Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, July 14, Embassy

Abby did not want to get up in spite of being in bed so much yesterday and last night. She got dressed and then wanted to lay back down. Is she depressed? Her hair was a MESS--very tangled from all the rocking and rocking and rocking yesterday.

The 3 of us went down to breakfast. Abby chose only one slice of cucumber and one apricot from all the breakfast buffet. Then she started whining and whimpering. Kevin got her 2 thin slices of ham (or whatever it is) and a biscuit. She acted like it was killing her to eat them. I was embarrassed cuz it felt like we were making a scene down there in the restaurant in the midst of other guests. The waiter helped convince her that if she ate her bread and meat she could have watermelon--I guess she was telling him that's what she really wanted. [So why didn't she take it in the first place?? Smile.]

Once we got back up to our room she wanted to lay down again (and probably re-start the endless rocking) so her smart Daddy had already folded up her couch. She was just whining and whining.

Didi came around 10:00 or 10:30 and we headed to the clinic for the medical exam necessary in order to get her visa. This clinic is not just for adoptions. There are lots of kinds of doctors there--ENT, pediatrics, internal medicine, ophthalmologist, neurologist all in one building. Their names are on this electronic screen that flows by first in Bulgarian and then English over their office door. It also had very narrow halls. First we went to ophthalmology. That doc was very nice and kid-friendly and seconded my assumption that Abby will need glasses. Whoa, she is very near-sighted. The ENT guy just checked her ears, nose and throat (go figure!) so that visit took less than 5 minutes. As Abby kept whining and whimpering [on and on and on and on and on and . . . you get the picture] The Dr. was telling her HE wants to go to America but couldn't find someone to take him. Smile. The next doc (pediatrician?) weighed, measured, listened to heart and lungs and pressed on her tummy. Then we were sent on over to the internal medicine lady. She copied off Abby's immunizations and put the final medical report in a sealed envelope for the embassy. DiDi also went into the neurologist and got an Rx for the Trileptal. We paid something like 75 or 78 leva for the exam.

Then we were off to find a pharmacy to fill the prescription. I stayed in the car with Abby while DiDi and Kevin checked out various pharmacies. Kevin said the 1st one was closed, while the 2nd one didn't have the needed medication. Finally the 3rd place had the correct drug but I guess the doctor there was asking why we were having it filled in Sofia if Abby lived in Pavlikeni. Didi was able to explain the situation satisfactorily and we got enough pills for 25 days.

Meanwhile back at the ranch . . . well, car . . . . Abby kept whining and chanting/singing something about Vili and Pavlikeni and then a long list of names--other kids who were at the Center perhaps? Then her tone changed, the wording changed and I heard "Anna" and "Kevin" and "Toni" I had a good idea that she was not speaking of us very positively. It felt pretty mean. I tried to get her to stop by teasing her--putting her Pocahontas Barbie doll in her face whenever she'd rock in my direction. That irritated her but it did temporarily stop the sing-song. Another time I interrupted her song by singing my own: "I love Abby" sung in a similar sing-song chant and swaying back and forth there in the car. When Didi got back in the car I asked her what Abby was singing and sure enough, she was listing the people she likes and the people she doesn't like--and just guess which side we were on??!! To be honest, it hurt my feelings. I felt rejected.

We got back to our motel room about 12:15 for a snack. Abby drank a bottle of orange Fanta--under some duress and amidst more and continued chanting and swaying. She only ate a few bits of trail mix (same stuff she'd guzzled with so much gusto a couple days earlier that we'd had to hide it from her! Smile.) Good grief, the whining and chanting make we want to scream. And she kept wanting to rock. I'd expected difficult--but not whining and chanting and rocking like a lost soul. I had not expected so much outright rejection nor so much unhappiness. I guess that's what makes it "difficult" -- it's not what you'd expected.

Didi picked us back up for our embassy interview. We drove clear across the city--definitely a part I hadn't seen before. We came to a street with woods (park?) on both sides and what I thought was the left lane totally filled with parked cars. Didi found an empty spot, parked the car and said, "We are here." I'm looking around for "here" and she pointed on down the street. The U.S. embassy was at the end of the street. I took a picture from a distance because I knew I couldn't take one close up. [Hmmph! Can't take a picture of the embassy. Can't get a picture of immigration when we land--and these are two very big mile stones in our adoption journey.] I'd forgotten about having to unload pockets in the first building. We had to leave cellphone/cameras and Kevin's belt there. They checked our passports and returned them to us. Then all 4 of us walked across the very pretty grounds to the 2nd building. I was pleasantly surprised that Didi got to go with us (in Ukraine our helpers could not accompany us into the embassy building. We came into a large room with several comfy cushioned seats and a row of windows. It was nice to see our flag though to be honest seeing Mr. Obama's picture there wasn't that comforting. I didn't even recognize the picture of Mr. Biden.

Abby wasn't whining at least. She was asking Didi about wearing glasses--what her pair will look like. She doesn't think she will like wearing them. We tried to tell her she will like being able to see.

We were called up to the window. We, of course, were separated from the officer (or whatever his title is) by some kind of a protective window. Passports and other paperwork had to be slid through a slot underneath. Didi had all our documents ready: court decree, medical report, new birth certificate and whatever else. It was nice to be taken care of so well ( and not have to dig through the whole stack of paperwork myself trying to find the correct one.) The man at the desk said he'd look over the documents and if everything was in order we'd have our interview in about 15 minutes. He did ask if we were aware of Abby's medical condition and asked the definition of a medical term related to Abby's foot.

So we sat back down. I saw another family at the other end of the room with THREE children! I was thinking, "Wow! That must be a challenge!" Then I heard the boy talking to the man in very good English and wondered how he had learned our language so quickly. As it turned out this couple had 2 bio kids with them along with their newly-adopted 6-year-old daughter. They also are flying out on Saturday--to Memphis. After their turn at the window our 2 little girls started chatting and so did we. It was just nice to visit with fellow-travelers/adopters in English.

Our "interview" was certainly nothing formal. I remember having to raise my right hand and swear about the truth of something at the embassy in Ukraine. We didn't do that here in Bulgaria. This guy just said our stuff was in order, strongly encouraged us to get a U.S. passport for ID, and basically said, "Good luck." Both Kevin and I thought he said the visa would be issued later today but then he said to pick it up tomorrow afternoon.

Abby asked Didi questions about America. She told Didi she thinks she will get used to it. Abby also told her it's normal to cry when you are sad. She was much calmer and more matter of fact.

But when we got back to our room Abby was back to wanting to lay down and rock. She didn't want to play with any toys. I finally got our her Barbie coloring book, traced a picture with her looking on and started coloring it--trying to match the colors of the Barbie on the front. She started getting drawn in. She began helping me choose colors and even joined in the coloring of a couple spots.

I think it was then we went downstairs to the lobby and hailed a taxi. We had the driver drop us off in the Sheraton area and from there we walked to McDonald's. Kevin said people were doing a double-take seeing us with a darker-skinned girl. I just feel like we're on constant exhibit anyway as English speakers so I don't look around at other people much. That being said, I didn't like the vibes I was getting from the little girls at the table next to us. I felt like they were kind of snooty toward Abby--and they definitely were not chatting. [And maybe I just made it up, I don't know.]

On our way home I glanced over and saw a big white building with a Star of David on top. I went over to investigate and sure enough! it was a Jewish synagogue--the largest Sephardic synagogue in Europe. Unlike the cathedrals, the gate was locked. I had read there was a synagogue in town but thought it was in another part of town.

Interestingly enough, there are Christian churches, an Islamic Mosque, and a Jewish synagogue within a block of each other. Interesting but sad: the sign on the front of the synagogue seemed mostly to deal with the size, shape, condition of building, dates, etc. rather than God or people.

We walked back to the Budapest (which is never where I think it will be--I am still SOOOOO turned around in this city.) It was dusk so we went ahead and bot teeth brushed, jammies on, bed folded out and Abby into bed. She doesn't like it when Kevin sits on the edge of her bed to kiss her. She covers up her head. I don't know if it's just uncomfortable or unfamiliar or scary or a combination thereof. And I'm sure that her desire to keep us at a distance falls in there somewhere as well.

It didn't take her long to fall asleep.


  1. Another post to make my day :) it's like I am reading a book every morning at the office and it ends with "to be continued" :)

    awww the Pocahontas barbie doll was the one I gave her as a gift :) used to be my favourite doll when I was a kid, and the only one I kept from my childhood, hope she took it with her in the US and hope she remembers me.

    Seems like walking around in Sofia, you've passed a lot around the area I work in (my office at the bank is right behind the mosque in TZUM). Would've been nice to see you as a family, even from the side.

    It sounds like it was a hard time for her, and for you. Thank you for being so tolerant and patient, I'm sure its thousand times better now, she's just a gold-heart child. I understand and can imagine how other kids looked at her in McDonalds. Discrimination towards gypsy/roma minority does exist here, and thats why I always thought she wouldn't have a good future here, even though raised with the Great efforts of Vili&Mariana in Pavlikeni. Thank God you saved her :)

  2. She really likes the Pocahontas doll. A day or two ago she was looking at one of our books with Pocahontas in it and remarking about it. Right now she has put nearly all of her treasures in a suitcase and put them under her bed--even though she has her own shelves to display them on. I think she is afraid I or our little boys will get into her things. Smile. Hopefully in time she will feel more free to display and play with her things.

  3. Thank you for answering me and sorry for writing my comment so wrong :) hopefully these things don't make her feel sad when looking at them. You seem to understand her and the situation really well :)