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Monday, May 30, 2011

heart of the matter- our baby S

Ok we are back from visits one and two (yes we got two visits on Wednesday - and even more due to Sam's special circumstances). The Misson of Charity is a hard place to visit. The services are much needed but it is still heartbreaking all at once. There were children everywhere and they’ld run and cling to our legs and call you Enat (mom)or Ababa/Abat (daddy/dad) We were soon surrounded by 8 to 10 children, many nearly immobile or struggling to walk, or languishing on the floor with cerebral palsy or spina bifida. Many had a mental/psychological handicap of some sort. There were maybe two that seemed typical/on target/healthy with no special needs. Our son was clearly one of the ones who is neuro-typical and very alert, outgoing, yelling names of his friends and nannies when we would blow bubbles or blow up the punch-balloons- making sure they saw the fun his family was bringing to his group.. However, he has both legs casted up to his thigh and can not walk… however,this does not break his super happy spirit. He smiles with his whole body and his face lights up like no other child I have seen. We stayed with him in the morning, played and interacted- sometimes just gaings at him and he back at us. Soon all the other children seemed to scoot walk or crawl in with us. What really really concerned us is that the nannies left us alone with all these children for well over an hour. There were two profoundly mentally handicapped children sitting on a counter in the lunch room just slumped over, sometimes rocking, one yelling and screaming to no end. If it wasn’t for Samuel and his livleyplayful toddler group- it would have been a dismal place. I really had hoped/expected the nannies to interact more with the kids but I saw very little sign of it. I expect that it does happen when visitors are not there. Maybe they felt the needed to leave us alone to get to know Samuel. They would come in and out from time to time and several were preparing lunch. Our main adoption in-country coordinator, Miruk, asked us how were “handling these conditions” more than once. We really hung in there and played with the children a lot- singling out Sam to hold, hug, or make strawberries with. But it was so hard to look around- there were two children in the crib area, one restrained. There was one huge room of people in restrained chairs/wheel chairs- but there were many people also helping/monitoring them. As scary as it sounds, there is a nice little playground though and the other side is a center to serve moms-in-need who have tiny babies. The head nuns are French and German and speak English well. The main nun is named Sister Jennifer and she is going to show us around tomorrow and answer more questions. The HOLT doctor was not the one who requested the casting, an orthopedic specialist requested it. Sister Jennifer was in and out today and greeted us so nicely when we came in the court yard.

More on Sam- He took to John so quickly and loves to be held and give hugs. He giggles and laughs all the time. Oh and he is barely three…hes is tiny-short, pudgy, and just does not seem much older than two and a half. This is quite possibly due to the institution and lack of one-on-one interaction. But he does like to talk and yell out to his friends and nannies which is a good sign. He was so enamored with his family book and loved looking at the “wooshas”- so we are bringing our computer tomorrow to show video of his family and other pictures of our wooshas. He was ecstatic about bubbles- all the children were…they squealed and yelled for nearly an hour. We returned in the afternoon to wake him from his nap…all the other kids were up and in the play area. He was slowly peering around and saw us and just started giggling, then hiding his face, then more giggling and peek-a-boo stuff. He is so so lovey and smiley. As heartbreaking as his surroundings are, he brings light to it , and I am just so thankful he’s a happy boy who wants others to play and wants to be held. I was fearful he would be scared and try and run away (well I guess running is out of the questions for now). Other families adopting toddlers have had significant attachment issues at the first meeting, and even minor ones that , I am sure, seemed really scary at the time. He gives kisses and tries to repeat “bubbles” and says “enat” and “abat” to us. He doesn’t call cars “machinas” like I expected he just says “beep-beep”. He really likes to play just with us and roll balls, cars, toss balloons back and forth. He got quite sad when we put him in his crib and yelled out for us and got territorial with his family book. All good signs that he knows we are “his”. We go back tomorrow for three hours, then in the afternoon to the doctor/conference. Court will be early Friday morning and we hope to try and see him again Saturday before we leave .

1 comment:

  1. Hi Autumn! Just realized I follow your blog:) We met you in Addis. Your husband John said it was difficult to see where your son is and now I understand. I will pray that you get him home soon.