Thursday, June 21, 2012


Much good news has been received in our household over the past 24 hours.

First, we received two very small videos and a new picture of our future son.  The most heartening part of seeing it, aside from actually seeing it, is how much better he appears.  In just four months of time, he has grown much taller and looks as though he has gained weight.  Rather than sitting without much movement, he is truly walking and moving fairly well!  His legs look straighter and his wrists look smaller (thick wrists can be a sign of rickets, among other things).  The spot on the back of his head, which is likely from spending too much time in a crib, is vastly reduced. 

He has a mullet now!  *laughs*  His hair is long.  While not my preference, I'm grateful his head is not shaved short.  He was smiling and running around, trying to grab a stuffed toy from a bin.  The female voice I heard was his baba, who now spends many full days with him.  We can tell it's making a difference...we are thrilled, actually.  This is closer to the type of care he deserves - but not the type of care he deserves. 

Seeing him, running and happy, I felt an immediate pang of sadness.  His life is going to change in radical ways that he will not understand.  Although we firmly believe that it is decidedly in his best interests, it would be folly not to recognize the loss he will suffer as he moves from the only home he's known into our home.  The care he now receives is much better, and the hope is that it continues to improve as The Bad Place - perhaps - becomes less of a bad place. 

But there's a caveat; a little wrinkle in the glimpse I see of that happy child.

You see, when the orphanage workers in The Bad Place know that a family is coming for a child, and when additional care is provided (above and beyond what is generally offered), a child's condition improves.  He is fed more, changed more, interacted with more - because the family is coming for him. 

So, the happy child I see would not actually be so happy and better cared for if we did not exist.  If a family wasn't coming for this child, he would be a nameless face in a sea of forgotten, neglected faces.  This is the catch-22.  If he could receive appropriate care with a consistent, loving caregiver; enough food to avoid malnutrition; enough therapy to overcome his physical challenges, an education, opportunity, social could make the case that he could make a reasonable life in his birth country.  I would still argue that a family is the most appropriate environment, but there would be evidence to suggest alternative thinking. 

That evidence evaporates if we disappear. 

A healthy, happy life is what we would want for any child, preferably in their country of birth and hopefully with extended family if the immediate family could not care for him.  It's the premise of foster care, even as that system is flawed also.  (We don't live in a utopia, no matter what some websites beg you to think).  It makes me sad that this appears to be impossible for him. 

The good news?

This little boy, without knowing it, has a family here who loves him and wants him as their son.  In the absence of hope where he is, he will have hope with us.  His physical challenges and delays do not deter us.  We stand prepared to bring him the resources he will need to improve and to introduce him to the love of a family.  We will learn to grieve the losses he will likely feel and do what we can to connect him to the life he is leaving.  His culture will become ours; when we self-identify, we will include Bulgarian in our roots. 

I am glad to see images of our future son that suggests he's improving.  I pray that this means other children are also benefitting.  I continue to pray that The Bad Place becomes less "bad" as more resources and media attention are poured upon it.  Privately, I have read accounts of the new administration at that orphanage and they have not been terribly positive.  It appears that children continue to suffer while others (who have families coming) are treated better.  This is not as it should be. 

Thank you for praying for our family, for our little boy, and for our trip.

Oh, did I forget to mention our trip?

We've been given permission to travel after July 15th and are working with family and various logistics to determine what dates will work.  Very soon, we will be able to count the days until we meet him!

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