We are back and we are so grateful for your prayers! Ethan had his biggest meltdown yet for a MAJOR time right before our needing to leave. We finally just had to put him in the middle of our large bed where we both comforted him and i sang to him. He calmed down finally BUT Scott had to get ready to go to the high Hague government official meeting. Ethan lost it again so i tried to console him and he seemed to calm down again but it DID make us wonder how the trip over and the meeting for our Visa and then the "big" meeting would go. I put Peace & Calming oils on both of his feet then had about 7 minutes to get ready!
ETHAN DID FANTASTIC!!! From the beginning all the way through now! It was so wonderful!
What was really wonderful was that there were so many families at the USA embassy at the exact same time for this 'special meeting' with a woman named Patricia who was especially here to hear the concerns from our six families. PLUS, there was another official there named Andrew. There was another official there but i missed it as i was taking care of Ethan at that point as he had come when we were almost done.
It was a half hour drive to the embassy. We got there & were met by an official who told our driver to not park where he did but Marty was just dropping us off. We were told that we were not allowed to even take a picture from the "parking area" let alone anywhere near it! We were told that only two of us were allowed to go in through the security system at a time. (for those of you coming after....think airport security type of deal...minus taking off shoes...SO do not carry coins, wear a belt,etc....it makes it take a lot longer. Also, bring water because it may take awhile BUT you will be asked to take a drink to show that it is REALLY water)
We went through the security point fine two by two. THEN you walk through a very peaceful garden-like pathway to the spot where you will be told what to expect when you get to the states with your child. We had Andrew and Patricia was actually in the room observing. This happens in a setting that reminds me of a jail visiting station where Andrew is behind the glass. We couldn't hear him as Ethan was making a little noise and we found out that they had a speaker that Andrew turned on (just as an fyi...don't be afraid to ask if he can turn it on...it was VERY helpful as we had been struggling to hear all that we were to hear before this time).
He then said that we would be meeting for coffee afterward. We went back to the waiting area which had to have had over 100 'students' waiting to get Visas to America so they could work in our country! Almost immediately we were told to follow a woman for our meeting. We were separated from the woman who we had come with and have been with almost all weekend. We were escorted with a single gentleman from WI (who has a sister in Sauk Rapids), who is doing his second adoption, to another building where we were led to a nice big room with a big table in the center. Just as we were getting our tea and coffee the other families came in. There were six families in all, each with only one child being adopted.
A few seconds later Andrew and Patricia walked in and were extremely pleasant. They both are not usually able to meet people where they can shake hands, Andrew always has a glass in between and Patricia is usually behind a desk with just the paperwork part or maybe will talk on the phone with a family. They both were American.
Our meeting lasted one and one-half hours. We thought that our process took long when we compared it with the families in Ukraine but our adoption took 13 1/2 months....which was VERY SHORT compared to the other families! THREE of the six families had been in process since 2009!!!!!! There were HORROR stories that were told and they eagerly listened and at times explained things of the Bulgarian government. Both were very understanding and i appreciated how Andrew had respect for the Bulgarian government BUT also saw the need for many improvements. It was reassuring to know that he heard us AND that they are working on improvements.
It would take me a VERY long time to explain all of the items that were discussed BUT i wanted to assure you all that one of the biggest ones was the amount of time that happens in-between the first visit and the second. THAT was what i talked about as i explained that as a mother who heard about the deaths and the cold and the weather that was unheard of this past winter and to then not hear a single word in these 5 1/2 months was horrible. EVERY family was heartily agreeing when this was talked about. I said that it would be so much better if they could make it a TWO week stay and have it be done in that time. I, of course, started to get choked up as i spoke about the fact that our 3 yr old son was in 9 month pants and that he was in the orphanage for 5 1/2 months longer than needed.
The gentleman from WI. (whose name was also Scott;)) was just as vehement in saying that it is absolutely RIDICULOUS that so many families have had to wait for the MOJ to literally sign EACH of our paperwork when TWO committees had already ok'd each of our adoptions!!! MONTHS were added because we were all waiting for ONE PERSON to sign a document that we were all sure she didn't even look at before signing.! There was much more but we all felt like both of them heard us and our prayer was that because of this meeting that there would be changes for the future of the children in Bulgaria.
I spoke about the things that i appreciated about the Bulgarian process and how because of our age that we would be unable to adopt in most other countries! We love Bulgaria! We love this place and would come back here if we ever had the money!
OH! To give us on this side more understanding Andrew let us know that the 400 social workers that are covering ALL of Bulgaria only make $200-$250 month....EVEN if they have worked in that position for many years. Each social worker has probably 125 children to cover in BG. He also explained some other things about the BG government....remember it wasn't long ago that it was communist.
We haven't had supper yet so must go but i knew that many of you were anxiously waiting for the meeting results!
(btw, our Ethan is just growing closer and closer to us and we are thrilled!!!
Girls, you are going to have a little brother coming to change your world soon and you are going to love it almost the entire 24 hours a day:)) There WILL be times where it will be overwhelming BUT....oh my, Ethan is so worth it! Love you all...KEEP praying!
ALWAYS BLESSED, Connie