Join Angela, Axel, Abel and Asher as they welcome their new sibling home.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A little about "L"

I can't wait until we have a name for our new son! We're waiting to hear what his Serbian name is before we decide weather or not we'll be changing it. Axel's Serbian name was Djordje, which would NEVER get pronounced correctly here in the U.S, so we gave him Axel, my grandfather's name. Djordje became his middle name. Like Djordje, most of the Serbian names I find that begin with an "L" are not names that would be easily pronounced here in the U.S, so we will just have to wait and see.

"L" currently resides in a large orphanage in Belgrade that is, by Serbian standards, a good facility. It is clean, the children are fed and clothed. Depending upon his group there could be 3-5 or 12-15 children in a group with rotating caregivers. (smaller groups are for those with many children with significant needs, larger groups are those with more "typical" children.) Each group has it's own room and this is where the children spend their day.  Even though it is a "good"orphanage, it is just orphanage.  There are no parents. It is like a child living in a center-based daycare all the time.

In the orphanage there are "good groups" and "not so good groups". The variable is the caregivers assigned to the room. I have seen rooms in which the caregivers are very attentive to the children, they go on field trips, outside to the playground, etc. I have seen other groups where the door is locked from the outside and the caregivers go in at regular intervals throughout the day, tending instead to watch through the glass. Rooms just like this picture.

(If you have not yet read "The Boy from Baby House 10", I highly recommend it, and you will understand a bit more what I'm talking about.) During one visit, after nearly and hour spent playing with the children from this room, or standing in the hallway visiting with staff, only for a few minutes did a caregiver enter the room, unlocking the door to enter.  It is very possible, based on the age of L, that he is coming from this very room.

But I met many little boys around L's age during my recent trips, and really he could be any of them, in any room. Some of them stick in my mind more than others, and I spend my nights wondering which of the many faces is our son. It is much like being pregnant. I have no picture to create an image in my mind of what our son looks like. So many parents start their adoption process based on a picture. By the time they arrive in country and actually meet their child they have created in their mind a child based on hopes, dreams and fantasy. Sometimes those things play out, but more often than not the child they bring home is very different from the fantasy child created while they waited. Some parents do great with this, others go through a big of adjustment as the come to the realization what they thought was not true.

So what DO  we know about L?

We know that he is 7, and that like Axel and Angela he has DS.

Motor skills:  We know that he can walk on flat surfaces but needs help on stairs. I have to laugh at this a bit since Axel was PETRIFIED of stairs when I got him. He overcame this very quickly since we were living in a hotel on the third floor! Axel learned very quickly to not be afraid of stairs, though he still is a bit slow on them.

Eating: I do know, based on the description I was given, that I will have my work cut out for me teaching L to eat independently. My first job will be teaching him to chew....sigh...7 years old and nobody has had the time to teach him to chew yet, nor does he feed himself.

Medical: At this point I know nothing. I don't know about his heart, his neck (remember our surprise with Axel?) or his GI system. I know nothing except that Angela and Axel have gotten me well acquainted with every medical specialty commonly accessed by patients who have DS!


  1. So, just gonna say this...don't worry if you think people won't be able t pronounce it. My son, at age 2, had friends with names like Mintesinot, Tesfaamlak, Sitotaw, Yeshumnesh, Wa'ago, Deredje, Shamore, and Birhane....and he can say them all. If you like the name....keep it. People who are important to you and your kids will learn how to say it. :)

  2. Nope! I have grown up with what is a relatively simple name: Leah It got butchered all the time in school and I hated it. Axel gets called "alex" all.the.time and he doesn't answer to it. My son Bryon….the first thing people see is "Byron" and at 22 years old this still drives him crazy. "Djordje" is not so much difficult to pronounce as it is to look at at know how to pronounce it. Because it's not a "D+J" sound, the "Dj" makes ONE sound that doesn't exist in our language, so Americans can't even MAKE the sound.

  3. Just wondering - is Djordje the Serbian version of George?

    I agree with you. Give your child a name that can be pronounced and keep his Serbian name as his middle name.

  4. Milena, yes Djordje is the Serbian form of George. The other thing we have to consider is L's own siblings. THEY (well and us. LOL) need to be able to say his name. If Angela can't pronounce it, the name is out. She can barely say her own name. Axel can't say any names and who knows if he ever well, but he signs everything. Angela is just relearning how to sign.