For the record, we haven't seen a single roach in this apartment. Maybe the Embergs unknowingly took them all with them to region, in their suitcases? ha ha. John is working while he is here, so the high speed internet has really been a blessing.
We are still waiting on news about how our adoption is progressing. From what we are understanding, some documents are on someone's desk waiting for a signature from the Office of Children's Services. After that signature is obtained, we will request a court date. Depending on how far out the court date is, we may come home and wait. As much as I do not want to leave Joseph here, there is really no sense paying for an apartment for 3 weeks, and letting someone else care for our other kids, while we sit around and wait for court. There is another potential twist to our adoption story which may play into our plans, which I will disclose soon, but we must first wait for this document to be signed.
I counted 9 blisters on one foot, and 7 on the other, yesterday. I know you are not supposed to pop blisters but that is the only way to get a little bit of relief, so that is exactly what I've been doing. I asked my sister, who has the same genetic blister problems, to describe to my husband how it feels and she said, imagine peeling several layers of skin off your feet and then walking for several miles on your raw flesh. Yes, that is a little bit how it feels. Needless to say this has made our trips to the orphanage very difficult. Poor John, who is a very fast walker, has to wait for me to hobble along everywhere we go. I do feel VERY silly when I see all the ladies in high heels whizzing right pass me. But they were not born with genetic feet problems, that is what I tell myself.
We learned that a taxi ride is not too terribly expensive, and so I think until my feet can heal up we will pay for a taxi to and from the orphanage rather than walking to the subway and back. If I could just have two days off my feet I think it would make a world of difference but then that would mean not getting to see Joseph. No I did not have this problem with Ava's adoption because we did not take a trip to Rome right before, and because her orphanage was only a block from our hotel. But I do get it occasionally, particularly in the heat where a lot of walking is involved. And no, tennis shoes and socks do NOT help, in fact they seem to make it worse.
We really enjoy our daily visits with Joseph and have had a chance to interact with some of the other kids here. I particularly enjoyed the HIV group yesterday. I made a silly face and took a picture of myself, and then they all made individual silly faces which I took photos, then we all laughed and laughed as we looked at each one on my camera viewer. They were mesmerized while I sang Jesus Loves Me, and I watched several of them sitting on the picnic table inch closer and closer to me, and pretty soon I had three of them on my lap! You can see they each crave so much attention. One of them asked to be picked up, and then when John picked him up he got scolded by the nanny. I suppose they don't want to 'spoil' the kids, I'm not sure. But that really broke my heart. I know there are many really great kids who will be overlooked for adoption just because they have HIV, even though it would be nearly impossible for him/her to transfer it to adoptive parents and siblings. Isn't that sad, that 3 little letters would prevent these children from being adopted? Many people have successfully adopted children with HIV and these children thrive and can live fulfilling and full lives just with the proper medical care.
Contrary to what some believe, many children residing in orphanages are not adoptable at all. Here in this country the biological families are allowed and encouraged to visit their children. Just yesterday we saw what appeared to be a biological mother and father playing with their child, and another what appeared to be a grandmother visiting her little grandson. Both children looked very healthy with no apparent abnormalities. In order for a child to be classified as adoptable, a certain period of time must pass without a visit from relatives. I believe the time period is 12-14 months. In other words, if a child gets more than one visit per year by a relative they are not made available for adoption. An orphanage is not an ideal place to grow up, but I am happy to know that there is an effort being made to keep families intact. I do think it is very important for this to be encouraged and that international adoption is only made available as a last resort for children with no other hope. One of our facilitators has told us that there is no hope at all for the kids with special needs here. They are not adopted by locals, and there is no future for them here. Most of them will end up in institutions or on the streets. I know they can't all be saved, but it is like the story of the man throwing the starfish back into the ocean. We can each do something to help, I think.
Most of the children we have seen in the orphanage have obvious health problems. Our facilitator has told us, both on this trip and last, that most people here want perfectly healthy children, and that when a child is born with something 'wrong', it is very common for them to be abandoned. As you look around the children here, you can sometimes tell what was 'wrong' with them that made them unacceptable to their families and their society. Many children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and even cleft palates and clubbed hands and feet.....and as I mentioned before many children with HIV. Children who are wonderfully sweet and engaging, who would be wonderful sons and daughters, had someone just given them the chance. It would be nice, in my opinion, if there very little need for adoption, because everybody in every culture, valued children of every type and ability. But our own country is no different....Did you know that in our country about 90% of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome and other disabilities in utero....are aborted? Same problem, but we just deal with it in a different way. ughhhh. Makes me sad. I can see that the caretakers and the facilitators here feel the same way I do about the children with special needs...they do have value.
The saddest little face of all, which I have seen in many of the children here, is the face of fetal alchohol syndrome or FAS. Children who would have been perfectly healthy had it not been for the mothers who drank too much all through their pregnancy. I always wonder how bad circumstances must be for a mother who feels that the only way she can cope, even through her pregnancy, is through alcohol. How I wish I could solve the problems in the world, particularly the ones that affect children, but only Jesus knows and can we can each only do our little part as He leads us, within our little sphere of influence.
Sorry for all the rambling. I have run out of books to read, and I did not pack and DVDs. We thought we could watch Netflix and Hulu but neither work out of the country. And John is working. And all my facebook friends are sleeping. So I am rambling on a blog about my thoughts this past week or so. If you made it this far, thanks for reading.....
Working now on a video of Joseph and his group at music time. Adorable!