Monday, July 18, 2011

International Pediatricians

We encourage all families to begin looking for an international pediatrician early on in their adoption journey. An international pediatrician is aware of diagnoses used by doctors in your child's country of origin and also can give you a good idea of what long term effects certain diagnoses will look like for your child. Dr. Johnson and his associates have worked with previous Gladney families are a great starting point. His website has lots of great articles that can keep you informed on what to expect from an institutionalized child.

Contact Information:

Dana E. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D.
The University of Minnesota International Adoption Clinic
Phone: 612-624-1164
Fax: 612-625-2920

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bulgaria Day 1 and 2

Greetings from Bulgaria! Marshall and I traveled all day on Wednesday to get to Sofia, Bulgaria. Then we connected with Rosi, a member of our incountry team, and hopped on a flight to Bourgas, Bulgaria. On Thursday, we visited the orphanage for infants in Bourgas. This orphanage housed about 160 children ages 0-3 We were very pleased with the condition of the orphanage and how well the children were taken care of there. We met with the orphanage director and she told us she was very interested in providing for the sensory and emotional needs of the children in the orphanage as well as creating a family type enviornment for the children with special needs.

After visiting the orphanage, Marshall, Rosi, and I were driven to Varna, Bulgaria and we were able to walk the "board walk" in Varna which is a city on the coast of the Black Sea. On Friday morning, we visited the orphanage in Varna. Again it housed around 170 children ages 0-3. The Varnas orphanage had a fire in December and is still making repairs. We were able to see the progress that has been made. I was pleased to see that the orphanage director is passionate about raising money to make the needed repairs quickly and that she hopes to make the orphanage even better than before.

After visiting the orphanage we hopped on a plane and flew back to Sofia. We were picked up at the airport by Petko (another member of the Vesta team) and we drove straight to the office to talk with Milena (our in country lawyer). Milena informed us of the progress of the program and also gave us a few updates.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Czech Day 3

Today Marshall and I traveled with Lucie and Martine to visit two orphanages today. The first was a orphanage for children 1-3 years old. It was about 30 minutes outside of Brno. It was a very well run orphanage. The walls were painted in bright colors, the caregiver ratio was 1 to 3, and the staff really seemed to be looking out for the best interest of the child. The orphanage director welcomed us and spoke to us about how the orphanage is run and how they assist families in taking care of the children.

We then drove back to Brno and had a quick lunch. After we went to an orphanage for children over 3 years old. Again we were very pleased with the way the orphanage was run. There were 21 children that live there and they live in 3 "family" units. Each family unit lives on one floor and each floor has a kitchen, living room, and then bedrooms for the children. It was a very neat concept to see.

Marshall and I have learned over the last two days that the Czech goverment is really invested in keeping families together. The government has many programs in place that enable parents to work through the issues they are faced with. Also, we learned that about 500 domestic placements are done each year!

After our visits, Marshall and I picked up our bags from the hotel and headed to the train station. We rode the train back to Prague and will stay here for the night. We fly out early tomorrow morning to Sophia, Bulgaria!

A big thanks goes out to Justin L. He has really helped us get around the last two days and has shown us a new side to Brno!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Czech Day 2

Today Marshall and I met Justin, an American missionary that lives in Brno, who escorted us to our meeting with the officials in charge of adoptions in the Czech Republic. We had a really good meeting and we talked a lot about thier systems for adoptions and they were particularly interested in how we support our families before and after they take placement. Tomorrow we are going to visit two different orphanages one in Brno and one about an hour away.
After our meeting, Justin took us to a lovely little French restuarant run by nuns. It was very very good. I had onion soup and a spinach crepe. Marshall had chicken noodle soup which looked like high class ramen!

After lunch, Justin took us walking through Brno and told us a little bit more about the city. Brno is the home of Mendel who came up with genetics. We ventured up the very steep hill to Spilberk Castle. It's very small but has wonderul views of the city. Justin also let us know that we are so very close to Vienna which I didn't know. Brno is a merchant city it has one of the largest trade shows in Europe and we saw that building from Spilberg as well.

Its been a busy day, but I'm looking forward to tomorrow!