Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tying a Knot and Hanging On

Well, our swimming start to being altogether as a family lasted 1 week exactly. After our first American check ups, and a jaw dropping set of plotting on the growth curve, it was clear Princess P needed to be admitted for a more thorough once over, and likely supplemental feedings. And after her EEG, MUCH better seizure control. The real monkey wrench actually has proven to be her gut though. Too many years of dehydration and a propensity for slow motility just because of her CP, and she has a belly full of stool so hard as to be, quite literally, rocks. She's not a happy camper, and who could blame her....My belly hurts thinking about it. Can't go up on the feeds, but it is no simple thing to reverse the constipation either. She's being quite the trooper, in spite of it all. She managed to get her brother for roommate, in a misadventure serving only to give Mr. P & I more grey hair. Thomas randomly developed cellulitis on his face, and he's needed a bit of stronger antibiotics to get that settled. The staff here has been wonderful, and super accommodating. Thomas is thrilled with their movie collection (and Penny seems to like Pok√©mon, lucky me ;p) Penny meanwhile, is busy charming everyone who comes in her path. Except to fuss at the intern for stroking her hair (sorry kiddo, you *do* have fab hair, it's hard not to touch!) She's shown off a bit for therapy services, played opossum during her hearing screen, and had decided the best spot to sleep is really the cot (2' wide) that's supposed to be Mom's. While entirely productive, I am 100% ready to be HOME.  Tommy's lucky day should be today. Pen & I have stopped holding our breath ^_^

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....Mr. P, the big kids, and some wonderful church friends are holding down the fort. Fanny is settling into a little routine, learning to love vanilla ice cream and mooching Paul's peanut butter toast (in microscopic pieces, lest you want peanut butter toast pulp spat out, ick!) The kids are quite certain that she's saying coat, and it seemed as though, while indistinguishable in any language, she was babbling in her play too. I get to live vicariously via Skype, and see her learning to brush her hair all by herself last night.  

I've managed to snag a few cute pictures
 The nice PT ladies tricked out my chair, so I can lean back a bit.  Bibs, while so *not cool* for my teenage princess, have become a necessity item. I don't think she's ever been so hydrated in her life....and she has no earthly clue quite what to do with spit, poor baby! The nurses aren't quite sure but what we should weigh those bad boys at the end of the day & count it for output.

 The EEG. We chucked the multi-coloured leads coming out the back looked like dreads that would make George Clinton proud...
So we continue to wait. Prayers for speeding healing, and insight for each person on her care team are greatly appreciated! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Little brother, BIG hero

Title pretty much says it all:
It's been a long day, but a GOOD day.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Safely Home

Not snow, nor sleet, nor lack of sleep, no crazy snow blind drivers on 95 south, nor even L O N G & S L O W immigrations lines at Dulles could deter us. We rolled into home about 9 last night, in various stages of total jet lag/up for 26 hours straight/dead on our feet disorientation. Got meds settled and went to BED!!! The girls slept well, though early birdy Fanny outdid herself and woke at 3:30. I tried to settle her back in, to no avail. Creeping out of bed round #2, she met the dog. Which scared the blazes out of her. Daddy, whom she wasn't so much as going near last night, was her hero. And mine too, b/c he let me go back to sleep for several more hours. We switched off around 7, and by 9, everyone was fed, changed, got meds, and even the critters were caught up on. The big kids went to the sledding hill, and the little guys, plus Fanny, tooled about in the driveway getting level sledding ;-) Penny got to try out her new wheelchair, and we discovered that Grey likes it even better than she does. And as further proof that God really, really loves me, all 4 little ones (Penny, Fanny, Joshers, & Grey) laid down pretty much at the same time for afternoon naps. Now if only Mommy got one.

Fun pictures thus far:
Laura & Sarah on the last hot cocoa run!

Sleeping on the plane

No sleeping, but not crying either. ;)

Someplace over Lancaster. Hi Susanna!!

Adoptive parent & pack mule are the same word in Bulgarian....

 Lucky number 1000. You will have to check out Reece's Rainbow in the next few days to see what I mean.

 Hmmm, check this out!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Medical Exams & Cabin Fever

Medical exam day came went, relatively uneventfully. The pediatrician was lovely, and fluent in English as well as Bulgarian. I realize just how fluent when, as Fanny was screaming bloody murder well in advance of anyone actually coming within arm's reach of her, I rather dryly remarked that if she screamed before they touched her, no one would believe her. This got a good collective chuckle (oops!) She answered our questions and assured us Fanny has little more than a virus (which is as unsatisfying here as it is at home, I'd just like to point that out.) Penny's check up was a good as could be expected; she's in fragile shape comparatively, but dwelling over that point is pretty much a classic Captain Obvious sort of thing.  Getting blood work was zero fun, but in a random bit of divine providence, the clinic is located within a specialty hospital of sorts, and it has a maternity unit with a NICU. So the NICU doctor on call (a lovely older lady) came and got Penny's blood work for us. She was as gentle as possible with her, and with me (I must have looked about ready to keel.)

Fanny's fever & the crummy weather broke by Thursday. Which is good, b/c no eating and no outdoors is enough to make everyone quite batty. Friday we ventured out for a good 4 hours, checking out Roman era ruins, a cool gift shop, what I assume is the capital or parliament building, and traversing steps with strollers. Two important take away lessons: 1-Bulgarian sidewalks are nothing to be trifled with (The 1400 lv stroller that was build like a cross between a Sherman tank & a Land Rover no longer seems so frivolous, after BOTH stupid strollers had wheel breaks :( ) 2-Bulgarian people are wonderful; even helping us lug said quasi worthless strollers up and down the stairs totally unsolicited! As the strollers are/were attempting to die, and need to live through the flight home on Wednesday, we made our ventures out Saturday and today a bit briefer (code for don't walk further than you care to carry children back from!)  The weather has been 50-60's, and there was real, actual SUN today. I had no idea how far you could see around the city. It's cooling off now, and finally, the room is not toasty. We got a few crazy looks walking about in short sleeves.

We seem to be settling into a nice routine. Penny has stretched my repertoire of creative feeding/med giving solutions. I have come to the conclusion the one med must be fantastically bad tasting. NOTHING  appears to kill it's taste, and just for spite, it doesn't dissolve worth a rip. I can't wait to be back in the states for liquids and FlavoRx to kill the taste :') She's quickly figured out that these crazy people will hold her all.the.time if she so much as squeaks. Or perhaps, like many of my babies, she too can feel that oh-so-slight change in air pressure from my arms to the crib mattress. ^_^  Fanny has settled in nicely. She's recognizing the routine of the day, and she actually was giggly excited to be going to breakfast this morning. Another big fan of the croissants! Not sure what she'll do if someone has the audacity to be sitting in "our" booth-guess we'll cross that bridge when & if we come to it.

Tomorrow is our Article V interview and the visas should be prepared by Tuesday. We'll get packed up & ready too, as our flight out is at 0630 AM (yea to home by 3:30 pm local time, but still, I am not sure where I lost my mind thinking THAT flight time, which necessitates being up and rolling at o'dark thirty was a great plan!) While the focused time has certainly been good, I am more than ready to get home and have our whole family together under one roof.
a bit of bedhead....(and the look that all teenagers give you when you take their photos first thing in the morning-aaaggghhh!!!)

Getting silly in fun jammies

Little does she know, she's about to become Sarah's perpetual hair dressing victim. But that braid stayed put....

Got a nice shot of the old (like build in the 1600's old) mosque near the Lion's Bridge.

This building appears to be a LONG way from our hotel, but we walked here. Go us!

An 11th century church, adjacent to the Roman Ruins.

Fuzzy, but a pretty typical rest time shot.

She loves pig-tails :)

Sky-scapes from out hotel room.

View of the mountains

Pretty sure this is what a cold front looks like ;-)
(PS-some of these photos were taken by Sarah. She wanted that mentioned, lol!)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Gotcha day & day one as a family

Monday began, as predicted at 0520 loading into Marty's van and making the lengthy trip (on rather impressively snowy roads) to Fanny's home town. Unfortunately, I was awake at about 0200 hrs and stayed that way. After being awake until about 11 the night before assembling the new strollers (that we didn't actually need for the pick up trip, but that's beside the point...)

It was fun to see her foster family again, and the social workers in the town. I was pleased that I actually could remember the way through the town. And sad that it wasn't lunch time, b/c the pizza at the hotel restaurant was fantastic. But we loaded up and were on our way to Penny's orphanage in what seemed like no time at all. While I fully anticipated a total melt down all the way back to Sofia, the girls did really well. The director at Pen's orphanage was wonderful about making certain we had all of our meds together for her, and questions regarding her diet and needs organized. We then loaded back up, again, for the drive back to the capital, skidding into the passport office by the skin of our teeth. And we made it! Passport photos done & even met another adopting family in the milieu that was the waiting room.

The first night went remarkably well, all things considered. No one ate much, but did sleep well. Miss Fanny is rocking the mother of all colds, so she woke up looking a bit like a snot encrusted cousin it. And subsequently survived her first shower. Penny faired slightly better, and had what I would imagine was her first real soak-in-the-tub bath. Penny has been enjoying trying out various new foods (the evil sweet potatoes notwithstanding,) but Fanny took the better part of the day to be coaxed into half a container of drinkable yogurt and a cup of water syringed in. She's running a fever, and seems to be basically miserable. Thankfully, tomorrow is medical check up/check out day, so she'll get another once over, and we can make sure we are on the right track to get her feeling better before we fly home. The sun came out (I think a relatively infrequent event here) and the temperatures weren't too bad, so we ventured as far as the corner store in search of more yogurt, paper towels, dish soap, & other necessities (Fanta.)

Some fun photos from our first couple of days:
You drive in this!!

 Penny's pick up

Fanny & her foster Mom

 Orphan or not, you are NOT coming home with us.....

 More peaches & oatmeal please

 Sisters. I had to smile, as Fanny is already holding Penny's arm.
Well, Miss Fanny is down for the count, and I'd think Penny would be following in short order. Prayers for a uneventful adventure out tomorrow are greatly appreciated. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Catching up, picking up....

Poor little blog has been woefully neglected these last few months. Please forgive me. December was a month of end to end catastrophes and January really hasn't been much better, culminating with my mom going home to the Lord on 1/24.  She bravely fought leukemia, but ultimately the cure was as bad or worse than the illness itself. God was gracious though, He gave us 7 more months, AND Christmas with her, so much more than we expected. It was heartbreaking irony, however, that our call for our pick up dates came the same day as the call that she would not survive this latest setback. We celebrated her life and was loved on thoroughly by the church family I grew up with in PA the following Wednesday, and on Friday, Sarah, Laura, and I headed out for Sofia.

We arrived safe & sound, and got to meet Toni at the airport!!! I am slightly more jet lagged, but not totally beat (yet).  We'll see how I look at 0500 hours tomorrow morning (that's 4th quarter of the Super Bowl, for my east coast readership!) Because tomorrow is......