Friday, December 13, 2013

Preparing for Trip One (Part One)

I'm not supposed to cry.

In exactly one month, me and my love will fly over 5,000 miles to an unfamiliar country. We will be surrounded by a language and a culture we do not know.  We will trust some people we do not know to take us along a bumpy four hour drive to another small city where we will visit a government-run institution for children with special needs. We will meet the people who have taken care of our daughter for seven years. We will talk with them about her and ask every kind of question we can think of. Then, they will bring a little girl into the room whom we do not know but have been waiting ten months to meet. A room of people we do not know will be surrounding us watching us meet our daughter for the very first time. 

And, I'm not supposed to cry.   

As we prepare for this exciting, nerve-racking, wonderful trip to Bulgaria, this is one of the things I am most worried about---crying. 

I am a cry-er, y'all.  I was a blubbering mess during my entire wedding, and I cry at every sappy movie, every gotcha day video, every adoption story I hear.  I even sometimes cry when I see a sweet daddy and daughter out in public because it makes me think of Jeremy and Ivelina one day. 

Our case worker says that we want all of our time spent with Ivelina to be positive and happy. We want her to have fond memories of us when we leave. Understandably, she would be very confused to meet a strange couple for the first time only to see them visibly upset.  It just won't make sense to her.  So, that moment when we first see her, I will want to cry.  The emotions and nerves will be running high, and I will be fighting back tears, but for her sake, I'm not supposed to cry.

We will spend the week visiting her at her orphanage every day and playing with her, bonding with her, and helping her become comfortable with us. Then, after five glorious days, Friday will come. Friday we will say "see you later" (not good-bye) to Ivelina and again, while she is present, I am not supposed to cry. This seems humanly impossible to me, but again, we do not want her parting memory of us to be me breaking down into a pool of tears and collapsing on the floor with heartache.

When our week with her is over, we will make that bumpy drive and that long flight back home with empty arms. Then, I can cry.  I'm already mentally preparing myself. This trip is going to be SO good and SO hard. I really don't know how I'm going to handle it all. I guess I won't know until it's happening how heart-wrenching this trip is going to be. We are going to learn so much about our daughter that week in January, but leaving her there is going to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do. 

Thanks for reading,


  1. Wish I could be there to make you laugh -- since crying and laughter release the same endorphins. Then she would see you smiling and giggling you're cute laugh. I guess I would try to load up on funny things to think about (some good Elf movie quotes or something). Then you can cry later when she's not around. I'll be praying for God to give you courage and feel the happy things in those moments -- the kind that will make you strong and not cry :)

    1. Yes, Elf quotes would be welcomed. Prayers too! Thanks so much, Kristen. This is definitely gonna be one of those things I know I cannot do in my own strength. I have to rely on God to keep me strong for Ivelina.

  2. Oh Shelly...I hadn't checked the blog in a while and didn't know you guys had travel dates! How fantastic!!!! This was a beautiful post, and you will be in my prayers.....maybe I'll just cry for you! ;) God Bless as you meet your darling daughter!

  3. If you're like me, you may find it too intimidating and overwhelming to cry when you first meet her. The hard part will be saying goodbye. I managed that one because our son had been sick all week, was too little to understand what was going on, and didn't care a whit about us. No bonding at all for us on that first trip. Since Ivelina's older, that probably won't be the case with you guys, so I'll be praying for your strength to hold it in. I'm so happy for you that it's almost time to finally meet her!

  4. I am a big cryer too! But when the time came, she walked in the door and went straight into checking out the stuff we brought. It was all so surreal that it did not hit me to later that night in the hotel room, then I cried. The last day was different. She had been told it was our last day and she started crying when it was time to go.....well, couldn't hide the emotions then. But, the staff took her pretty quickly away when she started crying so it was not a prolonged thing. To some extent I think the staff expect you to cry and if you don't they wonder if you really care for that child. The staff was crying. Just be yourself and try to relax. It all goes by too quickly.
    Prayers for you as you go through this great memorable time.


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