Monday, January 25, 2010

What a glorious day!

Our morning started off early..
Karl and I got up plenty ahead of time because I planned to send him to get me a voltage converter so I could use my hair straightener... but the place didn't carry it.
So, we got ready, and I made some french toast... but didn't have any syrup. oops.

We walked to St. Sava and met Jasmina in the front, and walked to the ministry building for our appointment, where we met Jasna (our lawyer and translator), Olive's psychologist, Olive's social worker from Roma, Olive's psychologist from Roma - who is also her guardian, and all the ministry team.
We all sat around a table, and introduced ourselves and went through all the formalities.
I was super nervous beforehand, and wasn't sure what I would say if they asked any 'hard' questions.
But everyone was SUPER nice, and supportive, and courteous.

We learned a lot about Olive's family - that she is from Roma heritage (a minority that's often discriminated against in Serbia) and her mother was a gypsy. Olive's mother had mental health issues, and wasn't stable. She had four other children, and she and all her children were 'illegitimate' making it near impossible to build a family tree or medical background.

Olive's mother relinquished all of her other children shortly after birth because she wasn't able to take care of them, and the social workers aren't sure where they were - there wasn't accurate paperwork because her mother moved around a lot.

Olive's mother wanted to take care of Olive - she did not want to give her up - even with her disability.

She lived in a gypsy village, and her neighbors and friends tried to help her raise Olive the best they could. They were very poor, so at some point she had to move to make ends meet - and moved to a near by village. She stayed there for some months and tried to do her best to stay alive and well... but some of her neighbors had to call child protective services when they went in and saw that both Olive and her mother were both doing very very poorly.
Olive was so sick and undernourished that she had to go to the hospital to be brought back to health.

From there, they decided to put her in a temporary foster home while they evaluated the mother - they couldn't find a foster home willing to take her - and the mother didn't seem interested in getting her back. So they decided that it was best to put her in the 'child care institution' aka the orphanage.

She was admitted at 18 months old, and the father on her birth certificate was said to not be her natural father according to her mother - and she wasn't able to tell them who was. The man on the birth certificate died, and her mother's rights were terminated.

Unfortunately Olive's biological mother wasn't well enough mentally to understand the adoption process, and so she wasn't included.

We were told about Olive's development so far - and her psychologist said that before she was completely unresponsive, and showed no interest in toys, caregivers, or anything.
But in the last few months she has started to enjoy toys, and bonded to one of her nurses. (Answered prayer!)

She said that Olive use to just lay there and put her hand so far down her throat she swears she'd be able to touch her stomach.
But in the last few months she has grown in every way - developmentally, socially, and physically. (Answered prayer!)

We were told the whole process and everything that needs to be done - and it's going to be a very busy couple of weeks.

This week our main priority is to visit with her twice a day for long visits so that way they can be supervised, and Jasmina can write her report stating that she feels we will be a good match for Olive.
She will then forward it to the social center, and they will have to write their report that they feel we would be a good match.
They will then send those reports to the ministry team - and they will write up a report that says they agree with the other reports, and that they give their consent for us to adopt her.
Then they have to give that report to the minister, and he has to sign it in consent to us adopting her.

While that's happening, we have to get her passport photos arranged, and start getting the court date set up for her adoption ceremony.

After her ceremony (likely next friday or early the following week) we will be able to take Olive from the orphanage, and she is officially ours. That's when we have to get all the paperwork in order for her to actually leave the country with us.
We're praying that everything goes smoothly!

After the ministry appointment we headed to the orphanage to meet Olive.
Everyone chatted a bit in the lobby - and then we went in this totally old school elevator up to her floor.

We weren't sure what to expect at all - they showed us to her room, and immediately I wanted to walk in and grab her. But they wouldn't allow us in the room with our shoes on.

Olive was slumped over in her walker, sleeping and her nurse shook her awake a bit and scooted her towards us... she looked at us, and started grunting excitedly and reached up for us. I SWEAR she knew us. She was excited that we were there! And we both totally believe that it was God's fulfillment of our prayers!

Also, she has a nurse that she LOVES! And who loves her.
And that is an answer to our prayers. And we got to meet her. Olive completely lit up when she came in the room.

Olive is completely in love with her daddy.
She loves anything he does.
She loves to slap his bald head! lol
She doesn't seem to like his beard though.
They played and played and played, and she would just giggle, and giggle at him.
Her favorite toy was the beads :)

After a long, long play time - she started to get tired.
So we rocked and cuddled for a long time.

At the very end, she started screaming this horrific scream.
They told us it was because she was either tired or hungry - and insisted on bringing her back to her crib.

She laid in her crib for about a half hour just screaming and crying - and it seriously put me in so much stress. I wanted so badly to tell them to stop torturing my poor baby and let me comfort or feed her! But, they were doing the best that they knew to do...

When we were going to leave, Jasmina let us poke our heads in to the different rooms that were on Olive's hallway... and on our way out we poked our head in her room to see how she was doing. She stopped crying as soon as she saw us and get this - she signed "more"!
We were practicing signing "more" the whole time today - and she remembered and asked for more of us!!!

Right as we were going to walk out - her nurse signaled to us that she fell asleep...

We are so head over heals in love with her already!
I can't wait to go back tomorrow!

After we left the orphanage we got 'bourick' (no idea how to spell it) - and it was SO tasty. We had to walk about a half hour home in the FREEEEEEZING cold before we could enjoy it though. But you can't beat 3 pieces of meat/pastries for $2.75! and they sure were yummy!

Shortly after that, our landlord Ivan (super nice guy!) took us to the police station to register that we were here. He showed us a really nice looking bakery that I think we'll try in the morning. We have ran out of food in the apartment, and haven't had time to make it to the market. Hopefully tomorrow. Like I said before, our apartment is so excellently placed that everything is with in 2 miles!

And now that I have spewed WAY too much information out! Here is what you really want to see:


Shelley said...

Oh my goodness!!!! I can't get over how big and healthy she looks. What a precious, precious laugh she has! I am so happy for Olive and for you and Karl.

Nan and Dan said...

so happy to hear things are going so well!!
she is absolutely beautiful!

Sarah Maples said...

Oh my goodness! This is NOT the same girl we met 2 months ago! I told you she was "in there" but oh my has she come alive! Praise God! I'm in tears of joy at her transformation. Can't wait to get updates every day!
Love you guys!
p.s. who's in Grace's old bed now?

And patiently waiting... said...

She has come alive, I agree!! So precious..and just a little peach! I am so enjoying your story!! And seeing little Olive with you just makes my heart sing in praise to God!!

saving said...

What amazing videos... she is so happy, and looks so healthy! What a beautifully amazing day for you all!

Katie said...

She sure looks happy to be with you 2!! I LOVE her little giggle!!

soontobemomof9 said...

What a beautiful little girl! Of course, I am partial to the Roma look... :) She looks to be doing very well! :)

I am so happy for you to finally be there. May the next couple of weeks fly by! Enjoy your time with her, and bring that baby home! :)

Joanna and David said...

SO beautiful to watch! What a darling!!! I know your hearts are just bursting with joy! Praise God! She looks amazing and PERFECT with you guys! What a blessing - I don't think a child's smile could be more precious, more appreciated, and more deserving. Congratulations to your family. :)