On September 6th, 2014 we received an email with a short bio and photo of a beautiful little girl. On September 5th, 2015 we arrived in Belgrade, Serbia to adopt that little girl! It was quite a trip! The Monday prior Joey and I had departed for Krabi, Thailand, to enjoy a pre-emptive five year anniversary getaway before we had three kids and finding childcare would be infinitely more difficult. We got back to Chiang Mai on Friday morning and left for Bangkok Friday evening. We had one night in Bangkok, in a hotel near our airport. We did a pizza party picnic and tried to make it a fun evening. We were all up bright and early for our flight to Moscow and then Belgrade the next day! For some reason they wouldn’t let us check our baby bed so we had to carry that and the rest of our carryons with us on to the airplane. Joey was a champ!
Bangkok to Moscow was a long ten hours, as Cordelia was sick and hardly slept at all. But from Moscow to Belgrade she slept the whole way! It was interesting to see the friendliness of the people in line for the flight from Moscow to Belgrade. Little grandmothers kept smiling at us, and on the flight one said how she wished she could help with the girls. In line for the toilet I was urged to go ahead, and the nice gentleman next to me kept reassuring me every time Cordelia would start to move in her sleep and kick him. It definitely made me feel a warmness for Serbians even before we landed in Belgrade. It was after midnight by the time we got to our apartment.
Our local host is a delightful man, who has helped 15 adoptive families prior to us. He’s very well informed and so very gracious. He has us in a lovely three bedroom two bathroom flat that is just divine. Since we will be here quite a few weeks, it’s really nice to have all the room to get comfortable. We have a little mini mart just across the street from our building, a great shop that even has fresh produce! We’ve been loving enjoying all the things we can’t eat in Thailand, or at least can’t eat for an affordable price. I’ve been loving the blueberries, peaches and nectarines! We’ve been eating lots of beef and lamb too. Serbian fare is very big on meat, as well as salads.
We are still waiting on a document from the U.S. embassy and cannot begin our process until we have that. So our days have been spent hanging around the flat, going across to the mini mart, and then about one outing per day with our host. We’ve eaten out three times now, all absolutely delicious, but otherwise we’ve cooked at home. Joey has been awesome about making meals so I feel like I’m on holiday! Jet lag is still in full force so we’ve all been going to bed rather early. The kids are getting a bit stir crazy and it does take creativity to keep them busy. We only have a small selection of books and toys because we knew we wanted to bring a lot of mementos back with us for our daughter.
We did have one meeting so far with the Serbian ministry. They told us a bit more about the situation here, more about our daughter’s institution, and they also showed us about 10 photos and 8 videos of our little beauty. We are so so pleased with the obvious care and love that Serbia has for it’s vulnerable children. They are so guarded with her information. We couldn’t keep any photos or video, but once the adoption if final we will get all the files and a whole memory book for her. Everything we’ve read and heard just makes us so much more pleased with the Serbian program. We’re only about the 86th family to adopt from Serbia since they opened for adoption, and only the 3rd post Hague Treaty family! Quite remarkable given what a great program it is!
Although we want nothing more than to finally start visitation with our girl, we have enjoyed the added time to learn more about Serbia. We found out that the Ilyrians were some of the first people in Serbia, which is fun given we have our own little Ilyria. Today we went and toured a park and a fortress. There was a clock tower there that had been built by the Turks. The most remarkable fact so far is that the council of Nicea actually happened in Serbia! What a rich history. We can’t wait to share more of this history with our sweet girl. I had been praying for God to give me a deep love and appreciation for her homeland and God is answering that in a big way! We have more sightseeing on Thursday and Friday and then Friday night our friend Katie and her son Valor arrive. My sweet parents and our friend Shannon all pitched in for someone to come watch the girls during our first week of visitation at the institution. Our sweet friend Katie volunteered to come, along with her little baby Valor, whom our girls love. She will be here with us from Friday to Friday and it will be SO wonderful to have another adult to entertain the babies. We’re joking she’s our adoption doula, haha!
I hope to blog more regularly while we’re here. Even tho I’m updating Facebook a ton, I want others who may choose Serbia to adopt their child to be able to have a better picture of the experience. We are so very pleased with the program and praying that more families would be completed through Serbia!