Yesterday morning we left our flat at 7:50 a.m., heading out towards Katya. We had an adventure filled trip getting there, and did not arrive until around 10:15--45 min. past when visiting time started. We were seriously bummed, but grateful to be there.
Navigating public transportation in a strange language is an adventure at best . . . we walked, rode two different metro lines, a bus, AND a taxi to arrive at Katya's orphange. It cost us a total of about $7.00 USD to get there. We were dropped off at the wrong stop in spite of my protests--it was for the OTHER Detsky Dom in Katya's town. And while she's not in a huge city, it's a LONG, LONG walk between the two. That's where the taxi-driver came to our rescue--once we were able to make some phone calls and obtain an address for him finally from a facilitator.
When we arrived, the Director's Secretary who knows a bit of English was just heading up stairs and I was able to get her attention and ask about Katya. She showed us where to go to get to her in the outdoor play area again.
Again, she was swinging, holding toys in her hands as she had been the day before. I was grateful to see that it was a different set of toys. Those of us who have lived with a child on the autism spectrum will know without further explanation WHY I was relieved and grateful to see that it was a different set. ;-)
Katya was shy for a few minutes, but warmed up quickly and without much to-do. I soon had her out of the swing and in my arms, and almost immediately she let out this little sigh again as if tension was fading from her--before I even had rubbed her back!
We went to sit in the same gazebo we'd sat in the previous day. Soon a caretaker came and with gestures showed us we should leave and go to another gazebo as she wanted to play there with the littler group of children.
When I got up and began walking away with Katya holding my hand towards the other gazebo, she began whining and "keening". No tears--just this noise of obvious unhappiness. A caregiver came bustling up and took her hand to lead her, thinking she was unhappy about me like she had been the day before when they first tried to leave Katya alone with me. But Katya began REALLY fussing! The caregiver shrugged, and let go of her hand, and Katya zipped right over back to me and grabbed MY hand again. WOW! Once she realized that I was staying with her in the new gazebo, she shut right up. ;-)
It was very challenging because we were mobbed by the other children . . . the things we saw and heard today would just break your heart. The other kids are so hungry for the love they see Katya getting . . . and some of them become obviously ANGRY when they can't get us to agree that we are their Mama and Papa too. I know better than to plant false hopes in their hearts . . . Yes, I told Katya in '09 that I was her Mama and loved her, but I *knew* in my heart God was calling her to our family. I can't allow these precious children to think I'm their Mama . . . and so I gently tell them, "Nyet--Katya's Mama." They protest . . . and one little girl, after nothing persuaded us to tell her that we were HER Mama, gave us the ugliest come back she could think of--"POOP! POOP!" she proclaimed in her language. (I don't know how to spell the word in their tongue correctly.) The raw hunger in these childrens eyes as they see Katya being rocked in our arms is heart-breaking. The anger as they realize its not for them is even worse.
Having experienced all that we did even at this good orphanage left us emotionally drained and praying for God to raise up more families who will heed God's call to orphans. I am so thankful that Sunday we are invited to share our testimony with a local church of believers about God's call on our family for adoptions. PLEASE PRAY WITH US CHURCH THAT GOD WILL TAKE OUR SIMPLE WORDS AND USE THEM TO STIR CONVICTION IN THIS CONGREGATION. The Pastor and his wife have shared with us that the old-school of thoughts about orphans and adoption is still very prevalent in their church, and they would like to see that change. Please pray that God is able to plant a seed here . . . We will be speaking in English, with the pastor interpreting to the congregation, so pray for us. The service is about a 2 hour service, all in the local language. Should be interesting. ;-)
Now, back to Miss Katya . . . Paul and I had determined that while I would take the lead in working on bonding with Katya, we would try to ease her into a relationship with him. We had no time frame, no set ideas of how or when this would happen. We just planned to take it a step at a time.
Well, when we were talking about how painful Katya acts like her mouth/jaw is, I touched my hand to her cheek, and she immedately just dropped her head into my hand.
Her face became so peaceful and happy, and I began crying tears of joy as I saw the looks she was giving us.
So Paul reached over to try it, and she just laid her head right into his hand. So he put his other hand on her other cheek, and you could just see her melt. She started releasing those little "tension is going out" sighs and was obviously relaxing with Paul. He eventually reached out to take her to his lap, and she went without any problems to him--unlike the day before when she really wanted nothing to do with this strange man calling himself Papa.
Our visit ended with Katya snuggled down in Papa's arms and him rocking and singing to her. She obviously enjoyed this . . . and was very peaceful and content.
When the care givers came and told her it was time to go, she did go put her toys back in the box but as reality hit her, she began "keening" again, walked up to one of the little boys who had stood around so hungily watching us, gave him a huge shove that sent him flying backwards, and marched off keening and obviously upset.
I walked up and took her hand and she calmed waaay down, and I kept telling her, "Mama loves Katya. Bye, bye." She still was upset, but was calmer and quieter, and by the time we got to the door, she went inside without too much noise. It seemed to me like maybe she shut down though . . . not sure. I don't know her good enough yet. It was definitely obvious that she LIKED being with us, felt protective of her "rights" (because when the other kids would encroach too much she would shove at them--although once she realized we wouldn't allow them to pull away her things or ruin her attention from us, she became much less aggressive and allowed us to handle it more and more.)
So, Visit 2 was definitely a success . . . Sadly, we won't see her again until Monday . . . and I imagine she's going to be ticked off again and I'll have to work to get her happy again. We'll see.
I regret the lack of photos, but blogger will not allow me to add any today.