Saturday, June 14, 2014

Natalie's World

I have been to a lot of orphanages over the last nine years, and though they all have this palpable silent loneliness that lingers in the halls, I must admit that this orphanage which Natalie lies in appears to be one of the best.  Generous funding pays for
 
brightly colored walls,
artistic murals,
a motor-neuro therapy room,
wash stations in every room,
exercise equipment,
a musical therapy room,
a toy library,
with lots
and lots of toys,
a sensory therapy room,
with fiber optic cable lights,
colored water bubble towers,
and a water bed,
therapy chairs,
theme decorated sleeping rooms,
with beds for 120 orphans,
with well-equipped living rooms.
We saw occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, and care takers.
It appears that the kids here at the orphanage have it all.
As I toured the orphanage, I thought to myself-- We don't have these material things at home.
At home, Natalie won't have a water bed, or an art therapist.
She won't have a ball pit or fiber optic lights.
She won't have access to toys coming out her ears.
 
And yet.
And yet, there is one thing missing from this orphanage.
Something that money can't buy.
Something that we can and already have provided that this orphanage cannot.
 
See,
while this orphanage may provide a safe place for Natalie to lie,
and services that should help her thrive,
she is not.
 
Notice how I use the word lie.
That's because all she does in this orphanage is lie.
Not live.
 
Not love.
 
And that is one thing that we can offer.
 
Love.
This past week Natalie has felt love.
She has felt family.
She has felt the loving embrace of a Mama and Papa.
 
She has learned what it feels like to get tender kisses and gentle caresses.
 
Typing this makes me ache for her.
We will not see Natalie for another 4-6 months.
While we are apart, I trust that she will be in good hands.
But they are not the hands of her loving family.
We are that family.
 
There are many things about Natalie that we have not shared.  She is in obvious need of love and attention.  She is a resilient little girl that has her own little ways of dealing with what she has been dealt.  Bless her little heart.
In the course of a week, we saw her begin to leave these coping mechanisms behind.
 
More eye contact.
More receptive to touch.
Less self soothing behaviors.
A smile here.
A laugh there.
 
Natalie is a flower just waiting to blossom.
You just wait and see!

23 comments:

  1. She could have all those things in various therapy settings she would qualify in the USA, pretty much as frequently as she gets them in Bulgaria. If she gets the therapies she needs, she won't be "deprived" of the material things either, while also getting a lot more!

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  2. Amazing all they have. The twins orphanage had no toys, no play area, nothing on the walls. Wooden boards for beds and four walls. What a difference it would make to development to have a few toys and a play area or even organized play times.

    She is blessed. It's funny they have more worldly goods than most families--but the one thing they are missing can't be bought with money.

    Do you actually see the kids playing in the play area?

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  3. Praying for Natalie while you are apart, and praying for you as your hearts ache to hold her once again.

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  4. I've been following you since you were getting ready to adopt Dennis and I've watched each of your children grow and love and learn through your blog. It is amazing to see them blossom through your eyes, with the love of your family. I have no doubt that Natalie will reach her full potential with you guys. She's so loved and has all those siblings to help her learn new skills and abilities.

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  5. Oh Christine.........it makes me want to cry thinking you won't see her again for so long :-( Dear wee sweetheart.......she is going to just thrive when you get her home. Like you say, she has everything but the one thing she needs the most......her loving family. Hopefully it is 4 months and not 6! Have a safe trip home.

    Marilyn from Canada

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  6. Love from a family is an amazing thing. I'll be watching her blossom!

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  7. That is a beautiful orphanage...
    My heart aches that she has to wait another while to go home to her family where she will do anything but lay around for sure! Lord Natalie is in your loving arms. Please continue to watch over her as you have already. Thank you for giving her a family waiting for her. I pray for her well being and health the next few months so that she will be able to go home in good health and Lord, could you make it sooner than 4-6 months? Thank you Jesus!

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  8. This is all nice, but still... Why Natalie is in so poor condition? Oliver looked so much better from the very beginning. Where are all the kids? Why everything is so empty? I'd better be mistaken but as a former Soviet resident I know that mentality: show off, get sponsors, better not touch it. Bulgaria is notorious for bad orphanages.

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  9. In your family - there is no question she'll blossom!

    It is a lovely facility, though.

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  10. Praying your new princess home quickly.


    I didn't notice any kids in any of the rooms. hmmm

    God bless you

    Erika

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  11. Hi! This orphanage appears to have lots of therapy equipment but it lacks a personal connection to loving parents for the children who live there. The equipment looks rather new what did the children use before? Are American making donations to the orphanage is that why the orphanage has so much equipment ?What even the answer it appears that these children are well taken care of. You daughter is so precious and with love and the stimulation of your family she will bloom. Pat

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  12. I am also curious at where the other kids are? Maybe outside during the photos? It was very very clean and organized. Not a toy on the floor..hmmmm..praying for your family and little Natalie Kay! Does Natalie have DS also?
    Liz

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  13. all thes toys in perfect order...

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  14. Regarding things being new: If this is the same orphanage that I'm thinking of, they won a lot of money from one of the EU funds with their tender last year or the year before. I'm almost sure they were from Burgas. If they are the same ones, they put it to good use.

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  15. My daughter LOVED the fibre optic and bubble columns at her babyhome. She got so excited each and every day and also like a gadget wall that was very interesting. Hated the ball pit and still rings true today. What a precious little doll. Cannot wait to she how she blossoms once she gets home. May the time speed by quickly and she is in your arms again.

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  16. Wow, I have never seen anything like that in an orphanage. Amazing and all brand new looking, not played with, so in my head I will think okay, they just got all those things that's all.... yes, she needs her family. Praying, you guys bring her home soon.

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  17. If things were all a person needed then the richest person would be the happiest, but sadly the things we need the most are not things at all, but love and belonging. Praying the time passes quickly and without incidents. Praying for more families to rise up and help bring children home!

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  18. Love your blog! Your family is amazing! You now have a fan in Finland :)

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  19. Bulgaria has many muslims, some of these kids dumped onto Americans are very sick from Bulgaria or older with many problems. Had a friend that adopted from there before the last adoption scandal broke, the orphanage director was fathering a bunch of kids and selling them off. Fraud is rampant in Bulgaria and Greece. By the way Christine have you thought about the national crisis in America with the 48,000 children from South and Central America dumped into America. There will be 60,000 more in 2015 and the government is paying $3.4 billion in vaccines and housing them at 3 military basis. While you nutcase Americans go abroad to bring in children with problems while ignoring the crisis we have in our country. Good going Christine, who is care for your kids when you and John die? who? the state? your other kids? Do what you want with your money but you have no right asking for a tax break when you have not helped with issues here in America.

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  20. Lauren in Spring TXJune 19, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    Maybe it's time to ban anonymous comments!
    I've followed and prayed for your family since just befor Dennis joined you. All the best. Praying Natalie gets to come home faster than anyone expects!

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  21. Why, because they offer an alternative perspective or some additional information? Most of the anonymous comments have been polite and informative. The occasional slightly rude comment doesn't mean they should be banned.

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  22. All children are Gods children, and wherever they are they deserve a loving home and family. Christine and John you will provide this for Natalie as you have for your other children. You are doing a wonderful job :-)

    Marilyn from Canada

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I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.