Still in Romania, Part 1/2
Once I had taken our son out of the orphanage, we still couldn’t go home. We had to wait a couple of weeks for the last things to be done, like getting him a passport and getting some final paperwork through the system.
So during those two weeks we lived in the apartment where I had been staying. There was one single-sized bed, a sleeping chair, and one crib. Alexandru refused to sleep in the crib. I was not going to allow him to sleep in the chair because it was next to the sliding glass door to the balcony (2nd floor) and I could imagine him falling. Also I was concerned Mr. Escape Artist might head out exploring while I slept. So I put him in bed between me and the wall. That way I would know if he got up. He frequently rocked himself, hard, in bed. So I was trying to sleep while being body slammed with rocking, lol. I didn’t sleep very well.
During the days, we walked or rode the bus around Bucharest, visiting the park and the museum, enjoying the sights. We were kindred spirits, since neither of us spoke the local language.
If there was a flag, we had to stop and watch it for an hour or so. If Alexandru wanted something I couldn’t give him, he would have a meltdown, throwing himself on the ground, flailing arms and legs. Thanks to my time visiting him in the orphanage, I had a good idea how to handle this. At least it worked when I could manage it. I would just pick him up and take him back to the apartment and give him a bath. As soon as I put him in the tub he would instantly calm down.
One day while on our way to the museum, we got off of the bus on a stop near his orphanage. Then as we were walking by, he walked up to the orphanage fence and looked in. He stood there about 5 minutes, thoughtfully studying it, then calmly turned his back and walked away, continuing down the sidewalk.
When we got to the museum, there was a man with a forge, offering items for sale. Alexandru became fascinated watching him forge a pry bar. He really wanted it. I indicated to the man we would like to buy one, but he motioned that he didn’t have any. Alexandru insisted we stay there watching the man work. An hour and a half later the man finished the pry bar, then dunked it in the water to cool it off. I guess he was impressed with us as a rapt audience that whole time because he then let me buy it for Alexandru.
During our last week in Romania, my nineteen year old stepson Patrick came to help Alexandru and me on our travel back home. I was so relieved to see him. I had become exhausted taking care of Alexandru all day and all night.
It was amazing how quickly they bonded as siblings! Patrick would take him out for walks, allowing me to sleep for awhile. Patrick always walked with his backpack, sometimes carrying Alexandru. Naturally, during one of those walks Alexandru’s curious and nimble hands found their way into Patrick’s backpack, discovered his tape player, and dismantled the cassette.
The adoption agency that was helping us took Alexandru, Patrick and me on a trip to see Dracula’s Castle. It turned out to be sort of a true life horror story. First, we were in the car about 3 hours to reach it. Second, it was a crowd of people that day, all moving one way to walk through the castle. And to push the day over the edge from tiring excursion into true nightmare, it was a rainy day, so people had their umbrellas. We were literally surrounded by umbrellas! This made Alexandru nutso — since he wanted to grab every umbrella to play with. Soon he was having meltdowns and I had to carry him and hold his hands from grabbing. In desperation, I asked the staff how to get out; they said we just had to keep moving forward til we came to the end. So I ended up pushing my way past people, walking as fast as I could through the crowd to get out.
It was an impressive castle though. And Patrick said it was his favorite thing we did in Romania.
LESSON LEARNED: If my young child has an obsession with umbrellas, stay inside on rainy days!
LESSON LEARNED: Memories are created by experiences, not facts. I remember the castle as panic and meltdowns; Patrick remembers it as a really cool place!
LESSON LEARNED: When adopting an almost 4-year old, be sure to have an older sibling around to help bring the baby home!
LESSON LEARNED: You may be surprised (or gain a pry bar) by how much someone appreciates your attention to their work.
LESSON LEARNED: The exact same circumstances (a sea of umbrellas) can be one person’s dream (Alexandru) and still be another’s nightmare (mine)!
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