Day five of trip two was our longest day - we were gone from our apartment for thirteen hours, six of which were spent in the car traveling back and forth to Katie's orphanage, one visiting her, five at the "American Medical Clinic", and one traveling the approximately five miles from the medical clinic to our apartment. We were both exhausted - emotionally and physically.
The emotionally exhausting portion was a result of our medical clinic appointment. Every adoptive family in this region (and maybe in this country - I'm not sure) has to have a medical exam, in country, with several doctors. We went Saturday afternoon to have blood tests, give a urine sample (for drug testing), and have chest x-rays. The x-ray technician thought there was an issue with one of Chris' films, and took another. There is obviously a serious communication barrier between us and the medical providers, despite it being the "American" Medical Clinic. (I think that American refers to two things - they speak [some] English, and they have American medical standards - for which I was very thankful.)
We returned yesterday for our "exam". We met with an oncologist, dermatologist, neurologist, psychologist, general practice doctor, and a TB specialist. (TB is a huge deal in this country.) These "exams" were exceptionally brief. Like, less than five minutes each. We were asked questions like, "Have you ever had cancer?" or "Do you consider yourself in great health?" or "Have you ever had major medical condition?" I think two of the doctors actually "examined" us at all, and that consisted of looking in our mouths, looking at our skin, and taking our blood pressure.
The TB specialist called us in, and spoke no English. There was a translator in the room, who was very young and wore a white coat with a badge hanging off that had her photo, her name, and said "surgeon" underneath. Um, really? Maybe that word translates differently here. . . She also spoke very little English. Essentially, the TB specialist said that Chris had a spot on his left lung, and it was quite easy to see on the X-ray. She said that she couldn't sign off on our medicals for court until he had a CT scan done of it to get more images and determine more what it was. But they don't do that at the American Medical Clinic, where we had already paid a LARGE amount of money for our "exams". They called the hospital across the street and a doctor agreed to stay for it. Our facilitator at this point had met us at the clinic, and she walked us over to the hospital.
*Let me pause here and say that I NEVER want to be treated or admitted to a hospital in this city. . . It was every single thing you would think of when you think of an Eastern European hospital - flickering lights, weird smells, NO English. . . I hope I never get seriously sick or injured here.*
That being said, the people in the CT area were very nice and went out of their way to accommodate us and get his test done super quickly. They did the scan, and it was determined that he has a calcification on his lung, which they attribute to him having contracted TB as a child but his body fought it off and resulted in the calcification. We will follow up with his doctor about it at home, but with that information we paid the doctor (in cash, directly. . . ) and returned to the American Medical Clinic with the results. The TB specialist had waited for us, reviewed the information, and signed off on everything. We were cleared with our medicals for court! Literally, if she hadn't signed off on that, we could not have gone to court and everything could have derailed. This was an enormous relief.
Another thing contributing to our stress was that Jack broke his wrist on Sunday. If you read my other blog, you may remember last year he broke his wrist also. So this is now Jack's Broken Wrist v 2.0. And it's the same wrist. He will be fine, and if it had to happen to any of them while we're gone I'm glad it's him; he's the toughest, and he will care the least. However, it's very difficult to be 6,000 miles away when my baby has a broken bone.
Our visit with Katie was fantastic. She was as fun and sassy as ever.
It was the first day she had been in the same clothes two days in a row. And her hair was a little jacked up, but she was fabulous.
Two really great things happened during our visit, which may seem strange if you're not familiar with adoption. The first was that she fell down, and she started to cry. I was thrilled! Lots of institutionalized children don't cry when they are hurt, etc. because they learned long ago that nobody comes to them when they cry. Her ability to cry indicates to me that attention is paid to her, and that is so promising. The second great thing was that, when she did cry, she didn't go to the caregiver from the orphanage who was in the room - she turned to me. She let me pick her up, snuggle her, and rub her back. A willingness to accept comfort from me already gives us great hope for her attachment process. This child is full of promise.
We tried to take a passport photo today. . . I will dedicate an entire post to the outtakes from that little photo session!
She was d.o.n.e. at this point!
She loves this little vanity area. And she knows how to appropriately play in it, doing the doll's hair, putting on the makeup, doing her own hair, and playing with the hair clips. We have a vanity in her room, and we'll definitely have to get a little hair and makeup set for her. She spends a lot of time here each visit. I love to see her doing age-appropriate play - she has very little interest in the more babyish toys available, and tends to be drawn more toward the kitchen and the role playing areas. I am so anxious to get her evaluated to see where she falls cognitively - I know we will be pleasantly surprised. She has such potential and is so, so smart.
Her coordination is excellent also. She can line these discs up on their edges and roll them. She can stack them from largest to smallest. Someone has obviously worked with her a lot. Our facilitator, driver, and translator have all said that the orphanage she is in is unlike any other they've seen. They are very well funded and have many resources that others do not. We are so thankful.
They told us at our visit that she went to the playroom we have our visits in for a lesson, and she was upset because we weren't there. They also said that her behavior in her group has changed, "She goes back to her groupa and acts like boss now that she have parents." I love it.
So, two more visits (Tuesday and Wednesday) and then court on Thursday. We're almost done!