Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Richard Here: Day Three - Swimming Time!

After a rough night of sleep I had a quick call with Valerie at 0630 my time and then went back to bed, barely rolling out of bed before meeting Yavor downstairs for breakfast (nothing exciting for breakfast, the same toast and veggies as usual).

Adoption trips are exhausting. Period. It's emotionally draining, psychologically challenging and physically difficult. It also doesn't help that I do a ton of walking during my downtime which leaves me even more tired. But nothing is better and more rewarding than finding a supermarket, well except for spending time with Gabe.

Yesterday afternoon we met with Gabe along with his FM and FGM in their apartment near the park in Ruse. They live on the fourth floor of a standard soviet-style apartment building complete with that I like to refer to as "the ancient elevator of death" - you know, the one with no inside door so you see the wall of the shaft as you go up and down... so scary. Seriously.

His FM showed me his room and the rest of their apartment which was very quaint and orderly even with several pieces of adaptive equipment stowed throughout (kinda like our house back home). We sat talking for a while and she presented a three inch binder of his medical records... real medical records that will actually be helpful when he starts seeing doctors in the states. I connected to their internet service and suprised Val with an impromptu Skype session which allowed the kids to say hello to Gabe and for him to do likewise. It was difficult for him to see because of the small screen on the Nexus 7 (which by the way has been AWESOME to have here - I'm writing this post on it). It's become clear that Gabe's biggest challenge might actually be his vision - he seems to be able to see very close and very far, but intermediate distances seem to give him trouble. 
Gabe's Psychologist from Social Services

Real medical records - Far better than the usual worthless medical report and a "good luck" pat on the back.

This morning we met at their apartment once again and this time the psychologist came and visited with us briefly before we left for swimming therapy at the orphanage. The psychologist expressed her happiness with the progress that Gabe has made since living with his FM and we talked about his need for ongoing treatment.

Finally we left for swimming therapy and drove in Yavor's car to the orphanage which not suprisingly, looks pretty much like every other orphanage I've seen. We went in and Gabe changed into his suit and worked on therapy with his FM, who is the therapist at the orphanage. He actually swims very well (with water wings on) and is able to easily navigate the water with or without his feet on the bottom. While we were in the downstairs pool "room" the director came in and I suggested we go upstairs and talk while Gabe finished therapy. I talked to the director for about 20 minutes on a variety of topics including Gabe, the orphanage size and current situation - apparently this orphanage is preparing to shut down and the children are being sent to foster homes. The director expressed her unhappiness with this, but I had nothing to say on the topic. The director has also known Gabe since birth and also expressed happiness with his progress. I explained to her that his special needs would be addressed and that he was joining an excellent family for him. I recorded the discussion so Val could hear it later (and for Gabe when he gets older).

I've not received much response regarding my blog posts, so if there are particular topics you want covered, please let me know.

Here are some pictures for today:
Therapy Pool - Approximately 20'x12'
Playground - The Entire Grounds are Overgrown to the Point it was Difficult to get Pictures
Read of the Orphanage
Orphanage Entrance - Obviously Not Used - The Active Entrance Is In The Back
Gabe's Room

1 comment:

Hevel said...

This has nothing to do with your adoption, but the description you gave of an adoption trip sounds a whole lot like my mission experience. Lots of walking, sleep deprivation, emotional and psychological exhaustion for a noble goal. And lots of walking!