Archive for November, 2008

Odessa weekend

Posted in Uncategorized on November 29, 2008 by heart4kids

We took a 2 hour bus-ride to Odessa this morning.  We decided to get away from Belgorod for the weekend for a change of scenery.  Yesterday they told us that the social services office is still working on correcting errors on the girl’s documents.  There are some details about their mother that don’t match exactly on all the papers, so they have to be in sync before we can move on.  We hope that on Monday we will be able to continue the process and get a date for the court hearing.

In front of the Odessa opera house

In front of the Odessa opera house

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Daily routine

Posted in Uncategorized on November 27, 2008 by heart4kids

Every afternoon we go to the orphanage after the kids get out of school and spend two or three hours with them.  Today they colored, looked at photos on our laptop and played games.  I think I’ve played about 50 rounds of Disney Princess memory game! We aren’t given much freedom to take photos around the orphanage.  We don’t even see most of the kids.  One time about a dozen little girls paraded through the room we were in, then a few minutes later scurried back out.  Today, for some reason, Aza’s friend Lilly dressed up like a princess.  We never figured out why.

All my girls

All my girls

Aza, princess Lilly and Mama

Aza, princess Lilly and Mama

Around town

Posted in Uncategorized on November 27, 2008 by heart4kids

We had a nice Thanksgiving lunch today with the staff at the clinic where we are staying.  It’s not the same as being home, but we enjoyed some nice friendship.  Each day we try to do a little shopping to get clothes we will need for the girls.  Most of our shopping is done at the open market.  We just bought them all some black boots, which are very popular here.  It took a few trips to get all the right sizes.  I think we’ve met all the taxi drivers in town.  We are the crazy Americans that always climb in and want to go to the “dyetski dom” (orphanage).

Browsing through the market

Browsing through the market

Taxi drivers waiting for work

Taxi drivers waiting for work

Hangups

Posted in Uncategorized on November 26, 2008 by heart4kids

The social office lady claims that there are mistakes on some of the girls documents.  That’s why it is taking her extra long to make appointments for the rest of our process.  She claims she may have it taken care of tomorrow.

We inquired about Lilly’s status.  It seems she has two younger brothers somewhere in the country.  This makes it tough for her because Ukraine doesn’t allow siblings to be adopted seperately.  We have no idea what the status of the brothers is.  Nothing is simple here.

Transition

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25, 2008 by heart4kids

There was a big commotion this evening at the orphanage.  Another family from our area in California has been working for over a year to adopt a little boy named Vlad, and it finally all came together.  Today the new birth certificate just got signed and suddenly it was time for him to go.  His new name is Justin, and he is a sweet, bright eyed, happy little boy.  His new mom ran in bringing his new clothes and he had to change in a hurry to catch a ride to Odessa.  The care-givers at the home all came out to say good-bye to him.  He left behind everything except for one little photo album that he kept that has pictures of his new family.  As he climbed in the car he waved at us and said, “see ya in America!”

Justin in his new blue jacket walking out of the home for the last time

Justin in his new blue jacket walking out of the home for the last time

Practicing waiting

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 by heart4kids
The front door of the social services office

The front door of the social services office

We have been to see the social services lady several times and  our paperwork is in her hands now.  It’s up to her to move the right papers so that we can get a court hearing.  She seems a little bothered by the whole thing, so I’m not sure how fast this will happen.

We have been spending a couple of hours each afternoon at the orphanage with the kids.  They always seem delighted to see us and the time passes quickly.  I have asked for more information about Lilly, but haven’t got any answers yet.

Pastor Serge helped me get a phone modem for my computer today, so I don’t have to borrow other people’s laptops anymore.  Internet is slow, but we are just glad to have some contact.  We appreciate everybody’s comments and encouragement!

What about the other kids?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2008 by heart4kids
Trevor with one of his almost-sisters

Trevor with one of his almost-sisters

The kids here all love Trevor.  He dances and sings and does tricks to keep them entertained.  We are really glad to have him with us.  It’s also been a valuable experience for him.

We are beginning to feel weighed down with sadness for the other kids who are left in the orphanage.  There are so many sweet kids here, we can’t believe more families aren’t rushing in to provide homes for them!  The worst part is that many of them will turn 16 in the near future.  That is when they “age-out” of the system and they are turned out on their on.  It’s a cold, cruel world for a kid to survive in, and very few manage to find a niche in society.

Here are some statistics I found at www.hfgf.org:

“In Ukraine and Russia 10-15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before they turn 18.  60% of girls will be lured into prostitution.  70% of boys will become hardened criminals.  Many of these kids accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves.”

Aza has a dear friend named Lilly.  Lilly will turn 16 within a year.  She is a sweet, intelligent girl.  She plays the piano and sings beautifully and she always greets us with a smile.  She has no family at all.  Our heart breaks for her.

Lilly (with the long hair) with Aza

Lilly (with the long hair) with Aza