02 August, 2012
Today’s visit started this morning at 10:00 with our arrival at a powerless orphanage. It seems that the brief but severe storm that we had yesterday caused a break in a power line that had not yet been located. The Director had taken it all in stride and had brought in a generator to power the critical systems (refrigerators, medical storage, etc.) and was preparing the staff to cook the mid-day meal over open fires outside if necessary. That woman impresses me more each time I meet her! We started in the psychologist’s office so that the food items that we brought for the kid’s groupas could be “inspected” for appropriateness (we passed). By the way, don’t let the title “psychologist” intimidate you; over here it seems to be applied to anyone who asks you questions and doesn’t already have a title (the “psychologist” at the DAP(SDA) was just an administrative assistant who verified our passport information and pulled the referral files). The kids were brought in and we gave them food for the first time. Jessica has no problem eating or drinking … in fact we will have to exercise portion and item size controls with her (half a banana in one bite!!). Caleb does not seem to have any chewing reflex at all. Erika placed pieces of banana in his mouth and he swallowed them down without chewing regardless of the size of the bite. He has never been fed anything that wasn’t pureed. He had a little better success drinking from a juice box as long as the sips were small, if he got a big sip he would just expel l it. We then took the kids outside. Jessica had to stop just outside the door for a brief conversation with the orphanage dog that apparently was sleeping in the wrong place. That little girl has a very determined and definite spirit; she’ll fit in our family just fine. Caleb was also pretty excited to go outside and seemed to be attracted to the activity that was going on around him. We took the kids over to a sandbox to play and discovered two things pretty quickly, 1) we need to teach Jessa how to sit down while wearing a skirt or dress – she just reached behind her, flipped everything up out of the way and plopped right down on the edge of the sandbox; 2) Caleb does not like the feeling of sand between his toes. Of course being the overachieving parents that we are, we immediately began sensory integration for him. He eventually walked a little in the sand, but I think he just resigned himself to the fact that we weren’t going to take him out, because when we brought him back to the sandbox a second time he “monkeyed” on me and would not put his feet down. As we were heading back in, he saw the car that we were riding in and that became the object of his desire. He walked around it with Erika, touching everything he could. When they came to one of the doors that were open, he wanted to get in and go! He was very frustrated when Erika brought him back to me so we could go inside. We left a short time later since we are only officially allotted two hours per visit.