The fight for Katya’s happiness

This story is not about an abandoned child. It's not for a sick child. But it is no less touching. This is the story of Katya - a sensitive girl who at a young age meets face to face with an indescribable tragedy and just falls silent. She stops. She vanishes.

August 15 2021

This story is not about an abandoned child. It’s not for a sick child. But it is no less touching. This is the story of Katya – a sensitive girl who at a young age meets face to face with an indescribable tragedy and just falls silent. She stops. She vanishes.

Katya is a strong 8-year-old child, desired by both of her parents and looked after with a lot of love. She is the eldest child in the family and big sister to 2-year-old Lora. Katya and Lora are not the only children in the big family, living in a clean and always pleasantly smelling of delicious food and care house in a small town near Plovdiv – there also live their mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and uncle. This house has not always been noisy and cheerful. A few years after Katya’s birth, a long-awaited baby is also born in the family. From a young age, Katya constantly has been saying that she really wants a brother or sister to take care of and play with in the yard in the big house. She has been attached to the baby since their first meeting at the maternity hospital. But happiness lasts only a few months. The most unthinkable happens. The family loses the baby.

The pain for everyone is indescribable, insurmountable. It turns out to be impossible for Katya to accept and learn to live with this loss. After the death of the newborn, Katya sinks into a fog. She’s supposed to be present, but she’s not.

Despite the loss and grief, her parents quickly noticed the huge change in Katya. They monitor the child, but there is no improvement. On the contrary, Katya seems to be falling into a hole more and more and shows no signs of wanting to get out of it. The girl does not become aggressive, as often happens in such situations. She simply ceases to be anything. She shuts herself so deeply in her grief over the lost happiness that she refuses to communicate with her peers, and later even with her loved ones. The developmental delay of the girl is becoming more and more noticeable. She had difficulty expressing himself, constructing whole sentences and even pronouncing certain words. When she was 5, her little sister Lora was born. The excitement for everyone at home is indescribable, and in the minds of the parents creeps a faint hope that Katya will unlock and get out of where she closed.

Katya’s mother and father continue to closely monitor her behavior and development. At one point, they realize that Katya’s emotional and behavioral disorders only do not go away, but deepen. This provokes them to seek professional support. And it is the timely help that plays a key role in overcoming the girl’s communication difficulties. Both parents understand about our organization and the support we provide to children at an early age from the director of the kindergarten which attends Katya.

Her mother Petya immediately meets with representatives of the Child Protection Department, goes through the entire procedure for issuing a document for the use of social services and goes straight to our Community Support Center “For Children and Parents” in Plovdiv where she meets the social worker Atanaska Toneva.

Atanaska undertakes to work not only with Katya, but also with the whole family. A specialist with broad experience in such cases, she realizes that support from all sides is more than necessary to deal with the problem. Atanaska believes that the more hands are extended to the child, the more loved, protected and most of all supported she will feel. Together, little by little, step by step, they begin to build a new life. And in it Katya is not pressed, but she is not left in her pain and retarded development. In this new life, Katya begins to learn to live again, just as her little sister Lora begins to learn to walk.

Katya also receives support and help from her parents, who from the first meeting with the social worker absorb her every word and recommendation, convinced that this is the way to a new beginning for the whole family.

A little later, Katya receives another support – the team working with her is joined by the dedicated speech therapist Tanya Ivanova, also part of our center in Plovdiv. She spends a few weeks getting to know the girl to determine in the most expert way what her problems are and how they can be solved as quickly as possible. Tanya’s conclusion is that Katya has impaired concentration, a problem with pronouncing a number of words due to involuntary shifting of sounds and syllables and a rapid loss of connection and meaning when listening to a text.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for the family to visit the center on site, but no one intends to give up the fight for Katya. This is just another ordeal that everyone will face together for the sake of the girl.

The speech therapist and the social worker begin to organize their meetings with Katya and her family in their big and full house, thanks to the opportunities for mobile work. There, the specialists bring with them a whole package of exercises, classes, models for games, developing speech skills. Well, of course, Petya jokes, there is always time to play with dolls, because they are Katya’s favorite. Such is Katya, from an early age she loves to take care of someone – an old rag doll or her little sister Lora. But most importantly, so many people now take care of her. Work with Katya now is focused on improving her communication skills and overcoming her fear of being among her peers. When the direction is clear, the support is secure and comes from so many sides, and love at home is the driving force, there is no doubt that all together will succeed.

Our team and her loved ones will be able to return Katya’s childhood, self-confidence and desire to communicate. Because people are people when we communicate, when we help each other!

Among all those who care for Katya and her family is The Human Safety Net, thanks to whose support we manage to help hundreds of children every year.


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