Friday, April 4, 2014

The Finale

Every good television show (with more than one season) has a season finale.  Sometimes the ending feels good as it brings full closure.  Others just leave you hanging, wanting more in the next season.  When I last left you all, Abraham had a sort of hit-or-miss kind of a day where he had tantrums and he had fun times.  As a penultimate chord in this musical phrase, it had some uncertainty; how was this going to resolve?

We were up earlier than normal this morning as our appointment at the orphanage was at 8:15.  And to top it all off, we had to finish packing up our stuff as we would be leaving straight to Sofia after the visit.  Bus-sy, Bus-sy, Bus-sy.  Luckily I got everything together nice and quick, and we were out the door early.  I wanted every little bit of time with Abraham that I could get because this would have to last us for a few months.   

Also, today’s visit: 1 hour.

We got there about ten minutes early and there was no one there to help get Abraham ready, nor was the social worker there who was our designated overseer, at least that’s what I think.  So, we had to wait.

In the meantime, I got everything together for our last visit.  I had some goldfish crackers (baby size for easy eating) and some other toys that I had forgotten about.  I also had several things to leave behind for his newly re-hired Baba to help him with!  That’s right, he now has his Baba back; she starts next week.  If you don’t know what a Baba is, its like a grandmotherly figure to play and look after the little ones, a nice personal, and loving interaction.  The Baba program at this orphanage was discontinued last November due to funding issues, so we are very grateful that someone will be spending 1:1 time with Abraham on a daily basis again.

I left a photo book of our family and an audio-recordable book where the book plays back a pre-recorded reading as the child turns each page.  Sam, Joey, Rosemary, and I took turns reading to get him used to our voices.

I also left two disposable cameras that can be used to take photos of the little guy while I’m away.

Oh, here comes Abraham now!

He was full of life when he came into the play room.  That’s right, we were in the same venue as before, but he seemed very happy.  I heard that they were feeding him breakfast, and I have a feeling that had something to do with his good mood.

Today was a tour of the toys and going through all of the fun times that we had that week.  I started by feeding him goldfish crackers.  Oh, boy did he love those goldfish!  I gave him as much as he would take; I only have this hour left with him and the rest of his life to unspoil him.

Real food meets pretend "play food" he repurposed from various toys
We blew bubbles and we played with some silly putty.  He played his waiter game this time with live food in his new play dish, my empty can of nuts.  Oh we played our little spinning game on the floor and I tickled him.  It was a really great time with Abraham.

One touching moment happened when he decided to go off on his own to eat the goldfish in one of the cups while walking around the room.  I took that opportunity to play a little ditty that I wrote about a year or so back.  I really didn’t have any meaning for the song when I wrote it.  They were notes, but that was about it.  For me, that’s incomplete.  But it came to me that I should play this melody for him today and see how he reacts.

Just writing about this is choking me up.  So, I started playing and I looked at him.  The melody is rather tender and I thought very fitting for saying good bye or as a lullaby.  He was standing still, looking out of the window eating his goldfish.  He was listening closely to what I was playing.  And then he looked right at me, eye to eye.  I can’t explain, but it was something deep that happened there.  I knew that this was his song – I just didn’t know it at the time I wrote it.

Gosh dern it – I’m glad that I’m writing this now and not at the Munich airport.  People would think that I’m nuts!  My eyes are just leaking water for some reason.

Anyway, I knew that this was my boy and that he would be home before too long.  As soon as the visit began we had to say good-bye.  We hugged and I kissed him and told him that I love him (in Bulgarian and in English).  It was one of the toughest things to say good-bye to him and leave him behind.  I still don’t think that I’ve fully gotten over it.  

Once we left the orphanage it was a 3.5-4 hour ride back to Sofia.  I didn’t write about the drive over, because I wanted to get into the writing of the visits with Abraham, but it was a very interesting drive across Bulgaria.  We drove through mountains and flatlands (not Flatland) and saw all sorts of vegetation.  Yavor was great company on both drives – I almost think that I need to put up a post of all the things that I learned from Yavor on this trip.  But anyway, from time to time, I would ask him what this tree was, or what are those flowers, etc., and he was kind to illuminate my ignorance.

When we arrived in Sofia, Yavor took me to a very nice Italian pizza place: Leo’s Pizza.  Yeah, no joke, no Cyrillic.  It was very nice and I am sure that I’m going to make use of them in the future when I come back for Abraham for good.  Leo’s Pizza had a lot of the same pizzas that I had previously seen when overseas (like the Margherita) and was genuine Italian style.  Very tasty.

We followed that up with some sort of Italian gelatinous cream that was also really nice.

Yavor then drove me the rest of the way to the hotel to drop me off and say good bye.  I have to say that he helped make the trip so much easier.  Not only in bridging the cultural divide, but in helping with the play times.  Even though Abraham doesn’t speak, he does respond to Bulgarian and understands what is being said to him.

Ciao, Yavor!  Thanks for your invaluable help on this trip!
After we said our goodbyes, it was time to get lost again.  Well, not really--I was on a mission... well, a series of missions:
  1. Folk Art Store--Time to get some souvenirs!  I got various little things that I knew the family would enjoy.
  2. St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral--I wanted to go and pray in thanksgiving to God for helping me through the week.  I got there in the three o'clock hour, on a Friday of Lent, to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  I really couldn't have thought of a better "coincidence" for my stop there.
  3. St. Alexander Nevsky Bulgarian Orthodox Cathedral--OK, I didn't have a map (that I knew of--little did I know that I bought a map from #1 above), so that means that I picked a direction and just started walking.  I kept walking in a straight line because I knew that I did not have the energy to get TRULY lost again.  I made it all the way to a park that was in the middle of the city before turning around.  I did enjoy taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of Sofia before returning to the hotel.

I made my way back to the hotel for some Skyping with Sam and the kids before heading for my last meal at the hotel’s PECTOPAHT.  I had some seafood risotto, excellent as usual.

And now, I am writing this blog.  Wakey time is 3:45 am for me for me to catch my 6:30 flight outta here, so I thought that it would be good to knock this out early before I go to sleep.

Thank you all for coming along on the journey.  I might write some more after I get over the jet lag on the way back.  I didn’t write about Sunday and I’m really really considering the “What I learned from Yavor” post.

I thank God that he looked after me and my family so far in this adoption and thank Him for our many blessings both here and soon to be here.  I know that He will see us through to the end.  And, at the end, I have no doubt that God picked little Abraham to be our child, and I am so thrilled that we found out.  The next couple of months will be tough, but we’ll get through it.

St. Christopher, pray for us!
God bless,

PS – Exactly 10 years ago I performed my senior music recital as a music major in college.  Is it a coincidence that music had a part to play today?

Until we meet again, little guy...

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