Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First Visit!

Yesterday, we left the flat about 9:30 a.m. and drove to the US Embassy. Our translator parked about a block away and we walked up to it. It was intimidating as there were people just standing around in front of the door, but a guard opened it and took our names then motioned us inside. They sent us to a waiting room after we passed through security and we waited...and waited. They'd taken our phones, so we had no clue what time it was and I was worried we'd miss our appointment with the Ministry. 

Finally, they called our names and told us which window to approach. There was an American young woman who kept asking personal questions about why we chose Serbia. She seemed suspicious of our answers for whatever reason, but she finally let it go. Our caseworker is a large Serbian gentleman who would not give us his name ("for security reasons") but gave us his direct phone number. It was all very cloak and dagger...and hilarious to me. He gave us a ton of forms to fill out. Once we have our adoption ceremony, I'm to call the mystery man and set up the visa appoinment.

We made it to the Ministry on time even though our official translator (not Zoran, the one who has been our faciliator...this one is certified by the country to translate/interpret even though her English is half as good as his) couldn't figure out the elevator (it was weird and confusing) and sent us to the wrong floor(s). We all crammed into a tiny office and introduced ourselves and then the social worker told us all about B, most of it we already knew and some of it we didn't care about (like how old the biological aunt was when she moved to London. ???)

They gave us two new pictures of him. One where he is standing on a chair looking mischevious and the other he is climbing out of the freezer. :)

After the meeting we followed the social workers to his hometown and up to what looked to be a small shack. The yard was made of mud with a dog chained up in front and clothes hanging on the line across the porch. We were enthusiastically greeted by B's foster mother who is about 60+ and reminds me of an italian grandmother. I liked her instantly. 

And then there was B. 

He has shaggy brown hair and big brown eyes, but what I noticed first was the wheezing. They say he has asthma and they give him breathing treatments when he needs them. I thought he needed one right then, but they didn't seem concerned. His lungs seemed to settle after a bit and he had been crying before we got there, so that might explain it. That, and all the second-hand smoke. I felt a bit asthmatic, too, by the time we left.

I sat on the floor and it was less than a minute before B came over and started touching my boots. He started patting them and tried to lick them a few times. "Ne! Ne!" He giggled. It wasn't long before he was hiding his toys under my legs and then pulling them apart to find them again. Then he belly laughed. Oh my heart! That boy can laugh! When he laughs, his eyes completely disappear. Cutest thing, ever!

He throws toys and always gets a response, so he keeps throwing them. He didn't warm up to Shawn as quickly as he did me, but he kept making sure Shawn was watching, especially when he was chucking toys. I think he already senses that Shawn is an authority figure and was guaging his reaction. He kept that mischevious little smile on his face while interacting with him, too. It was pretty cute.

While we were playing, the foster family, Zoran, and the social workers were scheduling our week. Initially, they were saying that by tomorrow we could take him on an outing. Then they noticed that he was sitting on my lap snuggling with me and decided that by tomorrow, we can have custody. They kept exclaiming that he never warms up to people that fast. I wanted to tell them it's because we've been praying for so long that God would prepare his heart for us.

The foster family and social workers were already discussing who was going to take his place in their home. They feel they can take on two more kids with special needs when B leaves with us. They have one typical little girl there, as well. I was pleased they were discussing it. I know he will leave a void in their hearts and home. They obviously love him, and they have spoiled him rotten, but they are so happy for him to be adopted. 

Because we were unprepared for him to be in foster care when we started this process, I initially felt guilty for taking him away from a family. Now that I have met them, I see that they were a wonderful substitute for a family of his own, but they always knew they were a substitute. I am also very aware of how bad for his lungs that environment is for him. I feel a real sense of urgency to get him out of there, so he can breathe. 

Today, we will go visit again to get an idea of his routine. She wants us there over a meal so we can see how he eats, etc. They already showed me that they feed him, although he can feed himself finger foods...he just chooses not to and they comply. :) We won't have a translator for this visit, so this should prove entertaining. Thankfully, she's pretty demonstrative and seems to have a good sense of humor. We'll figure it out.


  1. So glad your visit went well! They are a very nice family, and the foster mother very sweet, but yes it is very different there! And yes, Axel came to us VERY spoiled! Can't wait for you to get B home! And out of the smoke!

  2. Love reading this update. That is awesome that B is attaching to you so well. I have to say that reading here (and on FB) how you are handling all of this (a strange country, visits to your boy's place, the Turkish coffee, all of it) just makes me adore you more. You are quite the woman :-)

  3. Tara, it sounds so beautiful the way you tell it. I remember two and a half years ago you commenting on my page when I was in a far off land bringing home our little G. I feel so blessed to be reading and praying for you on your adoption adventure.