Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day Two with "Chase"

Today was our Day 2 visit with "Chase" and all I can say is, "Dear Lord God....." Just some highlights of our day:
*Chase was very happy to see us and asked right away about the puzzle...of course we brought them...three in fact because we didn't know his level....but he ended up doing fine with the large 30 piece floor puzzle. He needed some help and tried to fit pieces where they could obviously never go but he also got a lot of them right. His main way of doing things is "try first and think later."

*He was wearing the same shirt he had on yesterday--the one that is way too short on him. And he was also wearing the same socks as well as pants that were way too small. The button was so tight that he could not open and close it to use the bathroom and I almost couldn't either. When I saw that he had to suck in his stomach to get the button closed, we told him to just leave the button open and that we would bring him new pants tomorrow. When we looked further we saw that the pants had left a big red mark all around his waist. We hadn't brought clothes with us because first of all, we had to get our trip together in three days, and secondly our agency had told us not to bring him anything because all of the kids share and we could find out what the orphanage needed once we arrived. Well, it turns out that the children do get to keep their own clothes and it seems his are too small for him.

*We had planned on telling Chase that we were going to come back for him and bring him to America with us, but before we got the chance he asked, "When will you take me home with you?" Then we explained everything as best we could to a boy who knows nothing but orphanage life, and we showed him the family photo album we had made for him. We told him all of our kids' names and showed him the other two boys we are adopting as well. He seemed to like seeing them and naming them on each page. Whenever he saw them doing something like making gingerbread cookies or playing at the park, he would ask, "Will I be able to do this too?" And we assured him that he would. When we asked if he would like to make gingerbread cookies he told us he didn't know how, so we told him we'd teach him. Same thing for riding a bike and swimming in the pool, etc.

*It is sweet how concerned Chase is for others. When we had just arrived he asked me if I had slept well. Then when we gave him a bag of cheese puffs he immediately asked us if he could go to share them with the other children--before taking even one. We told him his group was in school but he told us he wanted to give them to the younger children. When we walked into the younger children's room we were shocked to see that what they were watching on the television was some extremely provocative, sexy women dancing. I told our facilitator that I could not even wrap my head around this but what she explained made sense. This is an extremely poor, remote village, so it is very difficult to get teachers with higher level training. The workers here are women from the village who need a job. They don't understand everything professional people do about child development, etc. All of the caretakers are very nice and I think they do their best, but the orphanage just doesn't have the resources to provide the children with everything they need. It made me so sad though that the children grow up watching this.
*Chase is extremely skinny, though our facilitator said that the children do eat well. But they are all given the same portions and aren't given seconds, so he must just have a need for more calories in his diet. We brought him an orange and a banana, some cheese puffs and a few small candies. He had just told us that he had a sandwich with tomato and cheese and ham for breakfast. But when we gave him the snacks, he hurriedly ripped off the banana peel and scarfed down the banana.  Then he asked me to peel the orange and he scarfed that down as well. When he got the puffs, first he shared a lot with the children, then he came back upstairs and ate them while building a puzzle. The way he ate the hard candy was to put it in his mouth, chew it up and swallow. Even though he was desperate for the food he always made sure to offer some to us and when we would say no thank you, he would insist and say, "yes, take it" and keep insisting until we did. We had an hour away from him while he ate lunch so we went to a restaurant and came back to the visit with a large piece of delicious cake for his dessert. He was fascinated with it and sat right down to eat it. At first he dug right into it taking a huge spoonful but I stopped him and showed him how to take little bites and eat it slowly, and he did a great job with that. Norman asked him for a bite and he happily pushed the cake over to him along with a new fork. After Norman took one bite he gave it back but Chase said, "Take more." He offered some to me and Deliana as well. While still eating, he motioned up to Norman and said, "Take some." We were really struck with his humility and generosity.
*While looking through my bag he stumbled upon some blank Christmas cards and asked me what they were. I told him and he asked if he could give some to his teachers and friends and I told him yes but that he would need to sign them first. So we sat down and I gave him markers and had him choose a card one by one for each person. When I told him to write his name he could only write the first letter. So Deliana sat beside him showing him how to make each letter of his name and he would copy her.  Some came out ok and some not so great but he had a pretty good idea of copying shapes. Writing his name was laborious for him but he kept writing card after card after card so that he could make sure everyone had one. We were shocked at how long he kept up this activity, each time struggling just to write his name. Deliana and I were tired of doing it! And so was he but he kept going anyway. At one point he asked if he could take off his glasses because they were hurting his ears and we checked and saw that indeed they were too short for his ears and were rubbing hard against the backs, so Norman tried to straighten them out a bit. New they don't hurt but they'll probably fall off easier.

*Chase was very curious and into everything and not really keen on having serious conversations but when we had sat down to go over the family album and talk about being his Mama and Tatko he patiently listened and asked lots of questions. Deliana asked him if he knew what a Mama And Tatko do with children and he said, "Play". Then she asked, "What else?" But he said he didn't know.
*At one point I took out a nativity sticker set and asked him if he knew about Jesus being born on Christmas, etc. I showed him the pictures and he said he never heard of it. Then I asked him if he knew who God was and he said no.
*Chase clearly has some type of learning disability but we don't know to what extent. We do know that his vocabulary has greatly blossomed in the last six months since being given a neurological type of drug for a short time which is used to stimulate brain activity in people with various neurological issues. His director says he does not have dyslexia but that may or may not be correct. We notice that he doesn't know how to think for himself and doesn't even try, so we kept asking him to think about things before he did them...ie, he was doing some simple mazes and at first he'd just go with the marker until he got to a dead end and then turn around, but we took the pen away and told him he had to figure out exactly how to go before he did the marking and he did do better this way. We can't tell at this point if he will be independent as an adult or not. I think communication wise he is fine for a child his age who grew up in a orphanage. But academically he is clearly behind even his orphanage peers.
*Someone had told Chase that when the documents are all done we will come back to the orphanage and get him, so all throughout the visit he would ask us something about the documents, such as "When will the documents be finished?" "Will the documents be done before Christmas?" etc. We explained to him that it would take a long time and that we would come after winter, but he really has no concept of how long the seasons last, etc.
*When asked what he wanted to be when he grows up Chase told us he wants to be a motorist, lol
*Chase's hair was so long he could barely see through it.  So i asked him if he wanted me to cut it and he emphatically answered, "DAH!"  I found an old pair of scissors that barely cut and started sawing away at his hair front and back.  It's not great but it's a big improvement!  He was very happy with it:)


*We brought Chase a new shirt today and he put it on but he was very concerned about his other shirt (which is way too small) and asked us if we would keep it for him in America.
*Chase was so pleased with all the food that we brought him today that he gave us a list of things he wants us to bring tomorrow, such as a mandarin orange, a banana, popcorn, a lollipop, chocolate, and pretzels. He also wants us to bring him another easy puzzle and a pair of pants and socks. After the visit we went clothes shopping for him and got him three outfits, some socks, and some shoes and tomorrow we will stop on the way for his grocery list, lol.
*During the visit we had a serious conversation with him about wearing his glasses. We asked him why he doesn't like to wear them and he told us he does like to. So we asked him why he always wants to take them off and at first he told us he was worried that the other children would break them when he played with them but when pressed he said he was afraid the other children would tease him. We explained how important it is to wear the glasses and told him that many children in America wear them and that he will not be teased when he comes here. And we told him that when the other children tease him to just say, "That's ok....many children in America wear glasses and they like them." Don't know if this will help but it's worth a try!

I will finish by just saying this....I don't blame the orphanage staff for the sad conditions in Chase's orphanage. These are mainly people who grew up under Communism with no faith in God. Chase and the other children suffer not because Bulgaria is a poor country or because it is a largely Godless society. They suffer with not having enough to eat, not having enough money to turn the heat on sometimes in the winter, not having clothes and shoes that fit them properly, being considered outcasts in the public schools, being teased for not having any parents, not knowing what "I love you" means, not having the warmth and security of a family because .......CHRISTIANS do not take these children into their homes and make them a part of their families. Yes I know it's expensive. Yes, I know most of us don't have an extra $25,000 lying around. But ask yourself this....what if if were your own child that was lost and living in an orphanage and the only way you could get them back was to come up with $25,000. Do you think you could do it then? For sure you could....no doubt. If you've never adopted please think about this..........these children are just as precious and loved by God as your own. And we cannot abandon them. To do so is to do it to Jesus himself. Lord Jesus I thank you for breaking our hearts for what breaks yours. I thank you profusely for giving us this honor of bringing three of these precious ones home. And I pray that through the work you're doing in our lives many many many more children will find homes with your own adopted sons and daughters. Amen.

If you would like to help us bring these boys home, you can make a tax deductible donation HERE

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