Friday, February 24, 2012

Hair Cuts & Dental Visits

When we arrived at the boys’ groupa this morning, there was a lady in the room giving another boy a hair cut.  We realized that today was hair cutting day for the boys’ groupa, so Matt and I discussed whether or not we should have them cut Cooper and Conner’s hair.  I’ve heard many stories of children who have been adopted from orphanages who are completely terrified of having their hair cut due to traumatic experiences with hair cuts in orphanages.  Most orphanages keep the children’s hair (both boys and girls) buzzed to prevent lice infestations, so hair cuts are done quickly with so many children to line up and buzz.

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We prefer buzz cuts on boys anyway, so we decided to ask the hair stylist if she would go ahead and cut our boys’ hair.  We felt watching this experience here in Ukraine in their groupa where they’re accustomed to hair cuts would give us an idea of how our boys will react to future hair cuts.

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We were so pleasantly surprised by how well our boys did!  Neither boy squawked much, they both sat still and waited patiently while the stylist buzzed their hair.  The stylist wanted to leave a mullet for both boys, but we showed her Daddy’s buzz cut, as well as photos of our boys back home who have buzz cuts, and she reluctantly obliged.  That kind of made me giggle because it was perfectly fine for the rest of the orphanage kids (boys and girls) to have buzz cuts, but since our boys are now part of our family, they naturally assumed we wouldn’t prefer buzz cuts.  Oh well, we love the buzzes the boys got, and hopefully the boys will continue to tolerate hair cuts as well as they did today!

We played with the boys in the playroom until lunch time.  They have a new inflatable bounce “castle”, which wasn’t very bouncy, but we tried it anyway.  Neither boy knew what to do, even with our assistance, but one day, we’re sure they’ll love bounce castles!

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We enjoyed lunch at the brick oven pizza place (Italiano Vero) with our new American missionary friends, Jennifer and Jon.  They helped coordinate dental visits for our boys for teeth cleanings, so after lunch, we headed back to the orphanage with our translator friend, Sergei, to pick the boys up and take them to the dentist.

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This picture has nothing to do with my post, but this bare bush caught my eye outside the orphanage today.  It has berries on it, and somehow it stood as a metaphor for life in this cold, barren place.  Life.  So grateful God has kept our boys alive, even in this cold, barren place.  Our berries on the bush.


I’ve heard from many people that dental care in Eastern Europe is phenomenal and inexpensive, so we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity for Cooper and Conner, especially since they’d be able to understand the language here and not be thoroughly confused with English-speaking dentists in the US. 

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Waiting patiently at the dentist’s office.

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The aquarium in the wall at the dentist’s office.  Cooper much preferred the TV!  That boy sits silently, mesmerized by the TV (no matter what is showing), but as soon as the TV goes off, he squawks. Smile


Both boys did great at their dental visits, although Cooper has a lot of cavities and gingivitis, according to the dentist.  Conner’s teeth looked healthy.  The dentist gave us a prescription for a liquid to rub on Cooper’s gums to help the inflammation and gum disease.

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Conner waiting patiently for brother to finish with the dentist.

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We’ve been really amazed by how well the boys are doing on outings.  They haven’t gotten car sick or vomited at all (knock on wood!), and they’re handling lots of new stimuli really well.  We’ve also been surprised to see several Ukrainian people reach out to our boys to talk to them, smile at them, etc.  Since most, if not all, children with Down syndrome and other special needs are kept in institutions in Ukraine, most Ukrainians don’t ever see special needs children in public.  I was concerned that our boys might get ugly stares, but, so far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the kindness people have shown us.

We just feel so very blessed that God chose to bless us with these precious treasures, and we pray others will see our boys as the amazing masterpieces of God that they truly are.

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