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

Friday, December 10, 2010


Djordje Spring

Adopted from Kragejevak, Serbia on December 9th, 2010

(the sign says something about the city of Kragujevak)

So, I suppose you want to know how to pronounce that name? Let me try to un-butcher it for you. The "j" makes a zh sound, like the s in "measure". The second "d" is silent...I think. His name sounds like


Except that he goes by a nickname "D'jolli"

That's "D'zholli (short "i" sound, not long!)

In Serbia, the birth certificate is produced with the child's birth name on it, and his or her new last name. But don't worry, as soon as we get back to the U.S. we'll be ordering a new birth certificate so his name will be...

Axel Djordje Maurice Spring

Axel is my grandfather's name, and Maurice is my father's middle name, but already answers to Axel. If I ask him his name, he does not yet know what I mean, and responds with a long-winded stream of gibberish.

Do you want to know how to pronounce the name of the town? It only took me a week to get it right, so let me try to help you out. Remember to roll your r's. ;-)

Krag uh ya vech.

Now say it REALLY fast, roll the "r" and you might be close!

Ok, enough of the language lesson already, on to pictures!

Weds night Axel and I packed up all our belongings. At first he was quite confused, looking at me like, "What? We're not living in this 10x10 room forever?"

Thursday morning we got up nice and early,( Axel is a pokey eater so we had to allow enough time for him to eat breakfast) and got all squeaky clean and dressed! Here he is in his adoption day clothes. He looked so handsome and grow up!
Then we drove just a few blocks to the social center. First they had to verify that everything on the adoption decree was correct, and had me sign it.

"I certify that from this day forward I am the mother of this child." No turning back now! LOL (Shelley, do you see the paper NEXT to the one I'm signing? That's Grifyns adoption decree! They were comparing the two documents to make sure they were using the same wording. I glanced over and realized I was seeing "Bedford" all over it! LOL

I thought, "Umm...THIS is the "ceremony"? The woman in charge must have seen the look on my face, because she said, "Don't worry. This is just the legal part, we'll have the ceremony in a little bit."

The documents done we all filed into this huge room. Interestingly, there were A LOT more people at this ceremony than I'd seen this far. There were 12-15 people in the room. Maybe more, I lost count as they kept filing in. This is only their second international adoption from this city, and everyone was very excited to be part of it.

In Serbia, everyone wears many hats. The woman who did the legal documents is also the head psychologist for the social center, and apparently also wears a couple other hats. She switches from one to the other quite easily. Now it was her job to conduct the ceremony.

We were all sitting a conference room at this huge U shaped table. Axel sat on my lap, happily coloring away, oblivious as to how his life was about to change, and that his new mama was going to be a in puddle of tears any minute!

The boss lady said (paraphrasing of course) "We want you to know how happy we are for Djordje. To know that he is going to have a new life, with freedoms and opportunities that he could never have here."

.......picture sobbing mom here, along with tears from everyone in the room......

"As you know, you are the first single parent we have allowed to adopt, and that we gave your family much consideration. We have seen the wonderful things you have done with your daughter, and the opportunities available to her. We have seen how well the contacts with Djordje, you and the foster family have gone. We have seen how much he has blossomed while in your care just these few short days."

......more crying here....

"We are satisfied that that you are more than capable of caring for all his needs, and that he will have a wonderful life with you. We look forward to hearing all the things he is now able to experience in his new life. We now formally pronounce you as his mother, just as if you were his natural mother by birth."

Yep, I was pretty much overwhelmed with emotions at this point, and so were all the people in the room. At some point she said, "I'm glad you're crying! I get worried if the parents don't cry." LOL
There was much chatter before and after the ceremony. At one point one of the women on the other side of the room pointed to me, and indicated my glasses. Everyone nodded in agreement with whatever it was she said. Finally it was translated:

"The two of you have the same eyes. Everyone agrees, and it is amazing!"

The ceremony done, we had to walk a few blocks to the police station and get his new birth certificate, and order his passport. (There is another story here for this that I will save for another day.)

This is Axel walking with one of the social workers who was most involved with the foster family. He is a very nice name, and is adopted himself. He was SO happy to see Axel finding a forever family.

Here is Axel's certificate of citizen ship listing his new name. What, you can't read it? Bummer for you!

Axel just chill'in while they redo the birth certificate for about the 4th time.

We had to wait awhile to make sure there were no additional problems with these documents and the butchering of my name in Cyrillic (that's the untold story from above). While we were waiting back at the office, the head psychologist sat next to me with Axel's entire file in her lap. Suddenly she says, "Axel looks just like his birth father, would you like to see a picture of his birth parents?"

Who would say no to that?

She flipped through the file and pulled out a photocopied page that had both of his parents' Serbian identity cards on it. (like a driver's license) There they were, his parents! I asked if I could take a picture of it so I could show Dean later. She said, "Oh, I'll give you a copy of it."

She proceeded to hand me a copy of his parents' identity cards, with their full names and DOB and everything. I was told during our meeting with the ministry officials last week that they, particularly the birth father, are interested in having contact. They would like to know what kind of life Axel has in the states, and would love to watch him grow up. Needless to say, I was THRILLED to have this information. In Serbia, there is no such thing as 'open adoption', and it is frowned upon. They don't realize that in the US, open adoption is normal, and that adoptive families often have some level of contact with the birth family.

When this was all done, we went to lunch at a local restaurant called "The Hunter". I had eaten there earlier in the week, and the food is very good. But, while we were eating outside in the BEAUTIFUL weather, as predicted earlier in the day it suddenly turned. The winds came, dropping the temperature about 15 degrees while we sat there. We quickly loaded into the car for the 2 hr drive back to Belgrade.

Tonight while going through pictures, Axel did a "first". When he saw a picture of himself, he pointed to his chest, then signed, "Axel"!! What a perfect day for him to truly understand his name for the first time!

We are now happily settled into my friend Mary's lovely flat! Today I'll go to the US Embassy to pick up some forms, and get some groceries. The weekend will be pretty much open. Then Monday will be a flurry of activity as we get Axel's medical visit done (a requirement for the visa) have his visa appointment, and wait for his visa to be done.

We will be flying home Tuesday afternoon!!!!

USA, here comes AXEL!!!


  1. What a fabulous day this has been!! I can't tell you Leah, how proud I am of you. When I said lets adopt,you took the bull by the horns and did a fabulous job, from getting everything right on the paperwork to traveling all alone, all the way on the other side of the world.You are wonderful!!!

  2. :D:D :D :D :D :D


    Axel, HUGS from London from us! (you too Leah!)


  3. I am just so very happy. He is adorable. You must be in love!! Congratulations!!

  4. I am so happy for you!!! Congratulations! Can't wait to meet him.

  5. Leah, I'm am so happy for your family! Words can't even express. He's beautiful! Have a safe trip home and all God's blessings to you!
    Love, Kelley

  6. Oh my, tears here! Congratulations, Axel! Leah, I am so happy for you.... you know I have a few questions for you when you return :) Loved being able to follow along!

  7. I'm sobbing right here with you. So everything that you have gone through with Angela almost paved the way for Axel to be part of your family! It seems from my side, that this was such an easy adoption compared to many of the stories I read....and considering the fact that YOU always have some sort of extra-thing happening with you.(ok, please "read' my meaning and not exact words' May the bond between you just grow bigger and bigger during this time that you still have to spend there...

  8. Hooray!!!!!!!!! So happy, muuuuuuuuha! BIG kisses for that handsome boy Axel and {{{{{HUGS}}}} for you Leah. How relieved will you be when you sit in the seat on that airplane next tuesday with your little boy beside you?!!!

  9. I honestly can't hold it together long enough to write this comment. I am so so very happy for all of you. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and think I can't do something. But, you know...from now on I'm going to remember you, my dear friend....who traveled 1/2 way across the world to Serbia no adopt this amazing little guy. You have the strength of 100 army's!! Love to you, and dear sweet Axel. I cannot wait till you are home, and hear the story of Angela meeting her new brother. You are ALL so blessed. I'm so happy you will be home in plenty of time for Christmas!!!

  10. lots of happy tears this morning. Congratulations on the finalization of Axel's adoption. He is a beautiful boy. I can't wait to read about his new life and especially how he and Angela get on. Safe travels home.

  11. Please to meet you Djordje Spring!
    What a great update....congratulations to you both!
    Give Axel a big hug and a squeeze from all us at Downsyn! I can't wait till you put a post in the introduction section with pictures as well!
    I agree with Dean....You are a wonderful! I am in Linda...LinMac from Downsyn!

  12. Congrats, beautiful beautiful beautiful!

  13. Yeah!!!! Congratulations to the newest Mr. Spring!!! God bless, Jennifer

  14. I'm crying (again). Thank you, God, for fulfilling your promise to Axel. You did not leave him as an orphan.
    Axel has no clue just how blessed he is. He's got one amazing Mama.

  15. So happy for you all!!!! Can't wait to meet your son Axel!! We are very proud of you!

  16. Congrats!! So happy you are on the final leg!!

  17. This is so wonderful! I prayed very hard for this little guy to find a family. Hurray!