This last week has felt as if it were a dream. God has been more than gracious in every last detail. Smoothing our path and answering pray after pray, receiving clear confirmation after clear confirmation every step of the way.
Our time with Hope was better than we could have imagined. Each day her sweet little personality was being unveiled to us more and more. Her overall demeanor changing, relaxing and trusting us little by little.
From our time with Hope’s caregivers we could tell that she is well cared for and genuinely loved. She has been given a pet name, a term of endearment. Translated from Bulgarian her nickname is Little Mushroom because the caregivers say she is sweet, small and fluffy. Hope is incredibly sweet and she is small with just the right amount of huggable and kissable fluff.
Our last day with Hope was a treasured memory that will help to hold us in the months to come as we wait to return and bring her home. Our day started out with her first ever car ride to a cute little photo studio for her passport photos. Hope was dressed in a red and white striped Hello Kitty dress and she looked so beautiful.
The whole way to the photo studio she was wide eyed and curious. She seemed to liked the car ride there as long as we kept moving. Her picture was taken between crying and on the car ride back she was even more upset. The experience was all too much and she was ready for her nap. The blessing in our first outing together was that I was able to hold her the whole time and on the way back to the orphanage I softly sang to her and she became quiet and relaxed in my arms.
I believe it was one of our first of many breakthroughs in her beginning to trust me to comfort and care for her. This will take time and a lot of patience on our part yet I have hope that God will work in miraculous ways in restoring and healing our daughter.
After her morning nap we were given the opportunity to feed Hope her lunch. This was our third opportunity during the week and the other feedings were not very successful. We are learning that Hope needs slow transitions and being placed in a different room with all new things to see is not ideal for her to relax enough to eat. Even so, most likely because of our bonding time in the car she was much more peaceful and allowed me to feed her a good portion of her lunch. This time did wonders for my mama heart. This was yet another first that I will forever treasure.
After lunch, Hope takes an afternoon nap. This was our time of the day to explore her beautiful city. Hope’s birthplace rests along the Black Sea. It is a charming city and our time here only solidified our love for Bulgaria.
In the late afternoon we returned to Hope’s orphanage for our last visit. We prayed for God’s strength as we would soon say our goodbyes. Like each morning and afternoon visit we took Hope to the outdoor playground and garden. The grounds are very well cared for with many large trees, expansive grassy areas, roses and irises as well as a few playground areas and even a hedged off area with many turtles.
Each day as we carried Hope out to the playground area we would walk through a pathway with roses of a many colors on each side. Each time Hope would kick her feet and happily coo and babble. Her face lighting up with joy, her big brown eyes full of wonder. Monday was her first time ever experiencing the outdoors. In four short days, she has come to love our time outdoors.
During this last visit as during each visit, we spread out a quilt with a few select toys, textured balls, a little picture book and her family album. She would intently look at her photo album touching each page as if she already knew each of our faces. She is very intent, focused and curious in her play and we would spend our times together closely interacting and using each moment as an opportunity to draw her out of herself. By Thursday we could see more and more of her true personality. The sparkle in her eyes brighter, the giggles and smiles more frequent. It was a gift to see her coming out of her shell and coming into more of who she truly is, our daughter Hope. This gives our hearts encouragement knowing that in time, Hope will fully bloom into all she is created to become.
Robert and I wanted this last visit to be a special time that we prayed would bind her hearts to ours at an even deeper level. We spoke a few select verses and we each prayed a blessing over her. As we played and took each opportunity to connect and cuddle her we played worship music and I again sang over her. Hope was peaceful and content as she quietly played and interacted with us. This time was sacred, I believe even a holy experience. A sweet memory I will tuck into my waiting and weary mama heart to give me hope in the days and months to come.
As I conclude this post, we are sitting in our hotel room on the fourteenth floor in the capital city of Sofia. My heart is grateful for all that we have experienced this week and for the gift of so many treasured moments with our baby girl.
Today we fly home. I miss our four other children yet I long to be with Hope again. I pray that we will have the strength to leave our daughter’s country and for this time of separation to pass quickly. We know in our hearts that in the grand scheme of things this time away from Hope is very short. Soon very soon, we will bring our daughter home.
His love has come and He is making a way. To God be the Glory, Forever, Amen.