Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oradea: June 6 - June 12, 2011

At the Hospital, Part II

Dawn and I continued to work at the hospital through our last week here. I really fell in love with it, the beautiful babies with such distinct personalities, and building relationships with the other workers. Dawn and I took two of them out for lunch (to a restaurant ambitiously named "Chicken House"), Mia and Ana, to thank them for allowing us to work with them. They didn’t have to let us come into their room, since their foundation is separate from the one we were working with, but they were very generous.

It was really hard to leave the hospital on our last day. When we were walking down the stairs I just kept thinking about the tragic reality of these children, and their dim future in a rigid, heartless system. And it was so sad to form a connection with a child who is just picked up by child protection the next day. (I spent most of my time with babies who are abandoned, but then taken back to their homes once the parents are found.) This lack of stability and care really hinders development as they grow.

But I’ve seen God’s goodness in all of it—the deep love the workers for the foundations have for the children. Dorina in particular really stood out to me. She spends most of her waking hours taking care of Levente and working with Evelina, basically as her mother. The way she talks to Evelina and plays with her is so gentle and familiar, because she knows Evelina deeply. To me, she was the picture of sacrificial love. Dawn even described to her how with some caretakers, they love with their own love, but it can only go so far. Dorina loves Evelina (and Levente) with this endless love, poured into her by God. It was amazing to get to be a part of all of it, working alongside these wonderful people. I got to hold the babies when they cried and sing to them, bathe them, feed them, play with them—things that are so common sense for us, but rare for children in their position.

Dawn continued to teach the foundation workers different techniques to help the babies with development. There were breakthroughs, and within a couple days one eight month old named Florica, the most beautiful, easy-going little girl, sat up on her own for the first time. I saw the respect that the women who work for the foundations have for Dawn, and they listened to her suggestions, open to doing everything themselves. I know that even the few weeks we got to work there had a purpose, and that God will use it. And I will continue praying for these children, knowing how sad and shocking the reality of child abandonment is in this country, but also seeing the incredible hope there is in Jesus.

Dawn and Ana

Me with Ana and Mia, eating our Chicken House meals

English Hour

Michelle, Dawn’s friend whose house we’ve been staying at, asked us to teach her daughter’s class for the hour they learn English. Cristina attends at a Step by Step program, an inclusive classroom for all levels of learning. We went in a few different times, so they knew us by the end. I taught them a “Days of the Week” song, and by our last visit they were singing along. We also did other songs with motions, encouraging them to count and speak in English while we were there. Dawn thought of bringing in cutlery and using repetitive dialogue to help them to learn the vocabulary (i.e., “This is a fork! A what? A fork!). It was good just to help out the teacher, and Michelle who is normally in charge of their English Hour.

The kids at Step by Step

Teaching "Days of the Week"

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