Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 5: Fun in the sun

Day 5: Orphanage visit, a little bit of R&R

The drive to the orphanage was heartwarming.  Everywhere outside, in the city and also in the rural area, people were cleaning sidewalks, common areas, and open space.  They were sweeping, racking, trimming trees, and painting the bottoms of trees.  It was really neat to see.  Young and old all gathered together spring cleaning the city.  Maybe it's some sort of tradition, I don't know, but it was really nice to see people coming together.

When we got to the orphanage our driver asked if we would like to take Valentin outside...let's see, he has been stuck in a crib and probably never gets to go outside...ummm yeah, get that boy outside!!!  HE LOVED IT!  I really wonder how many days, if any, he has been outside.  The only thing that bothered him much was how bright it was.  The part of his brain that is missing (according to his CT scan) is responsible for the sense of sight and I am thinking it might make his eyes sensitive to light.  He has one pupil that is always more dilated then the other, you may have noticed that in pictures.  Plus the medication I am convinced he is on has a side effect that makes children sensitive to light.  Poor guy.  We packed sunglasses for him but did not expect that he would need them at the orphanage today so we did not bring them.  Lesson learned.

I was actually surprise that there were quite a few kids playing outside.  I have not seen the kids in Valentin's room but I am certain none of them were out there.  Only the kids who could walk, with two exceptions, our Valentin and one other little boy who appeared to have CP too.  I was so happy to have Valentin outside but I could not help but feel utter despair for the kids shut away inside.  It is a constant battle not to rush in there, swoop them all up and take them outside for some sunshine and some stimulation!  But instead they lay there listening to the lucky ones outside.  Very sad.  And not just them, but as we exchanged waves and "privet" with the children outside I wondered their fate too.  Would they ever have a family?  One little girl stuck out and she would not take her eyes off me.  Can I take her home too?  What is harder adopting or leaving the others behind?

But for one little boy freedom was to be had today.  Somewhat anyway.  He was mesmerized with the swing, as you will see in the video.  I asked if I could sit him on the swing and was told no.  I am starting to get really tired of people saying he cannot do something.  If there had not been so many nannies around and if it was not only our second day there I would have done it anyway, but like we do with Valentin we have to take baby steps with the staff too.  By the end of this though they WILL see just what our little man CAN do!  Can you say mama bear???

We only got an hour with him today because it was time for his bath or massage, it was hard to tell with the pantomime from the nanny.  We had heard that Valentin can throw a violent fit and we saw a bit of that today.  He DID NOT want to go back inside, and who could blame him?!?!  He cried and screamed a little but mostly he banged his head repeatedly against the stroller.  My heart broke.  What some simple communication tools could have been taught to him to help him express himself in ways other then banging.  Our drive rattled off something in Russian and the nanny came back out with him.  He bought our boy a few more moments in the sun, at least until we rounded the corner.

Until tomorrow Valentin...


  1. When that boy gets on an actual swing it will be so very good for him! He looks wonderful :)

  2. So very glad that he got to go outside today. Praying for the rest of your journey and can't wait to watch true freedom come for him!

  3. He has the most beautiful smile!!!

  4. I thought the same thing with our son Dennis about the sun. We have viedoe of him turning away, squinting, and seeming overwhelemd by the sun. The fact was, he had never been outside other than when he was carried into the building. By the third time taking him out, he tolerated the sun much better.

    Aren't the caretakers funny? No he can't ride the swing. No he can't do this. No he can't do that. We were told with our son Dennis that he could not eat milk products-- he should be crawling around, and that taking him out would expose him to germs. We chuckled to ourselves and grinned and bared it until he was ours. Now he does all those things and lots more.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing about your journey; I've enjoyed following your blog and am excited to read about the time you are able to spend with Valentin!

  6. I love how you moved his stroller back and forth with the swing. Brought tears to my eyes to see his joy, and he totally understood what you were doing. That is one smart little boy!

  7. I LOVE the video! What a sweet smile on a handsome boy! You two are doing great. :) Lifting you all up in prayer.

  8. Love the snowsuit! ;) Glad the visit went well for Valentin!