Friday, February 8th
Cara slept well, and all night, but she didn’t move or make a sound when she woke up. I think she was afraid to tell me she had to go to the bathroom, so she laid there and wet the bed. :/ I didn’t make a big deal of it, just got her up, wiped her down and got her dressed for the day. She was still pretty subdued and not interacting with us at all. Now and again we could get a strained smile out of her, but that was about it.
Included in our stay at the Hilton is complementary breakfast. Not continental breakfast, but a beautiful buffet of eggs, bacon, salads, vegetables, desserts, breads, juice, coffee and yogurt. We felt Cara would love this as she is a big eater. When we got out coats on to go out the door, she was nervous, and unsure. She rode down the elevator, but when we entered the restaurant, she started crying and saying something we didn’t understand. I asked the hostess if she would please explain to her that we were going to eat, and I asked her what Cara was saying to us. The hostess told us she was saying she wanted to go back to our room. The woman tried to explain to her that we were going to eat, and then go back to the room. Cara was having none of it, telling her that we had bananas in the room, and just cried that much harder. And then the hostess started crying right along with her. She was so upset for our little girl! When I saw the hostess crying, tears started running down my cheeks! I was so touched by her compassion for our child! The restaurant manager Minko noticed the tear fest at the entrance and came over to help. He started talking to Cara in a soothing voice, and then motioned for me to follow him. He took us over to the buffet and pointed out all the good things to eat to Cara. I knew she had to be hungry as she had refused food the night before, and I was right. Once she saw the food, she stopped crying and took a keen interest in what Minko was saying. Soon he was asking her what she wanted and she started pointing to the food she wanted, which was a little of everything! He filled her plate with all kinds of good things to eat, making sure she only had little bits of the sweet things, and filled her plate with eggs, sausages and fruit. By the time we got to the table she was more than ready to sit down to her veritable feast! She tasted everything he gave her, and went back to what she liked best. Her favorite was Nutella and croissants!
After breakfast, we came back to the room as we had promised. A lesson in building trust! As I took care of some necessary business on the computer, Cara got out the small white board and markers we’d brought with is. We found one teaching how to write numbers, and another for the alphabet. She got out the one with numbers and proceeded to show us how well she can write 4’s!
We had three appointments with Cara scheduled by our foundation, and we were waiting for a call from Sveti, another employee of the foundation. She would be attending the two appointments with us so that they could proceed with Cara’s exit visa and passport. We had appointments at the passport office, another photo place to take her medical report photo, and then her exit medical exam which is required to be sure we are not taking a sick child into the US. I was nervous about having to take her out again, because of the reaction at breakfast, but it was unavoidable.
Sveti called at 12:45 and told us she was in the lobby waiting for us. Cara was very nervous as we got her jacket and boots on, but didn’t start to cry until we got to the lobby and Sveti introduced herself to us. As soon as she explained to Cara what we were going to do, the howling began. Once again she told us she wanted to go back up to the room. Over and over, and no matter what Sveti told her, she was unconvinced. She clung to me like a baby possum clings to its mother, arms and legs wrapped around me as tightly as she could. I held her in my lap in the taxi, her head nestled in the hollow of my shoulder, as she sobbed. I rubbed her back as I tried to quietly reassure her that we would come back, and I would never, ever leave her! Eventually the sobs stopped. I was amazed and encouraged that she stopped that quickly!
We got out of the car at the passport office and waited while Sveti filled out the necessary paperwork and then again while waiting for our turn for her photo. When it was time for us to go inside, I sat her on a revolving stool in front of the camera and spun her around a few times. She enjoyed that and was grinning and even giggled a bit before her picture was taken. She would not smile, but after 3 attempts, the passport office was finally satisfied with her picture to let us go. We walked around the corner to the next building where we again waited for them to take the photo for her medical reports. Cara finally relaxed enough to sit on my lap looking away from me instead of needing to bury her head in my shoulder.
Another taxi ride and we were dropped off at the “hospital” where she would see the pediatrician and get her medical clearance. Sveti explained to a very nice woman doctor that Cara suffers from digestive cystic fibrosis, and takes digestive enzymes to help her digest her food. The doctor asked me several questions, and then examined Cara. At one point she was pushing on her belly, and explained to me that she was “curious” about her disease. Most doctors never see a child with any type of chronic disease because these children do not go home with their parents and are hidden away in orphanages. She had never examined a child with Cara’s disease, so poked and prodded far more than usual. Cara was a real trooper, even opening her mouth as soon as she saw the tongue depressor coming at her. They weighed and measured her with her snow boots on, so nothing was very accurate, but she passed her through, explaining she would have her final report completed next week for Sveti to pick up. She gave Cara the tongue depressor and a sticker as we left. Cara clung to my hand going back down the stairs, and then I had Ron hold on to her while I paid the doctor’s fee. Sveti and I walked outside as Sveti explained the next steps to me, and Ron and Cara trailed behind. Sveti called a taxi for us to return to the hotel, and said she’d see us again on Wednesday.
Instead of returning to the hotel, we had the driver take us to the mall next to the hotel to pick up a few things we needed. I didn’t want to take Cara back to the room and then have to leave again with her, upsetting her again that day. I climbed into the back seat of the cab, Ron put Cara in back with me, and got in front with the driver. I put the seat belt around Cara and draped my arm around her shoulders as the cab drove off. I noticed Cara was agitated, but had no idea why. Suddenly, she threw the tongue depressor down on the floor of the cab and pushed my arm off her shoulders. And then the sticker followed the tongue depressor. I could see she was no angry, and suddenly she started kicking her feet, and saying something I could not understand. But the fact that she was angry was evident. She tried then to unbuckle her seat belt, and when I told her no, she flipped out. I pulled her on my lap and she started screaming “Daddy!!!” over and over, all the way to the mall, trying to fight her way off my lap. When we arrived at the mall, she pushed me away and scrambled out the door to Ron. I was persona non grata from that point on. She glared at me sideways, refused to hold my hand at all, and wouldn’t even look at me. I was out, dad was in! J Girl drama from a six year old that doesn’t even speak English! But let me tell you, she got her point across very well! We found the things we needed very quickly and returned to the hotel where she glared at me for the next few hours. I said to Ron, “Remind me again why we are adopting girls!”
We bought the few things we needed at the mall, including a new pair of boots for our princess, and then treated her to her first ever McDonalds Happy Meal. She enjoyed the nuggets, but LOVED the fries! I have to say she has good taste, because I think McD’s has the best fries!
She did allow me to get her ready for bed and brush her teeth, but not much else. When I finally put her in bed, she rolled over away from me, hanging on to her baby, and I thought she was falling asleep. I logged onto the computer hoping to catch Daniel or Alexandra online at home, and was lucky enough that Alexandra signed on shortly after I did. Unfortunately, the sound wasn’t working so we had to converse through text. Alexandra asked me if we had Cara with us yet, so I turned the camera so she could see the little brown head next to me in bed. I noticed Cara was still awake, and told her to come and see. I wish I could adequately explain how excited she was to see Alexandra on the computer! She started saying her name and just went wild! Alexandra waved to her, and Cara waved and blew her a kiss! It was incredible! Then Cara started mentioning her toys, and would fly off the bed to grab one to bring to the computer to show Alexandra. It was amazing to watch, and so incredible to realize that she knew her sister, just from the photos in the photo album we’d left for her in October! Cara even went and got her photo album flipping right to the page where Alexandra’s picture was to show Alexandra! It was a couple of hours before she got to sleep after that, just too excited at seeing her sister! Eventually, she fell asleep, and she slept well and all night. It was the happiest I’d seen her since we’d taken her from the orphanage on Thursday morning.
Some pictures from Day 2: