Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Do you know......."

Mary says....

We had a good visit with Alina this morning. She climbed, walked and was swung thru the air (Dad had an aspirin shortly after the swinging part :).  And of course, she was tickled. Sorry, can't help it. Have you seen her laughing face? It's just adorable, so therefore she must be tickled. 
We have some tickling to catch up on when we get home. Look out Ethan, Phoebe, Leanore, Sophie, Holly and Trudy. ;} When you least suspect it. Or maybe we'll have to chase you. Either way, we're gonna get you all. Muahahah!
Look out Alina, here come the tickle fingers!

Oh yes, got her again! There's the laughing face I told you about.

When we got to the hospital to visit Vitaly, he was sleeping. The nanny and I played charades to get across when he was supposed to wake up. The answer was in a couple hours, so Tom and I decided to hang out in the "waiting room" until he woke up.
During our wait, we played soccer with a couple of boys who had their arms in casts, read and made lists. Yes, the boys were in casts. No, it wasn't real soccer where they had to run. It was kicking our little blue ball around for something to do. 

After we were told not to play soccer (oops!) and the boys were told to go back to their rooms, Tolly's doctor came out to visit us. We met him a couple days ago. The conversation then went something like this:
Dr. "something something something in another language."
Us "English."
Dr. "Oh, you speak English (in English). What are you doing here?"
Us "We are waiting to see our son, he's sleeping."
Dr. "Ok"
That was it. 

So, today he walks up to me and says the following:
Dr. "What is your relation to the boy?"
Me "What is our relation?" Please keep in mind that he is speaking in broken English.
Dr. "Do you know that they baby (Tolly) is very ill?"
Me "No, I didn't. What's wrong with him?"
Dr "He has something wrong with his hands." and points to his hands.
Me "Oh, yes we know about that. Is he doing ok?" I thought he was saying that Tolly was sick with a fever or infection or something.
Dr "And his head. Something wrong with his head."
Me "Oh, yes, we know that too."
Dr. "You know this? Why do you want this baby?"
Me "Because we love him."
Dr "You love him. Is that it? Anything else?"
Me "Um, no, we just love him. And we can help him."
Dr "What can you do for him?"
Tom joins the conversation at this point. Thank you Tom!
Tom "We homeschool so we will teach him."
Dr "You homeschool? Individualized teaching? Cause he won't be able to go to a classroom with normal kids."
Me "Yes he will."
Dr "Why don't you get a healthy child?"
Tom "Because every child deserves to be loved and have a home."
Dr "Does you government help you with this child? Do they give you money? I have seen many Americans come here for these children."
Tom "No, they don't. We have medical insurance through my job."
We then showed the doctor pictures of the rest of our kids. (Now people from around the world have seen our kids!)
He asked all of their ages, then came to Alina's. He frowned and said "Oh no, Down Syndrome. That is difficult."
Tom then tried to explain that we originally came for Alina and then found Tolly too. He misunderstood and thought that we came for Alina and decided not get her but Vitaly instead.
Tom then told him "No, we want both of them."
Dr "You want both of them? Down Syndrome is very difficult."
Tom then told him that our children's doctor back home has an adult daughter with Down Syndrome, and that she has offered to be of any assistance to us. (Not to mention that we also have the Johns Hopkins Down Syndrome clinic close too) He was surprised to hear about our doctor.
He then went on to ask us more questions from what do you do for a living to what religion we are. A few nurses came out, it looked like to get him and he would say something to them and they would disappear back down the hall. He also said that he sees many Americans come here
After we had answered a few more questions, he thanked us and was gone. Our conversation with the doctor made us sad. If the doctors here don't feel children like Alina and Vitaly are worth anything, then that is what they convey to birth parents after delivering their babies in the hospital. That is why there are so many special needs children here in orphanages and mental institutions. Because they are not seen as worthy of the extra attention, love, and care that these kids need. Because they are seen as a burden because of their special need. Because those in charge believe that they would be better suited in an institution than a loving family. They believe that society is better served by these precious treasures being hidden away.

These beliefs need to change. These are children made in God's image. Every one of them knitted in their mothers womb. For whatever reasons, God has allowed them to enter the world with an extra chromosome or other challenge. Maybe it was to teach the rest of us to love unconditionally, to practice patience, to take joy in little accomplishments, to see the value of life. His ways are higher than ours.

Up until 30 - 40 yrs ago, our country did the same thing with these children. Up until recently, we didn't feel capable of having one of these treasures. We didn't feel that we had the time to take care of them. We didn't want to give up our retirement, our money, our free time, the possibility of an empty nest one day. It took God to change our hearts and perspective. If we truly believe that all human life is precious, how could we pretend not to know the road these little ones would travel.

We don't know what the future holds, but we will face it together, as a family as the Lord directs.

Did we mention that he LOVES to pull the wheeled backpack around?
After a serious walk-about, a boy needs hydration.


I'm on top of the wold Ma!


  1. Love Alina's sweet laughing face. It's definitely worth crossing oceans for!! Love Tolly's caption at the end - he certainly IS on top of the world with a new family!
    Your story has been a joy to read thus far. (First-time commenter!) I have dreams of adopting from an eastern European country someday in my future... I am a special education teacher, and I'm waiting (not so patiently) for the time in my life when adoption is right for me!
    Thank you for writing about families and love needed for children with special needs!! SO TRUE!!
    Happy journeys and looking forwards to more pictures of those two faces... :)
    -Lindsey in AZ

  2. Meant to add this yesterday, but it was late. The Dr mentioned that he has seen many Americans coming to get these (special needs) babies.
    We are praying that seeing people from other countries coming to adopt the children that this country does not value will help to change the perspective of local people.
    That they will start seeing these lovely children as deserving of a home and family. That they will see the potential these children posses. Then maybe they will not advise birth parents to abort or give up their special needs children. And local people will rise up and adopt those already in the system. That would be lovely!

  3. You should send a family photo to him every so often so they can see that these children are loved and are truly part of a family. You may have really given that doctor something to think about and he may be in a position to affect a change one day.

  4. I love you Mary G. You're a treasure. I think your two precious treasures that you are about to bring home are pretty awesome too. Love you lady...Trina

  5. Oh, I'm so behind in my reading! The doctors believe this because they were raised by the generation that well remembers Stalin and Hitler, and tiergartenstrasse 4; the T-4 Euthanasia program. The way to get rid of the "useless eaters". This doctor was taught to believe these things are bad. He's never seen anything different. He has nothing to compare it to. My daughter Angela is 15, Axel (newly adopted from Serbia) is 10. I have lots of videos of my kids doing things, like going to school, being successful. Participating in Special Olympics. Save one to your laptop, and you can tell the doctor, "You see, in the US people with DS hold jobs, get college education, they get married and some can drive!!!!" It is different here in the U.S. all because of the opportunities offered. If you don't offer opportunities, success cannot happen.