Join Angela, Axel, Abel and Asher as they welcome their new sibling home.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How did this all start, anyway?

Pull up a chair, and let me tell you a story.....

In 2007, as Reece's Rainbow was just starting to take off, and a few families were blogging their journeys, it was easy to get hooked on their their stories. You felt like an expectant aunt as you followed the family through their frustrations of their paper pregnancy. You danced with eager anticipation as you viewed pictures of them boarding the plane to far away places to meet their child for the first time. You cried crocodile tears at the pictures of them meeting their child for the first time, and tears of anguish when they posted stories about some of the horrible things they saw while they were there.

One of the families I started following was Robert and Shelley Bedford who were adopting Xander from Ukraine, and in 2008 came Grifyn from Serbia. In 2009 they started the process to bring home Kullen from Bulgaria. One of the reasons they chose Bulgaria was the fact that only one parent was required to travel, meaning one of them would be able to stay home with their 5 kids. Bulgaria requires two trips, and early in their adoption process (which took a VERY long time!) Shelley jokingly said, "so who wants to go with me to Bulgaria? LOL" They were supposed to be adopting two boys, and needless to say she was a bit nervous about the thought of traveling home alone with both boys. (sadly, they ended up bring home only one of the boys, something they are heartbroken about.)

Anyone who knows me, knows that while I do have a sense of humor, I also am also an opportunist! Shelley and I had been in contact several times over the previous couple of years, and I had helped her with some fundraising things. I emailed her and said something to the effect of, "You know how you were joking about someone going to Bulgaria with you? Ummm...I know you only know me from emails but...ummm...I would go with you." Yes, I'm sure she thought I was crazy. She wouldn't be the first one! But who's more crazy? Me, or her for allowing me to come along?

Shelley ended up making the first trip to Bulgaria alone, which ended up working out quite well. That was the trip where she was meeting her son, while I was in Boston with Angela who was having esophageal surgery.

A couple weeks later, when we were both back in our homes, we were talking about our upcoming trip together. In the course of a phone call, Connecting The Rainbow was born. As we planned our upcoming trip to Bularia for Shelley to complete their adoption and pick up their newest son, we also made arrangements to meet with the families of Sofia, Bulgaria who had chosen to keep their children. You can read about that trip here

But we also made another stop along the way, in Belgrade, Serbia. Our purpose was to meet some children who had been newly registered for adoption, along with bringing some much needed supplies to the orphan care center there. This was the same place Shelley and her husband had adopted Grifyn from, so she was very familiar with the staff people there, and I was able to meet them and get to know them as well. We also met many of the children who are waiting for families, and got updated pictures of some of the children.  My favorite part was being able to send pictures to the families who had already been matched to a couple of the kids, or to those who had been THINKING about some of the kids and who were thinking about certain children but waiting for updates and have since brought those children home!

You can read all about my trip by clicking here. Everything from April 5th-April 26th is from that trip. There are some funny posts, like the post about European toilets, or the things that can be found in Bulgarian hotels when you're trapped there due to Icelandic Volcanos, the gold-plated tweezers I bought by accident due to translation issues,  and who can forget the GIANT PIZZA the size of a twin bed?

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