Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Must Have Woke Up on the Wrong Side of the Kravat

Today's morning visit with Alex did not go well.

What makes it worse is that I didn't even see it coming. I was too excited at all the "trash to treasure" I had collected for the children in his groupa. All of the toys that we give the groupa ends up on a shelf (and I am not kidding-- they are for show only) so I thought I would bring them things that are considered trash, but I know the kids will have a ball playing with. So I lugged a good size bag of egg cartons, empty cereal boxes, different kind of bags, cups, and spoons.

And I was right! The kids were so excited-- and the caretakers actually looked at me and showed me with their eyes that I had done a good thing-- which I was glad to see because I was half expecting them to look at me like I was crazy. It was fun to see the kids playing-- and it made it easier for us to take Alex for a walk while he ate the ripe, yummy pear that we brought. As the juicy fruit dripped down his arm and onto his thighs, I tried to teach him to wrap a napkin around the fruit, but he wouldn't have it. Okay-- so forget the napkin-- I'll just clean him up once he is done. That too, he didn't want any part of but I got the job done, no big deal. We got to check up on the hardworking men who have been laying brick since we first got here. John-- they are still not done-- but they continue to engage Alex and he is more talkative with them. After walking around for about twenty minutes playing hide and go seek with Julia, we went and saw Simon's group and gave them their usual tickle fest that each of the boys so love. It has been amazing to see them all transition before my eyes-- each of the boys look healthier and happier-- they have better color, and respond to Julia and I immediately-- which is amazing because they all have moderate special needs (outside of Simon). Word of advice to anyone going to an orphanage soon-- spend time with the other kids-- rub their back-- talk to them--- bring them treats--- tickle them--- it may be the only real highlight of their day... week... month... or even year.

Moving on......

We all went to the sport room---- Alex was not cooperative getting out of the stroller. The room had the director's wife sitting in it doing paperwork-- so of course I talked with her a bit while Julia played with Alex. Alex came over to me, so I picked him up. He didn't like that--- he wanted to look through the drawer she had open. As I tried to parent him and lead him back to the ball pit, he dashed out to swing open the door-- something he has been told many times not to do. So I picked him up and now he has the director's wife scolding him too. Okay, I thought-- he'll listen to her. NOPE. He stared grabbing my glasses which he also knows is a big no-no. You can imagine how awkward the situation was for me as he continued to deliberately disobey. I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he was acting up because there was other women around-- but I still had to stay firm. So I did what I did a few days ago--- I took him back to his groupa.

Ugh--- it was not one of my finer moments---- yet again.

One caretaker got him to apologize and give me an I am sorry kiss which was really nice--- but I can't wait till he is my child in my custody and learns to respond to me in the same way. Only five more days for that. The plan is for us to be on a train the night of the 4th.
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Before I forget I wanted to tell you how impressed I am with the caretakers handiwork. Nearly a week ago, one of the front wheels on Alex's stroller broke-- I most certainly would have thrown the whole thing away. But not at Antoshka-- the women got out some thin wire and fixed it-- and now it stronger than ever!
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However, our afternoon visit went well! We had fun with the kids outside!


20 comments:

Molly C said...

I'm pretty sure things will be different once he's all yours. Do you think he is just testing you? He's probably never had this much attention before! If I was him, I'd be showing you my worst now, and worrying that you might leave me forever. Of course he doesn't know that you won't do that.

So I bet things will calm down when he's home with you. Plus the other kids will model behavior for him!

Kids, Fish, Candy, and Fun said...

I have a little girl with cerebral palsy that is the same age as Alex. What you are describing sounds a lot like her behavior too. The best advice I can give you is to stay strong and consistent. You are doing the best thing for him with tough and firm love. I know it is rough, but stay strong.

Terri-Anne said...

I agree with everything the previous two posters have written. He's testing, pushing limits and seeing if he can push you away! Who knows......he may not even WANT to leave with you at this point.....if the orphanage is the only life he's ever known, he has nothing to compare it to, and doesn't understand that things will be better when he leaves. I guarantee you that he will continue to test for the first while when he first gets home, but with the parenting-skill and determination you and John have, he'll learn to follow expectations and behave appropriately. Just remember to stand firm with the rules and expectations, despite his physical differences....the biggest mistake people make with special needs kids is to let them away with unacceptable behaviour because they are "disabled." But you already know that....Keep up the good work!

Conethia and Jim Bob said...

I think it is wonderful that your daughter is staying with you during this wait. What a wonderful bonding experience. Only 5 days left. Stay strong.

Kathy C. said...

Sounds like he is just testing you. Really the same as any kids so that's probably a good sign.

Hevel said...

You know what I've been thinking? Ukraine needs more "private", Christian orphanages. My brother has been to several orphanages in Ukraine and said that the two that were coming anywhere near in mentality to what a children's home should be like were the one run by the Hungarian Reformed Church sponsorship and the Jewish one in Odessa. (I think it was Odessa, maybe it was Donetsk.)

Jodi Lewandoski said...

Hi Christine,
Sounds like a difficult visit. In your own home it wouldn't be so difficult, but in front of other caretakers and with Alex not being completely "yours" yet, I'm sure it was hard. Try not to be disappointed, he hasn't ever had a family to teach him before.
By the way, what do you mean it's snowing?? I thought it was really HOT there!? Weird.
I want to thank you for allowing me to be in Ukraine for a few moments every morning, I have hardly been out of MN and I find it so interesting.

Hae a GREAT day,
Jodi Lewandoski
St.Michael,MN

Michelle said...

I am jealous that you are allowed to spend so much time with the other kids - we weren't at ALL, and we were at the same orphanage. What is up with that?? You must just be favorites there or something! :)

MoonDog said...

i am sorry you had a hard time on your visit. One thing I thought reading is that if Alex cant lift one leg its because the other is weak and lacks the balance control to hold him up while he lifts that one. We went through that with Ethan. that's just a thought, a possibility. but I bet once he is in a house full of sibs he will be not only walking but running in no time to chase after them and do what they do. hang in there a few more days and bring that boy home!!!

mommajeane said...

sorry to hear he is giving you that challenge..but it is so not normal for you or him who are now family even though you are there...So he will challenge. I hope the next few days go fast for you..it sounds like you are ready to come home. We have always gotten to play with the other kids... and to treat them to bananas or cookies.. playing with the other kids is one of our favorite parts of the adoption. Amazing about the snow.. I thought I had misread your post.

Lucie said...

It must be as fustrating for Alex as it is for you! It will be so much easier when he is yours 24/7 and he has consistency and love in his life.
What a great life experience you are having with Julia.

Christi said...

I am so happy to hear about the effort he is making with stomping and lifting his legs. It really is a blessing to know that he could respond favorably to physical therapy once he gets home. Praying that God continues to keep you safe and sees you safely home.

Blessings,
Christi

MamaPoRuski said...

You are doing great! These orphanage behaviors will quickly fade and he will be your son and only yours! Praying for you! HUGS!

MMrussianadoption said...

almost home. Phew. You know you really are lucky to be able to play with the others. In both my adoptions, we were never allowed in a room with any of the other kids and never got to play in a playroom with toys. We would bring donations and treats for the kids, but never got to see them to share with them or put a smile on their faces. That is something we missed out on.

Christy said...

Oh great that you got to witness the kids enjoying your 'treasures'.

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

I'm sure things will go much more smoothly once he is home. He's probably getting mixed signals and isn't quite sure how to process them. Or maybe he is even a little nervous about leaving his home.

Anonymous said...

hi mom ,julia and Alex i really miss you. i can't wait to see alex.
love you guys
love anna

Annie said...

Have you noticed, that children are at their worst when they are not QUITE sure who is in charge - or if anyone is. My guess is that it was this conundrum that had him acting out to find out. Isn't it hard to parent with people watching? Especially when you are not sure what they are thinking?

Here I am playing "catch up" on your blog again. I refuse to read the posts out of order, OR to not respond....so I hope you can put up with stale conversation from me.

Eat some good Ukrainian ice cream for me.

Molly C said...

I love love LOVE the way he turns to the camera, and smiles even if he is not the only one you are taking pictures of. He totally knows you're his. Also, I might be crazy, but he sort of looks like Julia. He defininetly looks like a Reed!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you're creating problems yourself by trying to solve this issue instead of looking at why their is a problem in the first place.