Tuesday, January 26, 2016

One Year - Gyunay's 1st year home

One year ago today, I carried Gyunay out of the orphanage forever.  A staff member poured water on the steps, and Nathaniel and I walked through it.  (They explained that it's a Bulgarian custom for good luck.)  Gyunay was understandably scared. We were nervous, relieved, and anxious to get him back to the apartment.  We were praying that he would learn to love us.  Nathaniel went all over Sofia looking for soup, because it was lunch time and they told us that he always had soup for lunch.  The one thing they specifically said he was never given - pork - was the first thing he ate for us that first lunch in the apartment.  He picked the ham out of my salad and ate it all!

When we got Gyunay, we were just starting to see glimpses of his happy and mischievous nature.  He was unsure about us and everything new around him.  He was also pale, with thin, scraggly hair and an uncertain smile.  He had no idea how to walk up or down stairs.  He had no idea that "Mama" and "Dada" weren't just our names.  He had no concept of danger, whether from cars or ovens or strange animals.
1 year ago - see how unsure he is?

Now, he's a vivacious, happy, full member of our crazy family.  He loves having 2 big brothers and a big sister to pester.  He had never been around animals before; now he plays with the dog and chickens regularly.  He's a mama's boy who also loves his daddy dearly.  He's put on about 6 lbs, and about that many inches.  


When we got Gyunay, we obviously knew that he had one arm.  We also knew that he had had past lung problems, was a very early preemie, had only started eating solid foods a few months  after he turned 2, could say a few syllables but essentially no words or phrases (just "no" "Mama" "da" (yes)  "Dada" and "more"), and was developmentally delayed due to institutionalism.  Now we know that his lungs are fine, and he can eat, run, and climb stairs like a champ.  He still has delays, and we now know that his speech issue isn't just a delay but a disability, probably apraxia of speech.  We also know that he will overcome this.  In his referral, it said that he was a fighter and a biter.  He is, and so much more!  He doesn't bite very often now, but he does pull hair something awful when he's mad.  He can throw a tantrum like a typical toddler, but he also bounces back really fast into his happy self.

None of us can imagine life without him.  He is so greatly loved by all of us, and he loves us all fiercely.  He knows he belongs with us.  He fits right in with all of his grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.  He charms people everywhere we go, and although he loves others' attention, he sticks close to his family.

We still have milestones to work on - speech, potty training, learning to share.  He's 3 and a half years old.  He still acts more like a two-year-old, developmentally speaking, but he's come such a long way from where he was!  We knew he would thrive with our family, and he has.  He's amazed us so many times.  This is a kid who can conquer obstacles with a smile on his face.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:12


  1. New it was coming up, didn't know the date. So proud of you and him. He is a precious gift to our family.

  2. Crying my eyes out!!! <3 Love you all!

  3. I love this post and love that little boy more than words can say. He has been such a blessing to us all and I look forward to watching him grow into everything God intended him to be. He gets that chance because of you! I am so proud of you, Angel, for pursuing your lifelong dream to adopt. He is the perfect addition to the family.