"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fun at the Fair

On Wednesday our local fair had a "Get in for a can of Coke" day. It was fine to have it be a full can or an empty can, and since we had Coke on hand from killing off mice back in the fall/winter, we took our chance to get into the fair, loaded up all 7 of us into our mini-van and went.

For visibility purposes, we dressed Katya in the same outfit she wore home from Ukraine. It sagged and bagged horridly on her then. Now just a little over a year later, it's soon too small for her! She was not impressed that Charity wanted her to lift up her signature sunglasses so she could get a clear shot of her face to have on our camera/phone. We try to remember to always do that when we go out into public with Katya so were she (God-forbid!) to be separated from us, that we have photos of her and her outfit to show local law enforcement.

Part of our purpose in going to the fair was also to take our chance to get a photo ID card for Katya, and the other young ones. Chad had one from when he went to Safety Town, but that was a few years ago, so it needed updated anyway. These are handy little cards, about Driver's License size, that we can carry in our wallets. On them is all our child's current basic info that we would need to show to any law enforcement officer were one of our children to be separated from us! They contain a photo, thumbprint and so on. Additional info is stored electronically and can be obtained by law enforcement personnel even outside of this area if we show them the ID card. For us, esp. with Katya being non-verbal, it's a good way to prove that she is our child even in a lost, and then found, situation.

So once we got in to the fair, we traipsed off straight-away to the Sheriff's tent and got that important bit of business taken care of. Katya was NOT impressed with having to sit for her photo but we got that taken care of finally after a few attempts and walked out of there with ID cards in hand.

Sadly for me, Chad talked me into riding the "Scrambler" with him right after this. I thought it looked fairly tame, but after the operator decided that since there weren't enough would be victims waiting for a ride, they would take us on an entire THREE circuits of high speed forwards, and then backwards, while slinging us from side to side at the same time, instead of the usual one circuit,  I was in trouble. Paul, who was watching from the safety of the ground with Katya who was too short to go on the ride, said I got greener and greener the longer it went on. I know I would have been fine after the first circuit, but when it went on for a whole 'nother circuit, and then a third . . . I began to feel worse and worse. Let it be said to my credit that I got off that ride without puking or staggering, but my brain literally HURT for the next 24 hours plus. Thankfully, Chad had no adverse effects from the extra "freebie".

We then set out to find a ride that would be tame enough for Katya to try. We got some recommendations for a ride called "Crazy Schoolbus" and Charity and Kristina said they would try going on it with Katya. I wasn't in shape to even consider any more rides right then, and Paul does **NOT** do rides due to how sensitive his tummy/head are.

Thankfully, Katya LOVED the Schoolbus ride when she went on it. Charity was able to get a lot of nice photos of her! Look how happy Katya was!!

 And because it was so empty, and the rider operators saw how happy Katya was, they let her get a second ride! Then she REALLY was happy!!

I wish the one care-giver who seemed to care about Katya could have seen her! I think it would have filled her heart with joy to see Katya so happy and doing something so normal for a child of her age.

We stayed at the fair for almost 6 hours. And most of that time Katya was fairly happy. There was a problem when Charity tried to take Katya down the long slide. Katya was fine with the idea until she actually got towards the top and realized how high she was. Then she became VERY nervous, and kept wringing her glasses with the stress she felt, and they broke! Uh Oh! When Charity actually was sitting down to come down the slide with her, Katya screamed but then was totally silent the whole way down. She looked pretty relieved when she got to the bottom of the slide!

After that I took her into one of the tents to watch some other events, as she needed to get out of the sun. She enjoyed watching juggling, men jumping on a trampoline etc. She did start wanting to pinch her neighbors towards the end of the time there, so it was high time to get out and move on.

 Katya did not seem to enjoy riding on the merry-go-round with Charity and Kristina nearly as much as she had the Crazy Schoolbus.
 But when she saw me looking at the photos after we were home, she got a faint twinkle in her eye, and signed, "Happy! Happy!" to me. So I guess she did still enjoy it!
Due to the wide age range of our children and Katya's issues limiting what she was able to handle at this point, we spent the majority of the day split up in various directions. However, we did stay in touch with our cell phones and would meet up as we could.

Unfortunately, when I tried to take Katya past the goats she became freaked completely out and was climbing up on me, screeching and sobbing. NOTHING we said or did calmed her until we finally gave up and walked away. I still contend that her abnormal fear of common animals had to have been planted in her deliberately, for in addition to not turning a hair over the huge stuffed buffalo at the Smithsonian in DC, she did not turn a single hair over the big old full-grown camel just a few feet away from her performing tricks in the tent. She was curious and alert, but not screaming and hysterical like she is for sheep, goats, dogs, fish, cows etc.  The injustice of what was done to my daughter hits me again at moments like that, and I again cried angry and sad tears walking through the fair, holding my little girl's hand. The only thing I can console myself with is that at least she is out of there, and HOME and learning to know the world from a sane and normal perspective, that she is no longer abused and neglected, that she has a chance for life and a future and a hope . . .  the fact that she could go to the fair this year and enjoy being a child in so many ways--all the way from her rides to the popsicle she had, speaks volumnes about the change a year has brought into her life.

Last year, while we were adopting her, the city she lived in celebrated "Children's Day". There was a huge, huge party and to-do in the park across from her orphanage. The mayor and all kinds of important goverment officials were there, and there were lots of performances with music, balloons and dancing. Children put on some really cute performances, and vendors were selling ice cream and other child-friendly snacks. Paul and I spent about an hour watching and listening and soaking in the culture of our daughter's birth country. But it wasn't HER culture. She wasn't allowed to leave the fence and go to that even though it was just across the street and would have cost NOTHING for the care-givers to take the children in their charge there. It wasn't for them . . . the world was closed to them. She knew nothing of life outside her fence, really.

Now, she does. Now, there is no longer a fence holding her back. Katya is free to become the child God created her to be. Baby steps as we help her learn to assimilate into the real world. Every day is part of that process. Some days are just bigger steps in that direction. Go, Katya, Go!!!

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