It has become so very clear to me that Griffin is just a typical little toddler trapped inside of a perfectly capable little body. He simply needs a chance.
Today, we took him to the train platform that has the slide and he enjoys walking back and forth between us. He LOVES it. And we love to watch him and help him. It is so adorable to watch the determination on his face...you can practically see his thought process... "okay, I need to lean against Papa... then I need to poke my behind out to push off of Papa's belly...okay, now I'm standing on my own. I don't need their hands (he lets go). Okay, now, I just need to move one foot"... step, step step, collapses into Mommy's arms...and his reward is being bounced up and down by Mommy and being thrown into the air by Papa... He squeals in delight with the hugest smile on his face when he makes it into our arms all on his own. He loves the end result.
I directed him to the slide so that he could take a break from all of the walking. He loves that, too! He will crawl up to it, again, you can watch his thought process... "wow, that looks kind of different. It looks fun... but I don't think I should go down there this way. Let me get on my tummy and army crawl up to it... Yeah, I think this is going to work out great! Let me pop the slide a few times with my hands, just to make sure it's safe. Okay, feels right... let me just inch my way up to it and see what happens! WWWEEEEEEEEE! Wow, that was fun! Let's do it again!" We grab him up, bounce or throw him up in the air to reward him and we do it again... over and over. It's fabulous! He is having so much fun! He's brilliant. He just needs patience and someone to show him how to live and have fun!
As we were playing with Griffin, we noticed two nannies bringing two special needs children outside so that they could get some fresh air and sunshine. The nannies seemed to be very gentle with them. One of the boys was so giggly! He just kept laughing as she gently spoke to him. The other sweet little boy was very quiet but the nanny lovingly held him in her lap. Chris and I decided to walk over and speak to the little boys, so we scooped Griffin up and walked over there. The nannies were very open to letting us talk to them and I told each boy how handsome they were in their own language and I wish that I could take them home with us too.
As our time came to an end, we walked around to the play shed to drop our dude off and the nanny motioned that it was time for all of the children to go inside, so Chris held on to Griffin, and since I was empty handed, I asked if I could carry one of the children to help them out. They let me! So I scooped up an adorable little blond headed boy and we all walked inside. All of the children went into the huge play pen and I helped the nanny take off every one's shoes. I would love to help out more, if they would just allow it! Griffin seemed so sad for us to leave. I could just tell on his face this time, that he knew we were leaving him. It truly broke my heart. We said our goodbyes and I love yous...and... well, Chris saw some boobs. HA HA! The door was closed to the office part of the room that we have to walk through to get out! He was ahead of me and he opened up the door and there stood a nanny, topless, changing her clothes! He quickly closed the door, said, "Maria, I just saw boobs, hurry, let's get out of here!", we walked back by the full play pen, Chris motioned to the other nanny, by pointing to his chest and pointing back to the office, she laughed, and we darted out as fast as we could. AWK-WARD...and to top it all off, we were unable to get a driver for the evening visit so we weren't able to go back... they probably think we are too embarrassed!!
We kind of have some news on court. If we can't have court by Wed., we will probably have to go back to Germany until the 30th, return for court for a day or two, then return back to Germany. Only after court, will I be able to get my little G and that just seems so far away. So please pray that we can have court by Wed.! That would be the best for our children.
There's this blog going around the Internet the past week called "How to Miss a Childhood". It's pretty good I guess, and has a lot of people thinking about their priorities in their lives. It's true, we've become addicted to gadgets, not just phones like the lady was discussing, but lots of things... iPads, laptops, TV's, Satellite Radio, iPods, etc. All these things that super smart folks developed to make our lives easier or better, have somehow taken the priorities in our lives. If you think about it, it went on before these gadgets though. We've all heard stories of people's finances and marriages ruined over World of Warcraft. It's not just a bi-product of technology either. There are stories about people getting so involved with Dungeons & Dragons that they couldn't separate fantasy from reality. We have always wanted "things", and those "things" while not inherently bad, usually wind up destroying some part of our lives. Let's look at this another way though... we'll call this "How to REALLY Miss a Childhood".
When it comes to orphans, there are a lot of figures and definitions that get thrown around. Single orphan vs. double orphan (yes, if you have lost just one parent, you are considered an orphan). The Hewbrew definition is one who is fatherless, and was used mainly for male children. According to Unicef, there are approximately 132 million orphans in the world today (http://www.unicef.org/media/media_45279.html). That is both single and double orphans. Of that 132 million, approximately 15 million are double orphan (lost both parents). At 1157 Zulu time today, there were an estimated 7 Billion people in the world (http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html). Let me do the math so you don't have to! 15 million will go into 7 billion 466 times (with some remaining). So, that means there are approximately 466 parents to 1 orphan out there. It's important to throw these facts & figures out there before we move on.
You may be asking, "Why does this concern me?" Please, don't get me wrong, what the lady in the blog said is absolutely true. You should put your phone down and have meaningful conversations with your children. There are so many people who are caught up in this "How to Miss a Childhood" blog, that they are forgetting that there are, if we just go with the traditional double orphans, 15 million children that would not care if you are talking on your cell phone while you push them in a swing... to them, the simple act of pushing them in a swing is love. For these children in orphanages around the world though, they would just like someone to give them a hug. Case in point, while we are out enjoying a $15 pizza and coke from Papa John's... and yes, I am jonesing for a thin crust meat lovers... these children in this orphanage are eating beet soup, and fighting to get more because they want to get full, but often times are not able to. These children are forced to wear rinsed out, reused Pampers (see Wednesday's blog). These children are forced to play on playground equipment that is rusted out and repainted, while many children are playing on their own personal swing set, with slide, a playhouse in the corner of the yard, and a trampoline. These children share the same 20 to 30 toys (sometimes we were counting the individual off-brand Duplo blocks as separate toys!) and sharing them with 9-12 other children in the same group, while many children have a room full of toys that they have played with, truly played with, one time.
Okay, I'm on a soapbox and I apologize, but let me be the first to stand up and admit that my family is one of the ones I just described. For heaven's sake, my oldest daughter has a playhouse in her bedroom that has a DVD player in the window, and no shortage of DVDs. Both of our girls have a ton of toys, yet their favorite thing to play with was a packing box that was whatever they wanted it to be. None of our children had to wear rinsed out disposable diapers, nor will any child of mine ever have too. I am as guilty as the next about squandering money and time, when there were millions of children growing up in conditions, many worse, than our son has had to grow up in since 4 days after he was born.
We told our facilitator yesterday about how much he has come alive since we have gotten here, and about his walking and other things. She calls it "The Miracle" and that it happens with every single child that has parents come to adopt. They blossom before their very eyes, simply from the love and nurturing they receive. There is no reason at a 466:1 ratio that every double orphan should not have a parent, but I get it, it's not for everyone... admittedly, even I was hesitant at first. There are ways that each & every person can help these children. All they really need, all anyone really needs, is a little love! I want to encourage everyone to get out there and actively search for ways to help the orphans. To steal an old slogan, "Thing Globally, Act Locally". Here's a link to a Google search to find out more ways you can help out... click HERE. If you want to know our process, we're more than happy to share it with you. Let's help these children not MISS their childhood!