(om de tekst in het nederlands te lezen klik hier)

In the spring of 2012 we received the greatest news of all – we were about to become parents of a little girl from Bulgaria. She had a difficult start in life and she was placed in a baby home in Sofia where she was waiting for her mum and dad to take her home. We received a picture where we saw a tiny little girl with brown curly hair and enormous brown eyes. She was so cute, so beautiful! Later it turned out that we both felt one and the same feeling simultaneously – yes, this is her, our daughter, and no one else!

That same day we were said that two and a half weeks later we could travel to Bulgaria. We were tense and despite all preparations we still did not know what to expect. Our Dutch facilitating agency in the Netherlands have prepared us for this trip. They told us that as soon as we get in Bulgaria, ANIDO, the local adoption agency, would take care of us. We already knew from other Dutch adopters that ANIDO were great. We were told: “You have to do nothing, they take care of everything”, and “Enjoy to the max of your time with the child”. These words turned out to be absolutely right.

We arrived Saturday morning in Sofia and were met by Nadya, one of ANIDO’s employees. Our meeting was hearty and natural. We immediately felt a little bit calmer.Nadya took us to the hotel by cab and we were very surprised to find out that the hotel was so close to the baby home. In the taxi and in the hotel Nadya told us that our daughter was doing great and also explained us the schedule for the next week. Sunday was leisure time for us and we had time for some sightseeing in Sofia. Monday morning we were supposed to be taken off by Nasko, another translator, who was going to stay with us during our first meeting with our daughter.

Nadya told us where the nearest supermarket and restaurant were and suggested some interesting places worth seeing.She also gave us a cell phone number to call in case of questions or an emergency.She explained we should not worry about calling at any time as this one week they will do everything possible to provide the best care for us.The reception was so warm that we felt immediately relieved from great deal of our tension and fears.We used Sunday to enjoy Sofia – the beautiful Bulgarian capital – and looked forward for the upcoming week.

As scheduled, Nasko met her the next morning.Our acquaintance was again friendly and warm.Nasko wanted to makes us feel comfortable and assured us that after an hour our tensions would be gone.Well, right at that moment we could not very well imagine it.We went to the baby home which was 15 min walking.While walking, Nasko explained to us what to expect of that day.We would be meeting the director and several important staff members such as the psychologist and the social worker.

We would never forget the moment when we and Nasko were sitting there on the sofa in the director's office.She tried to introduce us as detailed as possible with our little girl’s past;We made an effort to focus on her words, but occasionally we were glancing over her shoulder to the door where our daughter had to appear at any moment.Then the social worker came in with a little girl cuddled in her arms.We were both extremely excited.We knew pretty well how important that moment was.How tiny she was!She was observing us in bewilderment and a bit curiously.Gently we tried to enter into contact by giving her a small toy and soon there she was, sitting in my lap.At this point Nasko asked: “Are you still so tense?”But no, the tension was gone completely, just as he had assured us.Half an hour later we were escorted to the playroom.Nasko and the social worker stayed with us.About an hour later our daughter got whimsical and then we realized how many new impressions and emotions she experienced in this short time.She began to cry and M. instinctively took our daughter in her lap and started to swing her.After a few minutes she was already asleep.We stayed speechless…

After lunch it was time for her nap.Meanwhile, we went with Nasko to have a snack.He told us that the morning went very well and that we could go alone in the afternoon.Nonetheless, we could call anytime in case we needed something or had questions.That same afternoon we met Nelly and she invited us for lunch on Friday, after the appointment with the notary, in order to discuss the details about the procedure.

The rest of the week Galya, Nadya and Nasko shifted in accompanying us.With all three of them we got on very well together.Every day at lunch time we had ample time to relax for a while and ask questions.It was great that every morning they were available and we could speak with the director, the psychologist and the leading physician of the baby home.We were given all the information available which was so important for us and, at later stage, for our daughter!The afternoons we were given the chance to stay alone with her, which was really beneficial.During the week Nasko, Galya and Nadya made lots of photos of the three of us.We are still enjoying these pictures, and the best of them we put in the cards we prepared for the special occasion of the arrival of our little girl in the Netherlands.

The week was sweeping fast.Every day we visited her in the baby home and played in a room dedicated for such purposes.We were cuddling, we did some rough-and-tumble play, and it was so good together.We noticed that in the afternoons she was getting tired sooner, so we made our visits shorter.On Thursday our little girl had a birthday!We were so happy to be with her in her second birthday!ANIDO made us very happy as they were kind enough to arrange with the director permission for us to attend the birthday party with the other kids!We brought cake and juices and both we and the children enjoyed the wonderful time.

The last day, after visiting the institution we took a taxi to the notary public.There we again met Nelly and Alex, another translator.We had to sign lots of papers, which we did with great pleasure.Nelly brought a camera and recorded the moment when we put our signatures.It is beautiful that later we could show all this to our daughter.After the notary, we had lunch with Nelly and Alex.This was a very pleasant meeting.All at ANIDO were warm and kind and all arrangements were completed extremely diligently and professionally.Full of hope and assurance that ANIDO will finish the procedure in the next few months, we said goodbye to them.

The same afternoon we saw her again -we were sad we were leaving.We would see her again after some months to take her home.

Back in the Netherlands we felt tired and upset.It was extremely difficult to return home without our little daughter.We were often sitting in her room drinking coffee or fixing something all the time, just to make her room prettier.Luckily, we had the pictures and videos made back then and each week we sent nice cards and pictures.Seven weeks later the telephone suddenly rang:SHE was officially our daughter and we could go to pick her up!We thought that the procedure would take another month, and it went so fast!Nonetheless, these few weeks were like ages for us, longer that all the previous years of waiting.We could finally be with her, what a relief, just two more weeks!The plan was to fly on Thursday to Sofia and take her on Friday.Saturday we could return home.Pity we could not pick her up the same day of our arrival in Bulgaria, but compared to the whole waiting, it was nothing.A week before our departure, we received a phone call from the Dutch adoption agency.Again, ANIDO arranged with the baby home that we could take her just a few hours after our landing at Sofia airport.What a wonderful news!Moreover, ANIDO were also kind to ask for the size of her clothes and shoes,which was really very kind, as it turned out that the stuff we had bought were too big for her.

So we took the flight to Bulgaria,it was summer and quite hot in Sofia.At the airport we were met by a familiar and trustworthy member of ANIDO – Nasko.It was so nice to see him again.Nasko is the guy who joined us for the first meeting with our daughter, for her birthday party, and now when we came to take her home.It was so nice to live all these important moments together again.We will never forget them and when she grows up we’ll tell her about everything.

Sometime earlier we arrived at the baby home andwe finally saw her again!We approached the group of children and we saw her rushing out to us, dressed in a beautiful little dress.But when she saw us, she turned back and walked the other way.Which was understandable, bearing in mind that there we were, three adult staring at her.The caregiver though took her by the hand and walked towards us.Our girl reacted very calmly – did she recognize us?Well, who knows.She just accepted what was happening.Then the caregivers came to say goodbye…well, that was a moment we preferred to spare, but all went good:a few tears, one last picture andB. took her in his arms … and we left.All next was new to us – we had a little girl who was curiously looking around and had no idea what was going on.We knew that feeling already, all seemed surreal.

That night we put our daughter in our hotel bed, between us… to protect her.We lied still for a long time… watching her… our little girl.Friday Nadya came in the hotel bringing her passport; all was ready for our departure.But even in that moment it was difficult to say goodbye.Early next morning we wrapped her up in a blanket and headed the airport by taxi.After we went through the check point, we looked around for a second, but all was fine.Filled with emotions we left Sofia behind us, snuggling between us our sleeping daughter, who had no idea that she was leaving the country where she was born.We were so happy that finally we could take her home, but at the same time we were fully aware what it meant for her to leave behind the only world she knew.

Upon arrival we saw from the airplane window many balloons in the colors of the Bulgarian and Dutch flags.Our friends and families were there to meet us.When we got off the plane, we saw all of our loved ones.There stood our grandparents, relatives and friends.We all had longing for her arrival and we were so happy when she was with us at last.

Today she is 3.5 years, how quickly time flies.We see her growing as a joyful, initiative and lively child.All naughty things she does make us laugh; it is wonderful that she is a girl with such a strong character.We are impressed by her fighting spirit, cheerfulness and ability to win people to her side.It is obvious that the caregivers took good care of her back there.From time to time we ask ourselves why Bulgaria chose us to become parents of this beautiful girl?Of all those parents who are still waiting, why were we the luckiest ones?We have no unilateral answer, but yes, this was the right choice.We love our little girl and we are filled with confidence for the future.We surely will visit Bulgaria again one day as we want our daughter to know her homeland.After all these good experiences, not long ago we realized that we would like to adopt a sibling for our daughter from Bulgaria andwe are currently working hard on this goal.

Dear Nelly, Alex, Galya, Nadya, Nasko and all other collaborators who put so much effort to bring our family together:

You made our dream come true. Your efforts and support made the best journey of our lives even better!We hope to see you soon again!

With warmest regards,

B. S. and M. van B.
the Netherlands


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Intercountry Adoption Council sessions

This section contains information on the referrals (proposals) made by the IAC. This is the body within the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice, which makes the referrals.

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