Daniel learns very quickly. His attention is not held long by something he easily masters. We brought a little stacking toy today and after just a moment, he understood it and was delighted with the different options he had. Stack together, apart, tall, short, here, there, everywhere. He giggled at his own cleverness. He will stop and be attentive for music and for walking around also. When we finally bring him home, I predict a difficulty in keeping him occupied in the hotel and for the long flight home! When he is afraid or worried, he becomes quiet and still, like a little mouse. We’ve been discussing what our parenting strategies will need to be in order to meet his heart’s needs and respond to his internal fears which he will not dismiss just because we adopt him.
And that he struggles is clear. His stick-thin legs. A staff member (who seems to treat him kindly and to care for him) says that he does not like to eat. And that he will be a model when he grows up, because he is so thin. The combination of neglect and ignorance and plain wrongness tries to make wounds in our hearts. We have a big tender spot inside our chests with many bandages right now. He is the size of a small toddler despite his four years. They say he has only recently begun interacting with the world. Even as we sit and spend time with him, no other orphan children come outside. Just some children from a community program. I know this building has a basement with the sick kids. The dying kids. If Daniel is in good condition, then that is a dark room, no matter the sunlight or well-meaning staff. Daniel does not have relationships with his staff and has a clear emotional distance from us. He delights in the world and he enjoys to be touched… these will serve him well in the future. But I don’t want any of you to believe that he is just fine here.
There are other children… in similar conditions and in worse conditions. It brings us to our knees in prayer to be unable to bring them comfort and family. Anna feels this way about all the stray dogs and cats that wander around the city. Two dogs had a territory dispute where we were resting on a bench. Anna said, “I don’t know which one I feel more sorry for!” and then, “I wish I could give them all homes and love and snuggles.”
Because she knows… everybody needs those things.
Just two more days here and then we begin the long journey home. And the aching long wait until we come back for the pick-up trip. It should be November or before. Pray for before!
The videos today are wonderful!
He learns SO FAST. He imitates what we do and what we say. He is curious and determined. He tries everything.
I love the way he was chuckling with his success:
There were many memorable moments today. But this one I stopped to film. I think Brian commented that he had never in his life had a more appreciative audience for his juggling.