Thursday, November 15, 2012

Transformation #2-- Reni

Simply amazing is all I can say about this one.  From hurt to healed.  All in a year's time.  I know I still owe you a medical post but it is really long right now. I'll get it done at some point.  This is all about Reni.  We adopted her at 9yo.  Met her and she seemed shy but no big red flags.  That was the first meeting.  They did tell us she peed the bed at night and still wore diapers.  Really?  At 9yo?  Thought that was a bit fishy but went with it.  Said she was mentally retarded (their words) and very slow.  She didn't have glasses on when we met her and we asked them to let us buy them for her while there.  No.  She'll be fine.  It was critical for her to have glasses b/c she could have lost all sight in that eye.  We know, we have another daughter w/ her condition.  Hence, our concern.  Plus, you could tell the poor child had no depth perception.  We climbed up the mountain and held onto her for dear life.  Trust me OSHA would not have approved of this climb.  She was mis-stepping everywhere.  No judgement of perception whatsoever.  It really was sad.

Notice the steps?  Not the flatest and all were different sizes.  Hard for Reni who couldn't see and had no perception.  We were in Madara.  We went to the very top of the mountain.  Notice that flimsy rail?  It was that way even when there were drop offs at the top!  

She had so much trouble trying to navigate and held onto me for dear life most the time.  

This was after our hike.  BTW, none of us knew we were going on said hike!   Notice Reni's face?  Just a dot appears on the picture but it is an indentation and quite visible when closer.  We asked what happened.  She got stoned by another boy at the orphanage.  He kept beating her in the face w/ a rock and most like fragments were stuck in there.  We had her checked out by a plastic surgeon once home.  Nothing is left in the wound.  But it IS a daily reminder of what happened to her.  When she's a teenager, they can do a little more fixing to it if she'd like.  She's already agreed she wants it done.  I don't blame her.  Her scars run deep.

Anyhow, pickup trip was okay.  At the apartment Reni had her moments.  But, for the most part she was fine.  One thing we noticed right off the bat was Logan would beat the crap out of her all the time.  Just mean.  Obviously, we'd stop it as soon as it would start but this poor child was even a prisoner to her brother.  I kept letting Logan talk the talk but kept reassuring Reni that her older sisters would take care of it when we got home.  That would tick Logan off & he didn't believe it.  See, even our translator and driver told us boys don't listen to women here!  Yep, he sure did.  Warren gave me the look like boy is this child ever in for a rude awakening when he gets home.  LOL.

Her emotions were starting to show.  She's has Summer's shirt and slippers on for whatever reason.  And Summer's pants!  Her face tells her sadness.  Not sure if this was taken after one of Logan's hitting episodes of her or not.  Which brings me to  a whole other story.  One day in the apartment, I went to reach over Reni's head in the kitchen to get something.  She quickly ducked and covered and shook her hand back and forth.  No, no.  My heart sank.  Who had beaten this child?  Why?  She's not a bad kid.  Not that that would justify it but maybe I could understand it more.  Not sure.   All I knew was this child had been hurt before physically and badly.  

We got and home and Reni was sullen.  Understandable.  She'd left everything behind and to her common comfort things were everything.  But, this was her life and we were going to make it happen.  I won't go through the whole year.  Medically, she was fine.  Needed glasses and those make a world of difference.  Put her in soccer.  Logan was mad at that b/c in Bulgaria, the girls were NOT allowed to play on teams.  He told me girls can't play soccer.  I said your sisters can!  He huffed and puffed.  Boy oh boy did this ever wake up Reni!  Out of her shell she came running.  Shy, hidden one no more.  She was on the field to prove something.  You could tell.  Girls can play soccer too.  Loved it.  

There was some type of release in soccer for her.  She could express herself.  And, she was pretty good.  I know, my kids really do need new soccer gear.  Working on finding some.  She doesn't care about that stuff though.  It's all about being part of a team.  Being wanted, needed.  She made friends pretty quickly.  

Reni came home and wet the bed for about 2 weeks every night.  I learned later why.  See, at her orphanage the older boys would come in and randomly beat whoever at night.  Reni was a target here and there.  So, scared to sleep.  Once home and KNEW no one would ever beat her again, I think  her small body finally relaxed for once in her life.  Yelling used to make her shudder and shake.  Look on her face would be sheer terror.  Now, I have to scream ten times as loud to get her to move.  Geez.  She laughs more, has fun more, is very outgoing now, loves soccer, adores having sisters though admits they can be a pain.  Or as she puts it "they pain in the butt, mom."  She is no longer afraid to speak her mind.  She now knows girls can do anything.  Reni & Logan's mouth dropped open the first time they saw a lady cop.  Reni believes in things now.  

Reni had a hard past.  You can tell.  She remembers many things from the orphanage.  Some are fond memories, some not so much.  Like the times she randomly got beat at night.  Or the times Timor would threaten them with his gun.  Yet, they were too afraid to be shot to tell the director he even had a gun.  So instead they'd put up w/ being hit on the head w/ a gun.  When she came home, she was terrified of the water in regards to swimming.  I knew they'd gone to Varna but didn't know exactly if they could swim.  Everyone MUST know how to swim who lives here.  We have a pool.  Pool opens, we teach them right away.  She was like glue to the older kids and I.  Never thought she'd let go. 

This was one of the first times she swam.  On our way to the Bulgarian Reunion, we stopped at a KOA Campground in WVA.  They had a great lake.  Loved it so much we're going back there next year!  Anyhow, Reni got in and conquered yet another fear.  Amazing the courage this child has.  Yet, doesn't let anyone know.  She is brave beyond words and will go so far in life.

Oh, and that mentally challenged dx, throw that one out the window!  She's delayed but frankly I think it was b/c she couldn't see her work.  Reni is so eager to learn new things.  Loves doing what her older sisters do yet has time to play w/ the younger ones too.  She has already passed Alyona in many areas.  We knew this would happen.  Yet, I also know when Reni is older she'll be able to help Alyona as well.  So, we have a daughter that no longer shakes, no longer fears everything in sight, can now rest easy at night, is learning at warp speed, is very outgoing, and is truly enjoying this new change in life.  She has stated she wants to visit Bulgaria but has made it very clear this is her home.  This emotionally, shy, hurt child, is hurt no more.  Reni has without a doubt found her voice and her family.  She fits in perfectly.  All I can say is wow, what a difference a year makes. 

A few more shots for good luck.  Reni, eating chocolate cake.  They told her she was allergic to chocolate over there and she couldn't have it.  They've done this to a few of my kids over the years.  Did it to Irina too.  Yes, this is Reni eating chocolate cake to her heart's content.

I know her eyes are closed in this shot but just look at that smile.  We were at a cafe downtown Raleigh to eat pizza.  Thank you Groupon!  Something so simple makes her so happy.

Reni enjoying a ride w/ her big brother.  Experiences this past year have been numerous for her.  I truly think she's embraced them all.  Even the simple things such as riding on a mower w/ her brother.  So, all in all, I'd say Reni's had one heck of a transforming year, don't you?

1 comment:

  1. So happy that this young girl has a chance in life to be herself and to heal. Thanks for bringing her to your home and loving her!