I have now had four visits with Ana, with four more to go. It has been a pleasure to get to know her, and to see the beginnings of recognition of me. God is faithful, and I trust that the rest of the week will go as well or better than the beginning.
Specific conditional comments:
Her ability to eat from a spoon was encouraging. I got to feed her for an hour on Tuesday, though not today.
I met her former baba, and Ana clearly recognized her and had a positive response, which was nice to see, and gives me hope that she will eventually bond well with her mama and papa.
She will vocalize when particularly happy, and will sometimes make whistles or gurgles in her throat; I have not deduced the meaning or cause of these yet.
Her left hip has some motion, though very restricted. Her left knee does go to 90degrees, or slightly more.
Comments on the orphanage:
The bad press received because of the despicable actions of the former director and her daughter has made the staff somewhat skittish. It is worth remembering that the majority of people think they are doing the best job they can, given the resources and demands. This is a subjective statement, plainly, but it is the sentiment I have observed. I also think Americans have zero conception of the psychosocial effects of a bureaucr-archy such as the east bloc endured under Soviet hegemony (and which is not easily removed). The staff, however, mostly came of age under Z's rule and in such a system. Obfuscation is an elementary reaction. Outright lying (as long as it doesn't put you in a bind) is fair game. Snow jobs are second nature. The paramount instinct is self-advancement, because if you don't step up you will be stepped on. This does not merely relate to job or social or monetary standing, but pervades all of life. Bear in mind that communism demands atheism, and though the church was allowed to limp through that era, her witness is not strong, and her methods generally favored self-preservation over evangelism. That is a hard lesson to un-learn (even in America).
Susanna and the early adopters from P. saw the conditions there, which I cannot pretend to fathom. Observing it today through American eyes, it remains a sad place, with the dangers of institutionalism evident, and the neglect of (at least) the grounds inescapable.
Put on your comm-goggles for a moment, though. There is no god, the strong are praiseworthy, life is secondary to the state. That these children are maintained at state expense should be commendable, ne? They would be dead, otherwise. The staff is really doing all they can, their salaries are low, and things really are much better than a year or two ago. Why are the Americans so crazy? Can't they see this is a hard job in an old building caring for these kids nobody wanted? If it's such a big deal, let them do something instead of just yelling at us.
All of this is to say that any discussion of the conditions of the orphanage demands nuance, and hysterics are always counterproductive. There are productive ways to help improve the situation there, and they should be pursued. For instance, someone should adopt Owen (not sure if his file is still on RR). He is plainly delayed, but spunky and interested in his surroundings like the bed of irises outside in the back - they must have been lovely in April and May. He also cannot speak, but expresses himself in moans and groans. It seemed to me that a great deal of his delays could be reversed if he were removed from that environment ASAP. Remember that abandoned children come from moms who chose life. If we have less of an orphan population in America it is because we have a more widespread murder problem. We just make it medical and pretend a great sin can prevent lesser ones.
So please do find ways to help (like the P-project, see Susanna's site), prayer, and adoption. Do not be deceived about the hearts of men and women (or orphans) - without Christ, there is no faculty un-corrupted, and while we may be dismayed by evil, let us not pretend to be surprised (else we display a shocking ignorance of our hearts and the cross of Christ). And when we deal with people, especially the orphanage workers, let us by smooth speech break bones, by innocence outguile them, and by soft answers smother wrath, for histronics lead to no good, but persuasion and persistence pay off.
Today is notary, tomorrow visa photos, Friday is last visit and back to S. Thank you for your prayers, God is faithful, as always.
Now for lunch.