Monday, September 28, 2009

Meeting our Son

Today was a wonderful, tiring, emotional day. Today was the day we met Ivan! Of course, it is such a flood of emotions, and being a bit jetlagged, and a bit carsick from the driving, I can just praise God that He gave us the strength to get through it!

Today started out very relaxing. We go about 7 decent hours of sleep and had a leasurely morning. There was a wonderful buffet at the hotel. We ate to our heart''s content, and we brought back some small sandwiches made of meat and cheese from the buffet to have for lunch. So glad we did that! It was a long day before we were able to eat again - about 4pm! But it was a nice snack prior to dinner.

We then met up with our coordinators and the other family to head over to the Ministry of Education. We had to meet with a Psychologist and the Minister of Education. The other couple went first, and Chris and I waited for about an hour and a half in the waiting area. The psychologist conducted a two hour interview of us, about our parenting styles, discipline methods and time management. She was very happy with our "method of parenting" and said we will be very successful with adopting a second child. We also had some psychological evaluations using colors, drawing pictures and interpreting pictures. A long process! Then we were quickly ushered over to the Minister of Education and interviewed briefly. We were expecting a long interview, but they were worried we wouldn't have a good opportunity to meet the child since the day was already going so long. So luckily she only asked a few questions, and offered us Ivan! YEA!

Then we literally ran out of the office, jumped in the car and raced over to the orphanage. It was already 1:30pm and we only had until 3pm with the child, so time was important. They were telling us that normally we hear the complete medical report when we get there, but since time is so short, they will ask if we can just see the child, and our coordinators will write all the important info down for us. We got there and went straight away into a playroom. They asked we take our shoes off to keep their floors clean. We had two translators and our adoption coordinator with us. We were joined in the room by the Lawyer for the orphanage, another legal council person and the Head Doctor. Then the neurologist came in, and then finally Ivan! He came in walking holding a finger of his primary caretaker. She described him as very active, but very kind hearted. Not aggressive at all. Has a full range or emotions, but very happy most of the time. Wears a diaper for bed and nap. (I was told that diapers are expensive, so as soon as they are able to sit up they put them on a pot and certain parts of the day (after waking up, after breakfast, etc.) When he first came in, I think it surprised him to see so many adults! And then there was these two strangers who spoke a completely different language. We came up to him on the floor and his little eyes welled up with tears. Broke my heart a little, but I was happy because our Doctor told us that even tears can be a good sign that he is reacting to his environment. So Chris held him a little. Then I picked him up and walked with him. He seemed to like this and the tears receded. Then I put him on my lap and bounced him a little. I pulled his arms out and he started smiling! That was the second thing my Dr. said was so important was any positive emotional reaction to his surroundings. I was at peace at that point. Chris was concerned a little more about his mouth always being open. Always open! I wasn't worried - thinking really it was okay because he is teething and drooling a lot from that. But the psychologist mentioned that he explores his whole world through his mouth first...

We were told he was diagnosed with a hearing impairment at some point. He had many ear infections early on, and they now think that was the cause of temporary hearing loss. Today, they believe his hearing is perfect, but for a few months, it wasn't. And that causes them to compensate in different ways. This orphanage has a rehabilitation program to deal with different types of developmental delays, and this one tried different things to envoke positive emotions and reactions to different situations. The psychologist believes that in order to explore his world with sub-optimal hearing, he depended on his oral senses to learn. So everything went into his mouth. We noticed this today too. The camera and the elephant went in his mouth. But every specialist says this will be no problem once he is home and receiving lots of love and attention.

We also had him just before his naptime, so he was getting tired at the end of the meeting. He just cuddled up and buried his little head in my chest and clung on to my arms with his hands. It felt so nice! I was also very happy about this, because many institutionalized children don't receive affection well, because they aren't used to it. He seemed to crave it!

Then I had to give him up to one of the workers. It was hard, but I knew we'd be coming back tomorrow. So I handed him over and we left for the hotel.

Tonight we met with our coordinator, and she gave us lots of information from the orphanage. But she didn't want to overwhelm us, so she put off most of it for tomorrow. We going to get to see him between 9-10am tomorrow and then again from 1:30-3:00pm. She suggested we bring the Orphanage Head Doctor some flowers since it is her birthday tomorrow. We also mentioned we'd like to bring a gift of supplies as well.

Well, I better head to bed, I have to get up in 5 hours for another long day!

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