Being a tourist
Today is VISA picture day! Seriously! I can’t believe we have made it to this day. All of our trials are starting to amount to something. I wasn’t sure what I expected, but I didn’t expect going to a small shop, like those small ones in the Harry Potter movies. I will be honest and say that I didn’t feel the safest and I felt like it was all “hush, hush” as we entered the shop. Anthony spoke in Bulgarian to the lady there. I believe we were explained as Americans wanting to adopt and need a VISA picture. I’m not sure what else was said, because I didn’t have time to brush up on my Bulgarian before the trip. We were lead down to the basement of the shop.
What did I have to fear? Foreign country, foreign language, being led into a basement.
It was a photo studio in a basement of a tiny shop. No worries right. Our daughter, being developmentally about age 1-2 years old, was asked to sit on this stool and look at the camera. Parents of little ones, you’ll get me when I say, “Really??!” Anyway, the camera and flash were malfunctioning so it took a bit longer. She was not the most patient child at that moment, but she did very well. I was happy to see that her foster mom cared so much for this day. She had on a brand new white sweatshirt with Minnie Mouse on it. Yes, you guessed it, she had those oh so cute hot pink high tops on as well to match the hot pink on her shirt. We did eventually get the picture taken, the second shot, that was needed and we left without paying. Odd, right? They must bill the agency or come back and pay later after we pay them.
It was now on to being a tourist. It wasn’t until I had done some research on Bulgaria and the city of Haskovo, that I found out there is a very large statue of Mother Mary in the city. Not only is it very large, it is in the Guinness Book of World Records large! We were asked if we wanted to go see her. I don’t know how many Catholic women are reading this, but, “Um, yes please!” A mother, her daughter, a soon-to-be mother, and a soon-to-be granddaughter definitely want to go see the Blessed Mother statue. There is also a chapel under her in which you can light small candles and poke them into a dish of sand while saying a prayer. I asked for her to help guide me in being a good mother for my daughter and to help me protect her always.
I didn’t think the answer to my prayer, or I should say the help, would come so quickly.
As we were walking down the many stone steps, our soon-to-be daughter strapped in a carrier on my front, facing out, had a very close encounter with the stone walkway after the very last step. A piece of the stone on the last step gave out and my foot rolled forward causing me, and her, to go face first toward the ground. I was so scared, but my gut instincts kicked in. My left hand went to her face and my right broke our fall. Neither of us had a face-plant, thank goodness. I did say thank you to Blessed Mary right away. I was so afraid that they weren’t going to let us see her anymore after that and that they would make us get reviewed again. My mind was going so fast I didn’t know what to think. I apologized and I took her out of the carrier, just to show them how careful I really am, and carried her the rest of the way if she couldn’t walk it. Parenting is stressful and she wasn’t even officially mine yet.
We made our way back down to the city and strolled through little shops, similar to the photo shop, in a pedestrian square. There were a few city blocks of just walking paths and shops. It was a beautiful day just being outside and carefree. Mom found some yarn, though she was looking for wool material. She had asked Anthony if he knew of any material shops and his mom pointed him to the yarn shop. Oh well. Who knew a yarn shop doubled as a perfume and deodorant shop.
Lunch was amazing and our daughter did great for her first time in a resturant. It was originally a historic home, over a hundred years old. Beautiful wood floors and ceilings and delicious food. I love alfredo and I try it at different places when I can, but this was the BEST I’ve ever had. Yes, even my culinary trained husband hasn’t made it this good. The mushrooms that were with it were just as amazing! Our daughter, well, they got her pureed vegetable soup which she only ate four or five spoonfuls and then proceeded to eat the whole bowl of croutons.
What can I say, she loves her carbs.
Once we arrived back at our hotel, mom and I played with our daughter and I got some clothes and toys together that I will send with her once we return her back to her foster mom today. I hoped her foster mom wouldn’t be offended by the gesture. We tried some clothes on her for size, so that we could get an idea of what size to buy for her back home. Then once again, I held her in my arms as she dozed off to sleep and I wondered, “how long will this last back home?”
The trip back to her foster mom’s house seemed very short and mom stayed back at the hotel to rest. Our daughter’s foster mom met us at the gate and as I handed our little girl to her I gave her the toys and clothes we had brought for her. Her foster om hugged me and I her. It was a very big hug, with tear filled eyes, and we each said thank you to one another. We both love our little girl so much.
“Do I dare tell her the name we have chosen to give our little girl?”