Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July 28, 2008 (Monday)
The Lord’s Hand in my Life: Being able to feel Alexandra’s pain…

At the orphanage we went outside, but I’m not sure why. The kids weren’t allowed to walk on the grass because it was muddy from all the storms we’ve had – so I spent almost the entire time trying to keep Andrei from running on the grass. So frustrating. He wasn’t happy about not being able to walk around outside, and I wasn’t happy about trying to keep him from it.

We also finished making foot and handprints of all our little orphan babies. We want to have them as remembrance of our kiddos. I’m excited to put a scrapbook together when I get home. I can’t wait! It will probably take me forever, but I will love it. However I’m pretty sure my Mom Mia will love it even more that I get to scrapbook with her. It will be fun.

Since Elisa is gone Whitney S. and I noticed that the workers started talking to us more than usual. Normally they talk to Elisa because they think she understands Romanian better than us – but she’ll be the first to admit she’s about the same as the rest of us. It was kind of fun to attempt to really talk to them today. They are all harsh with the kids, but some of them really do care about them.

Soon after we went outside Florine and his friend came and said hi. They ended up chatting with us for almost the entire time we were outside. By the end of the conversation he ended up asking me for my phone number in the States, but I told him I don’t have one (because I don’t yet). So he got my email address, and I gave him mine. It could be fun to have a pen pal. I wasn’t opposed to him having my email address. He seems like a really good guy, and he’s nice. Plus he can give me updates on my little Andrei. Florine joked about coming to visit me in the States, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. He can barely speak English, and I can barely speak Romanian. His friend was translating practically the entire conversation. Then throughout the course of the conversation his friend would look at me and be like “Florine wants a kiss.” Then Florine would look awkward, and I would look awkward and I’d change the topic. It was one of those things both people pretended they didn’t understand what was going on. I’m not even going there. Whitney S. was like “What is it with boys and kissing?! It’s like a universal thing!” The girls also thought it was ironic that Sera’s last day was Thursday and Florine all of a sudden has been coming around to say hi more than he normally does. Oh boys...

Apparently in Europe most people get a month paid vacation from work. No fair! I wish they would incorporate something like that in the States. We never get breaks like that from work.

During the course of the conversation the workers and Florine started asking me about religion. Maria looked at Florine and was teasing him about how it would never work out with me - because I’m Mormon that is. Then they all started asking me questions about my faith. They were amazed when I said that I don’t drink, smoke or have relations with boys before I’m married. They couldn’t believe it. Apparently in the Greek Orthodox religion you aren’t supposed to drink, but you can smoke. I don’t know how that works - but it does.

After we went back inside Whitney S. noticed that Maria (my child) was crying really hard, and she never does that. I tried to see if something was hurting her and the cloth scarf that they had tied around her stomach to keep her in her chair was practically cutting her in half. They had it tied soooo tight. I don’t think they realized it. She had a huge red line across her stomach. When I showed Maria (the worker) how tight it was she acted like it was no big deal…She said the reason Maria was crying was because she was hungry and tired. However, Maria stopped crying profusely when I loosened the grip of the scarf…sometimes I wonder about their logic…

Alex was really sad today. I could tell he missed Elisa. Every time I looked over he had a sad face on. I would ask him what he wanted and when I said “Elisa?” he smiled real big. Then I told him that I was sorry, but Elisa went back home. However, I reminded him how much Elisa loved him. I don’t know if that helped a ton, but maybe? I keep thinking about leaving my kids and how hard it is going to be! AHHHH! I think I’m going to buy Andrei a little chain to wear from me. I just hope he knows how much I love him – even if I have only known him for a few short months.

The other day I was discussing with one of the girls how some people are flabbergasted that we can come and handle all the emotional stress that comes from working with the kids in orphanages and hospitals. After thinking about it for a while I came to this conclusion: Of course there is a lot to deal with - and a lot of sad situations to see – but at the same time there is so much joy. Every time I hold one of the children, make them smile, make them laugh, or make them feel loved – even if it is ever so small – I feel joy. It’s that feeling of joy that keeps me going. It’s knowing that I have the opportunity to make kids feel loved that wouldn’t otherwise, and I jump at it…Of course there are hard days; and of course there are days that I don’t know how to handle seeing or feeling the way I do; but the Lord will help me. I’m still not sure how I’m going to find any comfort in leaving my Andrei. I will probably never see him again, and it doesn’t help that I don’t feel like he is going to be left in the best of care; but what can I do? As much as I want to I can’t take him home with me and love him I can’t…I only pray that the Lord will watch over and protect him. He has to.

At the hospital we played with all our little bundles of joy. I am sad to report that Roxeanna (AKA laughing baby) has left. However, there were still plenty of little dolls to hold and change their diapers. I just love kids! I can’t get over how much I love them…

The low of my day was when Annie and I walked in to visit Alexandra. She looked horrible. The second we saw her we both instantly knew she didn’t feel well. She was moaning and crying – and she never does that. I felt her head, and she felt extremely hot – not to mention she was extremely pale. Then to make matters worth she had a stinky diaper, so I quickly changed it for her and the poor thing cried out in pain when we lifted her legs to wipe her. She looked so miserable. The first thing she said to us was “apa” (water). Annie went and got water, but when we tried to give it to her she couldn’t even sit up to drink it she felt so bad. Annie and I looked at each other and were like “I wonder if the nurse knows she has a bad fever?” Even though they should have known we decided we should make sure…I mean it’s Romania…

I went out and asked the nurse if she knew how hot Alexandra was. Apparently she didn’t – not a surprise…it made me extremely agitated that they had no idea. Alexandra was in their care, and since she doesn’t have any parents to watch out for her they should. Who knows how long she sat there with a fever, sitting in a stinky diaper and dying of thirst? I’m glad we came in when we did. Sometimes they worry me about how well they take care of their patients.

Right after I said something they came and took her temperature and sure enough it was extremely high. Then they came in and rubbed something that smelled like vinegar all over her body and wrapped her in a blanket. Annie and I weren’t sure what that was supposed to accomplish? I’ve never seen anyone in the states do that, but I guess it was supposed to help in someway. Hopefully they weren’t trying to break her fever by making her sweat…that’s very out of date medical practice.

As I sat and watched them “treat her” I was pretty angry at the entire situation. They weren’t soft and gentle with her at all – they kept moving her around abruptly. Then when she cried out in pain they would scold her for crying. I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs “be softer with her!” I would cry too if I were in her situation. In fact I’d cry a lot harder. She has every right to cry. She has been stuck in this hospital for months, she can’t walk – so she can’t get up and move around – and she had a fever that was neglected by the nurses for who knows how long before we got there. Not to mention she had no mom to dry her tears, no one to listen to her when she cried for water, and no stable figure to love her at all her entire life. Plus she’s six years old. How dare them scold her for crying! AHHH! As they were taking care of her and she cried it was amazing how intense I felt her pain. Each whimper and cry stung. I don’t know how parents do it when they see their children in pain. It was the worst thing ever to experience… For some reason this entire situation really bothered me today… a lot…

After the nurses bundled her up Annie and I tried to get her mind off things by either blowing bubbles or stroking her head. I sat there for a while and just brushed her hair away from her face with my hand and kissed her forehead. It made me sad that she was stuck in this horrible place – where she has been stuck for months – and she doesn’t have a mom to take care of her when she is sick. She had no one to hear her cry today when we weren’t there. It’s not fair…I kept thinking the entire time “Why wasn’t I in her situation? Why am I so blessed? Why can’t I take her pain?” I don’t know the answer to these questions – only the Lord does, but I’m going to have to trust that there is a reason for everything.

After she sat wrapped up in a bundle for a few minutes the nurses abruptly hauled her down the hall and went into a room and closed the door. That’s when I heard screaming…it was horrible. I quickly looked at Annie and was like “I have to get out of here – I can’t listen to this.” I felt ill…I heard her scream the entire walk down the hall. Her scream kept pounding into my head. Annie had to remind me that although it might hurt her in the short term, they are probably trying to do something to make her feel better in the long run. It didn’t help me feel much better, but it made me feel a little less angry at them.

After we went home we ate dinner and had Family Home Evening. FHE was fun. For our activity we did the human knot. We are really bad at that game…it took us about half an hour to get undone. Oh well… we had a fun time doing it. We laughed a lot and we were put in a lot of awkward situations. At least it got my mind off of some of the events of the day.

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