Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Meeting Ivelina Day Two

We had breakfast at the hotel and then made our way to Ivelina's village.  I took several pictures of our drive in. 

An area we drive by on the way to Ivie's village.

This sign says Vasil Drumev, the name of Ivelina's village.

Some interesting trees we see everywhere here.  Our translator says they are a type of poplar.

Once at the orphanage, we went to the special play room and they brought Ivelina to us. She is always overly excited when she first sees us. She immediately found her favorite doll and the stuffed monkey that she likes to pretend is a sick baby.  We gave her our gift- the doctors kit, and she was beside herself!  She quickly started examining the doll, putting on bandages, giving injections, and listening to breathing. She played doctor for at least two hours. We tried our best to join in.  I told her my head hurt, and Doctor Ivelina determined that I had lice in my hair. Then, she thought Jeremy's stomach ache was because he ate too much chocolate. She called the ambulance several times.  It was good fun! 

We tried going outside in the afternoon, but Ivelina was not on her best behavior and was kicking dirt on everyone. The caretakers were not happy and ordered us all to go back inside. We did learn that she can swing very well all by herself.  We were impressed by her motor skills!

Back inside, I got out stickers and gummy bears.  Both were a big hit! Jeremy showed her how to stick them on her hand and pretty soon we all had stickers stuck all over us.  She especially liked the sparkly stickers. Tomorrow, she will have lunch with us in the special play room away from the other children so we can help feed her. She is a good eater we are told.

At some point either tomorrow or Thursday me, Jeremy, our translator and Ivelina have to take a drive into Shumen to get her photo made for her visa. So, we will hopefully get to see how she behaves in a car. She does ride to school in a van each day, so she is used to vehicles, but as with everything else, she gets overly excited we are told.

It has been a lot to take in here. We are learning so much about Ivelina and her needs. Everyone here is optimistic that she is going to do great with a family. We see her potential as well! I guess our biggest fear right now is the language barrier. We have learned LOTS of new Bulgarian phrases this week to add to the ones we already knew, but once we are away from Bulgaria and away from our translator, we are a little anxious about how the first 3-4 months will go at home with limited communication. All the staff here are encouraging us not to worry, to keep practicing our Bulgarian, and to be patient because in about 3 months she will begin to lose her first language and begin picking up English. We are seeing the reality of how challenging the transition of culture is going to be. It is definitely something to keep praying for! We are so thankful that we have a little more time to prepare for her arrival because it will be such a big change for us all! 

Those of you who adopted older children who spoke only Bulgarian, how did you manage?  Do you have any tips for us as we prepare for her arrival later this spring? Any advice is much appreciated.  =)

Thanks for reading,



  1. I recommend supplementing with sign language. Our daughter though only 2 at the time of her adoption was able to sign for her needs to us before she could express them verbally. Simple signs like eat, drink, more, finished, bathroom are very helpful. You can make or buy sign language cards to assist with teaching it.

  2. The CD Bulgarian phrases for children has the words printed with the English words. It was a life saver. If I didn't understand, I pulled out this "cheat sheet" and most of the time we could figure out what was being said. I tried to use as many Bulgarian words & phrases as possible the first 2 months to try to let her have some familiar with all the new. Eventually we stopped using the Bulgarian......but, there are still some times I will use the Bulgarian word for emphasis.

  3. I am thinking of laminating different picture cards so both parent and child could use those to communicate things. - Katie


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