More familiar or getting quicker?

Today went much smoother. Muuuuuch smoother! N. only attempted to grab Chance's glasses ONE time!

He did hit my dad's stomach a couple times, but was easily corrected.

Like I said, today went much smoother.

This can be for two reasons: 1. N. is getting more familiar with us and our boundaries. 2. We are getting quicker...

It might be the latter, but I'm going to go to sleep tonight with the idea that it is the former.

Tony, our translator Svet's son, brought the necessary tools and equipment to fix N.'s plastic car! Hallelujah!

N. was very interested in the tools and the things that "big brother Tony" was doing. He actually attempted to sit in the car a few times, even though the car was on its side! It was funny to watch him try.  He will love Taty's garage at home.

Today was only the second time my parents had seen N. They have encouraged us to have our time to bond with him.

They were encouraged by all the progress that N. had made in just a short time! We continued to review the sign language from the previous days. We also attempted to offer him choices today.

We brought food from our hotel for N.'s snack this morning. He is typically fed only 1-2 pieces of fruit for his breakfast. As N. becomes hungry, his behavior worsens. I was curious whether or not adding some protein halfway through the morning would make a difference. We brought an orange as well. We prepared both foods and had N. sit down.  He has also learned this sign.  When he sat down, he started in the chair, but then moved to his plastic car! At home, we won't need a high chair or booster - we will just need a plastic car!

We required N. to sign/say "eat" and then we showed him the two foods. Chance held up the foods and I demonstrated the signs for "meat" and "orange." N. easily repeated the signs and verbalized "meat." We then asked him to make a choice.

N. pointed to the meat, so we required him to say/sign "meat" again, and then rewarded him by giving him a bite.

He continued to make a choice with every bite, but he always chose the meat! He at least appeared to understand the concept. That was the goal! N. did enjoy the orange, but requested a napkin after eating it!

We required him to ask for his water bottle again today. At one point, he spilled quite a bit of the water down the front of his shirt. He wasn't too happy about it, so it was a great opportunity for me to pull out the shirt we bought him!

The shirt is a 4T, and it was a little big. I will probably buy all 4T clothing though, because I'm sure he will bulk-up soon after coming home! His Taty likes to eat meat with every meal, so N. will not be so skinny for long!

N. was so adorable in his new shirt (look for it in the post containing the photos). His socialworker attempted to teach him to say "green." She does know some English, and she will continue to help teach it to him.

After playing inside and showing off for Baba ("Bahbah", Grandma) and Diado ("Dee-ah-doe", Grandpa), we allowed N. to go play in the real car outside again. I have been concerned about the fact that N. sometimes obsessed over things (car outside, plastic car, etc.) but I am realizing that much of it is related to the fact that this is not a typical week for him. He had never played in the car outside before this week. No wonder he is so excited to explore it.

We were able to coax N. into putting together a puzzle and even doing a little coloring. These table activities are totally new to him. From the way he eats and holds the markers, we believe that he is probably left-handed (like his two Diados and his aunt!)

Chance and I are beginning to recognize when N. is being over-stimulated. We know to walk away and give him space. The interaction he is receiving this week, is entirely new. He requires more time and space to process his feelings and emotions. It will be important to remember these things when he first comes home.  We will need to limit our schedule to containing activities that short and easily missed if he begins to fall apart!

We left before lunchtime again since all the children were present again today.  As "guests," we disrupt the flow of the morning.  We did receive quite a few kisses from N. today.  Those were precious.

I realize that I haven't written much about the other things we are doing while in Bulgaria (sleeping, eating, you know...) My mom is keeping a journal as well.  It will help to fill in the rest of the details of our trip.  Chance and I are focusing on N., so it is so great to have my parents here to focus on the rest...

Tonight, we are headed to the cathedral which is located near our hotel in Varna.  We will attend a traditional Bulgarian Orthodox Mass.  No, we won't have a stinking clue what is being said, but it will be a neat experience to worship God with people who live in such a different culture.

We've done some reading about the Bulgarian Orthodox church and it seems that tonight's service will be sung - entirely.  Also, the men and the women are separated in the church.  I believe that we will all stand throughout the service as well.

Pray for the Bulgarians.  85% of them claim the orthodox church.  Many of their views are skewed or clouded by tradition.  We worship the same God, but they do not know the full freedom that Christ has to offer.

I'll be posting some photos and videos later, but I'll leave you with one that does not contain N.'s face.  We're falling so in love with our little boy...



[Because his face is not showing, we are giving permission for this photo to be shared or printed.  Email me if you would like a high-quality version.]

Photos and Videos of N. - Day 4

Pictures and Videos of N. - Day 3