August 4, 2008 (Monday)
The Lord’s Hand in my Life: Blessing of comfort on returning home…
Wow the heat isn’t dying down…I haven’t felt like I’ve been able to get cool for a few days now. Waking up early and working out didn’t help the situation any. It has definitely been a very warm couple of days. Quite miserable actually.
Today was pretty much a bad day all around. Andrei was really really whiney, Maria was crying and our two new girls were horrid – I do not use that term loosely. When we walked in today several of our kids had bruises and scratches on their faces – especially Vlad and Maria - which we can pretty much assume came from the “two girls.” They are malicious. Ana is seven and Daniela is eight. Thank goodness they will be going back to the apartments they were staying at soon – apparently they are remodeling the apartments and that is why they are at the orphanage.
The second we arrived the girls – especially Ana would come up and pinch our arm randomly and run away, or stomp on Whitney’s foot or blatantly kick one of the kids. I ended up holding Ana in timeout three times where she persistently tried to bite, head butt, kick, etc. After three times in time out Ana behaved for me (or that’s what I thought). After she calmed down I tried to show her that I still cared about her by playing with the toys and scratching her back. However because Ana was calm Daniela decided to make some commotion. Daniela hit Ana in the nose and gave her a nose bleed. Then I had to hold Daniela in time out while we tried to stop Ana’s nose bleed. Soon after the nose bleed Ana decided to be naughty again. I wish the two were separated because they play off one another. At one point the most disturbing thing happened – repulsive enough it’s not appropriate to write about it on my blog...All I can is that these girls have definitely been abused in every way. Then as we were about to go upstairs Ana kicked Vlad and Whitney S. so I put her in time out again.
As we went in the elevator to go upstairs I had Irina in her wheel chair, and the two girls in the elevator with me – by myself. The second the doors closed the girls started jumping up and down and banging on the mirrors. Then when we stepped out of the elevator I went to push Irina to the room and Ana pushed me as hard as she could. Then immediately after she pushed Daniela as hard as she could into the glass door and dashed off. I ran after her, and I was pretty mad. I grabbed her arm as firmly as I could and made her come to the room and held her in time out once again. Of course the workers never saw anything she did because they don’t misbehave if they are looking…so I think they were confused as to why she was in time out again. By the time I left I was exhausted, worn out, angry and scared for my kids. They could easily hurt my kids, and they wouldn’t even be able to put up a fight. What’s worse is that I wonder if they would ever try to sexually abuse some of the smaller kids…it makes me sick to think about.
In between the orphanage and apartments I was really agitated about the entire day. I was angry, and I didn’t feel like I was able to feel promptings of the spirit because I was so upset with them. I said a prayer that I will be able to know how to handle them with love – I don’t enjoy holding them down in time out – but what else do you do when they’re hitting, kicking, biting, tearing and molesting?
Whitney S. and I decided to ask Elyse about how to handle them. She has had a sister with autism her entire life and knows how to deal with kids like the two girls. Elyse said that we can’t give them a reaction – even if they hurt us. She said that special needs kids don’t understand “right” and “wrong,” but “reaction” or “no reaction.” She said if they start hitting one of our kids we need to move our kids away from them, but not give them a reaction. If they follow us as we move one of our kids away from them then we need to put ourselves in between them and the child they’re hitting so we get the beating. So tomorrow Whitney S. and I are going to try not reacting to see if that works any better than our tactics today…Supposedly they are supposed to eventually stop – I just hope it’s sooner than later. However we may come back with lots of bruises. Hopefully not too much damage will be done though…to be honest these girls are making me dread going to the orphanage. I’m just glad they didn’t show up until our last week.
At the hospital we visited Alexandra and Florine and took them outside. It was a little bit crazy…but we managed. Florine’s wheel chair kept breaking. Every time we went over a crack the wheel would fall off. Luckily Radu (teenage boy from the branch) came, and he was able to help us put the wheel back on again. After Alexandra and Florine we visited some of the other floors and there were a couple babies. He held one of the babies and it was one of the cutest/funniest things I’ve seen. Guys are sooo awkward when they hold babies. It’s like they are too afraid to hold them close or afraid to move them out of fear they will break. I love watching guys with babies…funny funny funny…awkward awkward awkward.
After the hospital Whitney S. and I got out gifts ready for our workers that we are going to give them on Friday. We bought them each a scarf to match their personality. Hopefully they like them. Whit and I debated for a while on which scarf should go with which person. We’re such girls…
At FHE I had to give the spiritual thought – so I decided to base the topic off of a talk by James E. Faust called The Power to Change. I think making ourselves better each day is the entire point of this life – so I thought that would be a good lesson. For the lesson I had each person list a quality they most admire in people they know. Then after we were done writing them on the board I had them pick out the quality that they needed the most improvement on, and I asked them to write down how they were going to accomplish improving that particular characteristic about themselves in the near future. I gave them a few minutes to write with church music playing and concluded with quotes from his talk.
When Annie and I got home from Family Home Evening we had a little surprise. In the kitchen a ton of food and random objects were thrown on the floor. and there were blobs of what looked like a mixture of chocolate and vanilla ice cream. On the counter we noticed a pile of dark syrup that had been spilt – it was our vanilla flavoring that had been knocked over on the shelf above and drizzled down onto our counter. Coming from the puddle were little bird tracks that stood out in perfect contrast from the white counter. After we examined the kitchen a little more we found three bird feathers. One was on our table, one was in a pan of leftover food and one was on our window seal. It made a mess for us to clean up…but we thought that was pretty funny.
Soon after we got home the Elders came over and translated some notes we had and gave us a blessing of comfort as we returned home. They gave the other apartment full of girls a blessing Sunday night and our apartment them tonight. Elder Armstrong gave me my blessing, and I was surprised about some of the things that were emphasized. The majority of my blessing strongly emphasized following the promptings of the spirit when I get home…so I can be led down the right path. Annie wrote down our blessings for us as they said them so we could keep them – they are going to be really nice to have.
Armstrong also said that every once in a while when he places his hands on people’s heads it is as if for a glimpse the Lord allows him to see a glimpse of how much he loves and cares about them. Then he continued with “it’s really cool to be able to see that.”