I was informed today that I can no longer post photos of our kids on my blog until they are legally ours. So we will be following that rule until that time, which I believe is one week after court.
I cannot help but compare this adoption in Bulgaria to our previous adoptions. I remember being sad to leave Calvin and Silas in Russia (twice) and how hard that was...but it doesn't even come close to the intense emotions that I felt today in saying goodbye to Temenuzhka.
I have tried to identify what makes this situation different from other ones. The only conclusion I have come to is that with Calvin and Silas, they didn't have a say in whether or not they wanted to be adopted. But with Temenuzhka, we are not only choosing her to be our daughter - she is choosing us to be her parents. And that seems to me to be the difference.
This morning we packed up our hotel room, ate breakfast, and drove to Lesichovo. I have absolutely enjoyed my time in Lesichovo. Every time I visit that village, I want to move there. It feels like home to me, somehow. I keep telling Tyler that I am falling in love with Bulgaria. He says that he feels the same way. We would love to move here. How can that be after only five days in this country? I don't know. But there is a strong pull for us both in Bulgaria.
When we arrived at the orphanage, Temenuzhka was right there waiting for us. She had a big hug for me as soon as I could step out of the car. We came inside and had a meeting with all of the staff and the social worker and Maggie and Temenuzhka.
The orphanage director, Naina, led the meeting. We discussed Temenuzhka going to court, when the time comes. We talked about Skype sessions with Temenuzhka every two weeks. We went over plans for her to take English classes to improve her English. Additionally, the whole staff intends to learn the sign language flash cards that we brought for Temenuzhka! I must add how helpful the sign language has been between us and Temenuzhka. She has almost all of them learned and regularly uses signs to communicate with us. I am glad I made the effort to bring those.
Next, Tyler and I played some games with Temenuzhka. She really likes to play the Spot It game. After a while, Naina said that Temenuzhka had a Bulgarian surprise for us.
Temenuzhka made a sweet banitsa with (Turkish delight inside) for us. It was very similar to baklava and was incredibly delicious. The staff said that she made it all by herself! She is quite the chef!
After the dessert, we knew it was time for us to get ready to leave - something we all had been dreading. I went to the restroom and tried to collect myself, as tears were coming. When I came out, Tyler suggested that we all three sit on the couch.
Tyler and I each had written Temenuzhka a letter about our feelings for her. Maggie translated them on the opposite side of the paper. And we presented her with a framed family photo that we had taken when we went in for her visa photos.
We asked Temenuzhka if she wanted to read the letters with us, and she said she would read them later. Then I kept snuggling her, and I told Tyler that I was trying not to cry. He encouraged me that it was okay, so I cried and then Temenuzhka cried with me. It was sad and beautiful at the same time. I was thankful that I could be comforting her and crying with her. I told Temenuzhka that the next time I saw her, I would be bringing her home with me. And she kissed me on the cheek. At this point, all of the staff were crying, too.
We hugged again and then went out to leave. I was able to take a picture of her watching us drive away. I cannot wait to see that orphanage again, because when I do - she will be leaving as MY girl!
Goodbye for now, my little flower! I will see you soon!