Monday, January 26, 2015


I think I'm all caught up now! Esther's first dr apt was supposed to be last Monday but they rescheduled it for Wed. I will update how that goes and than will take a little break and hopefully do the monthly updates like I did when Ben came home.

We took advantage of a sorta warm day to visit a park and finally get a decent picture of all our children together. They enjoyed playing at the park. I wish Spring was closer!

You can't see that there is a huge puddle on the bottom of the slide. 
She is a magnet to puddles and ended up soaked!

She learned how to say 'push please'.

She has no fear!

All our blessings <3

P.S. Ruth is going to be a big sister this summer ;)

First Week Home

Esther is just amazing us at how quickly and smoothly she has adjusted to her new life. She just fits in so well with everyone. We had tears briefly the first night home, and ended up putting her to bed with Emma (since she was familiar) the first few nights but she has since transitioned to her own bed in the same room as all the girls and is sleeping very well. She naps very well there also.

Meals are easy. I puree whatever we are having and she hasn't been picky at all. Like Ben did when he first came home, she eats a lot for breakfast as well. Two packets of oatmeal, a small yogurt, a packet of carnation instant breakfast all mixed together and then either some half/half or pediasure to get the consistency soupy. We are working on getting more calories into her as she is as skinny as can be. She likes pudding and applesauce for quick snacks. When she is full she lets you know. She's messy because she eats quickly. She handles a spoon fine and is a pro at scraping the bowl. She isn't big on drinking liquids so I add it to her meals instead for now.

She likes to play with toys, is curious, self-entertained, loves chasing her siblings around and laughing or schreeching. She tells me and signs "I love you" every time I put her to bed. She's understanding more phrases in English every day and will repeat anything we tell her to say, but she isn't yet saying anything in English yet. She mostly responds to her new name. She can correctly name 4 members of the family on her own and knows/uses a handful of signs appropriately. I'm very happy with her progress and I can not wait to see how she is doing 1, 3, 6 months from now.

We had to move Esther up to a size 4 in clothes for length. Anything with a waistband still falls right off of her.
B 5y, Esther 5y, A 4y, J 2y (there is only a 4 month difference in age between the girls)

 Ben wasn't quite sure what to think of her. He's watched her quite a bit. 
**We have had some regression and acting up since she came home but there have also been a lot of changes for him over the past month (winter break, me being gone for two weeks and staying somewhere and with someone that he knew but was out of routine, pulling him from school, and a new sibling who is getting all the attention) so it's hard to know exactly what the cause is. Things are getting better now that we are working on putting a routine into place.**

 Enjoying all the new toys to play with. 

 She's very cautious and nervous on the stairs. She also walks/runs a bit awkwardly. 

Happy girl enjoying cuddles. She's very accepting of our touch and closeness. 
She seeks us out to hold her when needed. She gives hugs on her own.

 We had a birthday cake for Ruth, sang the song and she enthusiastically cheered afterwards. 
Like Ben, she really enjoyed the cake (hers was soaked in milk).

She likes the dressup clothes and the girls taught her to twirl.

Watching big sister fix food. 

She liked the "Simple Songs" playlist I made on Youtube
but didn't like that there was a commercial on so the music was gone. 

Being silly

 All smiles :)

Showing me her clean teeth. Victory-she opened her mouth 
so I could brush all her teeth, not just the front ones!

Pickup Trip Part 12 - Going Home

After about 2 hours of sleep, I got up and finished up the final details before our ride arrived at 3:45am to take us to the airport. After we were ready, we woke up Esther, got her dressed and she went and sat at the table for breakfast, as had become her habit. It was funny considering she had no idea what time it was.


Waiting for our first flight to Munich.

Eating chocolate-filled croissants.

  The storm cloud face again...because I wouldn't let her have the croissant wrapper (she already had something in her hand that was a little quieter). 

 She got over it pretty quickly.

On the first plane! She didn't flinch, handled it very well.

Four hour layover in Munch. She ate some yogurt while we waited.

She's not a big fan of hanging onto the stroller.

Waiting for flight 2 to DC.

 Finally sleeping.

Someone made herself comfortable!

I couldn't have asked for a better flight home. The girls did very well. Hardest part with Esther was keeping her quiet as she gets a little loud with her squeals when she's happy. Customs wasn't bad and we were so glad to be home. We did not have a welcome home party to greet us, just Daddy and a couple siblings, but by the time we made it home and picked up the kids from Grandmas, it was time to put everyone to bed. We were all very tired. 

Pickup Trip Part 11 - Wednesday

This was our last full day in Sofia. We really enjoyed our time here, though it was hard being away from the rest of the family so long, knowing many of them were sick and really missing us.

We walked to the Promarket one last time to pick up some chocolate to take home. Our NGO came by in the afternoon to drop off the visa/passport for Esther plus her immigration packet.

The rest of the day we just relaxed and got the apartment all cleaned up, us packed up and then un-childproofed the apartment after the girls were in bed. We couldn't decide whether to stay up all night or try to get some sleep. I had an alarm set but was afraid I had not done it right and wouldn't hear it go off.

Pickup Trip Part 10 - Tuesday (Embassy)

Today we had the morning to relax and after lunch we were picked up go to the US Embassy for our visa interview.
Morning walk.

 Working on self-help skills. She's prefers to let you do it for her.

Always has a piece of wrapper in her hand. This was a Milka chocolate wrapper.

Waiting for our driver to take us to the embassy.

 Sisters holding hands <3

Embassy apt went well. Only issue was the medical dr forgot to fill out all of the boxes so our NGO had to drive it back over to her in the morning to complete and then return it to the embassy. 

After the embassy we met up with three other US adoptive families for dinner. Esther ate a bowl of potato soup plus half of Ruth's plate of risotto, which I watered down a little to cool and thin it. 

Pickup Trip Part 9 - Monday

Today we met with friends and went back to the underground shopping area to pick up some more felted animals to go with the felted Nativity I bought the day before.

 Happy girl ready for another day. 

 Crazy guy who wouldn't go away! Our friends ended up having to pay him to leave. 

Looking in the sweet shop with new friends.

 The front of our apartment building. You actually go through this building, then through a courtyard and our apartment was in the building behind it. Felt very safe. 

Esther surprised me by wanting to eat these cracker/biscuits. Of course she just filled up the roof of her mouth again, couldn't swallow it (requiring me to finger swipe it out) but it was nice to see she was willing to try things that weren't solid. 

Another food battle meal. She refused to swallow what she had in her mouth. 
I even had the waiter tell her to in Bulgarian and she wouldn't.