Friday, December 14, 2012

Goodbye Visit with Sweet "Chase"

I’m leaving "Chase's" orphanage now with tears streaming down my face. As we said goodbye today we didn't act sad in front of him. We told him that we love him and that we’re going back to America to do the documents.....that this takes a long time but that we will return for him after winter when the documents are done. He was not showing sadness at our parting but when he would hug us he kept lifting up his legs for us to pick him up, and then he would laugh in an awkward way, like he wasn't used to being picked up but he liked it. He got the idea of being picked up earlier in the visit when after hugging him I lifted him up for the first time. This had made him laugh and laugh and he was a little stiff with his body because it was strange for him but you could tell he enjoyed being carried.

Today when we first arrived the director told us that she had taken him for his Visa photo earlier and that we could pick the picture up when we leave. She said that after the photo, Chase asked her if he looked good in his picture.  I think he looks great:)

When we first saw him we brought him in the room to show him all the stuff we brought for him. First, of course, he was interested in the food. He saw that we had peach juice and asked for some. I poured it in a glass and he gulped it all down in one breath. Then he asked for more and did the same thing. Next he took the banana and started ripping off the peel every which way. I took it from him and showed him how to properly peel it and hold it with the peel but he just snatched the banana off the peel and took a huge bite. For each thing he ate I had to calm him down and tell him to eat slowly and take small bites. Also, all throughout the visits, whenever he can get food into the subject he will, such as.....when we looked at the family photo album he asked if they sold food at the park, he asked what type of food I make when he saw the picture of the kitchen, he asked what the kids were drinking in one of the photos, he asked if the gingerbread cookies were to eat, etc. Today when he was making his plaster hand print he asked if it was something to eat, lol. All of our visits ended either right before his lunch or right before his dinner, so parting was never that difficult for him because he was very anxious to eat—even though he had eaten many snacks already with us. I cannot post the pictures of how skinny he is because I think it’s a little too personal and embarrassing, but while he was changing Norman took a picture of his frail little body with his chest bones sticking out and his bony little legs. I’ve seen the orphanage give the children nice food—oatmeal or croissants for snacks, meat and vegetables for dinner, etc. But it just seems like for him it isn’t enough—the portions are nutritious but not large. Most of the other children do not look as skinny as he does. There may be some other issue we need to find out about besides just having a fast metabolism.

After eating some food, we showed him the clothes and socks and shoes we had bought and he was very pleased with it all. It was difficult to find pants that were both long enough and skinny enough for him, so none of the pants fit that well--they are either too baggy or too short. (My mom may need to sew some pants for the boys until they fill out a bit!) But he really loved everything and wasn't picky. In fact, half way through the visit he changed into a new outfit:). When we gave him the new clothes he told us he wanted to change into them so he took off his shirt and we saw that the poor little guy's chest bones are all deformed because of rickets when he was younger (maybe now too...I don't know). Little Tyler has the exact same condition. A lack of vitamin D (I believe) causes this, and I guess it's a common problem in the orphanages. So sad.

While he was doing a table puzzle we had bought for him, he had a napkin full of popcorn that he was eating. Then all at once he got up and took a handful of popcorn and gave it to Deliana, then he gave a handful to Norman, and then he gave a handful to me, leaving only five or six kernels on the napkin. Deliana asked him, "And for you?" And he answered, "There's a little bit for me." (Like, don't worry, I'm ok). We found out too that last night he was sharing his puzzle with the other children and they were all doing it together. He has the most generous heart I have ever seen in my life.

We spent the morning doing the new puzzles we brought for him. I asked the director if he is always this obsessed with puzzles or if the puzzles are new to him and that’s why he wants to keep doing them over and over again. She said that they do have puzzles at the orphanage but they are the larger, more difficult type and so he cannot do them but always wants to. After the puzzles he finished signing the Christmas cards he wanted to make for everyone. I was surprised that he remembered everyone he had made cards for the day before. Deliana had to check the cards from yesterday a couple of times to make sure he wasn't making duplicates today....but he wasn't....he knew what he was doing, lol. It is very clear that he has terrible depth perception (due to the strabismus?). When he reaches to take something from your hand he doesn't go directly to it, but must feel around a little until he touches it. This was the same when playing the Connect Four game. It was difficult for him to see exactly where to drop the checkers into. And he often looks at you with his head turned and hesitates a minute before speaking. I don't know if this is a factor in why he cannot read and write at all. Sometimes he slips because of missteps when going down the steps as well.

After the cards, we took an imprint of his hand, just like we had done with Tyler. He found it all very interesting. Then we did some Christmas crafts and told him about the special baby Jesus who was born on Christmas and how kings came and brought him really nice presents because he was so special. He asked me where I found all these interesting crafts and I told him that we have a lot of them in America and that he will do many more when he comes to his new home.

Deliana told me she is trying to raise some money to buy the children blankets for the winter because its very cold at night—sometimes -25 degrees C ( -13 degrees F) and sometimes they don't have money to run the heating. I told her that I would like to try to raise money from the US to send to her for this purpose, but I asked her if there was an evangelical church nearby who could bring the supplies to the orphanage and tell the children the story of Christmas, etc. She spoke to the director and she is going to get us the number of a nearby evangelical church and then Deliana will speak to them to see if they will take the gifts on our behalf and share about the love of God with the children. If you would be interested in donating to this cause please message me on Facebook or leave a comment here with your email address.

The entire time during today's visit we were telling Chase "Obicham te" which means "I love you." At the end of the visit we said it again and he turned to Deliana and asked her what does this mean. You don't know how this broke my heart that he never heard "I love you" in a way that was meaningful to him. It wasn't that he didn't understand our Bulgarian. We were saying many more difficult phrases to him, with a very strong accent, yet he still knew what we were saying. I'm pretty darn sure that I say "Obicham te" intelligibly. And it isn’t due to any lack of vocabulary—he speaks almost as well as any other 9 yr old boy in his village. He just didn’t know exactly what we are trying to tell him, and he wanted to understand. How do you describe “I love you” to a person who hasn’t experienced it? But thank God he will one day.

Saying goodbye to Chase was extremely difficult because we want to bring him home with us now instead of leaving him there all winter. He needs sunshine and more calories and love and affection. We are thankful to the workers in his orphanage for being kind to him and doing their best with what they have. We will be praying for Chase and the other children and the workers that they are touched by the love of Christ this winter in a life changing way. If you are interested in adopting from here Deliana knows two twin girls aged nine who are available, as well as one eight year old boy. There are others as well that she doesn't know. (And thousands throughout the country). She estimates that about half of the children in this orphanage have families that they go home to on the weekends....who can't provide for them regularly for one reason or another. I can put you in touch with our agency if you're interested in finding out more.

This evening we return to our apartment in Sofia to rest and sight-see for the weekend. Then early Monday morning we leave for a short drive to the third city where we will meet the 12 year old boy, "Max" who we are adopting with Tyler and Chase. We will catch up on some much needed sleep this weekend so it's likely I won't blog again until aft we've had our visit with Max. We are very excited to meet him and can't wait to discover his personality.

Again, let me say...these children suffer only because Christians are not doing the work of Jesus. We are caught up with the worldly things...like education, entertainment, nice homes and cars, fashion, sports, arts, etc. I'm not saying that any of those things are bad. But they have collectively taken away the urgency for the Lord's followers to be his hands and feet on this earth. When will we wake up and realize that all of the above will perish with fire, and that only what we do unto The Lord will last forever. How much treasure do we have stored up in Heaven? I thank The Lord God with all my heart that he has given me the eternal blessing and privilege of bringing all of these precious souls with me to Heaven. Lord God, keep our eyes set on you and towards your high calling. We and all whom you have given us belong to you forever. Amen

Please, if you can be a part in helping us bring our boys home, consider making a tax deductible donation HERE. God bless you and your family!

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