Saturday, February 26, 2011

Meeting Abby--Valentine's Day

Sorry I don't know why Blogger keeps changing the order of my posts.

Here's Kevin in the back seat as we are on the way to meet Abby for the first time.

Trying to snap a picture of the grounds while in motion.
Cute painting on the wall.
Up on the 2nd floor in Abby's area. This is part of their kitchen. We are told that Abby enjoys helping to prepare the food and to clean up.

I wanted to capture the painting on the wall.
Washroom. I believe the toilets were in a separate room.
The resident hamster.

Some of the kids' artwork.
The alphabet
Living area
Toy shelf. I was told that the children help keep everything picked up/cleaned up
Looking out on the front yard, play area.

More of the living room.
Abby's own personal cupboard with her clothes in it. (Clothes are not just kept in a common area and put on whomever happens to be standing there) I was told she is the one who folds her own clothes and keeps them nicely. (The ornery/realistic? part of me knows this habit will likely change once she gets to our home. LOL)
Abby's bed is the far one against the window. There were beds for 3 girls in two rooms and 3 boys in yet another room.
More of the toy shelves.
I think this is one of the pictures that Abby colored.

Cross, Mary and baby Jesus near the front door of the living area.
The office where we would soon meet our daughter.
Here she is!! Isn't she just gorgeous! Marianne, social worker, sits in the back. She truly loves Abby and said tearfully she feels she is giving away one of her own children.
Since it is Valentine's Day I gave Abby a box of candy just like all our other children and my husband received today. I asked if it was OK to give it to her because other orphanages we've visited in the past have really had an issue with someone getting a bunch of sweets to mess up meal time. No problem here. We were assured Abby would share with her friends.

Kevin tied the ribbon around Abby's wrist.
Abby likes to have her picture taken.

We'd brought this puzzle to play with. It was made more difficult by the fact that the pictures were on the bottom of the tray. Abby showed very good perseverance in trying to put it together and didn't throw a fit if one of us tried to help a bit.
Our first family picture with Abby

A bush in the lobby of our hotel. It's name sounded like a reference to the thorns in the crown of Jesus Christ.
Getting ready to go into the Snack Bar Cafe across the street for dinner once again.
We met Abby today. She is gorgeous. Small. Sweet. Precious. Gentle. She has such delicate features. She is way more beautiful in person than in pictures.

She has quite a limp. She had surgery "3 months ago" to help straighten her right foot by releasing some tendons it sounded like. She has to held herself very close to pictures in phtographs to see them. She enjoyed the photo album--we left it with her. We gave her a heart-shaped box of candy like we left for our other kids. She only ate a few. She offered some to others in the room. She sang us a folk song. She seemed very happy we have a piano. We are told she very much enjoys music and dancing. She really enjoyed the cube puzzle. Showed a lot of ability to stay with a project. Didn't get mad and throw things. Seemed to take suggestions well.

She gave a little hug and kiss. Very polite. She sat on my knee for a minute. Seemed uncomfortable on my lap but had specifically wanted to sit there. Seemed stiff.

Lets go back to the start . . .

The director Alexander met us here at the Bora Park Hotel along with Marianne who is the psychologist over the family-type setting where Abby lives. There are 6 girls and 3 boys in Abby's group. And something like 6 or 7 adults who help care for them! (Though I don't think they are all involved in direct care--I really don't know) When we got to the facility we first talked with Alex and Marianne for quite awhile. He asked several questions about our family, our kids, our training, school, etc. You could tell he truly cares about the kids. He described Abby as "radiant," "charming," and "smiling." Marianne was also in there. She said she feels like she is giving away one of her children. She knows, however, that adoption is the best option for Abby but, of course, is emotional about it.

The director said the reason she was moved from the last institution was because it was a place for kiddos with mental disabilities and they don't think Abby is lagging mentally. She is lagging socially due to being in a facility. They also said she has had no seizures in the 1 1/2 years Marianne has been with her (both here and at the last facility) and is still on her medication. It was suggested we have a repeat EEG and re-evaluation when we get home.

While Abby was still at school, we got to go upstairs and see the living area, kitchen, bedroom her bed by the window--all very tidy. Her own clothes neatly folded in a little closet, bathroom, tub room. I got to see a whole packet of artwork she has done. We also got to see pictures of her on the computer. I especially loved a video of her birthday with a bunny cake (apparently she got to select the type of cake). She is just so pretty. In the video she was limping QUITE noticeably on her right foot while carefully carrying her cake. It was very inwardly-turned to the point that she was walking even up on the outer edge. She had surgery 3 months ago to release a tendon. she still limps quite decidedly and seems pretty unstable on her feet. But she is very cheery, smiling and brave.

We only had one visit today due to all the emotions involved. I truly thought this was very wise. It gave me time for journaling and processing my own feelings as well as napping. We just ate snacks in our room for lunch.

I was told that Abby had been told that a prospective adoptive family was coming to see her. She had been very nervous that we would not like her. I think this helps explain why she was so eager to sing for us, to show us how well she could do on puzzles, etc. But good grief! how could anyone not like her? She is just precious! Someone from the orphanage--I'm pretty sure it was Villi--was taking pictures of our visit as well.

In the evening we went back to the Snack Bar Cafe.

2/14/2011 7:50 pm Back in the hotel after dinner

Toni was saying that Abby had been very anxious before meeting us, scared that we wouldn't like her. and had said, "of course" she would like us because we wanted to be her mommy and daddy. I guess she asked what she was supposed to call us. They asked what she wanted to call us--and she said "mommy" and "daddy." And I'm saying "how could we not like her?"

I could tell the director was concerned about school. Toni told him about ESL. After the visit Toni, Kevin and I talked more about it, mentioning we'd thought about just schooling her at home at least until she was more settled. Toni seemed relieved to hear that. One of the director's concerns was that if she strted school right away it would seem like just another institution.

It seems the director has been to some meetings etc. regarding starting foster families her in AbbyLand so he was very interested in the U.S. system [I personally think our system stinks in many ways.]

Tonight at the dinner table we did a toast to "a very good day."

Thank you, Lord, for Abby. She is so much better than I expected. So much sweeter. So much more endearing. Even so much more beautiful. And she really likes music which will fit in so nicely with several of our childre. She is so petite--tinier than I'd expected. She had her hair in a braid. Has earrings.

I don't know why you keep blessing us with such good kids. Others have the pinchers, biters, screamers, kickers. I feel spoiled. But thank you. You know how worried I was.

I know she will grieve. I know she will likely go through some behaviors as she adjusts (though at the moment I really can't imagine anything other than smiles) They said she adapted well to her last two changes.

Oh Lord, please continue to guard her heart.

And Lord, please be with our kids at home. Be with Billy and Scheri and Teresa and James and Steven and Caleb. It's almost lunch-time for them. Please give them peace and security. I know some of them especially struggle when we are gone--especially Billy, Scheri and Steven and James. Lord, please hold them all, sustain them, cover them, even more than usual. Let them sense your presence. Send your Holy Spirit. Send your angels to encamp round about them. Let NO EVIL come near their dwelling.

Thank you for your leading. It is always encouraging to me when I see that I truly was following You and not merely my own strong will or soft heart.

It has been a very good day.


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