Link to the 2008 Hospital Gallery here
November 2008 - Vera had 6 of her abandoned babies sent home one by one last week. The hospital decides enough, and sends them home. It's uncertain how long they will last with their families that don't want them. Edith who spent months on the premie side being taken home and being brought back again, is now on our genetica side at 8 months old. She's a very sweet baby, thin, but smiley and happy in Lia's arms today. Last night a beautiful 1 month old baby Anamaria was brought in and left on Vera's side.
Denisa who we took care of for months this summer on the premie side and who was sent home, is now back in the hospital on another floor.
It's been wonderful to see the team work between our women that's been happening recently. Lucian, a 6 year old boy with autism and diabetes who lives in an orphanage house was brought sick to the hospital. He comes from the same house that Soledad is from, so Rodica who used to work there knew the women who would come in to stay with him. It's a dreadful situation out there with 2 women and 15 children. When 1 would have to come in and be with Lucian, it left the other woman alone to cook, clean and care for the children. This isn't possible. So Rodica offered to stay with Lucian in the hospital, and spare the women and children of that house. Dorina covered 3 of Rodica's shifts working 12 hour days. Other days Rodica was with Lucian in the morning and with our children in the afternoon. Lia who is at university in the mornings worked every afternoon last week with Lucian. He loved them, and they him. The only thing that got him through "good-bye" at the end of the day was knowing that Rodica and Lia were going to be with him the following day. He's a precious boy who gets extremely interested in play, but when left to himself does nothing but rock himself. He's due to be sent back to the house any day.
The doctor on our floor has been getting flack about Soledad living in the hospital, so as much as she didn't want to, she had to send Soledad back to that house. We knew because of the poor care, Sole would get sick and be admitted again to the hospital. She didn't last 2 days out there before she was admitted back in to us again dehydrated and coughing.
Foundations are no longer permitted to work in these understaffed state houses. It is heartbreaking to think of the children out there, but I was so grateful that we can be helping the children that are placed in our care in the hospital.
Codi and Andrea are enjoying their gymnastic/ballet classes. We have an extremely full schedule with Codi having homework every night. She's not learning the grade 1 material quickly and so what she doesn't accomplish at school she brings home to learn and finish. A few learning problems have come up, and so she is getting reading help from a support teacher at school and sees a psychologist once a week who is helping her learn what she should have learned in kindergarten. She likes learning and her problems are not getting her down!
We are now at the last step of the adoption process thanks to God providing us with 2 women in influential positions who are helping us. Things were just not happening that were supposed to, me being a foreigner, but now with the help and prodding of these women, the end is in sight.
September 2008 - Today, the 16th was Codi's first full day at school in grade 1, and Andrea's in a new kindergarten, a good one close to where we now live. The school year starts a bit later here. Codi is so excited about the new children and the new things to do. She is in an alternative program which will be very good for her, being so active. Unlike the traditional program that emphasizes pages and pages of perfectly written numbers and letters, this program teaches children how to learn, and develops their strengths and talents. Tomorrow she's in 2 fairy tale skits and knows her lines and everyone else's! All evening she was "performing" with her favourite animal, her tiger.
Andrea's new teacher is warm and demonstrative. The other teachers there are also sweet, even the cleaning lady. This is such a beautiful environment to go into, first thing in the morning, and I'm happy for Andrea. Andrea is a quieter child but makes friends easily. She told me already that she has a special friend, and as there are new and interesting things to do, she's happy to go.
We're having to get used to very early mornings now, Codi's school starts at 8 and goes until 4. It's getting dark much sooner now in the evenings and so at least it's easier to put the girls to bed.
At the hospital the other day I watched Anca walking all around our room and the adjoining one without holding on to anything. She knows where everything is. Her blindness is not slowing her down at all and she's really happy with her freedom. We have a new little boy Emil who is 5 months old and Marius who is 10 months old. Marius has microcephalous and just loves to be loved! He beams when he's in our arms and he can't get enough cuddling. Our other children are doing well. Little Edith on the premie side has again been taken home and brought back to the hospital, and a very pretty baby Renata who is 2 months old has just come. It's been unusually cold and rainy this past while and I think of the many people in this country without adequate heat and shelter. There are always more abandoned babies in the fall and winter. Our women are ready to love them.
July 2008 - The Canadian volunteers Candice and Amanda are still here, working and loving and so attached to the children. Candice has got Ioana and Anca playing together on a mat. These 2 little blind girls sit facing each other and although they can't see each other, when one starts talking the other joins right in. They play so happily together and end up even sharing their toys!
Candice learned how to feed Evelin and so gave Rodica and Dorina each a week's vacation by taking their shifts. Evey ate well with Candice and is comfortable in her love.
Right now we have 8 abandoned premies that we're taking care of, so Dora who is giving her Mom Vera some vacation time, and Mandy are really busy. Edith who was abandoned, (she's with Mandy in the last group in the photo gallery section) and taken home twice, is back again, being brought back to the hospital and left twice. Edith is now getting the love that she really needs. Dalia who is 3 weeks old is with us because we were told there is no food at home. Florin and Gheorge are 3 weeks old, being abandoned in the Maternity Hospital and brought over to us at the Children's Hospital. Estera is a few days old and Gabriela is 3 weeks old. Isabela who is 6 months old is now eating banana from a spoon. Her parents can't be found to have them sign so she can go into foster care, so we continue to love and take care of her. Andrei has just been declared legally abandoned and so now he can go into a foster home. It shouldn't take him long, he's pretty sweet! Please see the photos in the photo gallery.
We had another great visit with my mother here in June and she helped us get settled into the new apartment. Codi and Andrea loved her special attention and they like our new home. They can play with water on the kitchen balcony when it gets really hot, which it has already. Codi says she wants to live here forever! We are so thankful to God for providing for us again.
May 2008 - Babies are still coming to the hospital being abandoned in the maternity hospital. Last month a baby girl was found in a bag outside the hospital. The nurses name her Crina (Lily) and fortunately for her she was adopted after about a month. Vera was her first mother and loved her through her first month of life.
Two Canadian women from Ontario, Candice Turner and Amanda Sjaarda have just arrived to volunteer in the hospital with the abandoned babies for 3 months. Amanda is working with abandoned premature babies. Right now there are 5 that she is taking care of in the late afternoons and evenings when Vera goes home. She continues the extremely important work of feeding the babies slowly and burping them, which the staff doesn't do. She takes the babies from the incubators, holding, rocking and loving them. She always has a baby in her arms. Amanda notices how the babies always seek her face. When 3 month old Robert is in Amanda's arms, his favourite position is with his head up looking at her face! Her love for the babies is a blessing for them, and Vera and the staff are very glad she's here.
Candice has a special bond with Kevin who has Down's Syndrome and after only a very short time of her intensive love, Kevin is becoming more happy, giggly, and interested in things and people around him. He has stomach trouble and Candice has him up often massaging him which is relieving his discomfort.
Candice has discovered that Levente loves being exercised lying with his heavy head in her lap and feet towards her. He smiles and giggles when she exercises his limbs. We had a new chair made for him as he outgrew the baby seat. The new chair is very solid with good head support and he has learned to rock it using his leg. We were glad, he likes rocking more than anything. Candice is getting Ioana who is blind to walk more, and it's coming easier to Ioana now. Anca now charges down the hall alone with her walker, bursting with energy and joy!
Evelin, Soledad and all the babies are responding to Candice's love. Rodica in seeing the love in their interactions feels that God definitely sent her here to work with these children.
We are moving next week, and what was a disappointment at being told we had to move because the landlords want back in, is now a cause for gratitude. The new apartment is in a building with a front and back yard and is just around the corner from the school that Codi will be going to in the fall. It's better than I could have imagined. Codi and Andrea are looking forward to the yards and the trees.
Codi and Andrea are at the interested and interesting ages of 5 and 7. The other day we ran for the tram. When we got settled Codi put her hand on her chest and said, "My heart is beating so hard, is that Jesus knocking?" And then Andrea said she wanted Jesus in her heart too. We have lots of good discussions!
March 2008 - Evelin weight bears now and wants to learn to stand. She is very aware of her surroundings, turning her head to listen to someone talking in the room, and watching the children around her. She likes red toys and anything red! She used to take 40 minutes to drink her bottle, now it takes her 20 minutes, she's just managing better.
Anca our little blind girl, is now walking the length of the room hanging on to the cribs as she goes. She even walks all over the room with a frame walker. She is almost all the time on her feet! Her speech is developing. When she's in her crib, she reaches through the rails trying to find Soledad in the crib beside hers. The children are enjoying each other more and more, watching each other and grabbing each other!
Levente rolls over completely now. He likes a mirror and more actively plays with his toys.
Soledad is using her hands more and more. She knows when Dorina and Rodica leave and has a special way to call them back - she doesn't cry - she just has a special call for them.
You can see from Florina's and Ioana's pictures how happy they are standing!
Georgia Hammond a young woman from Calgary has been with us now since February, making a 3 month commitment. She is volunteering in the hospital with the abandoned babies on the premature wing. One of the babies, 3 month old Cristian, has taken her to be his mother. He calls for Georgia when she arrives at work and he hears her voice, and when he sees her face. Because she has him up a lot and he is seeing more things, he is becoming more aware of his surroundings. Georgia is helping his brain to develop by loving him and stimulating him. He's becoming very interested in everything going on around him.
We have a 4 1/2 month old Anna Maria who doesn't let anyone touch her. Georgia holds Sammy while talking and singing to Anna Maria, relating to her and developing her trust.
Georgia made an interesting observation that the babies don't grab her clothes but rather her skin. They'll put their hands on her neck, there's something in the skin-to-skin contact that they need. We value Georgia's love and dedication to the babies.
January 2008 - We have a new Razvan on the premature wing and he is a 6 month old darling. (Razvan is a common name here). I went up to him and began talking to him, and after giving me a quick smile his eyes went back to following "his mama" Vera and they never left her as she went around the room. His smile is so happy and beautiful.
Everybody's making progress on the genetica side. Anca who is blind is now sitting alone and plays this way when Dorina and Rodica are busy with the other babies. She's also up in the walker, and is now standing alone.
Evelin now likes to be up in the baby seat rocking herself and watching the other children. She as well as the others responds to her name. She stays in the walker for longer periods of time and her body is getting stronger. She's happier now and sings. She has fun with her toys and talks a lot to her favourite dinosaur. She kisses Dorina, which is really sweet. Soledad is moving all the time now. It is so special to watch this little child move and engage in life, this little girl who was left to be a vegetable in the orphanage house. Levente the little boy with hydrocephalous is also moving more. He moves to his side and lies on his side now. He's now able to find comfortable positions himself. You can just feel the energy and joy in the room.
I'm in the final stages of the paperwork/document part of the adoption process. I'm working on adopting both Codi who I've had with me for over 6 years, and Andrea who I've had for almost 5 years. They consider me to be their mother, and I love them as my own. Now that I have received residency status I can adopt them in a national adoption. International adoptions are still closed. A few days ago a woman from City Hall came to do the home study. The minute she walked into the apartment, Codi threw her arms around me and in a loud voice exclaimed "mommy" as if to tell her, this is the way it is and don't try and change anything! I got pretty choked up.