Ok so I just wrote my previous post a few days ago. You know, the whinny, cry baby post about how annoying paperwork is. Well I feel quite selfish in light of todays reminder. A reminder as to why we are doing an adoption from *******, somewhere in Eastern Europe. I recently came across this picture from somewhere in the same country we will be going to. This picture of a door….with a lock…the kind of thing you might see on a shed. This is not a shed. So, what is behind this door?…
I and so many other mothers want to fight for kids who are in orphanages over there and around the world. Our eyes were opened when we read about the conditions these children suffer. Our eyes were opened when we learned that these children, these ‘different kids’ are not welcome in their society. It is socially unacceptable to keep and raise ‘different’ kids. Our eyes were opened when we learned that at about age 4 these children are transferred to an A-D-U-L-T mental institution where the majority of them die after one year of living there.
I know about this social perspective first hand. I have a dear friend who is an adult and he is deaf. He is from eastern Europe. One day while we were talking about my deaf daughter’s school he signed, ‘Do they have monsters there?’ ‘Monsters?’, I asked totally confused. ‘Yes he said, you know M-O-N-S-T-E-R-S, he fingerspelled. ‘I understand what you are signing I just don’t understand what you mean by monsters?’ He signed, ‘You know kids in wheel chair, kids with weak minds and weak bodies’ It was like a dagger to my heart. I thought but didn’t say, You know YOU are a monster in their eyes too? Because you are deaf, you are different.’
As we discussed further I came to learn that in his country (close to but no the same as where we are going) there really is no word for handicap, there is no word for special education. There may be more delicate ways of saying it but monster is one translation of our word for handicap or special needs. This is their culture. Culture and language are inextricably linked. I don’t know which comes first, the positive words or the mentality..the chicken or the egg?? Now maybe you are wondering why this guy is my friend? Well that’s a long story but I understand a bit about where he is coming from and that helps me to sympathize with him. He was raised in a Communist culture and his world view is very, very different from mine. He was lucky, His father was a principal in their school system. This is the only reason he was allowed to go to a ‘normal’ school and was not locked away or sent away. But this tolerance is not the norm.
So as I want to fight for at least one of these kids, filling out a bunch of forms just doesn’t feel like fighting. It feels futile.
So, what is behind this door?
Children, children are locked behind this door virtually alone all day long. In their culture and what systems have remained after communism this is acceptable to them to ‘protect’ these kids and be sure they don’t roam around. But it isn’t acceptable to me. Is it acceptable to you?
So, paperwork really doesn’t seem so hard today.