Friday, December 14, 2007

A good day

Today was a good day. We had a great visit with the boys this morning. It was our longest yet and things seem to be progressing well. I don't know how to describe the process to those of you who haven't done an adoption, especially adoption of an older child (usually over age 3). We are trying to establish ourselves as parents, which is difficult since the boys have no idea what parents are or do. They are used to almost a military-type discipline environment, so when they encounter someone who is kind and loving to them they assume that person has no authority. It puts us almost at the level of a playmate. In addition, they see us given directions by their caretakers (where to go, when to bring them back, etc.) so they don't associate us with any kind of authority. That is what we are trying to start establishing. And it is a painful process. :) More on us than them, I guarantee. We are fighting defiance in particular, especially in Alexander. I'm glad to see it, since when we first saw him he seemed almost drugged. It's good to see his personality and to see him testing the limits. We don't have a good, consistent way to discipline them in the environment we are in--no way to do timeouts or anything like that. So a lot of the consistency won't start happening until we get them out of the orphanage. In the meantime, we are trying to be consistent in the few things we do enforce (no throwing inside, no running away) and the way we handle them. It's certainly a challenge, made even more difficult by our inability to communicate with the boys and they with us. We'll get there, slow and steady. :)

After we got back from visiting the boys, we went with Kenny to the baby hospital they are helping. They have helped paint several rooms there, outfitted a storage room into a playroom, and donated supplies. They are working especially on providing for the abandoned children at this hospital--those whose parents cannot care for them for various reasons. I'm posting some pictures of our time there today. Although many of you are not doctors, I'm sure you have seen ER, House, and the like and will be able to see the differences between the medical equipment available at this hospital as compared to hospitals in the US. Keep in mind that this is a regional baby hospital and is one of the best outfitted in the area. The first two pictures are of what is effectively the NICU; the last picture is of the playroom Lora and Kenny have created. In the first picture, it is difficult to see but the baby has an oxygen tent. In this hospital, that is a hard plastic dome with an inlet nipple to attach oxygen tubing. The second picture shows a baby in an incubator and two other babies in cribs. All of the babies we saw are very tiny.


Leslie said...

oh, the joys of parenting! Once you have those little guys out of that environment, they'll quickly learn who the boss is! Hang in there. You guys are doing the best you can in your position!

Diana said...

Oh, goodness! Be ever so grateful you're starting to see it now! Things will indeed change pretty rapidly in the behavior and discipline department once you get your little guys home. Until then, take advantage of the time (and internet access--something we didn't have) and research and review anything you can find about parenting post-institutionalized and/or "hurt" children.

The one thing I wish someone had told me while we were in Ukraine--and I was way too stressed out to see it for myself at the time--is that pretty much all those "wonderful behaviors" PI kids often come with (agression, defiance, spitting, running away, anger, etc) all ultimately have roots in fear. And believe me, kids can do some pretty wacky stuff when they're afraid!! They don't just cower in a corner like we'd expect them to!

If you can look past whatever behavior happens to be manifesting itself on the surface and see the fear rather than just naughtiness or willful disobedience, the task of discipline will ultimately be much easier...and you'll keep a lot more of your sanity in tact, too :-)!

That doesn't mean don't do anything about the behaviors that need correcting. By all means...correct as need be! But if you can address the fear at the same time you're correcting, it may be better received by the child.

Best wishes as you move forward! What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas!!

Kathy & Matt said...

I'm so happy to hear how your interactions with the boys are going. I can only imagine the challenges of trying to "parent" when they are in the orphanage and you're trying to follow orphanage rules, plus establish your roles.
Hang in there. I'm sure you're doing great.

Thanks for sharing the photos from the baby hospital too. It sounds like Kenny and Lora are doing some wonderful work.

Hope all continues to go well. We'll keep praying for you and the boys.