On Saturday evening, we met with some of the parents in Sofia. This was a time for them to share their concerns, specific issues that they are struggling with and for us to ask questions to get a better idea of the situation in Bulgaria. They provided us with some really great information on what typically happens in the hospital after a baby with Ds is born (for the record: just like in the US, each families experience is very different and one mom DID have a positive experience at birth). They also talked about the medical care available, what therapy services look like in Bulgaria and how the school system works. It was very interesting to hear about all the cultural differences from what we experience (though us moms did assure them that we too have to advocate with doctors and schools!).
The overwhelming theme that we kept hearing was: 1.) Families need support and accurate information when the child is born 2.) Early intervention is a huge need 3.) School is a challenge (education is needed on inclusion, how to provide support for children with Ds in the classroom, etc)
It was fabulous really! These parents are so WANTING change and WANTING directions! NOW is a PRIME time for CHANGE in Bulgaria! If we can just keep this momentum going and keep that door open and let EVERYONE walk through it!
THIS was the highlight of my night however!
Her name is Gerri and she is 5!
She’s been educated with her peers in what is like our preschool!
She’s a ham for the camera and was teaching us a thing or two. Some of us broke away from the discussions and talking to play with Gerri!!!! She taught us some of the alphabet!