Monday, April 7, 2014

Pick-up Trip and Gotcha Day

This blog post is so greatly overdue! Hopefully you will forgive us because of the shear craziness of getting settled back into “normal” life after an adoption! It took a few weeks to settle in, but we are finally finding our new groove in the everyday times of life. I’m finally ready to post about our pickup trip, Gotcha Day, and our time in Bulgaria.

As many of you may already know, our trip was delayed by one week when Micah was hospitalized because of a respiratory flu that had been going around the orphanage. Aubrey and Micah both had it but Aubrey recovered more quickly where Micah ended up being hospitalized for a number of days. We needed to postpone our trip until the next weekend, which was pure torture for this mom who was almost fully packed days and days before our first trip was scheduled. The thought of making it through another full week of looking at those packed suitcases and waiting was almost more than I could stand. But…wait we did, and the day finally came to catch our flights to Bulgaria.


Our flights were uneventful and we arrived in Bulgaria on Feb. 16 to unseasonably warm weather and the early promise of spring. We stayed at the Budapest, the same hotel that we had stayed at during our first trip as well.

We spent the day resting and gearing up for an early morning drive the next day to pick Aubrey and Micah up from the orphanage. It was hard to imagine that the day was finally upon us; the day we would finally hold them in our arms and welcome them into our family.

Gotcha Day…

Monday was another nice, warm day and we took the two hour drive from Sofia to Plovdiv. The drive was nerve wracking and we just couldn’t wait to get there. This shows us only minutes before getting to the orphanage, which was actually a different one than where we had visited them on our first trip, since the old one was under renovation.

The orphanage staff was friendly and inviting. We spent what seemed like an eternity going through paperwork, signing documents, and receiving instructions concerning Micah’s medications. What we really wanted was to hold our children, but we needed to continue to be patient! Finally they brought us through the doors to see Micah. He was smaller than what I remembered from our first visit, but he seemed healthy, which was a huge answer to prayer considering he had been in the hospital just a few days before.


After a few moments we entered another room full of children and we could see our little Aubrey hanging out at a table with an orphanage worker and several other kids. Words can’t describe how wonderful it was to hold them and know that this time it was for good!


The only thing left to do was get them dressed in their clothes. Aubrey’s clothes fit her well but Micah’s pants were falling off him. Neither one of them had shoes that fit! I had way overestimated how big their feet were! Such tiny little ones for age four!


It was finally time to leave the orphanage behind and head out into their new lives as part of the Forbes family. What crazy emotions we were experiencing as we carried them out the door, with the orphanage workers looking on, many of them shedding tears at their departure. It was good to know that they were loved.

They did well in the car and even fell asleep about an hour into our trip.



The children needed to go straight to Sofia to get their pictures taken for their passports. After that, the day was ours. There were many firsts within that day—first meals with us, first baths, first time we could look down into their cribs and know that they were safe and sound with us at last!





The next few days were full of getting to know them the best that we could. We spent most of our time in the hotel, but ventured out for meals and also for their medical appointments. The next pictures show our time spent together. They seemed at ease with us, ate well, and even slept well once they would finally settle down to rest.







We had a few good days of enjoying the wonderful weather, venturing out with the kids, and exploring a bit of Sophia. We were looking forward to several “free” days of sightseeing and shopping for souvenirs to bring home. Little did we know that the pictures of us pushing Aubrey and Micah in their strollers would be our last time enjoying our leasurly strolls in the city.


On Wednesday evening Cliff came down with a stomach virus and by Thursday I, too, was feeling badly. This stomach virus would change the course of the rest of our trip. It was a nasty virus that took a long time to recover from. Cliff was mostly back on his feet within a couple of days. I, on the other hand, could not seem to move past the virus . By Sunday, I was so despirate for relief that I decided to go to a hospital, in the hopes that they could help me. Unfortunately, the fluids they gave did not seem to help and I was praying at that point that I would be well enough to fly home early Wednesday morning. Miraculously, I did feel well enough to travel and we were able to make it home through the exhausting 24 hour trip with no incident. When we touched down in Philadelphia, Aubrey and Micah became official US citizens and I was ever so glad to be back on US soil! The Bulgarian team had been so wonderful, especially throughout our time of sickness. However, I was never so happy to know that I would soon be sleeping in my own bed!


    Such an early morning!


They did very well on the plane although they didn’t sleep much at all. Please ignore Micah’s pj’s…he had a major wardrobe malfunction and we needed to save his last outfit for the final leg of the journey so...he got to wear his sister’s clothes!


These were taken on the final plane to Erie. Micah still smiling…Aubrey, exhausted!