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

Monday, April 15, 2013

Visit with B: Day 4

God smiled upon us today.

We have a routine now, and B is able to predict what will happen. This makes a HUGE difference in the process of getting to know one another. He is able to learn to predict our movements and us his. We can slowly introduce new signs, as well as tiny stressors to push his abilities a bit further. Every new, successful experience is one step closer to home.

When we arrived for the morning visit, B was in his group's room. He saw us through the windows and ran to his caregiver. "Eat!!!" he signed with desperation. Tapping his chin as hard as he could with the sign. "EAT! EAT!" pointing to us through the window. She let him out the door and he came running to me with the bag. "Eat!" he signed, pointing to the bag. "More eat! Eat!"

"Da!" I replied. "Soon eat." I pointed to the shoes on his feet, then to the outdoor shoes on the rack. He plopped his butt on the floor, crying tears as he changed his shoes as quickly as he could. He cried when the caregiver asked me if I wanted a jacket for him. I slipped it on his arms, signing and saying "zzzzip!" as I zipped it up. He imitated the sign and smiled big.

I offered my hand for him to take, but he shook his head no and dug in his heels, as if to say, "No. Wait. I want to go on my terms."  I dropped my hand to my side and waited just a couple seconds. "Ide" ("come" in Serbian) and offered my hand again, which he took willingly. He smiled and giggled as we walked to the elevator. Papa had the bag by this time, and B kept checking to make sure papa...and that bag of food...were coming along.

We got downstairs and out the front door when I discovered a problem I hadn't anticipated. There were other children and caregivers sitting at the picnic tables. While there was plenty of room for us, we couldn't feed him in front of the other children. B went straight to the tables and took a seat while I quickly scanned the playground. Behind some bushes is another small area with a low railing Dean and I could sit on. "Ide" I said to B, holding out my hand for him to come along. He shook his head in refusal. That is not the routine. The routine is to sit at THESE tables and eat. I pointed to the bag, "Eat" I signed, "Ide". Again he shook his head no.

I told Dean, "Lets just walk. I think he'll come along." and that is exactly what happened. He didn't let us get more than a few feet away before joining us, although he was a bit wary. We sat down on the railing and I took the first item out of the bag. "Yogurt" I signed, and he immediately imitated. I gave him a bite and he got a huge grin on  his face and giggled a bit. "More eat!" he signed. We went through the yogurt and juice, him signing unprompted for everything. These are signs that are now solidified in his mind. He uses them with the caregivers and they are encouraging this new step.

When snack was gone we put the empty items back into the bag. "All done." we signed, and he giggled as he repeated the sign and turned toward the playground. He now understands that "all done" means the eating is done and now it's time to play.

The previous two days, any time he gets within reach of the ride-on toys he has picked them up and thrown them. Yesterday he didn't, but only because I was standing right there to grab them before the throwing motion. Today he went to pick up items, but I pointed back to the ground and he (mostly) set them down gently, smiling when I praised him with "Bravo!"

B slid down the slides and wandered around from playhouse to playhouse. We joined him inside the tiny spaces which he seemed to enjoy.

Since the first day I have made an attempt to have him walk with me, nicely, all the way around the play area. Today I held out my hand, "Ide". B stubbornly shook his head, so I turned away from I'm and started walking away. I went about 15 feet then turned and, without moving toward him, offered my hand again. "Ide". B ran to catch up to me, taking my hand and giggling a bit as I told him "Bravo".   We went about 30 feet when he dug in his heels. I immediately stopped. No eye contact, I simply held out my hand until he was ready to move forward with me again. Then we did it!!! We did it!!!!  We finally walked all the way around that play area. It is maybe 200 feet total, but we this was 200 feet further than he has ever walked with me before.

It was time to go inside for lunch. "Ide" I said, and pointed up to the building. B took my hand and walked with me to the front doors. Then he saw them. The buses. All his friends were getting off the busses from school. He wanted to be with them. He sat down on the ground, refusing to move, unless...of course...he could scoot himself over to the buses. ;-) I used my body to block his path without making an attempt to put my hands on him, and without blocking his view of the buses.  He needed to see this. He needed to see that his friends were going inside for lunch and the buses were leaving. It would have been pointless to try getting him to leave with us until the buses were gone. When the buses pulled away we waved, "Ciao! Ciao!" I held out my hand, hoping he was ready to move forward again. He stood up then, taking my hand, pointed up to the building. "Eat" he signed. Together he walked up the steps and in the door, when he stooped again. He pointed through the windows in the direction the busses had gone. "Ciao!" I said. That was the end of our problems getting inside.

We watched him eat his lunch (mashed potatoes with hamburger-type gravy) as he cried tears periodically through his meal. Dean and I made the observation that he doesn't really cry with us anymore, but he is certainly crying a lot with the caregivers. We can only guess at which of the many possibilities are the reason for this. All we know is it is progress, and we will take it.

Later, at our afternoon visit, B learned two more signs. "Mama" and "Papa". I don't know if they have meaning for him yet, but he certainly knows WHEN to do them. It was the end of the day and he had already had his snack with us. We were trying to kill the last few minutes of our time when we sat down at the picnic tables, curious to see if B would repeat a game he had started with us at the morning visit. First backing up to my lap where I would gently squeeze and rock  him while softly singing in his ear, then after just a few seconds repeating the steps with Papa. But this time I added a step. Before he sat in my lap I turned him to me "Watch" I said, "Mama" I signed. As soon as he repeated the sign I let him sit on my lap.

A few seconds later he moved to Dean. "Watch" Dean said, then signed "Papa", having B imitate the sign before letting him sit on his lap. By the 3rd or 4th time B understood our game. He came to me, signed "Mama" at which time I said "Bravo!" and pulled him into me for our quick cuddle, and he giggled every time.

(and don't I look nice and crabby on this video? Good grief.)

What a blessing today was, for all of us. Please continue to pray for the process here. There is a government shut down looming, making it imperative that every step of our process that is to happen this week must be done at precisely the right time for us to be completed before the shut down. If we don't finish in time, Dean will go home without me while I will be stuck here an additional three weeks longer than necessary.


  1. Such a great post! Love the progress he is already making in such a short time! Praying for you guys.

  2. How quickly he figured out that you were bringing him food, and how heartbreaking. What a quick little guy he is!

  3. Awesome progress! I can't wait to see what happens next :-)
    Praying for you all.