We had a really great second visit with Joseph today. Yesterday was great to finally meet him but today he really settled in with us from the moment we arrived. Yesterday was more of him wiggling from toy to toy and today he enjoyed sitting with us, holding our hands in his and making a lot more eye contact. It was just so much more relaxed today...Dan and I both felt so encouraged with how well he seems to have settled in with us. What a blessing! And he's not just playing...he's interacting and looking to us throughout the visit.
We know that hand feeding is an important part of bonding with a child and we were so lucky when one of the workers from Joseph's groupa brought us his lunch and allowed us to feed him before we left for the day.
It was very nice of her and I think she did this because I had asked her some questions about how tiny he is now and about his weight...I think she was trying to let me see that he does eat. She was very helpful and tried to answer any questions we had about Joseph's size and weight, what he eats, what he likes and dislikes etc. She said he hasn't lost any weight...but I'm guessing he probably hasn't really gained any then since he's so tiny and thin. Basically their meals are blended up potato and meat with a lot of water added to make it a thin soup. He also had another thin soup with bread mushed up in it and a liquid blended apple drink. It was good to see what he usually eats and I am definitely looking forward to getting him home and making him up some high calorie, nutrient-rich baby food until he is able to handle bigger foods.
|Playing with the ball|
Some things we learned about Joseph today:
He has 9 kids in his groupa (group) and 5 of them have special needs.
Only one other child in his groupa has Down Syndrome like him...we've learned that this is his little buddy and they seem to talk to each in their own little way. They enjoy each other so much that when the workers move cribs around, they always put their cribs side by side so they can see each other and touch each others' hands. My little boy has his own little buddy :)
He's not very picky about food...he likes most things, though he didn't seem to like the apple liquid at lunch and they said he absolutely hates the traditional tea they have here in his country and will cry if he know their going to try to make him drink it!
He has a baba...which is basically a grandmother program for kids in orphanages. An older woman in the community is hired to come and spend time with a particular orphan and help to give them that personal interaction and love that orphans are greatly missing in orphanages. It is amazing to know he actually has one...we really didn't expect him to have one and I'm hoping we'll bump into her again during a visit so we can ask her more about how often she gets to spend time with Joseph. It sounds like the adoption agencies here try to help donate to this program for the kids that are listed for adoption so that they will have a better chance at developing and being able to integrate into a family if chosen for adoption.
He does have one main self-soothing activity that he does, which is to rock back and forth quickly to zone out and calm himself down. According to the worker in his groupa, he does not self harm, chew his hands, bang his head or any of the other self-soothing things he could do. Basically he just rocks...so we just try to engage him and help him to re-focus on us instead of the rocking. Its usually pretty quick that we can get his attention and help him to re-engage.
He loves holding your hands...he'll reach out to grab your hands just to play with them and hold them...and it will melt your heart.