Friday, November 12, 2010

Vast Contrast

This morning I went inside to Ivanna's groupa first, as I typically do. I usually get her first then head over to Maxim's groupa with Phillip to get him. Then we all go outside to the playground and meet Isaac and Justus there to spend time together. Well, this morning they were doing some kind of medical procedure with her - of which I am not entirely sure. I was told to come back in twenty minutes. I did, and was not permitted to take Ivanna outside. So, we stayed just outside of her groupa door in the hallway and spent time together while the others (Phillip, Maxim and Justus) played outside.
While I fed Ivanna her juice, I looked around me and was reminded of the thought that had occurred to me a couple of days ago: how different Maxim's and Ivanna's groupa were from one another. I speak about the waiting area just outside the groupas. Maxim's groupa had various pictures on the walls in the waiting area. All pictures of children from within these walls, playing or smiling. Ivanna's groupa: not one picture of a child. Maxim's groupa had a carpet down on it so it gave it a more "homey" feel - Ivanna's has a cold hard cement floor with no covering (this is in the waiting area). Ivanna's groupa has a terrible smell as soon as you open the doors. It assaults your senses and reminds you that you are indeed in an institution type setting. The surroundings are a bit dull, and depressing just outside the groupa - as you can tell from the pictures. Maxim's groupa, while very modest - is surrounded with typical things you see that would accompany that of having children around. The pictures, the toys, the carpet on the floor, and the little cubbies to keep their items in. Both of these "waiting" areas serve the same purpose - but one is more welcoming, and the other is stark, as if there isn't a need to welcome visitors, or ready children to play outside.
A vast contrast in both.
Also of difference is how each child, both with Ds, are faring. Ivanna has been raised with all pretty disabled children. Alot of moaning in her groupa. Children rocking back and forth, or crying. There is no music being played. No going outside. No need to get dressed in day clothes.
None of that.
Maxim has been raised in a groupa that consists of children with a range of abilities. When we greet Maxim, he is usually playing, snacking or doing something else that requires activity. We have even met him, while he is still outside with his groupa.
It is difficult to get some of the ladies to smile in Ivanna's groupa.
For the most part, Maxim's caretakers are full of joy, and you can tell they try and love on these kiddos.
How has the difference affected each child? I truly don't know. I think it interesting though. I see a big delay in Ivanna. Maxim, is doing much better. Will I ever be able to pinpoint why Ivanna is so much more delayed? Not sure. It doesn't even matter anymore, because from this point on - her little world is about to change. However, I think the differences in environment for each child does vouch for the importance of investment in each child. How small things, like smiling, touch, a pleasant home - can affect children.
And lest you think that Maxim would have been better off left to his loving caretakers. Let me remind you - that this little boy turns six in February. What does that mean? Well, that means that he would have been taken from this groupa that smiles, plays and snacks and placed into a mental institution. His sentence for life. All the joy you see in his eyes - would have been forever locked away - all because he has Down syndrome.
Here are some pictures that I was able to snap while Ivanna and I played in the hallway.

This is a picture of the doors to Ivanna's groupa. These doors open into a "waiting area" of which I describe above. Her groupa is number six. She has that number on all her clothing. Won't it be nice when she no longer has to wear a number?

This is a picture that I snapped that is out of a window just prior to opening those doors into her groupa. It is at the top of stairs. Looking down you see rubble. That is quite common here. Buildings are very ... run down looking. Just about every building looks as if it needs repair ... except the cathedrals. They all have pretty brass rooves.

Again, looking out the window at a different groupa playing outside. This is just below Ivanna's groupa. You can hear the cries coming out of the windows if you are outside here.

The long hallway to my right. I think this goes into a type of sick room or area. Anyhow, it is where all the nurses and doctors come from carrying boxes of medication for the children.
Another outside picture just showing the roof, etc.
You might get the idea from these pictures that the orphanage is in dire need of repair. However, this is how most buildings look here. The orphanage is actually VERY clean inside. It is older looking inside, with old cement floors and very primitive looking structure. However, they are doing the best with what they have.
We have a great relationship with the staff here. We were reminded that after our court hearing. The representative from the orphanage told us that they liked us very much. Another lady from Maxim's groupa jokingly implied to us in Russian that we should adopt the other two sweetpeas from his groupa. Oh my, if I could I would - they make my heart melt.
Again, this region is a great one as far as our adoption has been concerned. We are thankful.
*someone asked about clothing sizes for Maxim and Ivanna* - I think I am set for Ivanna. I have lot's of things leftover from Chloe and Ellie. They have her in 24 month clothing here, but it is short in the legs. So, I think size 3T will be big - but will work. Maxim will probably wear a size three also.
Thank you to all those who continue to pray. This is not over yet. There is much to accomplish by way of passports, visas etc. Every prayer uttered on our behalf is appreciated.


B.E.Hughes said...

I am in love with your new additions. Give them a snuggle from me!

Kate said...

I completely understand. There was a big difference in how my two daughters were treated in their different groupas, as well. Like one was considered "okay" and the other was labeled "hopeless". It does affect the child... would my B be as delayed and have as many problems as she does if she'd been raised in a groupa like H's? I don't know. Will never know. But the effects of having been raised in the groupa she was are obvious and it's very, very sad.

I'm happy you can get Ivanna out of that place, along with your son, and that she'll have the opportunity to develop and be happy in your home.

Lacey said...

It is indeed a very nice orphanage, as orphanages go. We also liked the staff, and although Arina was in a more "normal" room, I'm now feeling upset for these children. Arina aspirates everything that is put in her mouth, and she went for 13 months like this. I know its just ignorance, but it makes me sad. Even the more typical DS children are at such a risk!
We never saw older children outside. We must have been there during a cold spell, we were freezing!

Faith for Hope said...

My sweet friend, it is good for you to see and experience this ... I'm sure you say the same. If, for no other reason than to better advocate for these precious children. You are teaching others to be prepared. Not simply with words, but with pictures and from your heart. Thank you for letting the Lord use you.
Praying for you constantly.Praying that one day the groupa ladies will compare notes, so to speak. Praying that they will understand what you see, and how that does affect the children... as well as themselves. Praying for ALL of your children. Miss you. Grace

Anonymous said...

I hope Isaac enjoyed his 12th birthday in Ukraine. I know it was one he will never forget. It was great meeting all of you in Kiev on our way out and so glad your court date is over and you are on the downhill from here. I baked my own birthday cake today as Ashli is busy and has much to do before she works tonight. The kids are excited for the extra chocolate frosting I used. I am anxious to see what Everlyn thinks of her first taste of cake since arriving in the US. She eats everything she is given. She had her first taste of peanut butter today!! She's been amazing!!


Faith for Hope said...

I'm sorry Isaac ... we miss your birthday ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!!! = )
How's that... until you get home? We may miss a few birthdays here depending on when we get to go. Emilee says it's okay with her because of the "GIFT" we will be bringing home. She's such a good daughter. Hope you had a memorable and special day! Love ya, Mrs. Potvin

Mcarthur Mile said...

It will be amazing to see Ivanna grow and thrive once she is home. Maxx was asking me today if him and Matthew would look like twins, he is so excited to meet him and wants to share all of his clothes with him. He also has some shoes that don't "fit right" and hopes they will fit Matthew...can you tell how excited he is! Do you have an e-mail address that I can e-mail you at? Thanks. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ISSAC!!!!
I bet you are taller than me now! praying for everything to move quickly now.
Love ya
the Mcarthur's

Just Me @ My Domestic Experiments said...

Do you have to wait for the paperwork before you can take them to your apartment? I was just surprised to read that you went for a visit or that they were doing medical treatments without informing you the legal parents. I guess I was thinking that the adoption would take place immediately after the court date. Praying for the children.

Jeff and Laurie said...

The Hinman family is praying for you. Praying for wisdom and the leading of the Holy Spirit in your every step.
Laurie Hinman


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