Well it has been a few days but we finally have internet connection. What can I say about the lst couple of days that do not bring tears to my eyes and make my heart sad? Well I can say our facilitator is GREAT!!! This is such a different experience from last summer. Our flight in was fine and we stayed in Amsterdam the first night. Never actually walked in Amsterdam and looked around but this time around we did just that. It was fun and interesting. A unique group of people make up the Netherlands and it is really a beautiful place. Then the following morning we were in Kiev met promptly by our facilitator and driver. We are staying with friends of our facilitator. We pay a small amount compared to if we were on our own plus their is always a home cooked meal waiting for us morning, noon and night!!!! We even had accordion music to listen to one evening before Dinner. How cool was that! We took the subway, walked and then found our bus to bring us to the WWII Museum one day which was fun and took most of the day. We decided to rent a car since we did not have to go all the way to Odessa. It was a good thing we did because I have no clue how we would have gotten to the orphanage twice a day without having to buy the actually taxi!!!!!!!! No trollies or reliable buses here!! Our facilitator made a few phone calls and sure enough, she knows someone that knows someone that has a 5 room house and would LOVE for us to stay with them! So once again, home cooked food all day long. Except this time mama got to enjoy the homemade wine they make with every meal if she chooses!!!LOL. We went to the Social Services to talk to some people there first and then came back later in the day to pick one of them up to go to the orphanage with us. The woman who came with us previously worked at the orphanage for 5 years before getting her job at Social Service. She told us a lot about the orphanage since she knew so much about it from working there. It is home to around 70 special needs kids ages 6 to 18. Some of the children are orphans, some are not. The town we are in is called Balta but we still have to drive about 1/2 hour or more to reach the orphanage. There are 3 orphanages in Balta, 2 in town and ours which is out of town.
This post will probably be long because I am going to tell you about where our girl has lived for the past 9 months.
We drove for what seemed like 1 hour on these roads that were full of pot holes like I have never seen before. I'm from Minnesota so I've seen a mean looking pot hole before but seriously, this was ridicules!!!!! Swerving back and fourth from one lane to the other, it was more like an amusement ride of some kind. We saw MANY horse and buggy's as this and walking are the main way of transportation out here in the villages. Then we turned onto a small dirt road that lead to the orphanage. Kids were outside doing different things. Once they saw the lady we were with they remembered here from working there and some of the kids came up to give her a hug and talk with her. She was very kind and really cared about these kids. She talked with them and asked how they were doing. It was a very nice thing to see. Then we went into a big room and people just started coming in to "witness" the first meeting. Our facilitator explained to them that we had met our little girl last year and played with her almost everyday. The head lady at the welfare place did ask us if we knew how special needs she was and how would we be able to take care of her and the three special needs we adopted last year. We told her that even though it does take more time bringing them to doctor or therapy appointments they are just as much or little work as our other kids. No biggie! She seemed okay with that answer. She did have more things in her file that we were not aware of but by no way would that or did that change our minds about her!!! She was ours and we were hers!
The older boys at the orphanage latched onto Ken right away. All the kids who saw us were following us.
There is no fence around this building. All the baby houses seemed to have fences around them. Where the lost boys are has a fence around it. No fence here. I'm not sure why they would need one anyway, there is NO PLACE to go! On the ride there I kept thinking what she must have been thinking driving all this way from the only home she has ever known. Were any other kids with her from her baby house or was it just her on this long journey. I was crying the whole way there on and off. Trying to tell myself its not going to help anyone with me crying! But then I would think of her all by herself and it made me sad and a little guilty that we could not get to her sooner somehow to make this not have had to happen to her. I knew she was scheduled for transfer in September but we just couldn't make it happen until now. Would she remember us? Would she remember Dani, Josh and Artem? There were a total of 6 or 7 people in the room but once our Inna walked in it felt like only her and I were in the room!!! I went down on my knees to make it easier for her and just kept saying her name over and over as I was hugging her. She looked out of sorts kind of, not the little girl I remembered with so much life and zest in her. She didn't remember us but was happy to see someone who obviously knew her. I pulled out the photo book I had from last summer with her playing with us and the kids and you could see in her eyes that it started clicking. She didn't want any other toys at that moment and just wanted to look at the photos. It then hit her, she said, through our facilitator, that she had thought where we were where did we go last year?!?! She really remembered Joshy and one of the caretakers that was in one of the photos from childrens day last year. She then got it. She pointed to me in the photo book and then touched my shoulder and said mama. She did the same for Ken then, pointed him out in the photo book and then touched his shoulder and said papa!!!! She remembered!!!! She doesn't get that she is coming home with us. She askes everyday if we will be back tomorrow. There is no one there that keeps the other kids away while we are visiting with Inna which is really okay with me. All these kids need attention and some loving! Once in a while Inna will get jealous and grab us and sit on our laps to show we are there for her, but that's her right now, its her turn to do that. She has waited far to long for a family and it's her turn now.
The kids are older, like I said, and most have issues. What exactly they are I'm not sure. I think a lot of people would just say its a place where a bunch of misfits live. But it is not that. It is so far from being that. These kids that live here don't see a lot of people. So we are something rare and special that has come through. They follow from a distance and watch. I offered one little boy candy who had been following us with Inna all day. He kept saying nyet every time. He saw the other kids take me up on my offer, but every time I asked he would shy away and said nyet. Finally after about 2 hours there I gave the last box of candy to a boy who took the box quickly to stand by a tree by himself hoping no one else would see he had the candy. They did and they all started going towards him to get some. The boy who would not take candy from me grabbed a few pieces from the boy walk away and started eating them. As he was eating and opening more to eat, he looked at me and said spasibo! If that alone does not change a person forever, I don't know what in life will! A lot of the older kids want so much to be next to us but are scared of us. The littler kids swarms us. One little boy was begging Ken that we should be his mama and papa! How can that one not change you???? Then there was the 12 year old girl who was being picked on another older girl. They both had special needs which were obvious. The way one would repeat things over and over and over and then talk to herself while the other one just laughed and laughed at her and also was talking to herself. It was just sad. So then I grabbed my hand lotion and big body spray out and had ALL the kids that were around come over to get some.....including the one girl who was being picked on. I showed them how good it smells and to rub the lotions all over. They loved it!!!
I needed a little breather so I asked Ken to try to keep their attention while I just walked to the end of the property and back. Well it was like a scene from Monty Python!!!! I would walk and knew they were following because I could here footsteps behind me. So I would stop and turn around and there was a group of about 6, 7 kids all behind a tree. So I would walk some more, stop, turn around and they would stop behind another tree!!! That was the only humor Ken and I got for the day. It was just so obvious I was not going to have any kind of breather/break!!!! So back I went to play and take pictures of the kids so they could see themselves on TV(camera) hehehehe! They loved it.
On the ride back to home I just broke down thinking what will happen to these kids? Why were they here? What would become of the kids that seemed mentally okay but maybe not physically? So many questions, so many thoughts, so many decisions. I just decided to let go and let God! I learned that long ago and now more than ever this is what I needed to do to get through this adoption. Once I get home I will do something to make a difference for these kids left behind! I am trying to connect with the people I need to connect with to make a difference.
After all the adoptions we have done I now know that I need to be doing something that will help all the kids left behind. I can no longer tell myself that I'm to busy or I have done my part. So I have started. Meeting people that will hopefully be able to help me help the kids. We are here for awhile longer and I will definitely be networking finding even more people to help me!