several times, and its always the perfect day.  We've decided we really need to make time to get back there on a more regular basis and make that a place that the kids remember as they grow up.

We know that things are going to be pretty intense when Joseph gets home.  We also know the need for keeping him at home and keeping his surroundings small and consistent for quite some time.  So we decided to get out together and spend Memorial Day at "our place" and it was a perfect day.  I was so thankful to spend that time with all of my family that I love so dearly and just soak in what we have now before we expand yet again to welcome Joseph into it all.

So grateful for the time we had there....

I wonder whether Joseph will like South Mountain as much as we do?

Lunar Moth...

Lilly watching the moth...

Lots of salamanders...

Dan & Emmeline catching a nap...

treasures from the creek...

The view from my lap...

Everyone enjoying snow peas from the garden...