It's hard to believe it's been a year already since we drove up to orphanage one last time.
Walking through the grey gate, we could see that the yard with dry, crunchy grass we saw in August was now covered in snow.
We walked in and then waited in the director's office. We were told that Ally had spent the whole weekend in the hospital because of a "respiratory infection" and had only gotten back to the orphanage that morning.
We gave them her clothes and then waited for them to dress her and bring her down.
Finally everything was settled and signed and Ally got bundled up to leave.
We walked down the same hall as we did when we said good-bye in August. Only this time we didn't say good-bye to each other when we got to the end of the hall. We kept walking right out that heavy, black front door.
The receptionist was the only person who said good-bye to Ally. She kissed her and wished her a happy life. I was thankful that one person seemed sad to see her go and happy for her to be starting a new life.
We said one last good-bye to the orphanage...
and then walked through the gate for the last time.
The car seat didn't fit and couldn't be figured out in the time we had, but she had a place to sit. Poor little one seemed confused to be driving away with us.
After a couple of hours in the van, she enjoyed a stop to eat...probably her first ever restaurant meal. She had fries and chicken and our driver, a kind man who spoke nicely to her in Bulgarian, shared his mashed potatoes with her.
The rest of the day was a whirlwind. Back to Sofia and running to get photos taken, a medical visit for the visa and quick stop a tiny grocery to get some yogurt and milk and then finally...finally to our hotel to eat some dinner...
then falling asleep quickly after a long tiring day.
We had finally made it through the one day we had so looked forward to. She was ours and she was finally with us. We had several days to spend in our hotel in Sofia but then we could make the final trip home for good.