Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday, Day 2

Friday turned out to be a very low-key day. I had a fabulous time getting to know several of the volunteers that were at Liberty this week. They all  are really selfless, dedicated people from different countries and walks of life who have come to Liberty to try and make a difference in these kids' lives. More on my new friends in the next post.

Our kids woke up and they were still beaming with delight to have me there. Zarrina continued to appear more happy and affectionate with me than last January, and she has maintained a pretty steady camaraderie with me. This has been  a wonderful encouragement to me .

Tyler especially seems to really love my presence, which from our phone calls I am not surprised about, but he is very affectionate, holding my hand and insisting that I go with him everywhere about the compound. Miss Delfena took him to get new shoes today and she said she could not remember him ever being so happy and that he was singing out loud the whole way to and from Belize City.  Both of us take this to be a very good sign! (But don't even get me started on the "music" they love to sing to such as; "She ain't got the junk in her trunk"...)

While Shadrock continues to be busy, busy, busy he loves to come up behind me and surprise me with quite the exuberant hugs!  Whenever they have to stop and sit...meal times and movie times, both Tyler and Shaddie fight to sit on my lap. So I now have to say lunch time is Tyler's turn and dinner is Shadrock's. Tonight, Rupert really wanted me to sit with the bigger kids and Shaddie was quite upset about having his turn on my lap missed! The compromise was he got to sit on my lap during the entire movie that night.    
Shaddie's pillows, top sheets or blankets
At bedtime the younger two both asked if I would put them to bed and tuck them both in. I won't go into the lack of proper bedding is still an orphanage and they sleep in one room with 4 other boys and someone(s) are still wetting the bed  so it smells STRONGLY of urine in there. But they were just eating up having me there and  making sure they brushed their teeth ( It looks like Shaddie and Tyler  haven't brushed their teeth in a very long time as they now have obvious stains and pits right on the front of their teeth) and used the bathroom and then tucking them into their beds and kissing them goodnight. So that was all very good for connecting. And because they are both SO immature for their ages, Shaddie actually asked me to carry him to bed in my arms, baby style! They are starving for a Mom and they love that I am affectionate, yet firm with them. And this is while I am still on their turf and they know they don't have to really obey me yet, but they do. And poor Shaddie is so SKINNY!  I can put my thumb and first finger around his wrist and still have room to twist my fingers around. I can't do that even with Tyler, who is 2 years younger. The boy is ten years old and still wearing size 5/6.  Ben is wearing size 5's. And he is covered in scars. He took his shirt off today and it almost am me cry he has so many scars on his torso. Plus I also think he has parasites or something because he has that African ├╝ber-skinny chest and arms and legs, but a distended, hard belly. I can't wait to get him home and to see our Doc.
Tyler's bed

Rupert's bed is to the right
And Rupert has been very sweet and loving as well. He is the kindest, most generous child here  at Liberty, hands down. He never complains, is always sharing and looking out for the younger kids, and is just plain a good kid. But the nicest part for me is that he now likes to seek me out and give me kisses on my cheek. He also asked me to "say good night" to him in his room and of course this just meant him showing me where he sleeps and all his school stuff. He also showed me the newspaper article  from his sailing race where he took first place. He gave it to me to bring home so I could put it his room for him. He loved the watch we bought him for Christmas and the "5000 Amazing Facts" book and he is going around telling everyone..."Did you know that .....? " quoting the book. He is really so helpful and generous. For part of their Christmas presents, we gave the boys each a jar of peanut butter and graham cracker and Rupert's was gone by tonight because he shared his with everyone. The girls got Nutella and crackers and they ran off and hid them in their room, although Brittney did thank me profusely and several times over for her gifts, so that was a very nice response from my Sugar-Sugar.

Now unlike the younger boys who are still very immature, Brittney seems to have grown exponentially more mature and settled this past year. Miss. Delfena confirmed to me that Britney is doing much better in all areas. Her grades at school are the best of the bunch.  She told me that she had Brittney alone one day and asked about her true feelings...did she just want to be adopted to get out of Belize or did she really want a Mom and  Dad and a new family? She said Brittney answered clearly and unequivocally that she wanted a family. Honestly, I think this is true for all of them. All day Brittney has held my hand or sat on my lap or asked me to do Mom stuff...everything from  helping to tie the bow in the back of her shirt, to undoing her hair that was all in braids and twists with rubber bands that were twisted more than 20 times.
Brittney after I took all her braids out
That was REALLY time consuming and difficult and I am sure I pulled her hair uncomfortably more than a few times trying to get those stupid rubber bands out of her hair. But she not only never complained, she started to fall asleep! Then she asked me to wash her hair and conditioning it with the stuff I brought and gave to the girls. She also wanted me to try to "plait" it, but since they were all getting their baths and hair washed because  this weekend is a big concert/fundraiser,  and everyone was to look their best, I thought it would be wiser to let the more experienced caregivers do that! But, I watched them do both Britney and Zarrina's hair and all I can say is...WOW!
Now in anticipation of their homecoming, I have been doing a lot of reading and watching videos on how to care for the girls' hair, but OMGosh I cannot even begin to imagine doing that kind of intricate weaving and braiding myself! And spending hours and hours doing their hair it was INTIMIDATING to say the least!
 Miss D. suggested ... no she TOLD ME that it was time for Zarrina to get her hair relaxed as it would be good for her self-esteem now that she is at "that age" and we don't want other kids mocking her if her hair isn't "done right" and obviously, *I do not have the ability to do it right. She said that if it is relaxed then Z can just " brush her hair and go..." Oh, and btw..I need to take her to a salon every 4 weeks so she can have it professionally done. While I readily admit I am a novice at this hair care stuff, I am first and foremost not too keen on putting all these chemicals on my daughter's hair every 4 weeks! Nor do we have the resources to be traveling to the salon every 4 weeks for an expensive straightening treatment. And while it may be a possibility in Belize that mocking may occur, certainly in our culture, mocking Z because her hair isn't up to Belizean weaving standards is NOT gonna happen. So we will just have to see about this whole "necessary" hair straightening thing.
Brittney after her hair was done
Zarrina and L after their hair was finished
And with the newness factor gone from our January visit, I have been able to deal with all of them in a much more real way and they all seem to be very accepting of my role as Mom, and authority figure. Of course this has not ended the refusal to answer if they don't feel like it and Good God Almighty, do these kids have ATROCIOUS table manners...well not so much the older two, but Miss B and the boys...yikes!  But most importantly they all seem quite happy that I was there for them and they are all looking forward a great deal to the day when we can return to take the home for good.
What more could you ask for?
Tomorrow, the First Lady of Belize, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow is hosting her annual Christmas Concert at the main theater in Belize City for all the orphaned and handicapped children of Belize and all the kids are greatly looking forward to it. More on that in tomorrow's post.

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