Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 23: He's Coming Alive!

Maria's View-

So today was another beautiful day here...we took our little Dude outside to do our usual things... however, this time, we went to the play shed a little sooner than usual.  We were having to compete for a spot since the day is so perfect so we went to the empty one with no toys.  There are 2 rings suspended by strings from the ceiling though.  We stood Griffin up and he started to cruise around the perimeter like he usually does, except he stopped to take notice that Chris was swinging one of the rings.  Knowing that Griffin was watching him, he began to swing it pretty hard so that it would swing way out, then back, and then would hit it again.  Before I knew it, Griffin was eyeing the other ring and was trying to cruise to get closer to it.  Chris kept swinging his ring, so I grabbed Griffin's hands and he turned on his own to guide me to the other ring.  He reached out, grabbed the ring, and swung it as hard as he could!  He's trying to copy Papa!  We played like that for a good 20 mins and we were so proud of him.  I really think that he will learn pretty quickly, simply by watching us interact as a family once he is home with us.  He really is the cutest little thing!

Chris had to save him today from falling out of the swing today.  Apparently, one of the nannies had dumped the swing out and the swing had made a full loop, therefore it wasn't hanging correctly.  We didn't realize it and when Griffin leaned over the front of the swing, it almost dumped him out!  Chris was quick to catch him, Praise God.  Would have hated to have to explain that to the nannies! 

Today is a holiday so the orphanage is quiet... all of the nannies are dressed casually instead of their white nurse looking outfits...Everyone seemed to be outside today and all of the nannies gathered to talk to each other as the children played in their play sheds.  Occasionally, they would take 2 or 3 out of the shed to let them run around the court yard, playing freely.  Sometimes they would hold one of smallest ones in their arms as the continued to chat.  2 nannies actually sat in front of a play shed eating ice creams as the little ones watched.  I thought that was pretty sad.

Once our morning visit was over, we were told to put him in the play shed and we said our goodbyes...I kept turning to look at him to see how he reacts with the others as we were walking away.  There were many children gathering around him and it's almost like they were trying to get the scoop on the Americans who take him away every day. ha ha.  It was so cute.  Dude has become a popular little guy around the orphanage!  I saw one little boy hand him a toy to play with.  So sweet!
Our evening visit went well, too.  First of all, there is cotton flying all through the air now... I guess it's called Cottonwood Trees and they are in full bloom.  It is so much that it looks like snow!  But anyway, we learned a lot about dude this evening. 

1. We took him to the play shed and encouraged him to walk back and forth between us.  If we lightly hold on to his shirt or hand, he can walk several steps, even though we aren't helping him AT ALL.  If we let go of him, he will fall instantly, even though we aren't providing him any support at all.  I guess he just likes for us to be close!  He did VERY well today.  A nanny came over and tried to get in on the action but Griffin refused to walk to her.

2.  We gave him about 2 crackers.  The pieces got broken up in my bag so it was probably about 6 bites.  He did VERY well at eating and I was thinking to myself, wow, no food aggression after all!!  I put the bag down with a few more pieces in the bag and he turned into the red faced ugly cry!  And let me tell you, he has NEVER cried with us before.  It was the most saddest, pitiful face I have ever seen in my life.  No, I didn't take a picture.  It was too painful to watch him like this and I didn't want to capture it.  He was in pain and it broke my heart.  I have no idea why, all of a sudden, he started crying because we weren't putting it away! (btw, there were still no tears, just all facial expressions and sound).  Several things ran through my mind at once.  a.  should I just put it away and start teaching him that he can't behave like this for food. b. do I give all I can to him and risk him getting sick? Thus, teaching him that if he acts like this, he will get more food?  Why is he acting like this? a. is he starving?  b. does he feel like he has to compete?  c. does he still see the remaining crackers in the bag but thinks I'm about to put it away?  d. would he still act like this if the bag was empty?  <sigh> I don't have the answers.  I stuck the bag back into my purse, grabbed him up, sat him on my lap, and started rocking him and within seconds he was fine.  I stood him up and he walked further than he has ever walked, assisted, around the courtyard.  His mood was fine after that.

We have so much to learn about this little boy.  I have no idea how long it will take for us to work the food issues out but I hope he will trust us and know that we will feed him when he's hungry and give him snacks just because we can!

I really, really need y'all to pray for this adoption.  We are waiting on a very important paper to come through so that we can schedule our court date.  Please continue to pray!

Chris's View:

Hurt... anger... sad... all of these things can be summed up in one photo that I took today.

As Maria said, we had a great morning visit with our Griffin, and the nanny even came up and told us (through a thrilling round of charades) to just bring Griffin to the groupa play shed when our visit was over.  When we took him over to the shed to drop him off, we were amazed that one of the little boys came up and gave him a toy to play with... no child should be without a toy!  It was very sweet, probably the sweetest thing we saw all day... but...

Don't you hate that word... but.  It always implies something bad.  Now, we have seen some things that opened our eyes since we have been here.  Things that tell how these children live and eat and how they develop fears and things.  For example, Maria blogged about the red car.  To me, I can see how a child might be afraid of red cars, since that is what has been used during relocation day... relocation to the adult mental institution ya'll... it's not relocation to a foster home here that we are talking about.  I can see how these kids may have food aggression issues, since they may have to fight for enough food.  We have seen & blogged about the beetles, the outside is crawling with ants, the nannies have their favorites, etc, etc.  But what we saw as we left the orphanage today made my blood boil.

Maybe I am blowing this out of proportion, but the nannies are reusing disposable diapers.  It was the groupa beside Griffin's.  The nanny had hung the Pampers out on the railing outside the back door for them to dry.  It stopped me in my tracks.  I was amazed that any society would reuse a one time use item.  I didn't, and have yet to see, any sort of number on them, so they could be reusing one child's diaper on another child... that's like wearing your brother or sister's underwear ya'll... and not the clean brother or sister, the one who wets the bed still!  I guess they assume that since they share everything else, they can share the potential for disease too.  It broke my heart so much, but this one picture sums up this adoption experience, and will always be a reminder to me of the conditions that millions of orphans are forced to live in.

On a lighter note, today is Victory Day.  It is the celebration of the Nazi Germany fall to the Soviet Union during World War II.  What is interesting is that most of ya'll may be thinking, "Wait, Germany surrendered officially on May 8th."  Yes, you are correct, but that was only part of it.  The Nazi's did surrender to the ALLIED Powers in Riems on May 7th, effective May 8th.  We call this V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) remember, cause we still had to defeat the Japanese for attacking Pearl Harbor too, what we call V-J Day (Victory Over Japan Day) and that didn't happen until August 15th, but we celebrate it on September 2nd due to that being the day they officially surrendered.  Anyway, due to the Soviets not having the right general in Riems when the German army surrendered, another general signed the surrender terms to avoid a surrender to solely the Allied Powers, thus avoiding the impression that the Soviets had no part in the surrender.  Stalin wasn't too pleased about this and forced them to surrender again the next day, but it was already May 9th in Moscow due to time zones.  So, the Nazi's had to surrender... TWICE!  And people make jokes about the French surrendering!  LOL!

We tried something new for lunch today... no, not Mak Dogs & Corn Cups... we actually tried Lavash Wraps (chicken, a sour cream dill sauce, and cabbage wrapped in a very thin bread that is similar to a tortilla) from Captain Sandwich today... not too shabby, though the cabbage left a bitter taste.  After we ate & messed around on the Internet a bit, we walked into the grocery store to grab some juice & breakfast items.  As we got to the center of the store, there was a large crowd of people, and you could smell something cooking.  It was the store workers celebrating Victory Day.  They had an old Soviet mess kitchen trailer in the center of the store and all the employees, not just the ones serving food, had on Soviet military hats & military uniform items.  Kind of reminded me of places serving hot dogs back in the states for special holidays like the 4th of July!  Kinda makes me homesick!

See ya'll tomorrow!

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