Saturday, February 26, 2011

Feb 17--Thursday

These cool pillars are just outside the hotel their in AbbyVille and they're pictured on the brochure so I think they're something historical. I'm wondering if they could possibly be from Roman times. The history of this country just intrigues me.

All pictures on this date are from afternoon and evening.
Plants around the hotel.
Outside looking into the area where we eat breakfast each morning.

Kevin at Abby's Center. Visits, an office and day-care are on the first floor. Abby's group lives on the 2nd floor. I can't remember what they said is on the 3rd floor. There's a very nice ramp into the Center and some very nice padded wheelchairs in the entryway.
The name of the Center
The stork and the red/white yarn figures (martenitsas)hanging from the doll's hand are part of the customs of Abby's country. These are worn on March 1. I believe that Toni said a person wears the martenitsa until he sees the first stork. Somewhere I read that the martenitsas are then hung in a tree but apparently that isn't always the case. It seems to be kind of a good luck charm against Baba Marta and also a sign of approaching spring, if I have the custom somewhat straight.

Doctor Abby is examining her patient

Daddy being silly to the music
Dinner: Marianne and Toni

Villi- Toni's helper
Villi again
My shopska salad --really yummy

Hmm?? WHO could this be????
Yes, a pair of jeans CAN dry overnight hanging on the radiator

Kevin watching TV

Thursday, 3:10 pm

Today we had a different schedule.

At Abby's Center she got in the car with us (Toni, Marty, Kevin and I) while the main caregiver of her group and the psychologist got in another car and we all headed to a nearby town. This was the institution where Abby USED to be (I think she's been at her current place 1 1/2 years and was at this other place for a year--not sure)

Anyway the same guy --I'll call him Mr. A--is director of both places. He really seemed especially proud, of the playground and with good reason: lots of colorful equipment and part of it was wheelchair accessible. There was even a special swing for people in wheelchairs--and they had Toni get in it!! It kills me to write all this because I took so many pictures at this institution--well, I should say I THOUGHT I took lots of pictures (including one of Toni in the swing) The camera wasn't working right and we just thought Abby had messed with the settings. We didn't realize until mid-afternoon that the problem was actually that our memory card was FULL. I was--and still am--so annoyed.

Anyway, we went inside and Mr. A. showed us the sensory room: bean bags, mats, a twirling light that showed circles on the ceiling and wall, music and slide projector, black lights, bubbling tubes. One bean bag in the corner had a semi-see-through curtain hanging over it.

There was an elevator for wheelchairs. The psychomotor room had lots of mats, foam wedges, foam rolls. There was a room for speech therapy and therapy for deaf children. Anther room looked like a therapy room, too. Saw 2 different rooms of children--each with about 10 (maybe more) children with some pretty severe needs. I really can't imagine Abby (in my journal I used her other name) in this setting. Children spinning, making strange noises, several in wheelchairs, some in non-moving chairs, several with very crossed eyes, one with possibly a fake eye.

I got to meet Paula who is also listed on Reece's Rainbow. She's little, very cute, kind of dish-water blond hair arranged in a floppy poof on top of her head. I have given her new mommy my further observations.

While we were touring around, one of the workers there at the institution said something to our girlie about "Abigail" I thought I could tell from Abby's voice that she wasn't real happy with the name. Toni told me later that Abby said "I'll be Abigail there but here I'll still be ___" Sorry, I'm not supposed to use her real name on the internet and that's hard because I really like the name and after hearing her referred to that way all the time, I kind of got used to it and sometimes called her that in my journal. Sometimes I didn't know WHAT to call her and noticed I didn't actually call her either one!

Thursday, 10:40 pm

After the tour, the Director, Mr A. A. took us to the office where we had coffee and candy. (Well, I didn't actually eat any of the candy because it was chocolate but it sure looked yummy. I had to laugh at Abby who was sitting by the psychologist across the table from us, took a packet of sugar, and just poured its contents into her mouth.

The director had to hurry to a meeting so we all left. He drove one car to where he was dropped off; then Marianne took over the driving on to the center. This time Abby had wanted to ride with them--back to the Center. I think the whole place may have made her a bit uncomfortable though there was at least one boy she seemed very happy to see. I just can't imagine Abby in that place--even as nice as it is. The other kids I saw seemed to have such severe mental challenges and Abby certainly does not.

We finished up the visit time. Abby wanted the baby doll but we hadn't brought it with us. I'd save the Polly Pocket because I thought it was one of the best, neatest things we'd brought. It turned out to be SO hard to get the clothes on. Rats! Abby just couldn't do it and I barely could myself. It was truly disappointing. She didn't seem to want to color or play card so we just played "doctor" with Mary--the doll who plays "I'm a Barbie Girl" She was still disappointed when it was time to go so I guess she was having fun. Marianne was telling her about Skype.

Well, we went to a restaurant for lunch (so much for my idea to finish eating my pizza today). Marianne and Villi joined us. I don't know the name of the place but the tablecloths advertised "Portorico caffe" with the picture of a coffee cup (seems the restaurant we've been frequenting has hung out a no-smoking sign by the front door. I saw a write-up in a booklet we'd received in the motel in the Capital City about a new law that was supposed to come into effect this year regarding smoking public restaurants.) Let me tell you, by the time I left this new place I truly felt like I'd inhaled MANY packs of cigarettes. I could just feel it down in my lungs. I told Kevin I wanted to inhale a bottle of water and just slosh it around in my lungs to clean them out.
Kevin and I each had a chicken skewer with the fries/grated white cheese, garlic sauce and cola. (This was when we discovered we hadn't gotten ANY of the many shots we'd taken in the morning.) It had to be 2:00 when we got back to our room.

3:30 it was time to meet Toni again in the lobby for our next visit. This time we remembered the baby doll AND could take pictures. Sweetie-bug REALLY wanted to play with the phone: "tellyphono--PLEASE??? with her hands all folded by her chin and her sad eyes. But when I give it to her she just wants to mess cith it and not interact. Anyway, we played "doctor" with the babydoll--listened to heart, breathing, tummy, gave it a shot and LOTS of medicine and took temp and cut on its leg with a plastic knife (surgery?) clipped its nails, fed bottle, burped (with Daddy's help) Eventually we got to the Matching game. She was cheating--checking about 3 cards to try to get a match. We were saying, "no, no" At one point she apologized and put them back.

They told us she lost a tooth this afternoon--possibly right incisor?

One game of matching she just killed us. I had 2 pair, Kevin about 4 and she had twenty or more!!

Then we adults all met back at "Smokeville Cafe" for Round 2. I was still full so just had salad, PEPSI and water. Kevin had more skewers, fries, coke and a chocolate crepe thing. Marianne, Villi and finally the Director and his lovely wife Maggie joined us as well. Everyone seemed to be having such a good time getting to know each other, chatting, sharing stories, laughing, enjoying each other's company. Of course, I couldn't understand much of it but just the voice tones and body language seemed very warm, personable, nice. We were there until 9:15!! I really think Toni was building some relationships that hopefully will result in many more kiddos finding families. I think I inhaled a few more pack's worth of cigarettes.

The director does speak some English and told us he is happy for (Abby) She will lean some English and he wants us to learn some of her language. I can tell he truly cares about her and wants her to be happy. He asked if she will forget that she is from (country) and (town) We told him we have a map in our hallway and that we remind Caleb and Steven they are from Ukraine. He said, "She will be an American"--as if this was a not-entirely-positive but inevitable conclusion. Smile.

We came into the hotel lobby and the gal at the desk was saying, "Please, Mister." We needed to pay our bill yet tonight for the 5 days and the sodas and waters Kevin has charged from the bar. It came to 386.50 lv--actually a little less than the amount Toni had quoted.

We then worked on packing. I washed out jeans and sweater and wrote in my journal.

Oh yeah, the cafe tonight gave me 3 experiences with the precious "squatty potty" I must have finally got somewhat hydrated.

Toni talked to him about getting birthdays, names of other kids so she can look for them on the Ministry of Justice list and advocate for them. Kevin mentioned the importance of pictures.

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